Feature Story from 2017
MACON, Miss. -- Farmers' independent natures make them strong, but when agricultural producers join forces, they can take success to the next level.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, commended Mississippi farmers for their efforts to unite in the battle to eradicate boll weevils from the state.
“Historically, boll weevils were the prime pest in cotton fields. To control them, it took numerous pesticide applications,” he said. “Those treatments were costly and ate into the growers’ profit margins.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cotton will always have challenges, but few of them will ever compare to the boll weevils that thrived in Mississippi from 1904 until 2009.
“It is nearly impossible for this younger generation of consultants, scouts and growers to understand how hard boll weevils were to control and how much boll weevil control hurt beneficial insects and complicated cotton management,” said Will McCarty, who served as the Mississippi State University Extension Service cotton specialist during “the boll weevil wars.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi homeowners with private wells have three opportunities to learn how to enhance the quality of their drinking water sources.
The Mississippi Well Owner Network, a program of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will hold workshops at the Extension offices in Wayne County Sept. 26, Pearl River County Oct. 24 and Tate County Jan. 25, 2018. Each workshop begins at 6 p.m.
CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Home gardeners and horticulture professionals can learn about the latest plants, research and gardening techniques during the 39th annual Fall Flower & Garden Fest on Oct. 13 and 14.
CARROLLTON, Miss. -- Producers interested in growing fruit trees can learn about tree grafting and varieties during a Sept. 15 field day.
Southern Cultured Orchards and Nursery in Carrollton will host the Alliance of Sustainable Farms event. Attendees will see a grafting demonstration, learn about varieties that grow well in Mississippi and tour the farm’s orchard.
The field day is free, but preregistration is required. Onsite check-in begins at 10 a.m. The program begins at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m. The field day begins at Stephenson’s Bluff, located at 1012 College St. in Carrollton.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi is having a breakout of tiny beetles that use pheromones to gather sufficient numbers of reinforcements to overwhelm healthy trees.
Current Mississippi Forestry Commission flyovers indicate nearly 5,000 separate Southern pine bark beetle outbreaks across the state. Outbreaks can range from just a few trees to more than an acre of infested and dying pines.
Outbreaks are especially bad on national forestland, but homeowners and private landowners are also experiencing the problem.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are devastating reminders that storms take a terrible toll on landscapes and proof that some trees hold up better than others.
Mississippi landscapes must withstand flooding, hot summers, seasonal drought, ice storms, winters that can dip to single digits, a humid and subtropical climate, and high winds from hurricanes and tornadoes.
John Kushla, a forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, said native vegetation handles a wide variety of environmental conditions, but some species are able to survive storms better than others.
PICAYUNE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum celebrates its formal, 20-year partnership with the university on Sept. 15.
On that date in 1997 the facility was incorporated into the MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. Managed by the MSU Extension Service, the arboretum is an award-winning, internationally recognized native plant conservatory dedicated to research, education and preservation of plants found in the Pearl River Drainage Basin.
"The arboretum is regarded as the premier conservatory in the Southeast, and it is an important keystone of Piney Woods heritage,” said Pat Drackett, arboretum director. “It is a wonderful educational tool that helps teach people about our local ecosystems and preserves them for future generations. We are honored every day to help fulfill the vision shaped by the Crosby family and the Crosby Arboretum Foundation almost 40 years ago."
GREENVILLE, Miss. -- Pecan producers can learn the latest updates in their industry during an upcoming field day.
The Mississippi Pecan Growers Association will host the 2017 Fall Field Day on Oct. 6 at Tri-Delta Pecans Inc., located at 537 Broadway Extended North in Greenville.
Topics include marketing, harvest, pecan grading, and food safety and quality control practices. Attendees will also tour the Tri-Delta Pecans cleaning and processing facility.
PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Students and families can explore and celebrate the insect world during the Crosby Arboretum’s 11th annual Bugfest Sept. 22 and 23 in Picayune.
