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Feature Story

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Soil Testing

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."

August 15, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Cotton, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The harvest season is approaching for Mississippi's "big three" row crops, and it's been a difficult year for some producers.

"There's a lot of variation in this year's soybean crop," said extension soybean specialist Alan Blaine. "Depending on who you talk to, it's either one of the best ever or one of the worst. On average, the 1997 soybean crop in Mississippi is a good one."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's estimate for the state's soybean crop is about 55 million bushels, up from more than 54 million harvested last year.

August 8, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn

By Rhonda Whitmire

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's corn growers anticipate respectable yields, but they are harvesting about 140,000 fewer acres than in 1996.

"The prices and expectations at planting time were down from 1996," said Dr. Tom Jones, Mississippi State University extension agricultural economist. "Growers planted corn on 490,000 acres in Mississippi this year, compared to 630,000 acres in 1996."

August 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forestry

By Rhonda Whitmire

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's forestry industry set a production record in 1996 of almost $1.2 billion as actual figures released in July exceeded the previously estimated values.

"Mississippi's forest industry recorded an all-time high for timber production," said Dr. Bob Daniels, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University. "Due to a strong fourth quarter, the figures were higher than originally estimated.

"The actual figures of $1.18 billion for 1996 were 7 percent higher than in 1995," Daniels said.

August 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Fisheries

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The average angler fishing along a river probably doesn't realize this pastime is profitable business in Mississippi and a great use of natural resources.

The most recent statistics show that in 1991, anglers spent $236 million to fish in Mississippi, or about $360 a person. This amount includes everything from fishing licenses and bait to equipment, travel expenses and memberships. Sixteen percent of Mississippians fish each year, compared to 14 percent nationwide.

August 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The product is often trampled and always underfoot, but that's because the turfgrass industry is alive and thriving in the state.

With its 2.5 million acres of turfgrass, the industry has a more than $728 million impact on Mississippi's economy. Annually, the industry's gross sales reach about $375 million.

The turfgrass industry employs almost 6,000 full-time and nearly 14,000 part-time workers. Maintenance of the turfgrass costs more than $353 million in materials and labor.

August 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The idea of a roomful of excited, squealing kids can make some parents vow never to throw a child's birthday party, but these events can be fun for everyone.

Planning is essential to having a child's party. Plan the time, the activities, the food and how gifts will be handled. Arrange to have a few parents on hand to help with crowd control.

August 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Food and Health, Nutrition

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many reduced fat and fat-free foods have become available for consumers during the past few years, but cooks can reduce fat intake simply by altering recipes at home.

"Creative cooks who know which ingredients can be switched around in recipes can significantly alter the fat content in many foods they prepare at home," said Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University.

August 1, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rain across the state has made 1997 a difficult year for sod producers around the state, but demand has not slowed.

Mississippi has about 3,500 acres of commercial sod farms and 2.5 million acres of turfgrass. Selling and maintaining this turf is a $728 million industry each year.

Lee Taylor, Forrest County extension agent, said this year's weather has caused problems for South Mississippi yards.

July 25, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Cotton, Insects-Crop Pests, Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi cotton growers have been battling boll weevils for almost 100 years, but the real war is just beginning.

Cotton growers in Mississippi's hill section and south Delta voted last January to join other Southeastern states in an intensive boll weevil eradication program. The effort in the hill section begins the first week of August with aerial spraying of all cotton fields to prevent weevils from entering diapause, the stage of overwinter preparation. South Delta efforts begin in the fall of 1998.

July 21, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming, Farm Safety

By Rhonda Whitmire

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If the employees are not old enough to drive a car, the law says they should not be allowed to drive a tractor either.

Many youth today, especially in rural areas, obtain their first job experience working on local farms. Agricultural employers need to be aware of how the child labor laws apply to farming and know the stiff penalties levied if they violate these regulations.

July 21, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming, Farm Safety, Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If farming is in their blood, an organization new to Mississippi is determined to keep people with disabilities doing what they love.

AgrAbility for Mississippians, funded by the federal extension service as a grant to the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Easter Seals, works to prevent disabilities from taking farming away from farmers. It helps farmers, farm families or farm workers with disabilities function more easily in agriculture.

July 21, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Health

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most everyone experiences an occasional restless night, but people with persistent sleeping problems may be suffering from a sleep disorder that could threaten their health.

In fact, many deaths attributed to other causes, such as heart disease or traffic accidents, may actually be related to sleep disorders.

Linda Patterson, extension health education specialist at Mississippi State University, said an estimated 30 million Americans have some type of sleep disorder. Most of these remain undiagnosed and untreated.

July 21, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting, Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The inactive lifestyles of many American adults are spreading to children, and as with adults, as it spreads, so do waistlines.

With all the options children face, they often choose watching television or playing video games instead of physical activities. This lack of regular activity forms habits, promotes unhealthy weight gain and hurts future health.

July 21, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- It happens to 10 Americans a minute, so chances are good that a telemarketing scam will hit home.

Consumer knowledge is the best protection against falling victim to fraud. But telemarketing scams are very prevalent and many people lose large amounts of money to them.

Dr. Beverly Howell, Mississippi State University extension family economics specialist, said telemarketing fraud costs consumers $40 billion a year. People over age 60 are the most common targets.

July 21, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Health

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Automobile accidents often are attributed to recklessness, carelessness or even drunkenness, but another dangerous condition often is at fault -- drowsiness.

Sleepy drivers can be just as hazardous as other impaired motorists, but attributing crashes to sleepiness is difficult. Some states do not even have a code for sleepiness on their accident report forms.

July 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- State blueberry farmers raised a record- breaking crop this year, but persistent rains have limited the amount sold as fresh fruit.

Dr. John Braswell, Mississippi State University extension horticulturist, estimated state growers will harvest 5.3 million pounds of blueberries this year. This tops 1995's record 4.6 million pounds. In 1996, a freeze cut the state's harvest to less than 800,000 pounds.

"We've had an excellent crop this year, but because of rains, much of it will be sold as frozen berries rather than fresh," Braswell said.

July 11, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Wheat

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Nationally, wheat growers are harvesting a strong crop, but Mississippi rains prevented state growers from producing a repeat of last year's record high.

Dr. Tom Jones, extension agricultural economist at Mississippi State University, said Mississippi's total production is about 1/3 less than what was produced in 1996.

Last year, Mississippi produced an average of 48 bushels per acre on about 230,000 acres. This year, production dropped substantially to about 39 bushels per acre on 200,000 acres throughout Mississippi.

July 7, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Doctors hands in the delivery room, not school bells, signal the beginning of the educational process.

Most people are conditioned to associate learning with school, but babies are learning a thousand times more than older students even in the best schools.

"Everything is new and an opportunity for learning to a baby," said Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University.

July 7, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A landmark day for children and their parents, the first day of school can be traumatic or a long-awaited, exciting time.

Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said parents can help make sure the start of school is a pleasant one.

Parents' positive attitude towards school is the biggest factor in a child having a good first day of class.

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