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Simply taking children outside will open their eyes and hearts to the outdoors. While canoeing with adults on Bluff Lake in Noxubee County, Mississippi, this child searched for alligators and birds with her binoculars. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most of us spent our childhoods outdoors in a constant state of motion, but many of today's youngsters are not experiencing the outdoor activities we remember with pleasure.

When I reminisce about my childhood, the memories that make me smile the most are of times spent outdoors with family or close friends. I still enjoy many of those same activities today.

Producers took advantage of a break in the typical spring rains to get much of Mississippi’s corn crop planted in late March. Erick Larson, Mississippi State University Extension Service corn specialist, examined corn in Starkville, Mississippi, on April 5, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Corn
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Fall preparation paid off for many Mississippi corn producers who were able to take advantage of a gap in spring rains to plant much of their crop early.

Erick Larson, corn specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said warm weather and a break in typical spring rains has allowed farmers to make considerable corn planting progress this spring.

April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

WOODVILLE, Miss. -- Farmers market and cottage industry sales are a significant part of the Mississippi food scene, and Mississippi State University Extension Service training is helping entrepreneurs take advantage of these business opportunities.

The MSU Extension Service and Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion offers training on acidified canned foods and general food safety at locations across the state. An upcoming workshop will be held April 25 in Woodville, Mississippi, at the J.R. Hamilton Extension Building.

Although Natasha Haynes has never lived or worked on a farm, her professional career has circled around agriculture. She is an Extension agent in Hinds County and host of “The Food Factor,” the weekly video feature produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Jonathan Parrish)
April 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Natasha Haynes has never lived or worked on a farm, but her professional career with the Mississippi State University Extension Service circles around agriculture just the same.

Haynes is an Extension agent in Hinds County and host of "The Food Factor," the weekly video feature produced by the MSU Extension Service. She grew up in Jackson and earned a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences from Alcorn State University.

The glass ceiling Ann Fulcher Ruscoe shattered in 1996 was outside in the Mississippi Delta’s wide expanse of agricultural fields. In fall 2000, she worked with cotton grower Kenneth Hood of Gunnison. (File photo from the MSU Alumnus Magazine)
April 4, 2017 - Filed Under: 4-H, About Extension, Women for Agriculture
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

CLARKSDALE, Miss. -- Almost 200 years after Mississippi became a state, residents may find it difficult to imagine a time when women could not be Extension agricultural agents. That time was right up until the late 1990s when Ann Fulcher Ruscoe became the "county agent" for Coahoma County.

"Most entry level jobs for the Extension Service involved 4-H responsibilities. That's how I started in 1980 in Bolivar County," Ruscoe said. "Eventually, 4-H agents would usually become home economists if they were women or county agents if they were men."

The Golden Silk Orb Weaver is found all along the Gulf Coast, as well as Central and South America. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
April 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

I don't claim to be an entomologist, but I do find the insects and spiders we see in our gardens to be engaging.

I ran into one interesting bug early one summer morning the first year I moved to Mississippi. I was strolling along my fence under the overhanging trees and walked right into the web. It was one of those moments when all of my latent karate moves were put on display.

Mississippi producers are expected to plant 550,000 cotton acres this year to meet high export demand. If realized, this will be a 26 percent increase over last year’s production. (File photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
March 31, 2017 - Filed Under: Corn, Cotton, Peanuts, Rice, Soybeans, Forages
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Strong export demand for cotton and soybean is causing Mississippi producers to shift away from corn and rice as they finalize their planting plans for 2017.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Prospective Plantings report released March 31 estimates the state's growers will plant a total of about 4.194 million acres, a 170,000-acre increase over 2016 acreage.

Earthworms improve soil by creating pores to allow greater water infiltration for growing plants. They also help decompose dead plant material into nutrients that plants can use to grow. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 31, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippians care about wildlife and related activities, including hunting, fishing, birdwatching or just enjoying the outdoors.

March 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Avian Flu
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- All Mississippians who raise any species of poultry are being urged to follow strict biosecurity practices and review new requirements regarding sales and exhibitions.

Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that while avian influenza is not a threat to human health or food safety, an outbreak would endanger backyard flocks and the state’s nearly $3 billion commercial poultry industry.

La-Z-Boy Inc. has donated about 130 boxes of discarded upholstery fabric to the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Sylvia Clark, left, an Extension family and consumer sciences associate, and student worker Kamau Bostic unpack the truckload of material March 24, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
March 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi Homemaker Volunteer Clubs have a new supply of sewing material thanks to a large donation.

La-Z-Boy Inc. gave the Mississippi State University Extension Service about 130 boxes of discarded upholstery fabric -- enough to fill a 24-foot trailer.

Alternating wet and dry rice production systems allow rice fields to dry to several inches below the surface before adding more water. Research shows such fields maintain yields while cutting water use dramatically. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Lee Atwill)
March 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Rice, Irrigation
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Alternating wet and dry production is a radical new way to grow rice, and some Mississippi producers are finding the idea not only seems feasible in theory, but also works well in practice.

