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An upcoming Farm Fresh and Healthy Tour in and around Starkville, Mississippi, will show participants where their food comes from before it ends up at a local market. Here, Debra Shafer and her grandson Sam Shafer of Starkville browse produce at the Starkville Farmers Market May 2, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service is hosting a mom's day out with a farm twist on June 13.

A group of 15 mothers of school-aged children will participate in a Farm Fresh and Healthy Tour in and around Starkville. The event includes a tour of a local producer's farm and a visit to a livestock production facility, such as a beef, poultry or dairy operation.

After the tours, Chef Jay Yates from the Veranda will offer a cooking demonstration.

May 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Weed Control for Crops
By Ms. Keri Collins Lewis
MSU Extension Service

PONTOTOC, Miss. -- Row crop producers can learn best practices for adding auxin herbicides to their weed control tool box at a field day June 29.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will host the event at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station, located at 8320 Hwy. 15 South in Pontotoc.

May 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Organic Fruit and Vegetables
By Ms. Keri Collins Lewis
MSU Extension Service

VERONA, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University vegetable expert is part of a project designed to support and strengthen organic farming in the Southeast.

Casey Barickman, an assistant horticulture professor with the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, is working with colleagues from Tuskegee University, Auburn University, North Carolina State University, the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network and Oregon State University to give organic growers the information they need to develop efficient production systems.

Real gardeners know the work is hard, but they consider sweat equity a reasonable price to pay to be able to enjoy their landscapes. (File Photo by MSU Extension)
May 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

In early April, my wife and I had the honor of being part of the 2017 Garden Clubs of Mississippi Spring Pilgrimage, as our little urban farm was one of the tour's stops. It was a treat to open our doors to allow more than 170 visitors to peek behind the curtain at how we garden.

During late spring and early summer, spectators and photographers should limit stress for nesting birds, such as this Canada goose near a pond in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, on May 7, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
May 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Late spring and early summer is the time when wild animals are raising their young, but it also the time when people gear up for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, playing baseball, riding all-terrain vehicles and visiting beaches.

We are fortunate to have ample green space in our state, but with this great resource comes the responsibility of respecting wildlife that use these spaces to raise young. The phrase "respect the nest" is an easy way to remember this responsibility.

These blueberries at the Blueberry Patch in Starkville, Mississippi, are shown in a fruit coloring stage on May 17, 2017. Mostly warm winter conditions caused this year’s harvest to be unusually early in most parts of the state. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

WAYNESBORO, Miss. -- The demand for fresh Mississippi blueberries may grow this year after a mid-March freeze hampered production in neighboring states.

Freezing temperatures during the crop's early growth stage on farms east of the state, especially in Georgia and North Carolina, caused production losses of up to 50 percent.

Meanwhile, 85 percent of Mississippi's blueberry crop was either in good or excellent condition as of May 15, according to a weekly crop progress and condition report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

May 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Community, Economic Development
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

VICKSBURG, Miss. -- Mississippians trying to turn the highest business profit from the beautiful architecture of their historic homes can learn ways to maximize the landscape through a Mississippi State University Extension Service course.

The MSU Extension Service is offering the daylong Know Your Roots: Grow Your Business workshop in Vicksburg June 13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center. The registration deadline is June 1.

May 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Three Mississippi State University Conservation Camps are giving Mississippi middle and high schoolers a chance to explore wildlife, the outdoors, and careers in science and nature this summer.

The MSU Extension Service and the MSU College of Forest Resources have offered the Conservation Camps since 2005.

May 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Technology, Family, Children and Parenting
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Educators planning for next year can participate in a free, online train-the-trainer course that will help them teach children and adults how to recognize and combat cyberbullying.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service partnered with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office and the Mississippi Department of Education's Office of Healthy Schools to develop the program.

Law enforcement officers, school resource officers and other interested adults can also participate.

