Feature Story from 2017
Wouldn’t it be nice if entering a Mississippi State University classroom solved every midlife crisis?
At age 52, Sylvia Clark found herself at a crossroad as she reflected on her life as a small business owner and caregiver for her family. Reared on a Webster County farm, Clark married shortly after earning an associate’s degree and settled into her role as the wife of a Vardaman sweet potato farmer. Eventually, their children were grown and their parents no longer needed her care. With the support of her family, Clark enrolled at MSU in 2006 to finish her formal education in agriculture and extension education.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Rooting and wallowing by wild hogs cause extensive land and crop damage, which can be stopped only by getting rid of the invasive animals.
Bill Hamrick, a wildlife associate with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said wild hogs use their snouts to turn over soil as they search for food.
"I heard someone say that if it has a calorie and they can get their mouth around it, hogs will eat it," Hamrick said. "Wild hogs are a generalist species. They eat whatever they can find year-round."
Rehoboth Farms will host the upcoming Alliance of Sustainable Farms field day Oct. 20 in Pelahatchie.
Topics include beekeeping, home canning, and expanding markets and sales opportunities. Attendees also will tour the family-owned farm where the owners grow and sell fresh produce and eggs, along with canned fruits, preserves, sauces and seasonings. The farm includes spaces that can serve as a venue for weddings, meetings and other large gatherings.
Gardeners can purchase hard-to-find native plants during the Crosby Arboretum’s popular Fall Native Plant Sale.
The semiannual sale will be Oct. 21 and 22 at the arboretum. It begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. Arboretum members can enter at 9 a.m. Admission is free.
BILOXI, Miss. -- The 2017 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup has been rescheduled for Nov. 18 in the aftermath of Hurricane Nate.
“Authorities have closed all beaches for the cleaning that has to be done after the hurricane,” said Eric Sparks, event co-coordinator and assistant professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “It is illegal for anyone to be on the beaches until authorities reopen them, so we had to postpone our cleanup event.”
The first rule of transporting wild hogs is to not transport wild hogs. Bronson Strickland is the Mississippi State University Extension Service wildlife biologist and management specialist. He said the best way residents can help eradicate wild hogs is to hunt them while also trapping and killing them. Hunters who bring wild hogs into the state or relocate them for hunting, however, are committing a crime.
In three days, Teresa Dyess shifted her business focus from produce to poultry.
The change began two years ago with an offhand remark from her husband, Joe Dyess.
“He told a broiler grower in Wayne County we wouldn’t mind building pullet houses because we wanted to diversify our farm,” she said. “We didn’t think any more about it, and then the next day a poultry processor called and offered us a contract. A banker came the next day, and everything fell into place.”
Lanette Crocker, coordinator for the MSU Extension Service in Wayne County, said Teresa Dyess’ adaptability has helped her maintain success through the farm’s transition.
Wild hogs are known to cause external damage to land, property and wildlife, but the internal diseases they carry are equally dangerous.
More than 40 known diseases are traced to wild hogs, but the two most common in Mississippi are pseudorabies and swine brucellosis. Each can be deadly to livestock and domestic animals. The best way to prevent these infections is to trap and kill hogs rather than simply building fences to keep them out.
Mississippi’s climate is ideal for a wide range of insects, many of which make nuisances of themselves when they gather outside buildings.
Blake Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said homeowners can take steps to minimize their houses’ attractiveness to insects.
A program designed to teach early childhood teachers and center directors how to provide a safe and clean environment for young children recently received national recognition.
The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences selected the Healthy Homes for Child Care program, developed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, as the Southern Region winner and a national winner in the Clean and Healthy Families and Communities category.
The Delta Agricultural Weather Center launched its real-time weather data website just as cotton producers were completing the 2017 harvest and anticipating next spring’s planting season.
Once cotton reaches maturity, farmers apply a harvest aid to force the plants to drop their leaves and open their bolls. They harvest the crop about two weeks later.
Brown marmorated stink bugs took up residence in the Northeast nearly 20 years ago, but established populations of the destructive pest are now confirmed in the Southeast, including two reports in Mississippi.
Blake Layton, an entomology specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, is asking homeowners and producers to report any sightings of the insect. These insects are on a different level than other stink bugs in the South because of the damage they cause in fruit and the issues they cause when they invade buildings, he said.
Identity theft takes many forms, but theft of a child’s identity is one of the most difficult frauds to detect and can go unnoticed for years.
The Federal Trade Commission defines child identity theft as another person using a child’s personal or financial information to make purchases, get benefits, file taxes or commit fraud.
Susan Cosgrove, family resource management area agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Newton County, said this theft often goes unnoticed until the child gets ready to enter college.
The Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum will host the Piney Woods Heritage Festival on Nov. 18.
The 15th annual event celebrates the region’s heritage with presentations, displays and demonstrations of historical skills and crafts, including blacksmithing, spinning, basket making, quilting and more.
Elected officials recently helped Port Gibson High School students get a better grasp on local government through a new 4-H citizenship program.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service invites producers interested in protecting natural resources on their land to attend an upcoming conservation landowner workshop.
The Alliance of Sustainable Farms field day will be Nov. 17 at Yokna Bottoms Farm in Oxford.
Farm owner Doug Davis will show attendees the sustainable practices he uses on his 6-acre vegetable farm. Topics include late fall production, washing and storing, overwintering crops, cover crops, pest control and community-supported agriculture.
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. Yokna Bottoms Farm is located at 26 County Road 471 in Oxford.
Producers of grass-fed beef cattle will learn the latest recommendations for producing high quality and profitable livestock.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippians display their generous hearts through their high rate of charitable giving, but thieves sometimes take advantage of these soft spots in a variety of holiday scams.
“The Chronicle of Philanthropy” indicates Mississippians give an average of 5 percent of their annual gross incomes to charity each year. That generosity ranks them second in the country, just slightly behind Utah, in charitable giving.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A web-based smartphone app developed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service allows state climate officials to document drought conditions and provide information vital to Mississippi farmers recovering from dry weather.