MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Bringing a new pet into the family isn't all fun and games. It is a decision best made by adults that allows children to gain a new best friend and learn responsibility and proper behavior around animals.
"Consider all the aspects of having a new pet before you rush out to get one," said Dr. Thomas Lenarduzzi, exotics and wildlife veterinarian at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "Consider size and temperament of the pet and the responsibility level of children involved."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Training a puppy can result in more than a well-mannered pet, it can mean the difference between life and death for the animal.
According to figures released by the American Veterinary Medical Association, as many as 1 million people each year require medical treatment for dog bites. About 12 people die each year from dog attacks, and dog bites are the No. 1 public health problem for children 12 and younger, half of which have been bitten by a dog.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Planting intentions announced Wednesday show Mississippi farmers reacting to low prices across the board by planting more cotton than last year.
Cotton saw the biggest gain in acreage, with 1.1 million acres projected for 1999 in Mississippi. Rice acreage also should be up, but not as high as originally intended. Both corn and soybeans acreage intentions are down for the year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Homeowners sprucing up their lawns for spring should be careful using fertilizers as two of the most common types may harm area water quality if managed poorly.
Dr. Larry Oldham, soil fertility specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said movement of nitrogen and phosphorus from soils to water supplies raises water quality concerns.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- What do pillbox hats, drawstring pants, low shoes and the colors gray and pink have in common? They are the hottest spring fashions, of course.
Betty Fulwood, clothing specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said retro fashions are of special interest this spring, as well as colors from the winter season such as gray accompanied by a variety of shades of pink.
The 50s and 60s lend classic styles of chemise and pillbox hats. Full skirts and tiny tops are consistent with the romantic look.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An ongoing case of rice insurance policies changing after they were purchased has demonstrated why farmers should be more careful than ever in protecting themselves from crop loss.
American Agrisurance Co. recently reduced a special offer on Crop Revenue Coverage after the deadline had passed to buy insurance for spring planted crops. Farmers who had bought this insurance package, known as CRC-Plus, now had much less coverage than they were promised, and with the purchasing deadline expired, have no way to increase the coverage.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Growing crawfish with rice has become a common way to produce this popular shellfish, but the practice has been more successful in Louisiana than it has in Mississippi.
In 1997, Louisiana landed almost 23 million pounds of crawfish worth nearly $13 million. The state produced another 47 million pounds through aquaculture at a value of nearly $28 million. Much of this crawfish is consumed in the state, and very little leaves the South.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Crawfish are showing up in restaurants and stores in large numbers and at falling prices as crawfish season is in full swing.
Crawfish season extends from November through May, but peaks in April. Prices currently in South Mississippi range from about $1.19 to $1.49 a pound live, and $2.09 to $2.19 a pound boiled. Prices are expected to drop at least 20 cents a pound next week as more crawfish flood the markets.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi battles well known non-native species such as kudzu and fire ants, but experts say the state is vulnerable to other introduced species.
Known as nonindigenous species, these plants and animals become part of ecosystems outside their native range. According to figures released by Cornell University, non-native species cost the United States more than $122 billion a year, but not all introduced species are harmful.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Turkey season opens soon in Mississippi, and hunters are encouraged to be safe when enjoying this popular and challenging sport.
Turkey season runs from March 20 to May 1 in Mississippi. Richard Cain, hunter education program director with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks in Jackson, said there are about 40,000 turkey hunters in the state annually. These account for about 18 percent of the total hunting licenses sold.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Computer-related eyestrain, which may lead to more serious damage, can easily be prevented by making minor adjustments in work space.
Linda Patterson, health education specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said significant time spent viewing computer screens can result in temporary but unpleasant aches and vision problems. Fortunately, there is no evidence that eyestrain caused by computers results in permanent vision damage.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Home may feel like the safest place, but it is often a dangerous environment for children with poison hazards around every corner.
Children age 18 months to 3 years old face the highest risk of being poisoned. Children constantly explore their environment and tend to put things in their mouths. In some cases, adults carelessly or unknowingly leave poisonous items within their reach.
JACKSON -- Generous buyers rewarded exhibitors of 33 champion market animals with another record-setting sale following the recent Dixie National Junior Livestock Show in February.
Gale Chrestman, 4-H livestock specialist with Mississippi State University' Extension Service, said the 1999 Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions netted $186,701. The previous record was set last year at $185,408.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Knowing what the weather will be like is about the only variable keeping Mississippi State University researchers from being able to predict some cotton and soybean yields.
Dr. Harry Hodges, crop physiology and production specialist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said computer programs have been developed to simulate crop growth. The goal is to know how plants will respond to environmental variables.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A milder-than-usual winter may be nice for people, but it can mean trouble for fruit trees by causing them to bloom out of season.
Recent cold weather has not hurt this year's fruit production, even though warm weather has prompted some plants to bud. Generally, buds are not damaged until temperatures dip below 28 degrees for four or more hours.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's world class catfish industry makes it possible for Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine to offer the nation's only internship in production medicine for fish.
Dr. S.W. "Skip" Jack, leader of aquatic medicine at MSU's veterinary college, said MSU created the post-doctoral program in response to an educational need in veterinary science. Aquatic opportunities in veterinary colleges are limited, and there is no board speciality in aquatic medicine.