The arboretum, a public garden operated by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, sponsors Bugfest to allow the community to foster curiosity and an appreciation of nature and adventure.
Participants can collect and identify insects alongside Extension entomologist John Guyton and others from the MSU Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology.
BATESVILLE, Miss. -- Private well owners in seven Delta counties can get water samples pH tested and screened for bacteria and lead at an educational workshop in Batesville.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is cohosting a free well-owner workshop at the Extension office in Panola County Oct. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Residents of Panola, Tallahatchie, Sunflower, Bolivar, Leflore, Quitman and Coahoma counties can get their private well water screened for free. The workshop is open to all well owners. Attendance is not required to participate in the water testing.
STARKVILLE, Miss. – First responders and disaster experts know that good intentions can lay the foundations for disastrous conditions after hurricane winds and floods subside.
Through the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Anne Howard Hilbun conducts disaster response training for citizens and emergency workers. She is an instructor with the MSU Extension Center for Government and Community Development.
BILOXI, Miss. -- Volunteers can help tidy Mississippi’s beaches and other coastal areas during the 2017 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup on Oct. 21.
The 29th annual event begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m. at more than 40 sites in Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties. Participants will help remove plastic bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts and other trash.
Organized by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force, this event has helped remove millions of pounds of trash from the state’s beaches, waterways and barrier islands since 1988. Last year alone, volunteers removed 14 tons of litter from about 200 miles of coastal area.
STARKVILLE, Miss.—A turfgrass specialist at Mississippi State University is receiving a major national accolade.
Jay McCurdy is the latest young professional recognized by the Crop Science Society of America for making significant contributions to the field within seven years of completing a final academic degree. He will accept the CSSA 2017 Early Career Award and accompanying $2,000 stipend late next month at the organization’s annual meeting in Tampa, Florida.
A Tennessee native reared on a sod farm in the Gibson County city of Dyer, McCurdy came to MSU two years ago after completing an Auburn University doctorate in agronomy and soils. He earned earlier degrees at University of Tennessee campuses in Martin and Knoxville.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The leader of a Mississippi-based, national initiative to help families and communities prepare for disasters has earned an additional certification from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Ryan Akers, an associate Extension professor in the Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences, just graduated from an in-depth course provided by FEMA. The curriculum addressed advanced concepts in disaster management, agency organization, community response and emergency professions.
Wild hogs cost Mississippians millions of dollars each year, but landowners stand to lose more than money if the nuisance animals’ range and population continue to grow.
Left unchecked, wild hogs have the potential to steal property owners’ investments and cripple the state’s ecosystem in the process.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Families and students have an opportunity to tour Mississippi State University’s dairy facilities this fall.
The MSU Extension Service will host Breakfast on the Farm Oct. 27-28 at the Joe Bearden Dairy Research Center at 2128 Turkey Creek Road near Starkville. The event is open to preregistered school groups from 9 a.m. until noon on Oct. 27. Families and community members are invited to attend the next morning at the same hours.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Home gardeners and landscape professionals attending the 62nd Ed Martin Landscape Symposium Oct. 18 at Mississippi State University will gain insights on native plants, water use and smart landscapes.
The event lasts from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bost Extension Center at MSU. Registration is $25 until Oct. 1 and $30 at the door. The event is hosted by the MSU Extension Service and the Garden Clubs of Mississippi Inc.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- October is Children’s Health Month, but Mississippi’s Junior Master Wellness Volunteers are dedicated year-round to “promoting healthy living through community connections” in the state.
The Junior Master Wellness Volunteer program, or JrMWV, is a community health education and volunteer leader training program offered through the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H program in partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the UMMC/Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute.
Ann Sansing, MSU Extension community health coordinator, said this is the latest program developed in a five-year partnership with the medical center around delivery of the Community Health Advocate curriculum, which began there under the leadership of Dr. Rick deShazo.