Jason Krutz is an irrigation specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and a researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. He said the technique, known as AWD, grows rice without standing water, which reduces water use by about a third while also maintaining yields.

Supertunia Royal Velvet combines perfectly with Supertunia Honey for a beautiful hanging basket. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
March 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Now is the time to start planting annual color for summer. If I could plant only one group of annuals, it would have to be the Supertunias, as I can’t do without these flowering beauties.

For the past several years, I have watched and written about these fantastic garden performers. Whether used as spreading plants in the landscape or as container and hanging basket plants, Supertunias have performed well in Mississippi.

Erick Larson, corn and wheat specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, takes a photo on March 22, 2017, of freeze damage on the tips of some wheat growing in variety trials at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi. Larson and other MSU agricultural specialists document crop issues to guide growers and consultants throughout the growing season. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
March 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Wheat
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Despite almost everything working against this year's winter wheat, benefits remain on the fields growers managed to plant after last fall's drought.

Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the 2016-17 season makes four consecutive years of reduced wheat acres.

"The state's farmers planted about 60,000 acres of wheat late last fall, which was about 5,000 fewer acres than the previous year," Williams said.

Spring is the best time of the year to hang purple martin houses, such as these found at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge on March 23, 2017. Place houses 15-20 feet in the air on a pole in an open space, preferably near water. These birds will be happy to help reduce the mosquito population from the area. (Submitted photo by Vicki Maples)
March 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The purple martin is one of the most appreciated and desired birds in the state. It is a summer resident found wherever multi-celled or multi-roomed housing is available.

While they lack the notoriety of the colorful and acrobatic hummingbird, purple martins are by far the most beneficial of the backyard birds. One purple martin can consume thousands of mosquitoes in a single day. Since they are heavily dependent on humans for their shelter, purple martins seem to enjoy being around people, as well.

Sandra Jackson, an agent of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Winston County, helps 6-year-old Akilah Goss assemble a Lego maze March 16, 2017. Jackson was the first agent to teach the 4-H Lego Engineering Club curriculum, which is a STEM program geared toward 4-H’ers aged 5 to 7. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
March 23, 2017 - Filed Under: 4-H, Technology
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

LOUISVILLE, Miss. -- Thirteen Winston County children were the test pilots of a new 4-H program while their schools were on spring break.

After seeing a demonstration of the 4-H Lego Engineering Club curriculum in February, Sandra Jackson, an agent of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Winston County, immediately wanted to use it during a camp she was leading in March. The program, designed for Cloverbuds, or 4-H'ers aged 5-7, uses Lego bricks as teaching tools for fundamentals of science, technology, engineering and math -- STEM.

March 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit, Nuts
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Producers interested in season extension for specialty crops and commercial strawberry production can learn about these topics during an upcoming field day.

The Season Extension and Commercial Strawberry Production Field Day will be April 4 at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station, located at 2024 Experiment Station Road in Crystal Springs. It begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.

March 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Economics and Enterprises

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Landowners and hunting clubs eager to earn extra income while improving land management for wildlife are invited to attend a Natural Resource Enterprises Business Workshop.

The May 16 event will take place at Pecan Hill Farms in Raymond. Daryl Jones, a Mississippi State University Extension Service instructor, is director of the MSU Natural Resource Enterprises program.

A queen bee scurries toward the bottom left corner of a frame of capped cells containing bee larvae. Worker bees have many different jobs within a colony, including caring for baby bees. (File photo by MSU Extension/Keri Collins Lewis)
March 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Beekeeping
By Ms. Keri Collins Lewis
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- From the outside, a honey bee hive looks pretty simple: bees fly in and out. They fly around flowers, and once inside the hive, they make honey.

They must be hard workers -- after all, the phrase "busy as a bee" had to come from somewhere.

Like many natural phenomena, a hive of honey bees is incredibly complex. Some scientists even classify a beehive, also called a colony, as a superorganism, an insect society made up of individuals that create a functioning whole.

Indian hawthorns are typically small shrubs, but the Rosalinda selection can grow up to about 15 feet if left unpruned. It produces bright-pink flowers in late spring and early summer. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
March 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Azaleas have been magnificent this spring. I love seeing the mounds of pink, red and white flowers dotting our Mississippi landscapes. But to tell you the truth, I've been waiting for another of my favorite spring-flowering shrubs that doesn't get as much attention: the Indian hawthorn.

Molly and Brad Judson of Clay County are one of four couples who recently earned the National Outstanding Young Farmers award. They were nominated by Charlie Stokes, right, their Mississippi State University Extension Service agent, for the recognition from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
March 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

National Agriculture Week: March 19-25, 2017

WEST POINT, Miss. -- Mississippi's agricultural future is safe in the hands of some of the nation's best farmers. Brad and Molly Judson of Clay County have the award to prove it.

Charlie Stokes, area agronomy agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, nominated the winning couple for the National Outstanding Young Farmers award. The National Association of County Agricultural Agents sponsors the recognition program.

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