News From 2012
By Laci Kyles
MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi has some of the best fisheries in the nation, and Mississippi State University researchers are working to keep the threatened species in them from disappearing.
Peter Allen, assistant professor of aquatic sciences, conducts research on the fisheries that provide food and fun for Mississippians. He works at MSU’s South Farm Aquaculture Facility, a joint venture of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The Mississippi State University Extension Service is preparing for Tropical Storm Isaac’s landfall, shutting down county and district offices and making information available online to Mississippians.
Counties in western Mississippi remain in the projected path of the storm that by midmorning Monday continued to move farther west than originally expected. South Mississippi is under a hurricane warning. Tropical storm-force winds are expected as far north as Highway 84 across the state.
Last week I highlighted the benefits of making and using compost in the garden and landscape. This week I’m explaining how and why you should use vermicompost. That’s right; I’m talking about worms.
Vermicomposting is a common activity at many of our elementary schools, and the kids generally enjoy participating. Students do it to learn the science of the process. As adults, we use vermicompost to enhance our garden soils and plant growth.
With Isaac charting a course in the Gulf of Mexico, now is the time to make sure your house or business is ready to weather any storm.
Before the storm…
Take steps to prepare for you and your loved ones to be safe in the event of a disaster or evacuation. You want to be ready to grab important items and head for a safer location. Checklists for emergency supply kits are available on many websites, such as http://www.ready.gov.
By Karen Templeton
MSU College of Veterinary Medicine
MISSISSIPPI STATE – As Tropical Storm Isaac heads toward Mississippi, residents in flood-prone areas may have to consider evacuation, and those with pets should have a plan of departure that includes their furry and feathered family members.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The drought across the nation’s Corn Belt is contributing to record high grain prices and near-record low river levels, both of which are impacting Mississippi’s corn.
Corn prices are at $8 per bushel and have been trading in that range for the past couple of weeks. This is compared to about $5.20 per bushel at the start of June before the drought really took hold.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Much of agriculture’s success depends on effective water management, which must be done to keep both farmland and surrounding areas healthy.
Agriculture was a $6.7 billion industry in Mississippi last year, and the state is on track to match that value in 2012. That makes agriculture big business with a big responsibility to the environment.
TUPELO – Steve Hale is banking on today’s young consumers embracing sustainable vegetable production for the good of the environment and their health.
2012 is Hale’s first year in the hydroponic tomato business. St Bethany Fresh tomato farm, located just west of Tupelo in Pontotoc County, started with 3,000 plants in December. By mid-April, Hale was harvesting blemish-free, vine-ripened tomatoes.
There is just no escaping technology these days. As I entered a new, swanky restaurant on one of my travels, I saw the host tapping away on his iPad. He explained there would be a 15-minute wait and asked for my cell phone number. This particular restaurant has joined a growing number of businesses replacing their pager systems with text messaging.
By Kaitlyn Byrne
MSU Ag Communications
STARKVILLE – A growing number of Mississippians are interested in how their food gets from the farm to the table and are looking for local fruits, vegetables and meat.
Ali Fratesi, a graduate student in Mississippi State University’s Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, said more people are choosing locally grown food. When they do, they can ask farmers how it was grown or raised.
STARKVILLE – A Mississippi museum is conserving the past inside and embracing the future outside with its modern, sustainable landscape.
Visitors to the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum will enjoy a new pavilion’s shade but may not realize they are surrounded by environmentally friendly solutions to a challenging landscape using environmentally friendly solutions.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Seeing the forest and the trees is a lot easier with software developed by scientists at Mississippi State University.
Researchers at MSU’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center have created the Mississippi Forest Monitoring and Information System, a forest inventory and information system that combines satellite remote sensing data and ground surveys. It is the first time forest-related satellite data and ground measurements have been combined on such a large scale in the United States.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A Mississippi State University veterinary student interested in bovine health recently won a national scholarship.
Matt Mundy, a third-year student at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, received an American Association of Bovine Practitioners’ Amstutz Scholarship. This is the first time an MSU student has received this prestigious award.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Gardeners may be getting ready to put away their gloves for the year, but now is the perfect time to get a head start on environmentally friendly landscaping projects.
Planning ahead can make yard maintenance easier, save money and conserve natural resources.
One of the final gifts a productive garden can give us is raw materials to compost for use in the next year’s garden.
As we move into autumn, many of us will be cleaning up the garden, pruning and getting rid of leaves. A lot of this yard trash will end up at the curb for the city to pick up. Some of this will be chipped and composted for municipal use. The rest probably will end up in the landfill, which is not ideal.
JACKSON – Seventy-eight Mississippians have been diagnosed with West Nile Virus, and one death is attributed to the disease.
Mississippi is one of the three hardest-hit states, following Texas and Oklahoma. Specialists predict the number of cases will continue to increase through early fall.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippians do not have to look far to see the impact of the Midwest’s historic drought, as the state’s catfish farmers already feel the pinch of sky-high feed costs.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – About 32,000 grasshopper specimens from the Smithsonian Institution are now housed in the Mississippi Entomological Museum to support ongoing research at Mississippi State University.
JoVonn Hill, a Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station research associate in MSU’s Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, has been working since last summer to secure the collection’s loan from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.