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October 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Healthy Homes Initiative

A program designed to teach early childhood teachers and center directors how to provide a safe and clean environment for young children recently received national recognition. 

The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences selected the Healthy Homes for Child Care program, developed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, as the Southern Region winner and a national winner in the Clean and Healthy Families and Communities category. 

A small brown bat looks into the camera as it hangs upside down.
October 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Insects-Human Pests, Insects-Pests

 Mississippi’s climate is ideal for a wide range of insects, many of which make nuisances of themselves when they gather outside buildings.

Blake Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said homeowners can take steps to minimize their houses’ attractiveness to insects.

October 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG

Wild hogs are known to cause external damage to land, property and wildlife, but the internal diseases they carry are equally dangerous.

More than 40 known diseases are traced to wild hogs, but the two most common in Mississippi are pseudorabies and swine brucellosis. Each can be deadly to livestock and domestic animals. The best way to prevent these infections is to trap and kill hogs rather than simply building fences to keep them out.

Dressed in a pink T-shirt and blue jeans, broiler grower Teresa Dyess stands next to two wagon wheels in front of a barn on her family farm.
October 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture, Poultry

In three days, Teresa Dyess shifted her business focus from produce to poultry.

The change began two years ago with an offhand remark from her husband, Joe Dyess.

 “He told a broiler grower in Wayne County we wouldn’t mind building pullet houses because we wanted to diversify our farm,” she said. “We didn’t think any more about it, and then the next day a poultry processor called and offered us a contract. A banker came the next day, and everything fell into place.”

Lanette Crocker, coordinator for the MSU Extension Service in Wayne County, said Teresa Dyess’ adaptability has helped her maintain success through the farm’s transition.

An orange wild hog with large black spots stands in a trap with two black wild hogs in the background.
October 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG

The first rule of transporting wild hogs is to not transport wild hogs. Bronson Strickland is the Mississippi State University Extension Service wildlife biologist and management specialist. He said the best way residents can help eradicate wild hogs is to hunt them while also trapping and killing them. Hunters who bring wild hogs into the state or relocate them for hunting, however, are committing a crime.

October 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Environment

BILOXI, Miss. -- The 2017 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup has been rescheduled for Nov. 18 in the aftermath of Hurricane Nate. 

“Authorities have closed all beaches for the cleaning that has to be done after the hurricane,” said Eric Sparks, event co-coordinator and assistant professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “It is illegal for anyone to be on the beaches until authorities reopen them, so we had to postpone our cleanup event.”

October 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design, Landscape Management, Environment

Gardeners can purchase hard-to-find native plants during the Crosby Arboretum’s popular Fall Native Plant Sale.

The semiannual sale will be Oct. 21 and 22 at the arboretum. It begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. Arboretum members can enter at 9 a.m. Admission is free.

October 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-business, Agri-tourism

Rehoboth Farms will host the upcoming Alliance of Sustainable Farms field day Oct. 20 in Pelahatchie. 

Topics include beekeeping, home canning, and expanding markets and sales opportunities. Attendees also will tour the family-owned farm where the owners grow and sell fresh produce and eggs, along with canned fruits, preserves, sauces and seasonings. The farm includes spaces that can serve as a venue for weddings, meetings and other large gatherings.

Five men stand in a cornfield around a large area of corn trampled down by wild hogs.
October 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Rooting and wallowing by wild hogs cause extensive land and crop damage, which can be stopped only by getting rid of the invasive animals.

Bill Hamrick, a wildlife associate with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said wild hogs use their snouts to turn over soil as they search for food.

"I heard someone say that if it has a calorie and they can get their mouth around it, hogs will eat it," Hamrick said. "Wild hogs are a generalist species. They eat whatever they can find year-round."

Woman pictured with arms resting on boxes labeled “Mississippi Sweet Potatoes.”
September 29, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture

Wouldn’t it be nice if entering a Mississippi State University classroom solved every midlife crisis?

At age 52, Sylvia Clark found herself at a crossroad as she reflected on her life as a small business owner and caregiver for her family. Reared on a Webster County farm, Clark married shortly after earning an associate’s degree and settled into her role as the wife of a Vardaman sweet potato farmer. Eventually, their children were grown and their parents no longer needed her care. With the support of her family, Clark enrolled at MSU in 2006 to finish her formal education in agriculture and extension education.

