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News From 2014

This hoary bat, Lasiurus cinereus, is a solitary animal found in Mississippi that prefers to roost in the foliage of trees. Bats provide many environmental benefits, including pollination and insect control. (Photo courtesy of Raymond Iglay)
October 24, 2014 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Bats are popular, but often misunderstood, Halloween symbols. These strange-looking mammals generate fear among children and adults alike, but the truth about bats is really quite fascinating.

With more than 1,200 species worldwide, bats are divided into two suborders -- Microbats and Megabats. All bats have webbed wings, making them the only mammal capable of true flight. Bats are present throughout the world, with the exception of Antarctica and the northernmost parts of North America, Europe and Asia.

Wet weather during the growing season delayed pumpkin harvest and increased disease pressure for some Mississippi growers. These pumpkins were displayed at Mitchell Farms in Collins, Mississippi on Oct. 20, 2014. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
October 24, 2014 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

RAYMOND -- Pumpkins are popping up on porches across Mississippi, but some growers had trouble getting them there.

Many Mississippi pumpkin farmers experienced heavy disease pressure and a delayed harvest due to frequent summer rains.

Growers planted more acres this year, but harvested fewer pumpkins than usual, said Stanley Wise, Union County agriculture and natural resource enterprise and community development agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

October 23, 2014 - Filed Under: Health, Rural Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service is promoting diabetes awareness in a series of health fairs.

Bridget Fulton, left, a child care provider from Meridian, talks with Karen Ponder and Chad Allgood, Mississippi State University Early Years Network consultants. The Early Years Network went on the road in October to discuss changes in the program made to better serve child care providers across the state. (Photo by MSU School of Human Sciences/Amy Barefield)
October 23, 2014 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Early Years Network was well received during its recent tour across Mississippi to introduce the new one-stop shop for child care providers and families.

The Early Years Network is a system of support services that is approved by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and its partners and receives funding from the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood Care and Development.

The blue mass circled over a map of Alabama indicates a high concentration of mayflies that swarmed Sept. 4, 2014, and were caught on weather radar. (Submitted Photo by WHNT/Jason Simpson)
October 22, 2014 - Filed Under: Insects-Pests

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Southern storms mean a lot of unusual things show up on weather radar, but swarming insects usually are not the first thing that come to mind.

Jason Simpson, chief meteorologist at WHNT-TV in Huntsville, Alabama and a 2001 geosciences graduate of Mississippi State University, noticed some trends on live radar Sept. 4 that made him and other professionals wonder if they were seeing insects. Colored areas that typically indicated precipitation appeared on screen on a sunny day.

This filly, registered with the American Quarter Horse Association, is one of about 20 horses that will be included in the Mississippi State University horse auction in November. (Submitted Photo)
October 21, 2014 - Filed Under: Equine

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most Mississippi State University horses arrive on campus in the spring educating students about the foaling process and leave in November teaching them about auctions.

The annual horse sale will take place in a nontraditional setting as about 20 horses, ages 6 months to 12 years, are sold online Nov. 15 through 21.

Give gardens the gift of organic matter in the fall to thank them for their beauty and bounty and prepare them for the next growing season. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
October 20, 2014 - Filed Under: Organic Fruit and Vegetables, Soil Health, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Gardens and landscapes work really hard to give us so much beauty and bounty, so sometimes it’s nice for gardeners to give something back to the earth.

Fall is a really good time to build up your garden soil for next year. Probably the best gift you can give your garden is to amend its soil with organic matter.

Cotton dislodged from bolls by heavy rains can still be harvested unless it is washed to the ground. This photo was taken Oct. 14, 2014, at the Mississippi State University Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
October 17, 2014 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The major storm that passed through the state Oct. 13 brought a lot of wind and rain but caused little damage to the state’s row crops, because most of them were already harvested.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures released Oct. 12, harvest was 87 percent complete for rice, 74 percent complete for soybeans, 98 percent complete for corn and 85 percent complete for sorghum. Only 38 percent of cotton had been harvested when the storm hit.

The right gear and a little preparation can make a fall camping trip fun and enjoyable. (Photo by iStock)
October 17, 2014 - Filed Under: Environment, Urban and Backyard Wildlife, Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The sight of a flickering camp fire. The glow of faces bathed in warm firelight. The sound of crickets chirping in the background.

Research shows connecting with nature and one another is helpful to hurried and task-weary souls. Camping is one way to relax, get outdoors and reconnect with loved ones. If you have never experienced the rewards of camping, fall is the perfect time to try it.

October 16, 2014 - Filed Under: Economic Development, Rural Development

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A New York-based think tank has designated the Mississippi State University Extension Service an Intelligent Community Institute, the second of its kind in the country.

