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Choosing the right breed of chickens for a backyard flock is an important decision. From left, Tripp, Luna and Charlie Sanders examine chicks for sale March 8, 2017, in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Poultry
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Families willing to host a flock of feathered friends reap the benefits of fresh eggs delivered daily just outside the door.

What started several years ago as an underground "urban chicken" movement has become much more common and widely accepted. Today, raising backyard chickens has gained popularity nationwide, boosted by interest in locally grown foods that avoid the energy use and carbon emissions typically associated with transporting food.

Lichen are an unlikely combination of fungi and algae living in a symbiotic relationship on the bark of plants. This type of lichen resembles highly branched balls of fuzz. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
March 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Spring is always a busy time in my garden and landscape, as I'm sure it is in yours. It's when we start walking around and planning what we're going to plant this year, but it's also a time when landscape damage is most noticeable.

March 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management, Estate and Financial Planning

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Homeowners have until March 31 to file for a homestead exemption, which may help lower their annual tax bills.

Jason Camp, an instructor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service Center for Government and Community Development, said qualified homeowners may fall into one of three exemption categories, based on age, disability or veteran status. They may be eligible for a substantial tax exemption if they met these requirements on Jan. 1.

Mississippi State University Extension Service equine specialist Clay Cavinder will assist in the Horse Management: 101 classes from April 11 to May 16 at the Lee County Agri-Center in Verona. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Equine
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

VERONA, Miss. -- Horse owners and riding enthusiasts can learn the basics of riding and equine care at evening classes each Tuesday from April 11 to May 16.

Mississippi State University Extension Service is hosting the six-week course at the Lee County Agri-Center, located at 5395 Highway 145 in Verona. Nutrena is cosponsoring Horse Management 101: Ranch Horse Series.

Extension equine specialist Clay Cavinder said the lessons will be suitable for all ages.

Turkey season in Mississippi takes place from March 15 to May 1. The fourth, fifth and sixth weeks, collectively, have been reported as having the most gobbles heard in seven of the last 10 hunting seasons. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With spring comes turkey season and the countless hours spent listening for the chill-inducing gobble of a big tom.

March 9, 2017 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Half of Mississippians have lower credit scores than the average American, with Jackson area residents having the second lowest average score in the U.S., according to a national credit monitoring agency.

A recent workshop and new organization, both directed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, aim to help individuals improve their financial health through responsible credit use.

Mildew and mold growth can take place in damp areas of the home, including showers, sinks, bathrooms and kitchens. Clean damp areas, such as kitchens, bathtubs or under-sink cabinets, frequently to reduce mold-feeding spores and microbes. (Photo by Canstock)
March 9, 2017 - Filed Under: Healthy Homes Initiative
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi's humid climate creates a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, especially in cluttered, unventilated homes.

Many people recognize these fungi by their musty smells on clothing and dark spots on walls and ceilings, but growth usually begins in areas that are unseen or difficult to access.

March 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Dairy

By Jessica Smith
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University scientist is using genomic testing to help improve the profitability of commercial dairies in Mississippi.

Amanda Stone, who became the MSU Extension Service dairy specialist and a researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment station in August, is exploring ways to make dairy herds more efficient. She is studying the advantages of genomic testing in the MSU dairy herd.

These nasturtiums growing in containers in full sun began blooming Feb. 28. By the end of March, they will be a wall of flowers. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
March 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

You may know by now that I like to grow heirloom vegetables in my Ocean Springs garden. The stories that go along with these old plants are almost as good as their flavors.

My fascination with heirlooms even extends into the realm of flowers. I find heirlooms are a welcome change from the dizzying array of new plants with their kaleidoscope of colors that often go beyond my imagination.

March 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Students, teachers, and community members can participate in two separate interactive events to learn about their local ecosystems.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service will partner with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, the National Park Service and the Mississippi Geographic Alliance to host the hands-on BioBlitz workshops.

The first event will be held at the museum in Jackson on April 1. It begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.