A brown wild hog forages in green grass.
September 29, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG

The number of wild hogs living in an area determines the severity of their impact on wildlife, as these invasive creatures eat any source of nutrition they can find.

Volunteer teenagers use a prop resembling the human brain to demonstrate brain function to children.
September 28, 2017 - Filed Under: 4-H, Junior Master Wellness Volunteer

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- October is Children’s Health Month, but Mississippi’s Junior Master Wellness Volunteers are dedicated year-round to “promoting healthy living through community connections” in the state.

The Junior Master Wellness Volunteer program, or JrMWV, is a community health education and volunteer leader training program offered through the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H program in partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the UMMC/Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute.

Ann Sansing, MSU Extension community health coordinator, said this is the latest program developed in a five-year partnership with the medical center around delivery of the Community Health Advocate curriculum, which began there under the leadership of Dr. Rick deShazo. 

September 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Landscape Design and Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Home gardeners and landscape professionals attending the 62nd Ed Martin Landscape Symposium Oct. 18 at Mississippi State University will gain insights on native plants, water use and smart landscapes.

The event lasts from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bost Extension Center at MSU. Registration is $25 until Oct. 1 and $30 at the door. The event is hosted by the MSU Extension Service and the Garden Clubs of Mississippi Inc.

September 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Dairy

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Families and students have an opportunity to tour Mississippi State University’s dairy facilities this fall.

The MSU Extension Service will host Breakfast on the Farm Oct. 27-28 at the Joe Bearden Dairy Research Center at 2128 Turkey Creek Road near Starkville. The event is open to preregistered school groups from 9 a.m. until noon on Oct. 27. Families and community members are invited to attend the next morning at the same hours.

September 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Water Quality, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG, White-Tailed Deer

Wild hogs cost Mississippians millions of dollars each year, but landowners stand to lose more than money if the nuisance animals’ range and population continue to grow. 

Left unchecked, wild hogs have the potential to steal property owners’ investments and cripple the state’s ecosystem in the process. 

Two men on a stage holding a FEMA certificate and looking at the camera.
September 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Disaster Preparedness

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The leader of a Mississippi-based, national initiative to help families and communities prepare for disasters has earned an additional certification from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Ryan Akers, an associate Extension professor in the Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences, just graduated from an in-depth course provided by FEMA. The curriculum addressed advanced concepts in disaster management, agency organization, community response and emergency professions.

September 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A turfgrass specialist at Mississippi State University is receiving a major national accolade.

Jay McCurdy is the latest young professional recognized by the Crop Science Society of America for making significant contributions to the field within seven years of completing a final academic degree. He will accept the CSSA 2017 Early Career Award and accompanying $2,000 stipend late next month at the organization’s annual meeting in Tampa, Florida.

A Tennessee native reared on a sod farm in the Gibson County city of Dyer, McCurdy came to MSU two years ago after completing an Auburn University doctorate in agronomy and soils. He earned earlier degrees at University of Tennessee campuses in Martin and Knoxville.

September 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Environment

Coastal Cleanup moved to Nov. 18 after Nate!

BILOXI, Miss. -- Volunteers can help tidy Mississippi’s beaches and other coastal areas during the 2017 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup on Oct. 21.

The 29th annual event begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m. at more than 40 sites in Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties. Participants will help remove plastic bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts and other trash.

Organized by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force, this event has helped remove millions of pounds of trash from the state’s beaches, waterways and barrier islands since 1988. Last year alone, volunteers removed 14 tons of litter from about 200 miles of coastal area.

Two men move cases of bottled water in a storehouse.
September 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Disaster Response

STARKVILLE, Miss. – First responders and disaster experts know that good intentions can lay the foundations for disastrous conditions after hurricane winds and floods subside.

Through the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Anne Howard Hilbun conducts disaster response training for citizens and emergency workers. She is an instructor with the MSU Extension Center for Government and Community Development.

September 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Mississippi Well Owner Network, Rural Water Association, Water Quality

BATESVILLE, Miss. -- Private well owners in seven Delta counties can get water samples pH tested and screened for bacteria and lead at an educational workshop in Batesville. 

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is cohosting a free well-owner workshop at the Extension office in Panola County Oct. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. 

Residents of Panola, Tallahatchie, Sunflower, Bolivar, Leflore, Quitman and Coahoma counties can get their private well water screened for free. The workshop is open to all well owners. Attendance is not required to participate in the water testing.  

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