Annual flowering vincas perform well in the landscape and in containers. This Mediterranean Hot Rose has a spreading growth habit that allows it to spill over the edge of a hanging basket. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
May 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Now that our gardens and landscapes are heating up, it is the perfect time to plant annual flowering vinca. This beauty provides hot summer color you just can't beat.

Annual flowering vinca is a solid performer in Mississippi gardens, so I always make sure to plant some in my landscape.

Botanically speaking, annual flowering vinca is Catharanthus rosea. In garden centers, the pot tags sometimes call it Madagascar periwinkle.

May 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Beef
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Cattle producers in south Mississippi can learn about techniques to improve herd health and advancements in production systems during an upcoming field day in Raymond.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station are hosting the Beef Cattle Herd Health Field Day on June 16 at the MSU Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station. The station is located at 1676 Brown Loam Road. The field day begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m.

This Wyoming deer suffers from chronic wasting disease, a highly contagious illness that is now present in 23 states. Although the disease is undocumented in Mississippi, it poses a real, potential threat to the state’s deer herd. (Photo Credit: Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the CWD Alliance)
May 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Diseases are a big concern for deer biologists and managers.

Since the reestablishment of white-tailed deer across the Southeast, hemorrhagic disease has had a negative impact on their populations. Hemorrhagic disease in deer can be caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses, or bluetongue viruses, and is spread by black gnats.

May 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Insects-Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University researchers are continuing to study a "crazy" creature found in Mississippi’s coastal counties.

The tawny crazy ant, also known as Nylanderia fulva, is a non-native ant species that has been found in the southern United States, including Hancock, Jackson and Harrison counties in Mississippi. The ants are not widely distributed on the Mississippi gulf coast, but their presence can be overwhelming in areas that contain a crazy ant population, according to MSU researchers who study and monitor the ants.

Yellow squash is among the fruits and vegetables available for purchase at the Starkville Farmers Market on May 2, 2017. Early spring temperatures allowed some truck crops producers to plant their fruit and vegetable crops a little early this year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- This year's early spring temperatures allowed some fruit and vegetable growers to plant their crops a little earlier than usual.

Jeremy Maness, Mississippi State University Extension agent in Smith County, said growers in his county have not experienced any problems so far despite a late freeze.

"Everything is going well," he said. "Tomatoes grown in greenhouses or high tunnels are ready now. We project watermelons will be ready around mid- to late June, and field tomatoes should be ready to start coming off the vine around the first week of June."

Tom McBeath of Union, Mississippi, explains a riding pattern he will judge to a group of young women. McBeath, a long-time volunteer with the Mississippi 4-H Program, is the American Youth Horse Council Adult Leader of the Year. (Photo by Jeff Homan)
May 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Youth Livestock, Equine
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A long-time volunteer with the Mississippi 4-H program is the American Youth Horse Council Adult Leader of the Year.

Tom McBeath of Union, Mississippi, received the honor at the recent American Youth Horse Council symposium in Wakefield, Massachusetts. He has spent nearly four decades working with youth to establish strong foundations for successful experiences with horses.

State regulations govern on-site wastewater disposal systems to protect Mississippi’s people and environment. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 9, 2017 - Filed Under: Rural Water Association, Water Quality
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Landowners building new home sites or camp houses typically put in septic systems to handle wastewater, but some may not realize that state regulations govern the process.

Jason Barrett, an assistant professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said everyone concerned about the quality of drinking water and the safety of private wells, shallow aquifers and surface water should care about this issue.

Brittny Fairley, right, checks Dequesia Perry’s blood pressure in their health science class at the Hinds County Career and Technical Center in Raymond, Mississippi, on May 4, 2017. They are members of the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H Junior Master Wellness Volunteers group in Hinds County who received training to deliver basic health information and provide supervised basic screenings. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
May 9, 2017 - Filed Under: 4-H, Community, Leadership, Junior Master Wellness Volunteer, Health, Rural Health
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Rocheryl Ware sees members of her 4-H Junior Master Wellness Volunteer group as catalysts that can help change Mississippi's health landscape.

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.

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