PICAYUNE -- Already boasting a presence in every county in the state through the extension service, Mississippi State University now has another significant presence in South Mississippi.
In a Sept. 15 ceremony, the Crosby Arboretum in Picayune formally became part of MSU. Valued at $5 million, the arboretum was established in 1980 as a living memorial to L.O. Crosby Jr., a South Mississippi timber pioneer and philanthropist.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Leasing the hunting privileges to land provides a way to raise revenue and help protect the value of the land.
Dean Stewart, extension wildlife specialist at Mississippi State University, said many people who lease hunting rights generate enough revenue to cover property taxes and still make a profit. Lease prices in Mississippi range from $1.50 to $25 per acre annually.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- 4-H clubs, already very familiar to thousands of Mississippi youth, will be getting some national attention in October.
Oct. 5 to 11 has been set aside as National 4-H Week. 4-H activities will be highlighted during this time. In addition, the National Ad Council will kickoff their latest campaign that week, this one promoting 4-H.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With the arrival of football season comes another popular activity -- tailgate parties. Don't let these special times with family and friends turn into an experience with food poisoning.
Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension human nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said too much sun and heat can make perishable foods unsafe to eat. Mishandled food can become contaminated with bacteria and cause food poisoning.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- After a season of mostly favorable weather conditions, rice growers are seeing the first signs of a promising crop as harvest begins.
"Rice looks good so far and the yields seem promising, but with only about 10 percent harvested, it's too early to make solid predictions," said Dwayne Wheeler, Tunica County area rice extension agent.
Cool temperatures hurt stands early in the spring during planting time, but weather conditions were more favorable throughout the growing period, particularly while rice was heading.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton farmers and their nemesis, the boll weevil, begin their traditional fall routines with 1998 on their minds.
The verdict is still out on 1997's crop which battled all season to overcome late plantings in cool, wet conditions.
Dr. Blake Layton, extension cotton entomologist at Mississippi State University, described the state's crop as "the most erratic crop we've ever seen." Still, he said Mississippi growers should harvest a better-than-average crop.
RAYMOND -- Seeds are the only things breaking out from prison plots in one Mississippi facility, but the prisoners are still happy with the results.
Inmates at the Hinds County Penal Farm are eating better and costing taxpayers less money, thanks to a gardening program at the facility.
Bill Maily, Hinds County extension agent, helps run the Mississippi Vegetable Demonstration Project at the prison. Meal costs dropped from $1.68 to about 43 cents, saving more than $20,000 a month. The farm feeds the about 200 inmates, and supplements meals at the two Hinds County jails.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The state didn't expand its borders, and no county lost size, but Mississippi is now home to 83 counties, at least on paper.
On July 1, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians became the state's newest "county," as identified by the Mississippi State University Extension Service. While not an actual location, the 83rd county includes eight Choctaw communities in six counties.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- You've got to make hay while the sun shines, but Mississippi producers have not seen many clear skies at key hay cutting times.
Despite a late start, many state farmers were completing the second or third cutting of the hay season by the middle of August with hopes weather will allow one more. Mississippi's hay production probably will reach just 90 percent of normal levels.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Testing soils in the fall means better prepared soil and one less thing to do in the spring.
Larry Oldham, extension soil specialist at Mississippi State University, said there is very little difference in results between spring and fall testing. Because of this, he recommended getting soil testing done in the fall.
"If the soil test calls for corrective action, you have an entire winter to plan your fertility program," Oldham said. "It's often easier to get into the field in the fall for samples than during the more hectic spring planting rush."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Americans are realizing that better diets lead to better lives, but after making it clear they aren't willing to sacrifice great tastes they've enjoyed for years, the food industry has been compelled to respond.
As many Americans try to form better eating habits, the food industry is using modern technology to ensure healthy foods also taste good.
Dr. Zahur Haque, professor of food technology at Mississippi State University, said Americans started moving away from high fat diets about ten years ago.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A lot of emergency first aid that works for injured humans also helps hurt animals.
Dr. Roger Wilbur, community practice veterinarian at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said people can do a lot to help injured animals. The goal is to quickly and safely get the animal to a veterinarian.
Common injuries requiring first aid for animals are bite wounds, gunshot wounds or injuries from being hit by a car.