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Feature Story

June 11, 1999 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi soybean growers, much like other 1999 row crop producers, need a bumper crop to compensate for the depressed market prices.

"When the market is this low and the prospects are this bleak, growers always want to produce record yields to lower their break-even costs," said Dr. Tom Jones, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.

June 7, 1999 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

By Molly Kinnan

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A busy schedule can prevent many parents from sharing personal time with their children, but quality time can be slipped into many day-to-day activities.

Dr. Louise Davis, Extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, told parents not to put off spending quality time with their children.

June 7, 1999 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

By Chuck Dunlap

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Investment opportunities abound for the daring and not-so-daring investors as the booming economy has Americans searching for places to put their earnings.

Many Americans still prefer the traditional no-risk savings accounts as their only investment tools. Savings account interest rates have fallen to under 2 percent, the lowest rates available. Other risk-free alternatives such as money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit offer as much as 5 percent interest rates.

June 7, 1999 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A magnetic card system is revolutionizing the way the government distributes benefits to needy Americans.

By 2002, all states will distribute food stamp payments electronically. Electronic benefits transfer will phase out coupon books, and magnetic strip cards will be used instead.

Dr. Katherine Cason, an Extension program coordinator at Clemson University in South Carolina, said the federally mandated system is making benefits transfer more accurate and convenient.

June 4, 1999 - Filed Under: Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi dairies are moving into summer's typical slowed production and low prices after experiencing the biggest price drop in history just months ago.

Dr. Bill Herndon, dairy economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said April milk prices were $11.81 per hundredweight, which is lower 20 cents or 1.7 percent, lower than the price in April 1998. March saw milk prices rebound $1.35 from February when they bottomed out at $10.27 per hundredweight.

May 31, 1999 - Filed Under: Community

By Molly Kinnan

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The 1999 U.S. Women's Open in West Point is offering professional golfers and some students majoring in retail floristry management the opportunity of a lifetime.

May 31, 1999 - Filed Under: Vegetable Gardens

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The time between when a tomato is placed in the well-prepared garden to when it yields delicious fruit can be full of danger for the plant from disease and insects.

Tomatoes require constant care to stay healthy and produce fruit. Check regularly for disease and insects and ensure plants have enough moisture and nutrients.

May 31, 1999 - Filed Under: Beef

By Chuck Dunlap

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Ultrasound technologies are changing the way people look at cattle. Technological advances over the last decade have revolutionized how cattle producers and feedlot managers make decisions.

Ultrasound techniques are used to measure the fat/lean meat ratio in cattle before they are sold and sent to the meat processing plant. The ultrasound process measures four variables: ribeye area; backfat thickness; percent of intramuscular fat (also known as marbling); and rump fat.

May 28, 1999 - Filed Under: Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The benefits of rotating corn with other crops continue to attract growers, despite the struggles with low prices and challenges from Mother Nature.

Dr. Erick Larson, corn specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said last year's difficult season and current low market prices resulted in corn acreage falling from 550,000 acres to 320,000 this year.

May 24, 1999 - Filed Under: Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Lt. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and agricultural leaders at Mississippi State University recently praised Mississippi's Homemaker Volunteers for their efforts to improve family life across the state.

Musgrove addressed the organization during their annual meeting at MSU on May 18.

"What you do is try to improve the lives of children so they will be more productive adults and better citizens," Musgrove said. "The work you do across the state in our communities is so important."

May 24, 1999 - Filed Under: 4-H

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's 4-H program is looking for more than youth. It's looking for 4-H alumni and adults who appreciate the value of its educational activities.

Morris Houston, development officer for the Mississippi 4-H Foundation, said 4-H is improving its accessibility to individuals and business leaders wanting to support youth activities through the Mississippi 4-H Alumni and Friends Program.

May 24, 1999 - Filed Under: Environment

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Thirteen Coast volunteers have educated and prepared themselves under a new program to be specialists on landscape and natural history.

These people are Master Naturalists, a new volunteer program operated by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and sponsored by Chevron, U.S.A., Pascagoula Refinery. Dr. Mark LaSalle, Extension marine resources specialist, coordinates the program from the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.

May 21, 1999 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's cotton planting is progressing slower and more challenging than some growers would like, especially in areas that have required replanting.

"Flash flooding, heavy rains and hail are causing more replanting decisions than normal for Mississippi growers, and those who planted early have suffered the most," said Dr. Will McCarty, cotton specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Overall, cotton planting is progressing a little slower than we would like."

May 17, 1999 - Filed Under: Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A curriculum made for kids to get their hands on won a statewide educational award as it makes the rounds of Mississippi schools teaching youth about white-tailed deer.

About 18,000 third and fourth graders have viewed the display either in their schools or at special events in the two years it has been in existence. Called the Mobile White-Tailed Deer Classroom, it is a school enrichment program developed by the Mississippi 4-H Field and Stream program, part of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

May 17, 1999 - Filed Under: Weed Control for Lawn and Garden

By Rebekah Ray

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station is making the state's roadsides its lab as it studies weed control.

Dr. Euel Coats, MAFES weed scientist, said test sites are located across the state to research vegetative management for the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

"We test herbicides at these sites to help MDOT engineers know the effectiveness of products," Coats said.

May 14, 1999 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Timber markets are showing some promise for landowners wanting to sell trees this summer.

Dr. Bob Daniels, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the market has been slow, but it is improving -- bucking the tradition of waning prices as harvesting becomes easier in the summer months.

"The first third of 1999 has seen good, but not great, prices for pine and hardwood sawtimber, and poor demand for pulpwood. Pine lumber prices have been trending up since late January," Daniels said.

May 10, 1999 - Filed Under: Family

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Be A Champ camp comes to Mississippi this summer to teach 4-H and FFA students how to be winners in cattle and sheep showing, as well as how to be winners in life.

Mississippi State University's new AgriCenter will host the camp on June 18 through 20 for students age 9 and up. In the past 15 years, the camp was only available in Oklahoma and Louisiana.

"We are very lucky to have this camp available within the state," said Kipp Brown, livestock agent with the MSU Extension Service.

May 10, 1999 - Filed Under: Health

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As the weather heats up, the cool water of swimming pools will come alive with summer activity, but along with the fun and relaxation come risks that should be considered first.

"About 43,000 people are injured in and around swimming pools each year," said Linda Patterson, health education specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.

May 10, 1999 - Filed Under: Agriculture

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- State agricultural, political, community and industry leaders came together in April to outline an agenda to grow the Mississippi economy through agriculture, forestry and rural community development.

Mississippi State University spearheaded the second Agriculture and Forestry Summit in Jackson. The recommendations of task forces formed a year ago to study several aspects of Mississippi's economy were announced at this conference. Dr. Malcolm Portera, MSU president, explained the goals.

May 7, 1999 - Filed Under: Poultry

By Lani Jefcoat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's poultry industry reached an all time high value of $1.5 billion in 1998 according to final figures released in late April from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 1998, Mississippi broilers and eggs combined to bring a value of $1.5 billion, up 12 percent from 1997. Broilers saw a 12 percent increase in value to $1.4 billion and eggs increased 9 percent in value to $159 million.

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