MISSISSIPPI STATE -- State farmers are hopeful that last winter's freezing weather helped give crop insect pests the cold shoulder for the 1996 growing season.
Mississippi State University entomologists are expressing "cautious optimism" on whether the low temperatures and prolonged wet winter had any effect on the insects that damage Mississippi crops each year.
Dr. Blake Layton, cotton entomology specialist at MSU, said Mississippi farmers may be in for a pleasant surprise this growing season because of the dipping mercury.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The cows may be mad in England, but in the United States, it's the cattlemen with reasons to be angry.
Dr. Charlie Forrest, extension agricultural economist at Mississippi State University, said fed cattle prices are down $6 to $8 per hundredweight from this time last year. Calf prices are down about $25 per hundredweight.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As spring cleaning gets into full swing, many Mississippians must decide what to do with boxes of discarded clothes -- plan a yard sale or find a second-hand clothing shop.
"Garage sales are a way of getting rid of things you no longer want, need or use," said Dr. Beverly Howell, extension family economics and management specialist at Mississippi State University. "They are also an excellent way of making extra cash, meeting new faces and just having fun."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi soybean and cotton farmers should find it easier to decide what seed variety to plant these days, not by trial and error, but by accessing the Internet through their home computers.
The Mississippi soybean variety trials, conducted by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, yield information ranging from how to select a seed variety for your field to the actual planting procedures. Any farmer in the world with a computer and Internet access can download the information from the World Wide Web.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- This year's planting intentions report yielded few surprises as producers based many acreage decisions on market prices.
Economists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced their 1996 crop predictions March 29. The biggest change for Mississippi is corn acreage, rising from 300,000 acres in '95 to 550,000 acres for 1996 -- an 83 percent increase.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Traditionally when people think of Valentine's Day they think of hearts and flowers or chocolate candy. This year, try surprising your loved one with a special valentine gift made with love.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians have more than a billion reasons for celebrating Arbor Day on Feb. 9. Forestry is more than an asset to the state's environment; it's an asset to Mississippi's economy.
"Timber has been an important asset to Mississippi's economy, but in the last two years our forests generated more than a billion dollars in harvest value," said Dr. Bob Daniels, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University.
Mississippians begin celebrating tree planting week on Arbor Day, Feb. 9.
JACKSON -- Cotton growers opposed to the boll weevil eradication program believe a ruling by the Mississippi Attorney General's Office is good news, but supporters of the program believe it is good news for the boll weevils.
In a ruling released Jan. 25, prior to a joint meeting of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, the attorney general's opinion was that growers could keep the program with a two-thirds majority voting in favor of continuing the program.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In a continuing neck-and-neck battle for the No. 1 spot in Mississippi agriculture, forestry is expected to maintain its lead ahead of poultry and eggs with each passing the billion dollar mark again in 1995.
Posting an estimated harvest value of $1.1 billion, forestry gained about $36 million ahead of 1994 figures.
Poultry and eggs are estimated at almost $1.09 billion in 1995, an increase of $50 million.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High prices to growers and large volumes of fish processed through October combined to make 1995 a winning year for Mississippi's catfish industry.
The 1995 estimated value of farm production for Mississippi catfish is $301 million, up $21 million from last year. Catfish rose a notch in the state rankings this year, pushing ahead of soybeans, which dropped $61 million.
Catfish now ranks fourth on the state's top commodities list behind forestry, poultry and cotton, respectively.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Tobacco budworms didn't just take a bite out of cotton bolls, they joined the drought-like conditions to take a bite out of cotton growers' bank accounts.
"Growers not only harvested less cotton in 1995, but it was also one of the state's most expensive cotton crops ever," said Dr. Will McCarty, extension cotton specialist at Mississippi State University. "These two factors -- a smaller crop and higher costs -- are pushing a significant number of growers to the brink of financial disaster."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- 1995 has proved to be a year of highs and lows for Mississippi agriculture as some crops reached record values while others experienced disastrous yields.
Forestry, poultry/eggs, catfish and horticulture crops saw increases in value, but the state's overall estimated value of farm production dropped $56 million this year. Agricultural economists at Mississippi State University predict the state's estimated value of farm production will reach $4.37 billion for 1995.