Feature Story from 1999
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Feeding the newest four-legged member of the household can be a major expense depending on the size of the animal, but options are available to keep costs down.
Dr. Andrew Mackin, assistant professor of small animal internal medicine at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said commercial foods available have made today's pets better fed than any previous generation.
By Lani Jefcoat
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Health, life and property insurances are common purchases for Mississippians, but an additional option for pet coverage may appeal to people with significant investments in their animals.
Major illnesses, accidents or lost pets can result in significant financial or emotional stress for pet owners. The solution to these unexpected problems may lie in pet insurance policies.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most cotton growers haven't planted the first seed, but they are already making decisions for managing insects.
Continued poor market prices, a mild winter and location in the state are among the issues growers are considering as they make choices between transgenic cotton that is resistant to budworms and nontransgenic seeds. Timely plantings for an early maturing crop continues to be another part of the insect risk management strategy.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers across Mississippi are moving some of their acres to cotton or soybeans based on poor prices and a bad year for corn in 1998.
Dr. Erick Larson, corn specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said last year's problems with aflatoxin have been the most significant factor keeping corn acreage low this year.
"Many growers are uncomfortable dealing with the risk of aflatoxin because it develops based primarily on environmental conditions over which the grower has little control," Larson said.
By Lani Jefcoat
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Jackson Zoo will play host this summer to thousands of butterflies in a special six-month event.
The zoo, with assistance from the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, is preparing a 3,000 square foot shade-cloth butterfly house.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Getting shots is not a pleasant experience, but the large numbers of Americans immunized have helped eliminate widespread death and disability brought on by disease.
Linda Patterson, health education specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said 82 percent of Mississippi 2-year-olds had their basic immunizations at last count in 1998.
"This group had all the shots required by the state for their age for the vaccine-preventable diseases," Patterson said.
By Jamie Vickers
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- One Mississippi 4-H'er liked the organization so much that she continues to refine her leadership skills on a regional, collegiate level and plans to continue as an adult volunteer after graduation.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While some people are making sure all computer systems are ready to handle the millennium date change, others are using the occasion to scam money from unsuspecting people.
With just nine months to go before the year 2000, or Y2K, several scams have surfaced related to this issue. Dr. Dan Brook, head of computer applications for Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said people presented with Y2K problems or solutions should be careful because what is claimed may not be what it seems.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most vegetable gardeners have their crops planted and growing fast with hopes that Mother Nature will be kind.
Dr. David Nagel, horticulturist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said winter rains delayed some garden planting, much like last year's weather.
"We're hoping we won't see a repeat of the drastic temperature change from mild weather to hot, dry conditions in 1998," Nagel said. "Last year's spring garden did OK, but anything we tried to carry past June did not fair very well without irrigation."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Visionaries may not have dreamed big enough when plans began for the construction of a harness track at Mississippi State University, but now that it is operational, several upcoming events will compliment the track's training purposes.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University established an agenda Wednesday to grow the Mississippi economy through agriculture, forestry and rural community development.
Dr. Malcolm Portera, MSU president, laid out a road map to the more than 450 leaders gathered in Jackson for the second Agriculture and Forestry Summit. The group heard the recommendations of task forces formed a year ago to study several aspects of Mississippi's economy.
By Jamie Vickers
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many students around the state will soon celebrate at graduation parties, and some of the celebrations will include alcohol which could cause problems for students and party hosts.
"About 82 percent of high school students and 75 percent of college students in Mississippi have used alcohol within the past month," said Dr. Melissa Mixon, nutrition specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Student drinking always increases around this time of year."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A 25-year-old center uses its resources to share research and information important in keeping rural development issues a top priority in the South.
The Southern Rural Development Center, headquartered at Mississippi State University, works with 13 states and two territories. It serves Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virgin Islands and Virginia.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Oyster season is winding down in Mississippi, but early reports show it to be an excellent year in both quality and quantity.
Scott Gordon, biological program coordinator with the Department of Marine Resources in Biloxi, said the state had landed more than 276,000 sacks by March 31. A sack, a measurement of 1.98 cubic feet, weighs about 105 pounds and yields about 1 to 1.25 gallons of shucked oysters.
By Lani Jefcoat
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's poultry industry reached an all time high value of $1.5 billion in 1998 according to final figures released in late April from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In 1998, Mississippi broilers and eggs combined to bring a value of $1.5 billion, up 12 percent from 1997. Broilers saw a 12 percent increase in value to $1.4 billion and eggs increased 9 percent in value to $159 million.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- State agricultural, political, community and industry leaders came together in April to outline an agenda to grow the Mississippi economy through agriculture, forestry and rural community development.
Mississippi State University spearheaded the second Agriculture and Forestry Summit in Jackson. The recommendations of task forces formed a year ago to study several aspects of Mississippi's economy were announced at this conference. Dr. Malcolm Portera, MSU president, explained the goals.
By Jamie Vickers
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Be A Champ camp comes to Mississippi this summer to teach 4-H and FFA students how to be winners in cattle and sheep showing, as well as how to be winners in life.
Mississippi State University's new AgriCenter will host the camp on June 18 through 20 for students age 9 and up. In the past 15 years, the camp was only available in Oklahoma and Louisiana.
"We are very lucky to have this camp available within the state," said Kipp Brown, livestock agent with the MSU Extension Service.
By Jamie Vickers
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As the weather heats up, the cool water of swimming pools will come alive with summer activity, but along with the fun and relaxation come risks that should be considered first.
"About 43,000 people are injured in and around swimming pools each year," said Linda Patterson, health education specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Timber markets are showing some promise for landowners wanting to sell trees this summer.
Dr. Bob Daniels, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the market has been slow, but it is improving -- bucking the tradition of waning prices as harvesting becomes easier in the summer months.
"The first third of 1999 has seen good, but not great, prices for pine and hardwood sawtimber, and poor demand for pulpwood. Pine lumber prices have been trending up since late January," Daniels said.
By Rebekah Ray
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station is making the state's roadsides its lab as it studies weed control.
Dr. Euel Coats, MAFES weed scientist, said test sites are located across the state to research vegetative management for the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
"We test herbicides at these sites to help MDOT engineers know the effectiveness of products," Coats said.