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John Orlowski, a Mississippi State University assistant research and Extension professor, inspects soybean seedlings in a plot at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. Orlowski will coordinate the first Mississippi Soybean Yield Contest. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center/Kenner Patton)
May 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Soybeans

STONEVILLE, Miss. – The state's soybean producers can put their skills to the test this year in the first Mississippi Soybean Yield Contest.

Yield contests encourage growers to conduct on-farm research, evaluate their agronomic practices, and increase yields and profits.

The Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board funds the contest with producer checkoff funds. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Soybean Association will administer the competition.

Both butterflies and aphids are attracted to tropical milkweed in droves. While unsightly, aphids don’t seem to impact growth and flowering. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
May 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

It's all the rage to plant butterfly gardens in our home landscapes. This is especially true when we consider the Monarch butterfly, which is said to be under stress from disappearing habitats.

One of the best butterfly-attracting plants for the home landscape is butterfly weed, known botanically as Asclepias. Butterfly weed has a great trio of advantages: it is low maintenance, deer resistant, and attractive to Monarchs and other butterflies.

Deer University podcast launches May 11 and will be available to listeners free of charge.
May 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service will soon offer a weekly podcast that will be of interest to deer hunters and wildlife professionals in the Southeast.

Deer University launches May 11 and will be available to listeners free of charge on iTunes and at http://extension.msstate.edu/deeruniversity. Registration is the only prerequisite needed to listen and subscribe to the podcast.

May 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Water, Rural Water Association, Water Quality
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

HAZLEHURST, Miss. -- South Mississippi homeowners with private wells will have an opportunity next month to learn how to improve the functionality of their drinking water sources.

Private well owners can get their water screened for bacteria and can attend a workshop in Copiah County to learn how to better manage, operate and protect their private wells.

Grey rat snakes, such as this one, are commonly seen here in Mississippi. They are not venomous and generally would prefer to be left alone. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
May 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- No other creatures provoke as many conflicting feelings as snakes do. We are attracted and repelled, and we are intrigued by them and ready to kill them, all at the same time. These feelings date back to antiquity.

May 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Thad Cochran Agricultural Leadership Program TCALP

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Early-career producers and allied agricultural professionals looking to develop leadership skills and policy knowledge about farming issues should apply to participate in Mississippi's premier agricultural leadership training program.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service, in partnership with the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, has established the Thad Cochran Agricultural Leadership Program, or TCALP.

Growers planted the majority of Mississippi’s soybean crop well ahead of normal this year, thanks to favorable April weather. These recently emerged soybean plants on Mississippi State University’s Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Center were growing on May 3, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Soybeans
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi producers have planted a large percentage of the state's soybean crop well ahead of schedule, giving producers the opportunity for maximum yields.

The May 1 crop progress and condition report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 69 percent of the soybean crop has been planted. In the last five years, just 38 percent of the crop was typically planted by this date.

Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, called the progress to date phenomenal.

Lida McDowell holds an alternanthera plant at her home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on April 27, 2017. McDowell is a member of the Pine Belt Master Gardeners -- one of more than 60 such groups throughout the state that operate under the supervision of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 4, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture, Master Gardener
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Lida McDowell taught science and math for 30 years at the high school and university levels, and she keeps finding ways to educate while enjoying an interest she had no time to pursue until retirement.

The raised-bed vegetable gardens she and church friend Karen Walker maintain year-round serve as a classroom for a young audience at Thames Elementary School in Hattiesburg.

“What we’re trying to do is get the kids to enjoy nature, be outside and appreciate where their food comes from,” McDowell said.

The Rankin County 4-H robotics team, Wait For It, was in the winning alliance of three teams at the FIRST Tech Challenge in Houston, Texas. Members Lilli Stewart, left, Lauren Blacksher, Noah Gregory, Maisyn Barragan, Jordan Hariel, Logan Hariel and Mathew Blacksher are on the playing field of Minute Maid Park in front of 25,000 people to receive their award on April 22, 2017. (Submitted Photo)
May 3, 2017 - Filed Under: STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mariah Morgan remembers inquisitive 8-year-olds, just learning how to program beginner robots for 4-H projects. The rest of the world now sees one of them as a team of champion programmers.

Wait For It, the Rankin County 4-H robotics club, just earned top honors at the FIRST Tech Challenge at Minute Maid Park in Houston. FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."

This north Mississippi robotics team, Challenge Accepted, took part in the world competition in Houston, Texas. Team members from DeSoto and Tate counties are Jon Shidler, left, Jon Rodgers, Zack Sahnger, Skyler Smith, Brandon Hess, Nathan Rodgers and Alex Turner. Members not pictured included Ella Douglas and Cade Holliday. (Submitted photo)
May 3, 2017 - Filed Under: STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi 4-H offers a unique way to celebrate the unofficial Star Wars Day, May 4, by encouraging support of the state 4-H Robotics Program.

May 4 is recognized for its connection to the famous movie line, "May the force be with you."

"May the Fourth has become a day to celebrate science, technology, engineering and math," said Mariah Morgan, an assistant Extension professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Center for Technology Outreach.

