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Strong winds and fires can ruin an otherwise beautiful day. Before you light a fire, consider conditions and control options if the fire begins to move in unwanted directions. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Andrew Smith)
December 23, 2016 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Burn bans such as the ones recently imposed in Mississippi are not unusual, especially in the fall when dry leaves are abundant.

The Mississippi Forestry Commission will issue a burn ban, typically at the request of a county board of supervisors. Once approved, the ban prohibits all outdoor burning until local authorities deem that conditions have improved enough to allow safe and responsible burning.

December 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Nutrition
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Local gyms are popular places in January, but good nutrition is just as critical as exercise in achieving New Year's fitness resolutions.

Food consumed after workouts -- known in sport dietetics as recovery nutrition -- has as much of an impact on improving well-being as the workouts themselves.

The Mississippi native yaupon holly can be seen popping out of woodland edges everywhere. Its distinctive berries have a translucent quality that imparts a gem-like appearance. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
December 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

The Christmas season is a time for decorating, as we put up wreaths, poinsettias and trees. But Mother Nature is always in on the plan, too. I love the timing that allows our landscape hollies to get into the decorating action with their bright and colorful berry displays.

The most prevalent holly berries we see right now in Mississippi are on our native yaupon holly.

The Delta National Forest can provide the perfect sunrise setting for duck hunters. (MSU Extension Service photo submitted)
December 16, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- While hunting on public land can be difficult and overwhelming at times, just knowing a few tips can help increase your success.

There are plenty of places throughout Mississippi to get a taste of some of the finest hunting anywhere in the country. Residents in the southeast part of our state enjoy hunting opportunities in the DeSoto National Forest. This semicoastal national forest provides just over 500,000 acres of open-canopy pine forest habitat.

December 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Corn, Peanuts, Rice, Soybeans, Sweet Potatoes, Poultry
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The estimated $7.6 billion value of Mississippi agriculture increased by 1.8 percent in 2016, helping the industry retain its prominence in the state's overall economy.

December 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Corn, Cotton, Grains, Soybeans, Sweet Potatoes
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Good seasons for cotton and corn should increase Mississippi's agronomic crops production value by 12.5 percent increase in 2016.

Brian Williams, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most crops had a good year despite the extended drought.

"Fortunately, the drought came late in the season when most crops were past the critical stages," Williams said. "Total production was up, and the value on crops was also up, thanks to cotton and corn."

Chicks and Forest
December 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Poultry, Forestry
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Poultry remains Mississippi's top agricultural commodity with an estimated value of $2.9 billion, and it shows no signs of slowing down in 2017.

Forestry comes in a distant second with total farm-gate value of $1.4 billion, according to 2016 estimates.

Mississippi State University Extension Service economists just released their estimates for the state's agricultural commodity values in 2016. The top commodities remain poultry and forestry. Soybeans remain in the third spot, dropping 1.7 percent to just over $1 billion.

December 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Farming, Agricultural Economics
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A farm crisis may have silently begun in the United States, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service concluded after careful consideration of commodity prices and farm costs.

"2013 was the last year of relatively high commodity prices. At that same time, during the run-up of commodity prices from the mid-2000s to 2013, input costs went up," said Bryon Parman, Extension agricultural economist. "Now, commodity prices have come down, but input costs have not come down nearly as fast."

Jessica Smith of Picayune is a Mississippi State University senior who majored in agricultural communications because of her interest in connecting consumers and farmers. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
December 14, 2016 - Filed Under: 4-H, Women for Agriculture
By Ms. Keri Collins Lewis
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many people in the agricultural world complain that consumers do not understand what farmers do, but few of them are willing to dedicate their careers to a solution.

Jessica Smith, a senior at Mississippi State University, grew up on a farm in south Mississippi and is majoring in agricultural communications because she sees education as a key element in changing how her peers perceive something as basic as where their food comes from.

December 14, 2016 - Filed Under: Family, Healthy Homes Initiative, Health
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- When the new year rolls around, people often resolve to focus on personal fitness goals, but it is a great time to make sure homes are healthy as well.

