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Fiery red blooms reach upward against a brick wall.
April 30, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

When I was beginning my horticulture journey after making a career transition, I thought I had some idea about color and planting combinations. I would alternate colors and sizes because all my neighbors were planting that way. But this approach changed for good one afternoon.

A group of horticulture club students was helping our advisor, Dr. David Bradshaw, add color annuals to the entrance beds of the horticulture building.

April 27, 2018 - Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Livestock

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The 4-H Livestock Club in Hinds County has deep roots. And now that history is on display for all to see at the Multi-Purpose Livestock Building on the Hinds Community College campus.
 
Agents of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Hinds County found hundreds of documents, photos and other memorabilia related to the club when they were moving their office from Jackson to Raymond a few years ago.
 
“We found two filing cabinets full of things dating back to the club’s beginning in the 1930s,” said Extension agent Theresa Hand. “We didn’t even know one of those cabinets was there.”

Two small gray squirrels peak out between wooden slats with nesting material behind them.
April 27, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It’s a bird…It’s a plane…It’s a flying squirrel!

While technically unable to fly like birds and bats, the southern flying squirrel is able to glide from tree to tree using the membrane between its front and back legs to stay airborne. The adaptation of gliding for this squirrel subspecies usually keeps the animals away from predators on the ground.

Strawberries in various stages of ripening sit on top of black weed barrier matting.
April 27, 2018 - Filed Under: Crops, Fruit, Specialty Crop Production, Farmers Markets

MACON, Miss. -- Myron Unruh has no complaints about the quality of his farm’s strawberries. He just wishes more of them would grow.

“We picked some strawberries earlier this week, and they were gorgeous, but we’re getting less than half of what we should be getting,” said Unruh, who owns Lazy U Farms in Macon. “It’s pretty tough right now.”

Shoppers can be seen browsing in the background of a farmers market sign.
April 26, 2018 - Filed Under: Local Food System Economies, Farmers Markets, Thad Cochran Agricultural Leadership Program TCALP

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The value and healthfulness of farm-fresh foods will be on display May 22 for a group of 15 adults who attend a Mississippi State University Extension Service daylong tour.

A group of people surround more than 20 musical instruments.
April 25, 2018 - Filed Under: 4-H, Leadership and Citizenship, Community
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Patients at Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson now have the gift of music to help them during the healing process.
 
Elizabeth Hale, a participant in the Leadership Lauderdale Youth 4-H Club, delivered new acoustic guitars, xylophones, bongos, ukuleles, triangles, tambourines and an electric keyboard to the hospital on April 11. The donation of more than 20 instruments was part of the teen’s Leadership Lauderdale Youth community service project, which she named “The Miracle of Music.”
 
A man mimics removing a fishing hook from a woman’s arm during a safety demonstration as another man looks on.
April 25, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Chickasaw County has piloted the 4-H sport fishing program in Mississippi for two years, but other counties will soon be offering the curriculum.

Long, red radishes rise above the soil beneath leafy green tops.
April 23, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

When I have visitors to my garden, I like to tell plant stories. It seems that almost everything I grow has a story associated with it. The stories behind the plants make them more interesting.

One of my favorite stories is about my White Profusion butterfly bush that I originally propagated in class in 1989. Another story is about my variegated Duet beautyberry, a mutation I found in 2000. I also grow a lot of heirloom vegetables, and the stories surrounding many of these varieties are interesting.

Volunteers record the types of trash they collected during a recent Mississippi Coastal Cleanup in Biloxi, Mississippi.
April 20, 2018 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When I think of the beach, I picture soft, white sand and pristine, blue water. But our beaches and oceans have a dirty little secret: trash.

That's right. Several tons of trash end up in our waterways and on our beaches every year in Mississippi. In 2017 alone, volunteers with the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup collected 13 tons of trash from 40 sites along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This trash isn't just unsightly. It threatens the Gulf Coasts ecosystem.

