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Wild pigs have been part of the landscape in the Southeast since Hernando de Soto released them in the 1500s as a source of food for settlers. In the last 20 years, the nuisance animals have increased their range and population in Mississippi, threatening native wildlife and causing millions of dollars in damage to crops, land, timber, structures and farm equipment each year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Steven Tucker)
July 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment, Forestry, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Wild pigs have roamed parts of the Southeast since Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto introduced them as food for early settlers in the 16th century. But during the last two decades, Mississippi has experienced a rapid uptick in the spread of the nuisance animal.

July 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment, Fisheries, Forestry, Invasive Plants, Marine Resources, Water, Wildlife

BILOXI, Miss. -- Individuals interested in learning more about conservation of Mississippi's natural resources can attend the Coastal Mississippi Master Naturalist class.

The seven-week course begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, located at 1815 Popp's Ferry Road in Biloxi. Classes meet once a week at various locations through Oct. 17. Weekday classes meet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Weekend classes begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

July 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Forestry, Urban and Community Forestry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Urban Forestry Summer School on July 28 will use Catalpa Creek on the Mississippi State University campus as a living laboratory for training and demonstration.

MSU faculty will teach at the school, hosted by the MSU Extension Service and the Professional Arborists Association of Mississippi. The event will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the College of Veterinary Medicine on the MSU Henry H. Leveck Animal Research Farm, commonly called South Farm. Signs will direct visitors to the actual location.

The tiny redbay ambrosia beetle was first found in the U.S. in 2002. It carries a fungus that is devastating to any tree or shrub species in the laurel family. (Photo by Mississippi Entomological Museum/Joe A. MacGown)
June 26, 2017 - Filed Under: Forestry, Forest Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It may have taken only one beetle and the fungus it carried to kill one-third of the nation’s redbay trees, according to scientists at Mississippi State University and the University of Florida.

Laurel wilt is a devastating disease of any tree or shrub species in the laurel family. The redbay ambrosia beetle, introduced from Asia into Georgia in 2002, carries the deadly fungus.

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.

March 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Beef, Beekeeping, Forestry, Seafood Economics

BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi State University researchers and Extension Service agents heard suggestions from Coastal area agricultural producers and industry leaders about the research and education they need from the university in 2017.

The MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center Producer Advisory Council meeting was held on Feb. 28 in Biloxi. The annual meeting helps the university allocate time and resources to the most important issues facing Mississippi's agricultural producers and related industries.

Bill Evans, a Mississippi State University researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, discussed research and education priorities with representatives of the fruit and nut commodity group on Feb. 22, 2017. MSU Extension Service specialists and agents also took part in the annual MSU Central Mississippi Producer Advisory Council meeting in Raymond, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
February 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Forages, Beef, Beekeeping, Dairy, Equine, Forestry, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Agricultural producers and industry professionals in central Mississippi met with agents and research scientists of the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Feb. 22 to share input and give feedback.

The Central Mississippi Producer Advisory Council meeting was held in conjunction with Hinds Community College and the Alcorn State University Extension.

January 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Agri-tourism, Livestock, Forestry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Scientists are seeking producer input on future agricultural research and outreach programming at three Mississippi State University Research and Extension Centers.

Producers of more than a dozen commodities will meet with specialists and researchers from the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station during Producer Advisory Council meetings in Verona, Raymond and Biloxi.

Chicks and Forest
December 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Poultry, Forestry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Poultry remains Mississippi's top agricultural commodity with an estimated value of $2.9 billion, and it shows no signs of slowing down in 2017.

Forestry comes in a distant second with total farm-gate value of $1.4 billion, according to 2016 estimates.

Mississippi State University Extension Service economists just released their estimates for the state's agricultural commodity values in 2016. The top commodities remain poultry and forestry. Soybeans remain in the third spot, dropping 1.7 percent to just over $1 billion.

Recent drought conditions have not kept Swedenburg’s Christmas Tree Farm in Columbus, Mississippi, from having a solid production year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
November 11, 2016 - Filed Under: Christmas Trees

SAUCIER, Miss. -- Larry Haley has no problem selling his Christmas trees each November.

In fact, he has to set a limit on how many he can spare and stop once he reaches that number to maintain a steady inventory. His target this year is about 300 choose-and-cut trees before Thanksgiving.

"A couple of years ago, I got in trouble because I sold too many in one season and almost depleted the next year's stock," he said. "Last year, we started holding fields back for a season so that doesn’t happen again."

