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News Filed Under Sweet Potatoes

Mississippi State University students in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion (from left) Morgan Von Staden, Hanna Olstad and Andrew Moorhead observe the washing process on a sweet potato packing line Sept. 5, 2014, in Vardaman, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
January 8, 2014 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Challenged to develop alternative uses for culled sweet potatoes, Mississippi State University students really thought outside the box.

Cosmetics, feminine hygiene products and deer attractants were among the student proposals in the first Sweet Potato Innovation Challenge at MSU. Phase one of the challenge took place during the fall semester, and student presentations in December included requests for research and development grants.

November 13, 2013 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A sweet potato production conference organized by Mississippi State University faculty and collaborators in other states won a national award on Nov. 10 for excellence in promoting multistate research.

MSU faculty Ramon Arancibia, Raja Reddy, Steve Meyers, Mark Shankle, Juan Silva, Jason Ward and Filip To are members of the National Sweetpotato Collaborators working group that planned the annual conference of sweet potato researchers.

Benny Graves, executive director of the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council and Matthew Knight, a grower in Webster County, inspect harvested sweet potatoes on Sept. 4, 2013. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
September 27, 2013 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In spite of recent rains, the state’s sweet potato growers have a lot to be excited about this harvest season.

“Growers set the majority of the crop back in late May and June under ideal conditions,” said Stephen Meyers, sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We had good root set, which means the number of roots per plant has been good.”

Wes Lowe, Mississippi State University research team member, demonstrated the undercutter prototype during the Aug. 22 sweet potato field day at MSU's Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station. The undercutter is built from off-the-shelf components and is the focus of research aimed at reducing skinning injury to sweet potatoes and speeding up harvest. (Photo courtesy of MSU Ag and Bio Engineering/Jason Ward)
September 20, 2013 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes, Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A machine designed by a group of Mississippi State University researchers could help sweet potato farmers reduce skinning injury to potatoes and speed up harvest.

The undercutter prototype, made from off-the-shelf components, shows early potential to help lower harvest and post-harvest losses caused by skinning, said Jason Ward, assistant Extension professor in MSU’s Agriculture and Biological Engineering Department. Problems stemming from skin abrasions that happen during digging and handling account for 20 to 25 percent of storage losses, he said.

August 8, 2013 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

PONTOTOC – Sweet potato growers, crop consultants and other agricultural professionals can learn about recent weed, insect and disease control research during an upcoming field day.

Researchers and specialists with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment station will host the event Aug. 22 at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station located at 8320 Highway 15 South.

Stephen Meyers
February 28, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

PONTOTOC – A new sweet potato specialist has joined forces with Mississippi growers as they produce and promote one of the state’s favorite vegetable crops.

Stephen Meyers, a native of northern Indiana, is working with growers whose fields are largely centered in or around Calhoun and Chickasaw counties. He earned his bachelor’s degree in horticultural production and marketing, with a minor in weed science, from Purdue University. He received master’s and doctoral degrees in weed management from North Carolina State University.

Mississippi 2012 Estimated Value of Ag Production
December 13, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Cotton, Grains, Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Soybeans, Agricultural Economics, Forages, Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Swine, Forestry, Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Significant production levels and high market prices combined to give Mississippi’s agricultural commodities over $7 billion in total value.

Mississippi State University agricultural economists gathered preliminary data from crop production reports, world agricultural supply and demand estimates, industry resources and U.S. Department of Agriculture outlook reports. They predict a $7.3 billion annual value of the state’s top crops, excluding government payments. Final figures will be available in the spring of 2013.

Mississippi's 2012 sweet potato crop should be slightly above average. These Beauregard sweet potatoes grew at White and Allen Farms in Calhoun County. (Photo by Mississippi Sweet Potato Council/Benny Graves)
September 21, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s soil and climate are ideally suited to producing sweet potatoes, a crop that gives the state a No. 2 national ranking.

Harvest began about Aug. 20 on Mississippi’s 22,500 acres of sweet potatoes. North Carolina comes in first with 64,000 acres. Acreage in both states varied little from last year. The Mississippi crop was valued at nearly $66.5 million in 2011.

The Sweet Caroline ornamental sweet potato has two leaf shapes, cut-leaf and heart-shaped. Colors include bronze, green-yellow, light green, purple, red and black. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
July 16, 2012 - Filed Under: Crops, Sweet Potatoes, Lawn and Garden, Landscape Architecture

If you’re looking for a vigorous and unique ground cover for your landscape, consider a popular ornamental that I really enjoy, the colorful sweet potato vine.

Longtime favorites include Margarita, which is lime green with large leaves; Blackie, a cut-leaf variety with dark purple to black foliage; and Tricolor, which has leaves of green, pink and white.

New selections have introduced amazing color selections and leaf shapes.

Mississippi Value of Production Estimates
December 15, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Commercial Horticulture, Corn, Cotton, Nuts, Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Soybeans, Wheat, Forages, Livestock, Poultry, Forestry, Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s agricultural commodities are predicted to reach a record-high value of more than $6.7 billion for 2011.

