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Monroe County Extension agent Randall Nevins, left, reviews horticulture career options with Karen Carothers and Elsie Buskes, both of Oxford, Mississippi. Dennis Reginelli, right, a regional specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, joins the discussion at a career expo for eighth-graders in Tupelo, Mississippi, on Oct. 5, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
October 7, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community, Natural Resources

TUPELO, Miss. -- Some eighth-grade students may have career dreams but no clue how to make them real. Others may not even have dreams yet.

Bill Burdine, a regional specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, helped assemble professionals to staff exhibits in the agriculture and natural resources section of a recent career expo in Tupelo. The 2016 Imagine the Possibilities Northeast Mississippi Career Expo targeted 7,000 eighth-graders from 72 school districts in 17 counties.

Mississippi cotton farmers are more than halfway through harvesting what is expected to be the fourth straight year the state has averaged more than 1,000 pounds of cotton per acre. This Coahoma County cotton was waiting for harvest Sept. 29, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
October 7, 2016 - Filed Under: Cotton

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There's no reason for cotton farmers to sing the blues this year.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said cotton harvest was nearly halfway done by the first week of October. Early yields suggest the state will average more than 1,000 pounds of cotton per acre.

Good prices provided the icing on the cake.

Mississippi 4-H’ers in the Oktibbeha County Clover Dawgs robotics engineering club celebrate 4-H National Youth Science Day. The Oct. 5 event features an engineering challenge for young people. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
October 6, 2016 - Filed Under: 4-H, STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Local 4-H’ers weren't waiting until 4-H National Youth Science Day on Wednesday to open their 4-H Drone Discovery Challenge kits. Instead, the Clover Dawgs robotics engineering club began work Friday.

Each Oktibbeha County kid looked skeptically at the first set of components for the much-anticipated activity: a green, plastic tube that resembled a thick-walled straw, along with a short, white, lightweight propeller. Their mission was to build plastic helicopters.

October 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community

Mississippi State University agribusiness student A.J. Bland is among 21 U.S. students to receive a National Black Farmers Association scholarship.

Bland, a Tunica native, is the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship that will help him pursue his degree in agribusiness.

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Christa Lee, owner of LoveLee Rolls in Starkville, Mississippi, flours her work surface on Sept. 30, 2016, as she prepares to bake cinnamon rolls for her cottage food business. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
October 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Farmers Markets, Rural Development, Food, Food Safety

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A recipe for cinnamon rolls that she found in college turned into a profitable hobby business and now a cottage industry for Christa Lee and her husband, Tyson.

Their business, LoveLee Rolls, sells pans of baked cinnamon rolls at the Starkville farmers market all summer and by word of mouth the rest of the year.

“We started in July 2014. I was staying home with the baby, and we didn’t really need more money -- just thought it would be a fun hobby,” Christa Lee said. “On the way home from the beach one day, we said, let’s just do it.”

October 4, 2016 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets

TUPELO, Miss. -- Farmers can learn about growing and selling produce directly to the consumer during an on-farm field day organized by the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production.

Fall chrysanthemums are right behind these blooming pansies, and both will be available at the Mississippi State University horticulture club’s annual fall plant sale. The sale will take place from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6 and 7 at the Veterans Memorial Rose Garden, located at the Highway 182 entrance to the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Facility. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
September 30, 2016 - Filed Under: Community, Flower Gardens

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Gardeners can add fresh color to their landscapes with plants purchased at the Mississippi State University horticulture club’s annual fall plant sale.

This year’s sale will take place from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6 and 7 at the Veterans Memorial Rose Garden, located at the Highway 182 entrance to the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Facility.

Popular flowering plants, such as chrysanthemums, pansies and snapdragons, will be available for purchase. Pumpkins and flowering kale also will be for sale.

The best way to get Jan Cook Houston off her tractor may be to start taking pictures of small or scuffed sweet potatoes destined for processing instead of the large, blemish-free No. 1 grade sweet potatoes. This photo was taken Sept. 20, 2016, in a Vardaman, Mississippi field. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
September 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture

VARDAMAN, Miss. -- After 30 years behind a desk, Jan Cook Houston has returned to her first love and her second career, this time seated on a tractor pulling a sweet potato digger.

“Growing up here, I never thought farming was an option for a woman,” Houston said. “Dad didn’t expect me to farm, but he knew I could.”

Houston returned to her roots in 2009, a year that lives in infamy for growers in the heart of Mississippi’s sweet potato country.

September 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Beef

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The North Mississippi Beef Expo and Cattlemen’s College will offer producers opportunities to hear from a variety of industry experts on Oct. 28 in Batesville.

Mississippi State University Extension Service is coordinating the program with the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 2 p.m. at the Batesville Civic Center. Lunch is provided.

