Feature Story from 1998
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Summer activities may be concluding, but schoolagers still need to include physical activities in their daily routine to avoid being overweight. Healthy diets also benefit learning capabilities.
Research by the Centers for Disease Control indicates a continuing increase in overweight children and adolescents in the United States. Reports estimate 14 percent of the children and 12 percent of the adolescents are overweight. Diet and physical activity are the two primary behavioral factors associated with extra weight.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As if the drought wasn't hard enough on this year's corn crop, growers now prepare for harvest with the threat of yield-reducing corn borers and a drought-related fungus.
Dr. Scott D. Stewart, assistant Extension entomology specialist in Raymond, said most of Mississippi's crop has damage from corn borers, especially in the Delta counties.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's cotton was on the road to success in early July until weather stress, insects and diseases forced the crop to take a detour.
Dr. Will McCarty, cotton specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the August crops are a far cry from the fields a month earlier.
"I don't know if I've ever seen a crop develop this fast and then back up just as fast," McCarty said. "We had the motherload of crops until hot, dry weather, insects and diseases took their toll."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Parents with obligations during school hours can't always be visible in their child's classroom, but they can still be involved in their education.
Dr. Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said many parents have limited flexibility in their schedules.
By Marcela Cartagena
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- To rent an apartment, experts say the first and most important thing to do is to read and understand the lease to avoid conflicts between the renter and landlord.
"A lease is a binding contract between the renter and the landlord," said Dr. Frances Graham, housing specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Before signing a lease, the person must read the entire lease and understand it, because once they sign it they have agreed to accept the landlord's rules."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A second-year program is educating farmers in how to make good management and marketing decisions under the freedom granted them by the last Farm Bill.
Managing Profitability in Agriculture in Changing Times, developed by Mississippi State University's agricultural economics department, coordinates with MSU's Extension Service to teach farmers how to improve their operation by focusing on the basics.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi beekeepers continue a decade-long battle against mites that devastated hives nationwide in the late 1980s, and drove many owners out of business.
By Marcela Cartagena
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- One of Mississippi's oddest looking pests can tear up a lawn in a night, but experts say not much can be done to prevent the armadillo from doing it again.
"These animals are not serious pests, but they can be a nuisance and people should treat them as any other wild animal," said Dean Stewart, associate of wildlife and fisheries at the Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Few catfish producers had reason to complain about this summer's heat as high temperatures have been good news for their industry's bottom line.
Jim Steeby, district aquaculture agent with Mississippi State University's Extension Service in Stoneville, said catfish eat more when the water is warm and put on weight quicker.
"We're 10 to 15 percent ahead of last year's feeding," Steeby said. "That means we'll have bigger catfish to take to market."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High nighttime temperatures have left farmers concerned about yields, but they won't have long to wait as harvest has already started in some areas.
Dr. Joe Street, rice specialist with Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center, said the 1998 rice crop looks pretty good.
"It was hot and dry this summer and we're not yet sure what the high nighttime temperatures will do to yield," Street said. "We're in the wait-and-see mode."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Financial survival after sudden drops in incomes from job loss, medical expenses, death of a spouse or divorce will depend largely on a person's budgeting ability.
By Marcela Cartagena
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children's imagination can invoke monster or ghost images in the closet, under the bed or somewhere in their bedroom, but experts say parents can explore alternatives to help them cope with fear.
Dr. Jan Cooper Taylor, a professor of human sciences at Mississippi State University, said children develop their imagination as they grow.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A severe infectious bronchitis virus outbreak among Mississippi broilers was quickly subdued last winter with the help of improved tests run by Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Infectious bronchitis virus causes coughing and sneezing in broilers, slows the birds' growth and can kill the broiler or cause it to be condemned at the processing plant. This disease causes about $1.7 million annual losses in an industry valued at more than $1.2 billion in 1997.
By Marcela Cartagena
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's graduates in veterinary medicine have higher salaries and more job options than in past years.
"Our graduates' total annual salaries have surpassed the $40,000 national average," said Dr. Mikell Davis, student affairs coordinator at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "Job offers and the career opportunities this profession offers to our graduates are tremendous."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High levels of aflatoxin have devastated much Mississippi corn, and while producers will want to salvage something from the crop, feeding it to wildlife is not a good option.
Dean Stewart, wildlife specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said low levels of aflatoxin, a toxic chemical byproduct of grain mold, can kill some birds, while larger animals can tolerate much more.
"Don't put aflatoxin corn out for the deer even though it probably won't kill them, because it can kill smaller animals that get into it," Stewart said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hot, dry weather across most of the state for about a six-week period this summer slowed grass growth and hay production in Mississippi.
Dr. Lamar Kimbrough, Mississippi State University Extension Service forage specialist, said many of the state's hay producers have made fewer cuttings than normal due to the drought through June and early July.
"Much of the state got enough rain around July 12 to meet the moisture needs," Kimbrough said. "We made some hay after that, but we're running out of water again."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Turbulent markets, at home and abroad, are giving U.S. farmers more to worry about than the weather.
Economic problems began in 1997 with Asian countries in financial distress, next came this summer's Russian crisis, followed closely by the recent drastic fall of the U.S. stock market. Combine these burdens with the weather challenges farmers faced this summer across the country and the picture is bleak.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Volunteering is one of the few ways a person can give and still feel like they received.
Bettye Wadsworth, leadership development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said Extension volunteer efforts last year on educational programs and services were worth more than $16 million in the state.
By Amy Woolfolk
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Americans eat about 50 million pounds of oysters every year, but some people may risk illness if the oysters are not prepared properly.
Cathy Hollomon, environmental education program assistant at Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, said healthy adults run little risk of contracting illness from oysters. Anyone with a weakened immune system is susceptible to a potentially fatal infection from a bacteria called Vibrio Vulnificus sometimes found in raw or partially cooked oysters.
By Jamie Vickers
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hunting dogs may be an integral part of the sport, but they may encounter hazards which are often overlooked.
Dr. Thomas Lenarduzzi, associate professor at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said hunters should prepare for the problems and have a plan. Problems that could occur for hunting dogs range from heatstroke to snake bites and sore footpads.