"There are a lot of hazards our homes can pose that could be harmful to our health," said David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "Some of these hazards give no warning signs."

Carbon monoxide, lead and radon are odorless, invisible contaminants that can cause serious health problems and even death if left unchecked.

The outer leaves of Pigeon Purple ornamental cabbage maintain a darker green with purplish veins, and new center leaves emerge with a purplish-red color. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
December 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Ornamental kale and cabbage are in a group of my favorite plants for the winter landscape, and I find them to be among the most reliable, as well. They are really easy to grow, and now that we’re getting cooler weather -- as in frost -- kale and cabbage are starting to show some great color.

Garden centers often lump ornamental kale and cabbage together, and it is true that they are the same species. However, there are a few differences that I think should be considered.

Rachel Stout Evans, a soil scientist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, speaks to Mississippi State University Extension agents at a row crop farm in Shaw, Mississippi.
December 9, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

SHAW, Miss. -- Efforts are underway to inform producers about incentives to encourage sustainable agricultural practices on farms across Mississippi.

Graphic showing of map a zigzag pattern used to blood trail deer.
December 9, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Woodsmanship and stewardship are two characteristics of all successful deer hunters as they track down injured deer. 

The initial impulse most hunters have after taking a shot is to bail out of the stand and immediately look for their target. Depending on where the animal was hit, this hasty action could be a terrible mistake. Attempting to trail a deer prematurely can spook the deer even more and make locating it more difficult, if not impossible.

Gary Jackson, director of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, discusses the 2016 MSU Row Crop Short Course with Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith on Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
December 8, 2016 - Filed Under: County Extension Offices, Extension Administration, Crops
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- More Mississippi producers are getting the word about how much they can learn in three days at the state’s premier row crop conference.

The Mississippi State University 2016 Row Crop Short Course had more than 600 attendees. Attendance at the Row Crop Short Course has steadily increased since 2009. Approximately 60 people attended the event in 2008.

December 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Rice
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University researchers have a plan to drastically change the way rice farmers grow their crop while cutting water use by one-third and maintaining yields.

The MSU Extension Service is encouraging Mississippi rice growers to consider using alternate wetting and drying -- or AWD -- management in their rice fields.

About 20 percent of Mississippi farmers use some form of AWD today, but Jason Krutz, Extension irrigation specialist and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher, wants that number to increase.

A quality garden tool is a good gift idea to encourage a gardening friend to grow vegetables and fruits. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
December 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

We're now officially in the Christmas season, and holiday shopping is in full swing. So, instead of an ugly sweater or a pair of reindeer socks, consider gifts that the special gardeners in your life could use in their landscape and garden.

So, here are what I consider some nice gifts for the gardener.

Don’t let the colder weather prevent outdoor adventures this winter. This group is staying comfortable by layering their clothing. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
December 2, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For many Mississippians, cold and wet conditions make this the least likely time of year to venture outside, but an outdoors lover knows it just takes a little preparation and a positive attitude to hit the trail and enjoy viewing wildlife.Having grown up in a climate much colder than Mississippi's, I learned a valuable skill to help cope with unpleasantly cold weather: layering clothing.

Before I venture outside, warm socks are my first priority. I prefer wool blends with mostly wool for two reasons: comfort and warmth.

A radish cover crop planted in early fall as part of a research demonstration project is thriving at Michael Graves’ farm near Ripley, Mississippi. (File Photo by MSU College of Forest Resources)
December 2, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming, Natural Resources, Environment
By Ms. Keri Collins Lewis
MSU Extension Service

RIPLEY, Miss. -- This winter, a Mississippi farm will serve as a research facility for a multiyear project involving local, state and federal partners.

December 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

WINONA, Miss. -- The Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production will hold its 50th field day Dec. 9 at Roberts Farm in Winona.

David Nagel, Mississippi State University Extension Service horticulture specialist, and Jeff Wilson, Extension regional horticulture specialist, will discuss crop selection, seed acquisition and winter fruit crop activities. Vickie Roberts will share her journey from pharmaceutical sales representative to fourth-generation owner of her family's farm.

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