Agritourism offers opportunities for entertainment -- such as this corn maze shown at Mitchell Farms in Collins, Mississippi -- that also educate about agriculture and add to local revenue streams. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
September 28, 2016 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Rural Development

DUCK HILL, Miss. -- Mississippi is one of many states to proclaim October as Agritourism Month, but the industry’s peak season has already begun in earnest.

Katie Robinson, owner of Bull Bottom Farms in Montgomery County and president of the Mississippi Agritourism Association, opened her family farm’s seventh annual fall festival to the public Sept. 23. She and her husband, Nic, a row crop producer, will host families, students and church groups for the next five weekends.

September 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Rural Development

COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Two Mississippi State University Extension Service specialists are among featured speakers at this year’s Mississippi-Tennessee-Alabama Rural Tourism Conference Oct. 24-26.

The annual meeting will provide marketing and communication strategies to assist groups involved in creating attractions and tourism events in their communities. These groups include tourism professionals, fair boards, festival committees, garden clubs, community volunteers and local elected officials.

September 26, 2016 - Filed Under: Community, Economic Development

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Having access to and knowledge of digital devices and Internet use opens up community economic development prospects, and a new report from the Mississippi State University Extension Service offers county-level insights.

Angie Crawford, left, and Mari Alyce Earnest of the Mississippi State University Extension Service office in Quitman County deliver a nutrition education program Sept. 13, 2016, at the community center in Lambert, Mississippi. Extension works with several area organizations to provide food for about 800 underserved families every other month. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
September 26, 2016 - Filed Under: Food, Nutrition

LAMBERT, Miss. -- Ask anybody in Quitman County, and they will describe the food pantry that opened there in 2014 as one of the rural town’s most important resources.

“Sometimes after my husband and I pay our bills, we don’t have enough money to buy enough food for us,” said Archie Bell, a longtime resident of Lambert, one of several communities in the area served by the pantry. “The food we get here is a blessing because sometimes, it’s what gets us by.”

The Mississippi State University Extension Service offers many programs to help Mississippians battle obesity and associated health risks. (Photo by Can Stock)
September 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Health

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Recent data suggests Mississippians are learning that more is not always better when it comes to body weight.

The adult obesity rate has been increasing in the state for many years, but a recent report by the State of Obesity organization shows that a lot of hard work by many Mississippians is making progress. However, much work remains to be done. According to the Sept. 1, 2016, report, Mississippi remains tied with Alabama, West Virginia and Arkansas for second to last with an obesity rate of 35.6 percent.

September 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Landscape and Garden Design

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Creative landscape experts will offer advice and inspiration to professionals and home gardeners alike at an Oct. 19 design symposium at Mississippi State University.

The 61st Edward C. Martin Jr. Landscape Design Symposium is a half-day event held in the MSU Bost Auditorium from 9 a.m. until noon. The event is presented by the MSU Department of Landscape Architecture and the Garden Clubs of Mississippi. It is coordinated by MSU Extension professor Bob Brzuszek.

September 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Fruit, Commercial Fruit and Nuts

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Experts with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will host a winemaking tutorial next month.

The Growing, Making and Improving Wines Workshop will be held Oct. 21 at the A.B. McKay Food Research and Enology Laboratory in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park across from the MSU campus in Starkville.

September 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Food and Health

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Mississippi food producers, buyers, economic developers and marketing professionals can attend an upcoming session of the Local Foods Resource Mapping Project to help strengthen the state’s local food network.

Mississippi is one of six states hosting the pilot project aimed at connecting people interested in the growing farm-to-table movement. Other participating states are Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Minerva Graham (left) and Shelia Sanders, co-directors and co-owners of the Rainbow Learning Center in New Albany, receive educational technical assistance and support for school-age children through the Early Years Network, a program of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. This photo was taken Aug. 25, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Alexandra Woolbright)
September 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

NEW ALBANY, Miss. -- School-age programs can take a backseat to activities for younger children at many child care centers, prompting Minerva Graham to change that situation at Rainbow Learning Center.

More than a decade ago, Graham was working as a schoolteacher in Tupelo, Mississippi, and her friend Shelia Sanders was providing in-home child care.

In 2002, the two women decided to go into business together and open Rainbow Learning Center in New Albany. The co-directors and co-owners have been working to provide quality child care at the center ever since.

September 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Community, Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Gardening enthusiasts and horticulture professionals can learn about the latest plants and gardening techniques during the Fall Flower & Garden Fest Oct. 14 and 15 in Crystal Springs.

September 9, 2016 - Filed Under: Food Safety

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A food safety specialist with industry and public service experience recently joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Courtney Crist began work as an assistant Extension professor Aug. 16 in the MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion.

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