Feature Story from 2014
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi producers had another successful year of peanut production, but the honeymoon phase for this crop is probably over.
Jason Sarver, peanut specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said between 2005 and 2011, Mississippi growers produced an average of 18,000 acres of peanuts a year. The majority of this acreage was in the southern part of the state.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Though electronic toys continually top children’s Christmas wish lists, a child and family development professor at Mississippi State University suggests non-toy gifts could be the best presents under the tree.
Louise Davis, MSU Extension Service professor and executive director of the Early Years Network, said non-toy gifts such as activities, memberships and classes can offer enriching, fun experiences that encourage intellectual, social and physical development.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most undergraduate college students are not interested in conducting research, but Sanitra Lawrence is not like most students.
Lawrence’s resume will reveal that she did more than sit in a classroom while earning her bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Mississippi State University this December. Each week in the summer of 2013, the Starkville native counted the swirskii mites on pepper plants as part of a research project.
Offering more research opportunities to undergraduates is a goal of the plant and soil sciences department.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University hosted approximately 4,000 children, teachers and visitors Oct. 6-10 at the annual MSU Wood Magic Science Fair.
“We had another successful fair,” said Rubin Shmulsky, head of the MSU Department of Sustainable Bioproducts. “It was a fun-filled, busy week when children traveled from all over the state to learn about forestry, sustainable bioproducts and wildlife.”
STONEVILLE -- Mississippi’s agricultural industry is not going about “business as usual” above ground while the underground water supplies decline every year.
COLLINS -- Nearly a dozen veterans left south Mississippi with fuller luggage after Covington County quilters surprised them with early Christmas gifts.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- New Year’s Resolutions can be difficult to maintain, but one that is worth keeping is getting more sleep at night.
David Buys, state health specialist for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said a lack of sleep can lead to serious problems at home, on the job and on the road.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The countdown to the holiday break has begun, and parents and caregivers looking to keep kids occupied and happy should focus on the basics.
Instead of turning to technology as a primary source of entertainment, parents can take the opportunity to strengthen family relationships and stimulate learning in simple, free and fun ways.
Louise Davis, director of the Early Years Network at Mississippi State University, emphasized the importance of interaction to child development.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Studies show many Mississippians are not good at managing their money, so some may use the new year as an opportunity to turn over a new leaf financially.
A 2013 Gallup poll found that just 32 percent of Americans put together a monthly budget to track income and expenses. Even fewer actually stick with it. The results add up to significant debt. Federal Reserve statistics indicate the average household owes $7,281 on credit cards. When looking only at households carrying credit card debt, that average debt rises to $15,608.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Smoking can be a hard habit to kick, but it can be done with the right amount of determination.
Quitting smoking is at the top of many smokers’ New Year’s resolutions list. Smoking is a dangerous health risk, and quitting would contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said two main factors trigger smoking.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University scientists strive to establish sustainable best practices in the application of slack wax for the wood composites industry.
Slack wax is a waterproofing agent used in the production of composites, including particle board, oriented strand board, fiberboard and laminated strained lumber. The wax improves the dimensional stability of composites, thus improving performance.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A production bump has helped forestry maintain its status as Mississippi’s second largest agricultural commodity.
James Henderson, associate forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, estimated the state’s 2014 harvest value was $1.28 billion, which represents a 13.8 percent increase from the $1.13 billion in production reported in 2013.
Since 2009, the least productive year since the recession started, the state’s forest harvest value has increased 48 percent.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- After some people open Christmas presents, they might find themselves the recipients of new devices they would have avoided but now feel compelled to use.
Learning how to navigate such a device -- whether it is a smartphone, tablet, digital media player or e-reader -- can seem a daunting task to those who are not technologically savvy. Resolving to implement a new gift into routine activities in 2015 can be an easy first step toward getting the most out of that new gadget.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite low prices for many commodities, the overall projected totals for Mississippi’s crop values should top $7 billion for the third straight year and essentially match the record set in 2013.
John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said his preliminary estimate of 2014’s agricultural production values, excluding government payments, is over $7.7 billion.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A potentially record-setting production year made soybeans a billion dollar crop and Mississippi’s third-largest agricultural commodity in 2014.
Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said soybeans are expected to yield a record average of 52 bushels an acre.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s beef cattle producers just experienced the best year in history, and 2015 looks equally promising.
Mississippi State University Extension Service agricultural economist John Michael Riley said droughts in cattle-producing states, especially in 2012, resulted in tighter supplies, while consumer demand for beef has remained strong.
RAYMOND -- Poultry experienced some moderate increases in 2014, grabbing the No.1 spot among Mississippi’s commodities for the 20th straight year.
The industry ended November with a preliminary estimated total production value of $3.1 billion, a 6.4 percent increase from 2013.
TYLERTOWN -- Mississippi State University and Louisiana State University will celebrate 25 years of bringing management and marketing information to dairy producers in early January.
The 25th annual Mississippi-Louisiana Dairy Management Conference will be Jan. 8 at the Southwest Events Center in Tylertown. The MSU Extension Service and the LSU AgCenter plan and conduct this annual event to meet the educational needs of dairy farmers in both states.