Three men crouch in a field to look at tiny corn seedlings.
April 20, 2018 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Corn

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- More than half of Mississippi's expected corn crop has been planted and is emerging, although cool and wet weather have made progress difficult.

Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said planting began in late March but has been hindered by frequent rains.

Man seated on a step stool in an arena looks at a horse while a large dog watches cautiously.
April 19, 2018 - Filed Under: Equine Assisted Therapy Programs

WEST POINT, Miss. -- The groundwork portion of therapeutic horseback riding offers emotional and mental benefits to veterans who take part in a program at Mississippi State University.

Lance McElhenney of Webster County served in the U.S. Marine Corps around the world. Injured by a mortar fragment in Iraq in 2004, this Purple Heart veteran now fights a different battle -- with multiple sclerosis. One of his weapons is an old horse he named Archie, for Archibald Henderson, the grand old man of the Marine Corps.

Spikes covered with small purple flowers extend from a green bush.
April 16, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One of my true favorites for the early summer season is coming soon to our Mississippi landscapes. Starting mid-May through June, this plant will have some of the few, almost true-blue flowers in the plant world. So what is this plant?

The common name is chaste tree or vitex, and it was named a Mississippi Medallion winner in 2002. The bloom period begins around Memorial Day on the Gulf Coast and soon afterwards in north Mississippi. The main flowering period lasts up to six weeks.

Young boy in blue shirt holding large fish.
April 13, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Fishing is fun, it can make lasting memories, and passing the sport to friends and family is rewarding in many tangible and intangible ways.

There really is no better way to bond as a family than to go fishing together. Watching children land their first fish is a deeply personal experience. Perhaps most importantly, teaching others to fish is important for the future of fish conservation.

April 13, 2018 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Farming

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi farmers, ranchers and landowners who raise or sell $1,000 or more in farm products can still respond to the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture mailed more than 60,000 census forms in Mississippi. The original deadline for completing the federally mandated survey was Feb. 5, 2018. However, participants can avoid follow-up phone calls, mailings and personal visits by sending in or completing the online survey this spring.

A close up of white eggs stacked in a bowl with other white eggs.
April 13, 2018 - Filed Under: Poultry

RAYMOND, Miss. -- With low feed prices and healthy demand for broilers and eggs, the Mississippi poultry industry is poised for another productive year.

Boxes containing bee hives have honey bees swarming near opening.
April 12, 2018 - Filed Under: Beekeeping

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Healthy hives, consumer demand and crops for pollination are issues demanding beekeepers' attention in 2018. 

Jeff Harris, a bee specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said bees are doing better than some reports might suggest.

A group of more than a dozen people in hard hats break ground with shovels.
April 10, 2018 - Filed Under: Pesticide Applicator Certification, Termites

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Officials with the Mississippi State University Extension Service broke ground on a termite application training facility alongside pest control industry sponsors during a ceremony April 6.

The Termite Technician Training Facility, or T3F, will be located near the Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville and is scheduled to be completed in early 2019.

Several deep blue flowers line the upright stem of a plant.
April 9, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I'm becoming a fan of salvias for their performance in the landscape.

This group of plants has such a wide variety of selections available from annuals to perennials that I'm sure you can find the perfect plant for your garden. Today, I want to tell you about the salvias I'm growing in my own home landscape.

Rockin' Playin' the Blues salvia is a selection I grew as a trial last year, and it didn't disappoint. The plant produced beautiful blue flowers all summer long.

red-winged blackbird on a wire
April 6, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

In today's technology-rich culture, we have come to expect instant communication with others, even if they are across the globe from us. But what if there were no texts, emails, blogs or instant messages? What if there were no words? How would humans communicate?

Green wheat plants emerge from the ground.
April 6, 2018 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- 2017 marked a 54-year low for wheat acreage in Mississippi, and 2018 is not much better.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports an estimated 50,000 acres in winter wheat for 2018, an increase of 11 percent. Production dropped to 45,000 acres last year, just three years after wheat growers planted 230,000 acres in 2014.

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