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Lida McDowell holds an alternanthera plant at her home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on April 27, 2017. McDowell is a member of the Pine Belt Master Gardeners -- one of more than 60 such groups throughout the state that operate under the supervision of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 4, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture, Master Gardener

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Lida McDowell taught science and math for 30 years at the high school and university levels, and she keeps finding ways to educate while enjoying an interest she had no time to pursue until retirement.

The raised-bed vegetable gardens she and church friend Karen Walker maintain year-round serve as a classroom for a young audience at Thames Elementary School in Hattiesburg.

“What we’re trying to do is get the kids to enjoy nature, be outside and appreciate where their food comes from,” McDowell said.

The Rankin County 4-H robotics team, Wait For It, was in the winning alliance of three teams at the FIRST Tech Challenge in Houston, Texas. Members Lilli Stewart, left, Lauren Blacksher, Noah Gregory, Maisyn Barragan, Jordan Hariel, Logan Hariel and Mathew Blacksher are on the playing field of Minute Maid Park in front of 25,000 people to receive their award on April 22, 2017. (Submitted Photo)
May 3, 2017 - Filed Under: STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mariah Morgan remembers inquisitive 8-year-olds, just learning how to program beginner robots for 4-H projects. The rest of the world now sees one of them as a team of champion programmers.

Wait For It, the Rankin County 4-H robotics club, just earned top honors at the FIRST Tech Challenge at Minute Maid Park in Houston. FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."

This north Mississippi robotics team, Challenge Accepted, took part in the world competition in Houston, Texas. Team members from DeSoto and Tate counties are Jon Shidler, left, Jon Rodgers, Zack Sahnger, Skyler Smith, Brandon Hess, Nathan Rodgers and Alex Turner. Members not pictured included Ella Douglas and Cade Holliday. (Submitted photo)
May 3, 2017 - Filed Under: STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi 4-H offers a unique way to celebrate the unofficial Star Wars Day, May 4, by encouraging support of the state 4-H Robotics Program.

May 4 is recognized for its connection to the famous movie line, "May the force be with you."

"May the Fourth has become a day to celebrate science, technology, engineering and math," said Mariah Morgan, an assistant Extension professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Center for Technology Outreach.

Brett Rushing, an assistant Extension and research professor at the Mississippi State University Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station, works with Neeley Norman, left, and Sarah Kountouris on the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi, a program coordinated by Keep Mississippi Beautiful intended to turn Mississippi roadsides into pollinator habitats and tourist attractions. Norman is assistant director of Keep Mississippi Beautiful, and Kountouris is director. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
May 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Natural Resources

A Mississippi State University researcher is helping turn Mississippi roadsides into eye-catching pollinator habitats and tourist attractions.

Dr. Brett Rushing, an assistant Extension and research professor at the MSU Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station in Newton, supports Wildflower Trails of Mississippi in its effort to fill available and suitable property across the state with colorful, native wildflowers and grasses. Coordinated by Keep Mississippi Beautiful, this project began in 2015.

Leaving dirty dishes in the sink provides a feast for pests. Integrated pest management emphasizes practical, cost-efficient strategies for keeping rodents and insects out of the home. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Family, Healthy Homes Initiative, Household Insects, Insects-Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Spring has begun, and while that means warmer weather and blooming flowers, it may mean more pests infiltrating your home.

David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, explained the importance of integrated pest management and the steps that make up the IPM process. He said IPM focuses on common-sense activities around the house, with an emphasis on environmentally friendly and affordable practices over regular application of insecticide.

April 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Healthy Homes Initiative, Health

RAYMOND, Miss. -- As spring blooms outdoors, many people with allergies take refuge inside their homes, but indoor air pollutants can trigger allergic reactions, as well.

"Dust, pollen, cockroaches, pet dander, dust mites, and mold and mildew found inside homes can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms for many people," said David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "Make routine cleaning a priority to help control these pollutants."

Jake Fulgham, the header, and Ty Edmondson, the heeler, take part in a team roping event at the 4-H Spring Rodeo Classic in April 2016 at the Chickasaw County Agri-Center.  (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Fulgham)
April 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Equine

HOUSTON, Miss. -- Chickasaw County residents are feeling the ripple effect of renovating a dilapidated agri-center three years ago.

"Horse events can have a tremendous economic impact on a community," said Angie Abrams, Chickasaw County 4-H agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "The agri-center renovation didn't just benefit a handful of people with horses. It has helped local businesses, youth development and other groups needing a large covered space for specific activities."

Barrel racers, such as this participant in the 2013 Horse Poor event at the Mississippi Horse Park, can improve their skills in a clinic at Mississippi State University on May 27, 2017. (Submitted Photo)
April 26, 2017 - Filed Under: Equine

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Horse owners with a "need for speed" can work on the fundamentals of barrel racing at an upcoming clinic at Mississippi State University.

The MSU Extension Service is hosting the clinic from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. May 27 at the MSU Horse Unit on the Henry H. Leveck Research Farm, often referred to as South Farm.

Dairy producers can visit the 2017 Mississippi State University Dairy Open House May 20 at the Bearden Dairy Research Center near Starkville to see how MSU researchers handle their herd. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 26, 2017 - Filed Under: Dairy

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Dairy producers who want to improve their cattle management skills can spend a half day seeing how Mississippi State University researchers handle their herd.

