News Filed Under Forestry
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Years of hard work are about to pay off for Mississippi's 140 Christmas tree growers.
Unlike the state's annual crops, farmers have a long wait before reaping the harvest rewards. Six-foot trees take about four years to grow.
Dr. Steve Dicke, extension forestry specialist in Raymond, said the enormous effort involved in growing trees has reduced the number of Mississippi Christmas tree growers over the years. The state had 450 growers in 1985 when the industry was in its infancy.
By Rhonda Whitmire
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's forestry industry set a production record in 1996 of almost $1.2 billion as actual figures released in July exceeded the previously estimated values.
"Mississippi's forest industry recorded an all-time high for timber production," said Dr. Bob Daniels, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University. "Due to a strong fourth quarter, the figures were higher than originally estimated.
"The actual figures of $1.18 billion for 1996 were 7 percent higher than in 1995," Daniels said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Erosion is more than an unsightly nuisance because if left unattended, it can wash away vast amounts of soil.
Larry Oldham, extension soil specialist at Mississippi State University, said erosion is simply soil being moved by water or wind. Some degree of erosion occurs nearly everywhere.
"Anytime you scratch up the surface of the soil, you're going to have the potential for erosion if you don't put some type of cover over it," Oldham said.
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippians don't see the forests for the pines. Pine trees are not the state's only timber resource, just the most noticeable.
As Mississippians drive along state highways and see acre after acre of planted pines, some wonder if the state is losing its hardwoods. However, the majority of trees growing in Mississippi are oaks, hickories and other hardwoods.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Battling nature and people, trees that endure are genetically strong and environmentally lucky.
"Fire, lightning, construction projects, disease and insects are some of the main obstacles a tree must overcome to achieve a long life," said Dr. Andy Ezell, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University.
Recent storms packing high wind gusts have taken their toll on long-standing trees across the state.
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi Christmas trees have thrived under unusually good growing conditions this year, and the trees are ready to be harvested by spirited holiday enthusiasts.
Dr. Stephen Dicke, extension forestry specialist in Raymond, said Mississippi's trees have weathered well this year and are looking good. Growers are facing only a few problems, such as needlecast, in some areas of the state.
Starkville grower Jeffrey Krans said needlecast is a disease that causes needles to fall out and affects tree density.
STARKVILLE -- Final figures for Mississippi's 1995 timber harvest show southern counties continue to lead the state in production levels.
Dr. Bob Daniels, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University, compiled the harvest data based on severance tax reports from the Mississippi State Tax Commission.
By Jennifer Miller
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Timber production brings millions of dollars into Mississippi each year. But unfortunately, pine trees are falling victim to an unlikely predator -- kudzu.
Malcolm Montgomery, a Claiborne County resident, knows the damage kudzu can cause.
"I have 200 acres of seven-year-old pine trees that are planted next to a patch of kudzu," he said. It is difficult to control and if it is not stopped, it will eventually kill the pines."
By Dawn R. Hanna
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.
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.
By Dawn R. Hanna
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi Christmas tree growers welcome this year's crop with anticipation for a happy holiday season.
"Overall the crop looks great in spite of the drought," said Dr. Steve Dicke, extension forestry specialist in Raymond. "A few growers experienced some disease problems, but the outcome of the crop in general is outstanding."
Last year 220,000 Mississippi-grown trees were sold for about $5.2 million.
"Growers expect sales to be as good or better than last year," Dicke said.