Landowners can learn how to improve the quality and quantity of sport fish, such as this bluegill, in upcoming free pond management workshops. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Wes Neal)
March 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Landowners who want to improve an existing pond or build a new one can find guidance in upcoming educational workshops.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks have teamed up to offer at least seven pond management workshops this year. The short sessions will be held throughout Mississippi, so chances are good there will be one near you.

March 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

CARRIERE, Miss. -- Farmers interested in organic production methods can tour a Mississippi farm dedicated to teaching students and using pioneering production and marketing strategies during an upcoming field day.

The Small Farm Training Center in Hancock County will host the March 17 Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production field day. Attendees will learn about the 6-acre mini farm's production and marketing strategies, methods, materials and mindset.

March 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Beef, Beekeeping, Forestry, Seafood Economics
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

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.

March 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Beekeeping
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Experienced and aspiring beekeepers in Mississippi will have two opportunities to hone their skills in March

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is hosting a Beginning Beekeepers Short Course March 4 and an Intermediate Beekeeping Workshop and Queen Rearing Seminar March 25.

The beginners' course will be at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson. Topics include diseases, honeybee biology, hive inspection, basic equipment, seasonal management, honey extraction and small hive beetle management.

Brian Utley, video producer with MSU Extension’s Agricultural Communications, focuses a camera on former MSU football quarterback Dak Prescott in July 2016. Prescott is the face of the 2017 Public Service Announcement campaign for the 70x2020 Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
February 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Health, Colon Cancer Screening
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Having performed colonoscopies regularly throughout his career, retired gastroenterologist Dr. Sam Pace is experienced in identifying precursors of colorectal cancer.

Although he did not feel any of those symptoms himself in 2011, Pace learned after a routine screening that he had the disease.

"My story is effective when I talk to patients who say they feel fine and nothing is going to happen to them," Pace said. "I felt fine before I found out I had colon cancer. Fortunately, I was screened early enough to treat and survive it."

Mary Beck heads the Mississippi State University Department of Poultry Science, a field often dominated by men. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
February 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When poultry science began receiving academic attention, women were the first poultry husbandry faculty. They were housed in the home economics departments of land-grant universities, a carryover from the days when women kept chickens at home for eggs and meat.

Eventually, universities created poultry science departments, populated mostly by men.

Today, Mary Beck, head of the Department of Poultry Science at Mississippi State University since 2012, makes her mark in a field dominated by men.

Conversation Piece Azalea (left) is an alternate-season azalea that displays gorgeous flowers in midspring and in the fall. Each plant produces multiple flower colors. (Submitted Photo/LSU AgCenter); The Patio Snacker (center) is a terrific producer in a tight space. The 3- to 5-foot vine is perfect for trellising and produces fruit that is perfectly crunchy and not bitter. (Submitted Photo/Ball Horticultural Company); and (right) Vermillionaire cuphea is a heat-loving plant that flowers from spring to fros
February 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

This is the awards season, and the horticulture community won't be left out.

The Mississippi Medallion winners have been announced. This year's Outstanding Performance in the Landscape winners are Vermillionaire cuphea, Conversation Piece azalea, Patio Snacker cucumber and Japanese persimmon.

Flowering Annual/Perennial Category

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
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

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.

February through April are common months for fish to become stressed and die. Water quality, specifically issues with alkalinity, may be the root cause. (MSU Extension Service file photo/Kevin Hudson)
February 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Winter and spring weather in Mississippi is a rollercoaster ride. Some nights are below freezing, while others feel like midsummer. With the warmer, sunnier weather, people begin to pay more attention to their ponds.

Whether grown under a conventional system or the newer alternating wet and dry method, weeds are controlled in rice during the initial 21-day continuous flood the crop needs to get established. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Lee Atwill)
February 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Rice, Weed Control for Crops
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Growing rice on fields that are alternating wet and dry is gaining popularity across Mississippi as producers learn they can effectively control weeds under this nontraditional system.

Alternating wet and dry rice management is a way to grow rice that saves water and money, while producing the same yields.

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