Mississippi State University Extension Service economists compiled the numbers from poultry, forestry, agronomic crops, catfish and livestock for the annual value estimate. If government payments are factored in, the state’s value of production reaches $7 billion for the first time in history.

Brad Spencer, of Spencer and Sons Farms in Calhoun County, tests a bed of sweet potatoes near Vardaman Sept. 28 to see if they are ready to harvest. (Photo by Scott Corey)
September 30, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The state’s sweet potato crop appeared to be doomed before it started, but a late soaking allowed this hardy crop to yield average harvests after a tough year.

Bill Burdine, area agronomic specialist in Chickasaw County with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said quality may be slightly above average for this crop, which started a little behind schedule.

A worker cuts young sweet potato plants, known as slips, in preparation for transplanting at a farm near Vardaman in Calhoun County.
June 23, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE – It takes two planting seasons to harvest one sweet potato crop, and hot, dry weather made this year’s second planting challenging for Mississippi growers.

In March, sweet potato growers bed their crop, which means they plant high-quality seed stock in the ground to produce transplants, known as slips. These slips are planted in May and June to produce the harvest in September and October of the state’s highly acclaimed sweet potatoes.

April 14, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE – In the ongoing attempt to put the best seed possible in the ground every time they plant, sweet potato growers often turn to virus-tested foundation seed for their next crop.

Many crops today are grown from genetically modified seed engineered to resist certain pests, diseases or weed-control chemicals. For most crops, growers must buy seed every year, not holding seed back from the previous year’s harvest to plant the coming year.

Juan Salinas drives the tractor that spreads black plastic over the row of bedded sweet potatoes in late March. A few inches of soil is placed over potatoes, and they are covered with black plastic until the plants begin to emerge from the soil.
April 7, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Farmers have to grow two crops just to make one sweet potato harvest, making this delectable vegetable a labor-intensive, high-cost crop to produce.

As of late March, Mississippi sweet potato producers had finished bedding the crop, which means they had planted the seed stock that will produce transplants, or slips. These slips will be planted in May and June to produce the sweet potatoes that end up on tables.

Mississippi State University senior nutrition major Madison Jones of Germantown, Tenn., and MSU vice president of agriculture Gregory Bohach work side by side at the annual sweet potato drop on campus Friday, Nov. 12, 2010. They helped bag 15,000 pounds of the potatoes to donate to food pantries in the Golden Triangle area. (Photo by Scott Corey)
November 18, 2010 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes, Community

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Several Mississippi State University student groups recently waged war on hunger by bagging sweet potatoes for food pantries in the Golden Triangle area.

The Society of St. Andrew, a grassroots, nonprofit organization that recruits volunteers to gather leftover crops, located farmers willing to donate produce. The 15,000 pounds of Beauregard sweet potatoes that arrived at the Palmeiro Center on Nov. 12 for the event known as the sweet potato drop came from Dawson Farms of Delhi, La.

The 37th annual Sweet Potato Festival will be held Nov. 6 in Vardaman. This new poster promotes Vardaman sweet potatoes and will be displayed at the festival.
September 17, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE – 2010 is shaping up to be a sweet year for Mississippi sweet potato growers, a total change from the rains that destroyed 75 percent of last year’s crop at harvest.

Benny Graves, sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce’s Bureau of Plant Industry, summed the year up by saying the Vardaman sweet potatoes are back.

The contrasting colors of Emerald Lace and Sweet Caroline purple sweet potatoes spice up the landscape. Ornamental sweet potatoes are excellent ground covers that feature beautiful, colorful foliage.
July 22, 2010 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

What relative of the morning glory makes an ornamental ground cover featuring beautiful, colorful foliage?

If your answer is ornamental sweet potatoes, then you are right. Ornamental sweet potatoes, known botanically as Ipomoea batatas, are actual sweet potatoes selected for their vivid and attractive leaves. The plants produce a flower that resembles a morning glory but is hidden by the foliage. They also produce edible tubers.

Illusion Emerald Lace is a lime green to chartreuse, lacy ornamental sweet potato that is deeply toothed and compact, but very vigorous. Here it is partnered in a container with Cathedral Lavender salvia and Stampede Cherry salvia, with a pink petunia peeking out the bottom. (Photo by Norman Winter)
November 5, 2009 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Ornamental sweet potatoes rule! I just returned from speaking to a group, called Pascagoula Pride, that takes city beautification seriously. As I drove through town, I could not help but admire their effective use of the lime green ornamental sweet potatoes.

Mississippi's sweet potato industry has grown steadily, and today there are more than 90 sweet potato operations within 40 miles of Vardaman.
October 22, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – As Mississippi’s sweet potato industry continues to grow, researchers at Mississippi State University are developing even more innovative and effective strategies for growers.

November 13, 2008 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes, Nutrition

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi is a national leader in the production of the sweet potato, a holiday favorite and also one of the most nutritious vegetables available year-round.

Benny Graves, executive secretary of the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council, said the state's sweet potatoes have a reputation for their taste and quality.