News From 2011
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Crop producers have been busy planting corn, and while those in drier areas are nearly finished, those in wetter areas are trying to catch up.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the crop was 79 percent planted by April 10. The bulk of the acres yet to be planted are in northeast Mississippi, where frequent rains have kept producers out of soggy fields.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Eleven young women visited Mississippi State University to learn how to turn their passion for wildlife into rewarding jobs at the first Conservation Careers Discovery Day.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Recent winners of Mississippi’s top 4-H clubs can credit the work of volunteer leaders for inspiring youth to exceptional community service.
“Volunteers have been the backbone of 4-H clubs since the clubs started more than a century ago,” said Harvey Gordon, 4-H youth development specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service. He oversees the 7,700 volunteers who lead more than 109,000 youth in 1,120 community-based clubs across Mississippi.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Lionel “Bo” Beaulieu received the 2011 Excellence in Extension award for his significant accomplishments as the director of the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University.
The award from the Southern Rural Sociological Association serves to recognize the contributions of members in extending the work of rural sociology in the southern United States.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – In the ongoing attempt to put the best seed possible in the ground every time they plant, sweet potato growers often turn to virus-tested foundation seed for their next crop.
Many crops today are grown from genetically modified seed engineered to resist certain pests, diseases or weed-control chemicals. For most crops, growers must buy seed every year, not holding seed back from the previous year’s harvest to plant the coming year.
If you’re looking for a tough plant to keep right on blooming despite the heat of the summer, try gomphrena in your garden. This is one tough plant that likes really high temperatures. Sometimes called globe amaranth, legend has it that the original planting was at the gates of Hades.
By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The strawberry business in Mississippi may be small, but growers are finding big business with consumers who prefer to buy locally.
“The Mississippi strawberry is as red on the inside as it is on the outside,” said Brooks Brownlee, who owns Brownlee Farms in Marshall County and grows five acres of strawberries. “Commercial strawberries have a whitish color and air pockets on the inside, but our berries are fresh-tasting throughout.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Boosting childhood literacy has become a community-wide enterprise in Neshoba County.
Since 2008, Rotary International and community members have visited the Exhibit Hall Head Start Center in Philadelphia each week to participate in the Neshoba County Preschool Literacy Project. The program is designed to encourage school readiness and provide access to books. Volunteers read aloud, sing songs and engage in story-related activities, creating a bond over classic titles such as Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Tiny soybean cyst nematodes cause big problems for soybean growers, but a Mississippi State University researcher is helping cut them down to size.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Farmers have to grow two crops just to make one sweet potato harvest, making this delectable vegetable a labor-intensive, high-cost crop to produce.
As of late March, Mississippi sweet potato producers had finished bedding the crop, which means they had planted the seed stock that will produce transplants, or slips. These slips will be planted in May and June to produce the sweet potatoes that end up on tables.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The horticulture club at Mississippi State University will offer garden enthusiasts a wide variety of plants and educational seminars at their annual spring plant sale.
This year’s sale will take place Friday, April 15 from 9 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 16 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the campus greenhouses behind Dorman Hall on MSU’s main campus. The event is free and open to the public.
A wide variety of plants will be available such as summer annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables and ferns.
If you’ve been reading this column and thinking I have a lot of favorite plants, you’re right. If you ask me for my favorites, my answer will depend on the season; some plants are more suitable than others at certain times of the year.
The new selections coming out each year make it even more difficult to have an absolute favorite flowering garden plant. But if there is one plant I have been the most impressed with over the last couple of years, it has to be Million Bells.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With the excitement of drivers at a NASCAR start, farmers are ready to begin the 2011 growing season.
The first fields out of the starting gate are corn fields.
Erick Larson, small grains specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said growers were approaching the halfway point in planting this year’s corn crop by the end of March. They should complete planting by the end of April.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – When JoVonn Hill stepped out of his vehicle in a cedar glade near Nashville, the first insect that crossed his path was a grasshopper never before identified.
Hill, a Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station research associate, was participating in a July 2009 expedition to catalog the insect life in the unique glades of the Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Tennessee.
By Kaitlyn Byrne
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – This year’s Bulldog Classic American Quarter Horse Association Show brought in a larger crowd than in previous years while continuing a tradition that has lasted more than 50 years.
The Bulldog Classic AQHA show is sponsored by Mississippi State University and held at the Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville. It is the oldest quarter horse show in Mississippi. Mary Hopkins, a rancher and horseback riding instructor in Vicksburg, played an instrumental role in starting the show in the early 1960s.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Everyone agrees on the importance of reading skills, but many people neglect their own financial literacy.
Susan Cosgrove is a family resource management agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. She is also president of Mississippi’s Jump$tart Coalition, a national nonprofit organization that promotes financial literacy.
Early spring is a wonderful time, as the garden and landscape start to wake from the winter season. One of the many wonderful spring flowering plants is the Lenten rose, an old favorite that you may not often see.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A drier-than-normal winter has put this year’s winter wheat crop in good shape as it heads into the heavy growth stages of spring.
Erick Larson, grain agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the state has about 300,000 acres of wheat. This figure is up from the meager 125,000 acres harvested in 2010, but down from the recent high of 520,000 acres planted in 2008.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A new Mississippi State University Extension Service program will connect Mississippi families to important educational resources.
MSU Extension Service was recently awarded funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission to launch Project Navigator. The project is designed to provide better access to family resources and decrease the rates of child abuse and infant mortality through parent education programming and community service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Students interested in the diverse world of natural resources, science and conservation can take advantage of four camps offered this summer by Mississippi State University.
The Natural Resources Summer Camp will be held June 5-9 at MSU. The $190 fee covers lodging, meals and all activities. Campers will spend time on campus, at Dorman and Choctaw lakes and the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. This camp is open to those entering ninth grade or older or who have recently graduated from high school.