Don’t mulch trees like this. Mulching offers significant benefits, but a layer should only be 2 to 3 inches deep and pulled away from the tree trunk. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
May 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Driving around town this weekend, I enjoyed all the work fellow gardeners have been doing in their yards. I thought our early spring weather brought out the best in our landscapes, but then I saw it.

I couldn't believe my eyes, but there they were: mulch volcanoes.

It's been a couple of years since I've seen a real doozy of a mulch volcano, and I realized again what my duty has to be. I have to convince people that mulch volcanoes are bad for our trees.

Brett Rushing, an assistant Extension and research professor at the Mississippi State University Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station, works with Neeley Norman, left, and Sarah Kountouris on the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi, a program coordinated by Keep Mississippi Beautiful intended to turn Mississippi roadsides into pollinator habitats and tourist attractions. Norman is assistant director of Keep Mississippi Beautiful, and Kountouris is director. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
May 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Natural Resources
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

A Mississippi State University researcher is helping turn Mississippi roadsides into eye-catching pollinator habitats and tourist attractions.

Dr. Brett Rushing, an assistant Extension and research professor at the MSU Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station in Newton, supports Wildflower Trails of Mississippi in its effort to fill available and suitable property across the state with colorful, native wildflowers and grasses. Coordinated by Keep Mississippi Beautiful, this project began in 2015.

Leaving dirty dishes in the sink provides a feast for pests. Integrated pest management emphasizes practical, cost-efficient strategies for keeping rodents and insects out of the home. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Family, Healthy Homes Initiative, Household Insects, Insects-Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Spring has begun, and while that means warmer weather and blooming flowers, it may mean more pests infiltrating your home.

David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, explained the importance of integrated pest management and the steps that make up the IPM process. He said IPM focuses on common-sense activities around the house, with an emphasis on environmentally friendly and affordable practices over regular application of insecticide.

Young campers paddle across a lake during a Mississippi State University conservation camp in 2015. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The conclusion of the school year does not mean learning must end, too.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the MSU College of Forest Resources are offering three summer youth camps in June. These Conservation Camps are designed to engage and excite young people in natural science and nature-based outdoor recreation. Hands-on learning, outdoor activity, and new friends and experiences are central to all three camps.

Strong demand for peanuts has encouraged Mississippi growers to plant more of them this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects peanut producers will plant 44,000 acres this year compared with 39,000 in 2016. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Peanuts
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippi peanut growers are just now planting this year's crop, but their acreage will likely be increased over the amount cultivated in recent years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects 44,000 acres of peanuts will be planted this year, which would be a jump from 39,000 planted in 2016.

Jason Sarver, peanut specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and a researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said he believes the state’s peanut fields could approach 50,000 acres.

April 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Healthy Homes Initiative, Health
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- As spring blooms outdoors, many people with allergies take refuge inside their homes, but indoor air pollutants can trigger allergic reactions, as well.

"Dust, pollen, cockroaches, pet dander, dust mites, and mold and mildew found inside homes can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms for many people," said David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "Make routine cleaning a priority to help control these pollutants."

Jake Fulgham, the header, and Ty Edmondson, the heeler, take part in a team roping event at the 4-H Spring Rodeo Classic in April 2016 at the Chickasaw County Agri-Center.  (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Fulgham)
April 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Equine
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

HOUSTON, Miss. -- Chickasaw County residents are feeling the ripple effect of renovating a dilapidated agri-center three years ago.

"Horse events can have a tremendous economic impact on a community," said Angie Abrams, Chickasaw County 4-H agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "The agri-center renovation didn't just benefit a handful of people with horses. It has helped local businesses, youth development and other groups needing a large covered space for specific activities."

Barrel racers, such as this participant in the 2013 Horse Poor event at the Mississippi Horse Park, can improve their skills in a clinic at Mississippi State University on May 27, 2017. (Submitted Photo)
April 26, 2017 - Filed Under: Equine
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Horse owners with a "need for speed" can work on the fundamentals of barrel racing at an upcoming clinic at Mississippi State University.

The MSU Extension Service is hosting the clinic from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. May 27 at the MSU Horse Unit on the Henry H. Leveck Research Farm, often referred to as South Farm.

Dairy producers can visit the 2017 Mississippi State University Dairy Open House May 20 at the Bearden Dairy Research Center near Starkville to see how MSU researchers handle their herd. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 26, 2017 - Filed Under: Dairy
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Dairy producers who want to improve their cattle management skills can spend a half day seeing how Mississippi State University researchers handle their herd.

The 2017 MSU Dairy Open House will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 20 at the MSU Bearden Dairy Research Center near Starkville. The event is hosted by the MSU Extension Service and the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences. There is no cost to attend the open house, and lunch will be provided.

Also called the African marigold, various series of the American marigold can range from 15 inches to 3 feet in height. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
April 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

After being laid up for the last few weeks recovering from a knee replacement, I've really enjoyed finally getting out and picking up some heat-loving summer annual color. The first flat of bedding plants I put in the cart contained marigolds.

I know some gardeners may think marigolds are too easy, but that's exactly what I want from my summer landscape beds.

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