October 16, 2014 - Filed Under: Forestry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Longtime outreach efforts by the Mississippi State University Extension Service’s forestry department received significant attention when it won a national award.

MSU Extension Forestry won the 2014 Family Forests Education Award presented by the National Woodland Owners Association and the National Association of University Forest Resources Programs. George Hopper, dean of the MSU College of Forest Resources, accepted the award Oct. 8 at the Society of American Foresters national convention in Salt Lake City.

National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences past president Kathleen Ann Olson, center, presents Jenna Schilling, left, and Natasha Haynes with the Early Childhood Child Care Training Award for the TummySafe program at the NEAFCS Annual Conference in Lexington, Kentucky on Sept. 18, 2014. (Submitted Photo)
October 15, 2014 - Filed Under: TummySafe, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Two Mississippi State University Extension Service professionals were recently honored by the National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences for their work in the early childhood field.

Jenna Schilling, Extension associate, and Natasha Haynes, Extension agent in family and consumer sciences, won the national Early Childhood Child Care Training Award for the TummySafe program, a food certification course for child care providers.

Dewayne Smith checks one of his goats at his Greene County, Mississippi, farm Oct. 13, 2014. Smith is one of several Mississippi farmers diversifying their farming businesses by adding meat goats. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
October 15, 2014 - Filed Under: Goats and Sheep

RAYMOND -- Goats are growing in popularity among Mississippi livestock producers who have limited acreage or want to diversify their farming business.

“Since 2012, the overall number of meat goats in the southeastern region of the state has increased,” said Mitch Newman, Greene County agricultural agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “More small farmers want to raise livestock to supplement other income, and some landowners have fragmented property, which makes raising cattle unrealistic.”

Frequent hand washing is essential in reducing the spread of germs and more effective than hand sanitizers alone. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Jonathan Parrish)
October 14, 2014 - Filed Under: Family, Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Enterovirus-68 is making headlines and drawing attention to the importance of taking precautions even before cold and flu season arrives.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs, state epidemiologist with the Mississippi State Department of Health, said a strain of enterovirus is causing serious complications in some children in 42 states, including Mississippi, as of the first of October. Strains of enterovirus have been around since the 1960s, but they have never been seen as severe as this year.

Cactus-flowers zinnias such as this Inca are very different from traditional zinnias. Each flower displays masses of thin, almost needle-like petals that come in a range of long-lasting flower colors. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
October 13, 2014 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

It’s not just people who are happy when temperatures finally start to decrease in the fall. Many summer-flowering annuals that look pretty worn out at Labor Day get a second wind and perk back up.

For this reason, late September and October give us some of the best annual color of the entire year.

Some of my favorite fall-flowering summer annuals are Zahara zinnias, which produce mounds of colorful flowers. The plants are robust and have excellent branching to support the many flowers. Plus, these plants have a natural resistance to powdery mildew.

October 10, 2014 - Filed Under: About Extension

CRYSTAL SPRINGS -- A new horticulture research scientist joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Oct. 1.

October 10, 2014 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Economic Development, Rural Development

GREENWOOD -- A conference planned to better equip economic development officials to promote rural tourism opportunities has an educational lineup worthy of a festival.

The Mississippi-Alabama Rural Tourism Conference will be Oct. 20-22 in Greenwood.

Managing small ponds for large, healthy crappie, such as these pictured, requires careful management and a willingness to give up the expectation of also harvesting large, healthy bass from the same pond. (Submitted photo)
October 10, 2014 - Filed Under: Environment, Fisheries

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most people think of pond fishing and management as a warm weather affair, but there is much to do -- and catch -- during the cooler months of the year.

Winter drawdown can be a useful tool for the farm pond manager, if done properly. It poses no threat to the fish population and costs nothing if the pond is equipped with a water control structure. Water level drawdown prevents or corrects overcrowding of prey fish and reduces nuisance weeds in ponds.

With peanut harvest near the halfway mark in Mississippi by Oct. 10, 2014, growers were seeing above average yields and quality pods. (File Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
October 10, 2014 - Filed Under: Peanuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi producers are quite happy with the peanut crop they are harvesting in early October, and recent dry weather has provided excellent drying conditions.

“Overall in the state, we’re seeing above average yields, and the lowest grade I’ve heard is 68-69, which is the highest grade some growers have gotten in the past,” said Jason Sarver, peanut specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Some peanuts have been graded as 80, which is a fantastic grade.”

October 9, 2014 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Fruit

GOODMAN -- Small-scale fruit and vegetable producers can attend a field day Oct. 17 in Goodman to learn how to create and follow a financial plan to produce a profit.

The Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production Demonstration Farm will host Velma Oliver, farm management and loan specialist with Alcorn State University. She will help farmers understand recordkeeping and budgeting for items such as labor, equipment and inputs.

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