News From 2010
By Karen Templeton
MSU Office of Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Focusing on safety, developing life skills and teaching good sportsmanship have made Mississippi’s 4-H Shooting Sports program popular with youth.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In 1985, a young and energetic Mississippi State University forest products professor began testing a new treatment on railroad crossties. At the time, Terry Amburgey had little notion that his experiment would change railroad infrastructure almost 25 years later.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A veterinary student at Mississippi State University doing grant-funded research on the immune system of dogs received the highest award given for her presentation in an international competition.
Claire Fellman, a fourth-year MSU College of Veterinary Medicine student from Ocean Springs, received a Morris Animal Foundation Veterinary Student Scholars grant last year to study immunosuppression in dogs.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Delayed planting and high summer heat have not kept Mississippi’s soybean crop from looking good as of mid-July, though fields ranged from just planted to nearly ready to harvest.
Trey Koger, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the crop was planted a little later than usual statewide, but many acres in northeast Mississippi were not planted until almost July.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Individuals interested in learning about the latest research and development of plant materials into biofuel should attend Mississippi State University’s 2010 Biofuels Conference Aug. 12-13 in Jackson.
The annual conference will be at the Hilton Jackson Hotel, located at the intersection of I-55 and County Line Road. Participants can register online at http://www.biofuelsconference.msstate.edu/registration.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The castor plant thrives in Mississippi and produces great quantities of valuable oil in its seeds, but it has a reputation that a team of researchers at Mississippi State University are trying to address.
Castor oil is the highly desirable, plentiful product of castor beans. The oil is used to produce everything from cosmetics and paints to jet aircraft lubricants and certain plastics. Generations ago, it was given by the spoonful as a laxative and used as a home remedy to treat a range of maladies.
Gardeners who want color in the landscape usually concentrate their efforts on flowering annuals and perennials, often overlooking plants with colorful foliage like caladiums, striped cannas or gingers.
But plants with colorful foliage can be used instead of flowering bedding plants or even in the shrub border. They have always been popular with some gardeners, but there seems to be a growing interest in these colorful foliage plants.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – When Julian Watson decided to turn his erodible farmland into a tree farm, he had no idea that 24 years later he would be so widely recognized for his efforts.
Watson’s grandparents purchased the land in 1872. When Watson inherited it, he focused on trying to prevent erosion. The 1,100-acre parcel was washing away at a rate of 30 to 50 tons of topsoil per year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rain barrels are gaining popularity, as they can save both pocket change and the environment.
“There are a lot of good reasons to use rain barrels,” said Tom Cathcart, professor of environmental engineering in Mississippi State University’s Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering. “Generally, for a residential property, it is the house that creates the large majority of displaced stormwater during a rain event. Managing this displaced water at the source is the best management practice we have.”
By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Favorable early conditions got Mississippi’s corn crop off to a good start, but most parts of the state could use more rain to make this year a successful one.
Corn is in the later stages of maturity, and harvest is slated for early August through September if conditions are right.
VERONA – The North Mississippi Research and Extension Center’s biannual Agronomic Row Crops Field Day will present the latest research to the area’s row-crop farmers and consultants.
The field day will be held from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 5 at the Lee County Agri-Center on Highway 145 South in Verona.
The program will include educational and industry exhibits and field research plot tours. This year’s featured speaker will be Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Lester Spell.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Youth with a passion for photography, drama, writing, technology or robotics should register for Mississippi State University’s annual 4-H Technology and Expressive Arts Camp scheduled for July 27-28.
Registration is $65 for day campers, which includes supplies and meals. Those who choose to stay overnight will pay a $175 registration fee. Spaces are limited.
Angelonia and caladium should top your shopping list when you visit your favorite garden center looking for summer color.
For full sun, select Angelonia, also called summer snapdragons. These plants begin flowering in late spring and continue to bloom profusely until frost. They require very little deadheading.
Because plants with round flowers dominate the garden world, the spiky texture of the Angelonia flower stalks offers welcome contrast in any summer garden.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Students struggling with ideas for school projects or future careers may only need to look at their newspaper to find topics that interest them.
Many Mississippi State University faculty members can trace their research careers back to science fair projects on topics that were new at the time but have continued to hold their interest for many years. One such topic this year could be the Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – More Mississippi youth will have access to after-school programs because of an effort by Mississippi State University’s 4-H program to train providers who can reach these children.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi schools should benefit from all they learned during last year’s H1N1 pandemic flu.
Jane Clary, health specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said even though the worst of the pandemic appears to be behind us, schools should keep flu prevention efforts in place for the upcoming season.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The apartments of many college students may not look like they contain wealth, but students who have had to replace everything after a loss face a significant financial burden.
Bobbie Shaffett, family resource management specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a large majority of renters, a group that includes many college students, do not carry renter’s insurance.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Good growing conditions are contributing to a bumper crop of tasty watermelons for Mississippians.
David Nagel, a Mississippi State University Extension Service horticulturist, said rains and cool temperatures delayed plantings but warm temperatures later contributed to rapid development. Harvests began in mid-June and peak each year around the Fourth of July.
“We’ve had plenty of warm temperatures and sunshine to produce large and sweet watermelons this year,” Nagel said. “The more sunny days we have, the sweeter the melons.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi cattle producers have until Aug. 17 to register for a Aug. 24-25 pasture and forage short course being offered by Mississippi State University.
The two-day workshop costs $100 per person or $75 each if two or more people from the same farm or organization attend. The fee covers the training, the Mississippi Grazing Manual and other educational materials, and meals. The event will be held at MSU’s Bost Conference Center.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi remains completely free of soybean rust, and conditions as of June 30 were not favorable for the development of the disease.
Tom Allen, plant pathologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said soybean rust recently has been detected in the United States in southern Texas, outside Mobile, Ala., and in the Florida Panhandle.
“Over the past few weeks, conditions throughout most of Mississippi have not been conducive for the development of the disease,” Allen said.