The 2017 MSU Dairy Open House will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 20 at the MSU Bearden Dairy Research Center near Starkville. The event is hosted by the MSU Extension Service and the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences. There is no cost to attend the open house, and lunch will be provided.

April 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Growers interested in commercial pecan production are invited to a spring field day May 11 in Raymond.

The event will begin at the Mississippi State University Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center at 1320 Seven Springs Road in Raymond. It is hosted by the Mississippi Pecan Growers Association, MSU Extension Service, and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

April 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Forages

NEWTON, Miss. -- Forage growers looking to improve production and management of their fields are invited to a workshop in May.

The Coastal Plain Forage Production Field Day will be held May 4 at the Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station at 51 Coastal Plain Road in Newton. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry and Experiment Station are hosting the free event.

April 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agri-business, Agricultural Economics

GREENWOOD, Miss. -- Farmers can learn a variety of useful information about tomatoes and cucumbers during a May 19 Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production field day.

Hosted at Levee Run Farm in Greenwood, the event will cover composting and trellising these crops, as well as ways to control insects and disease. Attendees also will learn about the family farm’s vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, high tunnels and pastured poultry.

Split-cell catfish ponds circulate oxygen-rich water from the larger lagoon through channels to the smaller side where catfish grow. On March 21, 2017, Mississippi State University Extension aquaculture specialist Mark Peterman, left, and Jeff Lee of Lee’s Catfish in Macon examined the fencing that contains fish in this Noxubee County catfish pond. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 17, 2017 - Filed Under: Catfish

MACON, Miss. -- Mississippi has a long history of catfish production, but recent advances in management and production are changing the way some ponds look and operate.

Catfish ponds have traditionally been rectangular, shallow and large, usually about 10 acres of water. Today, some existing ponds are split in half to make two equal-sized, intensively managed ponds. Another new approach is to use levees to split ponds into cells with fish raised in 20 percent of the area and the other 80 percent used as a lagoon that helps oxygenate water.

April 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Forest Economics, Forest Management, Timber Harvest

RAYMOND, Miss. -- New landowners can learn about managing timberland for profit during a five-part short course in May.

Forestland as an Investment will be offered May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 at the Mississippi State University Extension Service office in Forrest County. It starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. each night. The Extension office is located at 952 Sullivan Drive in Hattiesburg.

April 11, 2017 - Filed Under: About Extension, Food and Health, Health

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, or MS-AND, has named David Buys as a recipient of one of its most distinguished awards.

A Mississippi State University Extension Service health specialist, Buys was presented with the MS-AND Magnolia Award earlier this month.

The Magnolia Award recognizes individuals outside of the dietetics profession who make significant contributions to the field. It is one of four awards MS-AND makes each year.

Anna Katherine Hosket, a member of the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H program in Choctaw County, runs barrels in the 2017 4-H Winter Classic horse show series. Show organizers and participants celebrated the event’s 10th anniversary on March 31. (Photo courtesy of Gina Wills)
April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program

VERONA, Miss. -- "Practice makes perfect" is the adage organizers of the 4-H Winter Classic believe sums up the 10-year-old horse show that helps 4-H horse program participants prepare for the formal summer show season.

The Winter Classic is open to all Mississippi 4-H'ers. It provides young people an opportunity to participate in two shows per month from January to March before the formal Mississippi 4-H Horse Shows begin in June. The Winter Classic and the Mississippi 4-H Horse Shows are part of the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H youth development program.

April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets

WOODVILLE, Miss. -- Farmers market and cottage industry sales are a significant part of the Mississippi food scene, and Mississippi State University Extension Service training is helping entrepreneurs take advantage of these business opportunities.

The MSU Extension Service and Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion offers training on acidified canned foods and general food safety at locations across the state. An upcoming workshop will be held April 25 in Woodville, Mississippi, at the J.R. Hamilton Extension Building.

Although Natasha Haynes has never lived or worked on a farm, her professional career has circled around agriculture. She is an Extension agent in Hinds County and host of “The Food Factor,” the weekly video feature produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Jonathan Parrish)
April 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Natasha Haynes has never lived or worked on a farm, but her professional career with the Mississippi State University Extension Service circles around agriculture just the same.

Haynes is an Extension agent in Hinds County and host of "The Food Factor," the weekly video feature produced by the MSU Extension Service. She grew up in Jackson and earned a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences from Alcorn State University.

The glass ceiling Ann Fulcher Ruscoe shattered in 1996 was outside in the Mississippi Delta’s wide expanse of agricultural fields. In fall 2000, she worked with cotton grower Kenneth Hood of Gunnison. (File photo from the MSU Alumnus Magazine)
April 4, 2017 - Filed Under: 4-H, About Extension, Women for Agriculture

CLARKSDALE, Miss. -- Almost 200 years after Mississippi became a state, residents may find it difficult to imagine a time when women could not be Extension agricultural agents. That time was right up until the late 1990s when Ann Fulcher Ruscoe became the "county agent" for Coahoma County.

"Most entry level jobs for the Extension Service involved 4-H responsibilities. That's how I started in 1980 in Bolivar County," Ruscoe said. "Eventually, 4-H agents would usually become home economists if they were women or county agents if they were men."

March 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Avian Flu

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- All Mississippians who raise any species of poultry are being urged to follow strict biosecurity practices and review new requirements regarding sales and exhibitions.

Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that while avian influenza is not a threat to human health or food safety, an outbreak would endanger backyard flocks and the state’s nearly $3 billion commercial poultry industry.

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