July 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Forestry, Timber Harvest

ABERDEEN, Miss. -- Mississippi’s tree farmer of the year is now a regional finalist for the national version of the same award.

Bobby Watkins manages Coontail Farm, a 240-acre loblolly pine plot in Aberdeen used for timber production. The area also has a wildlife-friendly habitat for hunting and fishing.

Prescribed burns can reduce the fuel available in forestland, significantly lessening the risk of an unmanaged forest fire. This managed fire was used on Monroe County timberland in February. (Submitted Photo by Matt Walters)
March 28, 2016 - Filed Under: Forestry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many people are conditioned to think that any fire in the forest is a bad thing, but controlled burns prevent wildfires from being a problem in the woods.

Humans are the primary cause of forest fires in Mississippi. In 2015, there were about 1,800 wildfires in the state; lightning caused only eight of them. These fires affected an average area of 13 acres, for a total of about 23,000 acres burned. February and March face the highest risk of forest fire in Mississippi.

March 24, 2016 - Filed Under: Forestry

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- South Mississippi students will learn details about daily wood use when they visit the Mississippi State University Wood Magic Science Fair on March 31.

MSU Wood Magic will be an attraction at the Crosby Arboretum’s Wildlife Day, a one-day event that draws 200 to 300 participants annually.

Students from kindergarten to the eighth grade will learn all about the significance of wood in their lives. Teachers will receive resource materials and contact information for useful teaching aids.

February 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Landowners who manage pine plantations can simplify tree thinning by using a new app created by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Guide to Thinning Southern Pines, or Pine Thin, was developed to allow landowners and foresters to quickly determine if a pine stand needs thinning by taking advantage of smartphone technology.

James Henderson, associate Extension forestry professor, said thinning is a way to maintain timberland growth rates.

Uncontrolled wild fires can be very destructive to people and wildlife. But not all fire is bad. Biologists and land managers recognize prescribed fire -- intentional, controlled and managed burning -- as a valuable tool for creating habitat for many plants and animals.
January 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Forestry, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It is becoming routine for the nightly news to broadcast video of enormous fires roaring through Western forests, destroying homes and devastating thousands of acres of trees.

January 14, 2016 - Filed Under: Forestry

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Landowners can learn about the use of prescribed fire to manage their property during a Feb. 19 workshop near Raymond.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the Mississippi Prescribed Fire Council are partnering to offer the event to introduce landowners to the benefits of prescribed burning and how to safely do it.

Storage facilities, such as this grain elevator in Sunflower County seen on Dec. 15, 2015, are busy as Mississippi’s 2015 harvest is complete. Agriculture brought an estimated value of $7.4 billion to the state. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Bonnie Coblentz)
December 18, 2015 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Poultry, Catfish, Sweet Potatoes, Cotton, Corn, Peanuts, Soybeans, Forestry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Neither crop yields nor prices were particularly bad in 2015, but Mississippi’s estimated state agricultural production value still dropped to $7.2 billion, a 4.9 percent decrease from the previous year.

Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the decline in agricultural value has two causes.

Expect to pay anywhere from $7 to $10 per foot for a choose-and-cut Christmas tree this year. (File photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
November 13, 2015 - Filed Under: Christmas Trees

SAUCIER, Miss. -- Christmas tree growers in Mississippi expect a 7 percent increase in sales this year, but unfavorable spring and fall weather may hurt future supplies.

Stephen Dicke, a forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said growers successfully controlled insect and disease problems this year. However, a wet spring followed by a dry summer and early fall caused some growers to lose up to half of their 1-year-old trees.

October 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Forest Ecology, Forestry

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Using prescribed fire is an important part of managing private timberland, but doing so correctly requires precision.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is helping to offer “Fire on the Forty: Applying Prescribed Fire on Private Lands.” This workshop is part of the sixth annual meeting of the Mississippi Prescribed Fire Council to be held Nov. 12 in Hattiesburg.

Tree farmer Cecil Chambliss thought Hurricane Katrina put him out of business, but 10 years later, he has changed his management practices and improved production on his Forrest County farm by replanting with longleaf and slash pine, which are more resistant to high winds than loblolly pine. (Submitted photo)
August 27, 2015 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As bleak as the outlook seemed for Mississippi’s forestry industry in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the state’s second largest agricultural commodity is slowly recovering.

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