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Dozens of brightly colored flowers rise on long, slender stems from a mass planting in a flower bed.
February 24, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Zinnias are annual flowers that perform extremely well in our hot and humid Mississippi gardens and landscapes. In fact, home gardeners can have these beautiful flowers blooming from May all the way to frost in fall.

One group of zinnias that I can’t get enough of is the Zinnia elegans. These zinnias are the long-stemmed kind that are perfect for the cutting garden.

A man in a baseball cap stands in front of long tables with a crowd of people in the background.
February 24, 2020 - Filed Under: Extension Administration, Agriculture, Cotton, Fruit, Beef, Dairy, Goats and Sheep

2020 marked Bill Fitts’ 27th consecutive appearance at the annual North Mississippi Producer Advisory Council meeting.

February 21, 2020 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Irrigation, Precision Agriculture, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service will offer multiple opportunities March 3-5 for Delta row-crop producers to get help with an important irrigation planning tool.

Woman in a green dress with a bag around her shoulder stands in front of a gate holding a laptop computer.
February 19, 2020 - Filed Under: Extension Program Priorities, City and County Government, SNAP-Ed, Rural Health

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Once every decade, Mississippians have the chance to make a difference at the local, state and national levels.

Participating in the U.S. Census has a large impact on daily life. Being underrepresented as a state leads to reduced representation in Congress and less federal funding for education, infrastructure, emergency response and wellness programs. In short, there are long-term negative effects of not participating in the census.

A gray shark with a white undercarriage and face sits atop a board on a boat.
February 18, 2020 - Filed Under: Fisheries

As some of the top predators in the ocean, sharks fill vital roles by regulating food web dynamics and maintaining balance in their ecosystems.

Slender, green seedlings grow in rows under lights in black trays marked by white tags.
February 17, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

I’ve promoted the 2020 Mississippi Medallion winners Colorblaze coleus, beautyberry and Luscious lantana for the last three weeks. Now, I want to tell you about the fourth and final 2020 selection, Garden Gem tomato.

This will come as a surprise to the Southern Gardening Nation, but I think I’m starting to like eating fresh tomatoes. I’m certainly looking forward to picking fresh Garden Gem tomatoes this summer.

February 11, 2020 - Filed Under: FARMtastic, Women for Agriculture, Small Business

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi women who want to grow their farm and agribusiness skills are invited to an upcoming conference in Starkville.

“Small Farm Success in a Global Market,” the 2020 conference of the Mississippi Women for Agriculture organization, will be held March 6 and 7 in the Bost Extension Center on the Mississippi State University campus. Mississippi Women for Agriculture is organized through the MSU Extension Service and provides information and education to help female agribusiness employees and owners build skills.

A man stands behind a table while demonstrating equine dental equipment on two horse skulls.
February 11, 2020 - Filed Under: Youth Horse, Equine

The romantic idea of owning and riding horses often does not match the costly and time-consuming reality of maintaining them, a discrepancy being addressed in workshops aimed at making horse ownership more rewarding.

Clay Cavinder, horse specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, offers a one-day workshop and a six-week program to address the tremendous amount of information that a horse owner must absorb.

A bumblebee climbs on a single, pink-and-orange cluster of blooms.
February 10, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One of my favorite easy-care, flowering plants has to be lantana. This low-maintenance plant is highly tolerant of the hot, humid summers in our Mississippi gardens.

It’s no wonder that lantana has been selected as a Mississippi Medallion winner three times.

Young girl stands and holds up the head of a white goat with a brown head while two young girls stand in the background.
February 7, 2020 - Filed Under: 4-H

JACKSON, Miss. -- Melissa Tolar was hopeful that her daughter, Emmy, would be featured in this year’s Dixie National Sale of Champions, but she admitted to some uncertainty about her chances at first.

Emmy, a 12-year-old 4-H’er from Marion County with autism, had difficulties with communication and presenting her animals dating back to when she began showing livestock four years ago. To advance to this year’s sale, one of the goats she showed had to place first in the Dixie National Junior Round-Up.

Small purple berries in clumps line branches with green leaves.
February 3, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Through February, I’m highlighting plants named 2020 Mississippi Medallion winners. Each of these winners is superbly adapted to our garden and landscape environment.

This week, I want to tell you about American beautyberry, a winner that is a native species found across the Southeast. It is known botanically as Callicarpa americana.

January 31, 2020 - Filed Under: Crops, Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farming, Agri-tourism, Forages, Livestock, Local Flavor

Regional agriculture advisory groups will meet across the state next month to provide input on educational programing and research conducted by Mississippi State University.

A man kneels on a football practice field beside a football.
January 28, 2020 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

Since the best-managed sports fields are the safest, the Mississippi State University Extension Service is offering two workshops in February to improve the skills of field managers.

Field management workshops will be held Feb. 11 in Booneville and Feb. 18 in Columbus. Each event lasts from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. with lunch provided. There is no cost to attend.

Maroon veins stand out on a sea of chartreuse leaves.
January 27, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of introducing the 2020 Mississippi Medallion Winners at the Gulf States Hort Expo in Mobile, Alabama. This is a special group of selections, as the Mississippi Medallion program is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020.

The plants selected for 2020 include Colorblaze coleus, beautyberry, Luscious Series lantana and Garden Gem tomato.

January 27, 2020 - Filed Under: Rural Health

High school juniors interested in health care and other science-related careers can apply to participate in an exploratory, four-week summer program at Mississippi State University.

Different varieties of pink and white dianthus flowers.
January 17, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I don’t think you can go wrong with some dianthus in your landscape in 2020.

I love the flower colors that include pink, red, lavenders, white, and bicolors. The foliage of these plants ranges from being grass-like to broader strap-like linear leaves. Plus, the foliage provides contrast with colors ranging from bright green to steely blue-gray.

There are some great selections that will do a fantastic job in our Mississippi gardens and landscapes especially in the cooler months of the year.

A red fox with a white neck.
January 17, 2020 - Filed Under: Plants and Wildlife, Wildlife

Encounters with wildlife are becoming more common in towns and neighborhoods.

Habitat loss to fragmentation, urbanization, and expanding agricultural production means urban and suburban areas will increasingly become options for wildlife searching for homes. Song birds, snakes, lizards, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, deer and even bears are not uncommon visitors to urban and suburban backyards.

A multicolored orange bloom is fully open over green leaves.
January 13, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Now that we’re fully into January, it’s time to get serious about planning our gardens for 2020.

I’ve made a long list of vegetable, flower and herb seeds I’ll be ordering in the next several weeks. Many of these will be strictly for one season.

January 10, 2020 - Filed Under: About Extension

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- While the Rotary Classic Rodeo is a competitive tournament featuring bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling and other contests, the event offers something for the whole family.

Hosted by the Starkville Rotary Club, the annual rodeo sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association is returning to the Mississippi Horse Park Feb. 7-8.

General admission is $15 at the door and $12 in advance.

January 10, 2020 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts

Blueberry growers and others interested in growing blueberries commercially can learn more about the crop during an upcoming workshop.

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