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Feature Story from 1998

September 8, 1998 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Four academic teams from Mississippi State University recently won top honors in national competitions, bringing distinction to their colleges and departments.

The Agricultural Economics, Horticulture, Poultry Science and Dairy Products Judging teams all won first place in their respective national competitions in the last academic year.

Dr. Bill Fox, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said for most teams, these wins were not a first. Faculty helped position these students to compete and win.

September 8, 1998 - Filed Under: Farm Safety

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Last year Mississippi set a new all-time high record, but it is nothing to be proud of. The record was for deaths involving tractors.

Herb Willcutt, farm safety specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said Mississippi recorded 18 tractor deaths in 1997 and two other deaths involving heavy equipment. To raise awareness of the dangers found on the farm, Sept. 20 to 26 has been named National Farm Safety and Health Week.

September 11, 1998 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's timber industry is feeling the effect of Japan's economic crunch even though most Southern pine lumber rarely makes the voyage across the Pacific.

Dr. Bob Daniels, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said Japan is North America's largest wood products trading partner, principally buying softwood lumber from the western United States and Canada.

September 18, 1998 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi soybean growers are going into harvest hoping to survive a year of bad yields made worse by bad prices.

Early in the growing season, high temperatures and drought were the crop's worst enemies. Non-irrigated and early maturing Group IV soybeans were hardest hit. As harvest neared, prices fell, compounding the disastrous effects of low yields.

Yields have averaged 25 to 27 bushels an acre, compared to 1997's average of 31 bushels. Prices are currently about $5.30 per bushel, rather than a normal price of $6.80.

September 21, 1998 - Filed Under: 4-H, Fisheries

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Young people have enjoyed fishing for hundreds of years, but Mississippi's 4-H and fisheries leaders are developing a program that will take the sport to a new level in the next millennium.

4-H and fisheries leaders are working on an educational fishing-related curriculum, which they hope to have in place in the fall of 2000. The program includes four major areas: angling skills, aquatic ecology, people and fish, and tackle crafting.

September 21, 1998 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With unpredictable stock markets worldwide and a person's financial worth changing hourly, some people have turned to stuffed animals for security.

Produced by Ty Inc., Beanie Babies are a line of small, colorful, loosely stuffed animals. Priced about $5 so kids can buy them, the toys have become a hot commodity in adult circles where some Beanie Babies now sport price tags in the thousands along with their heart-shaped hang tag and poem.

September 21, 1998 - Filed Under: 4-H, Fisheries

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Young people have enjoyed fishing for hundreds of years, but Mississippi's 4-H and fisheries leaders are developing a program that will take the sport to a new level in the next millennium.

4-H and fisheries leaders are working on an educational fishing-related curriculum, which they hope to have in place in the fall of 2000. The program includes four major areas: angling skills, aquatic ecology, people and fish, and tackle crafting.

September 21, 1998 - Filed Under: Basic Money Management

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE --Teen-agers who venture into the world of part-time jobs realize that managing money is not always easy, and they may need help from parents.

"Parents should help their teen determine obligations and a spending plan," said Dr. Beverly Howell, family economics and management specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Parents should also help them stick to it."

Budgeting is a good place to start when teens are learning to manage their money. Three essential steps in designing a budget are:

September 21, 1998 - Filed Under: 4-H

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- From a national advertising campaign to additional staff positions promoting youth activities, Mississippi's 4-H program has cause to celebrate.

"National 4-H Week is Oct. 4 through 11, but it seems like all of 1998 has been 4-H Year," said Dr. Susan Holder, state 4-H leader with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.

September 21, 1998 - Filed Under: 4-H

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Society breaks down when people can't get along, but one 4-H program is stepping in to help youth learn to keep their cool.

Dr. Susan Holder, state 4-H leader with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said it is vital that today's youth learn to resolve conflict well.

"As juvenile crime rates rise, we see a great need for youth to learn better ways to handle their anger," Holder said. "Much youth violence could be prevented if young people were taught peaceful ways to resolve their problems."

September 25, 1998 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Like other Mississippi crops, the sweetpotato crop is reaching the end of a long, hard row, but its tropical nature has prevented catastropic results.

Chickasaw County agent Charlie Fitts said the majority of sweetpotatoes are the Beauregard variety, which has been one of the most successful varieties in recent years.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Farm Safety

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane Georges has passed, but the deadly aftermath has just begun.

Many South Mississippi residents purchased their first chain saws as the storm approached, but the risks abound for experienced operators as well.

Dr. Laurie Grace, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said chain saw accidents occur when the operators fail to respect the deadly potential of their saw and/or fail to wear protective clothing such as chaps, safety boots, eye and ear protection, and hard hats.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Make safety and documentation top priorities when returning home and cleaning up after a hurricane.

"Personal safety is most important," said Sharon Frazier, State Farm Insurance spokesperson, but documenting losses is also very important.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Damage caused by Hurricane Georges could result in South Mississippi residents becoming victims of unethical or unqualified repairers or businesses.

Although judgement is often impaired during times of emergency, there are several ways consumers can avoid fraud.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Nuts

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When Hurricane Georges blasted through coastal Mississippi last week, the pecan crop took a beating, but nurseries escaped with light to moderate damage.

Extension agricultural agents in some southern counties described significant damage to pecans and trees.

John Wesley, Stone County Extension agent, called this year's pecan harvest in his county a complete loss. The crop was only about three weeks from harvest.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Family

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While Halloween costumes can be as simple as a trip to the store, taking time with a child to create a costume at home can be fun for the family.

Dr. Betty Fulwood, apparel and textiles specialist for Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said it has become common practice in today's fast-paced society to buy ready-made costumes. However, great costumes can be found at home for little or no expense.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Food

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Restaurants and other establishments that sell food to the public are turning to two state agencies to meet new requirements for food safety certification.

"Everyone expects their food to be safe, and more people are eating away from home," said Lydia Strayer, director of the sanitation bureau for the Mississippi State Health Department. "People who prepare the food have to be properly trained, or it could lead to illness."

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest, Urban and Community Forestry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane winds took their toll on South Mississippi forests and urban trees, but the price was not as high as some feared.

"Most forest land and landscape trees dodged the bullet from Hurricane Georges," said Dr. Glenn Hughes, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Of course, if your are one of the homeowners who lost a treasured tree in your yard, you may not feel so lucky."

Hughes, who is based in Ellisville, said the hurricane-force winds apparently decreased quickly after landfall.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Cotton, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most cotton and soybean farmers relaxed as Hurricane Georges hung a hard right after landfall, but for Southeast Mississippi growers, the results were devastating.

Dr. Alan Blaine, agronomist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said growers across the state with fields almost ready for harvest were working around the clock to avoid the predicted heavy winds and rain.

October 9, 1998 - Filed Under: Crops, Agricultural Economics

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many state producers will remember 1998 as a farming disaster as low market prices compounded yield losses from heat, drought and hurricane.

Corn and soybeans took the biggest hit as low yields matched lower prices. Production value for both fell 32 percent from 1997 even though acreage this year was higher than last.

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