Feature Story from 2000
By Crystel Bailey
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Poultry production can decrease the water quality in places where people like to swim and fish, but agricultural specialists are taking steps to manage this problem in Mississippi.
Poultry, Mississippi's No. 1 agricultural product, produces a massive amount of manure, or litter. To use this by-product, producers distribute the litter as phosphorous-rich fertilizer on pastures and forage crops. Excess phosphorous can move into the soil and eventually find its way into surface water.
By Crystel Bailey
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- People would never send their family members out into the cold without a source of warmth and nourishment, and neglecting to provide for pets can be just as heartless.
"Animals need shelter from temperatures or wind chills below freezing.
By Bonnie Coblentz
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Owners of dogs that escape every chance they get don't have to feel like they're at the end of their rope.
Some dogs are content to live a lifetime within the confines of their yard with very little restraint. Others get the wandering bug, and dig, climb or jump fences, and break out to explore their world. Some stay close by while others roam for miles. This roaming risks their health and life, and often contributes to unwanted puppies.
By Chantel Lott
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Partygoers who tend to overindulge in the holiday spirits may need to learn the fine art of dawdling to decrease the effect of alcohol on their system.
Dawdling is characterized by mixing with other guests and friends, and maybe having a dance before heading to the bar at holiday festivities.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's timber industry took another hit in 2000 as prices and harvests continued to decline, giving the industry a lower value than last year.
Mississippi's timber harvest is estimated at $1.26 billion, a 1.3 percent decline from 1999. This value makes forestry the state's No. 2 crop in market value, behind poultry.
"This is the second small decline in timber harvest value since we set an all-time record high in 1998 of $1.36 billion," said Bob Daniels, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
By Linda Breazeale
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Agricultural economists predict that miracles still happen. Despite a costly drought in 2000, they expect Mississippi's farm value to hold near the $5 billion level.
Charlie Forrest, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said some slightly better market prices and increased acres are helping offset the statewide economic effects of the drought. Some estimates show the impact of the drought on the state's agricultural economy to be around $311 million in lost revenue and added costs.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The state's poultry industry lost value in 2000 but easily held onto their ranking as the state's top agricultural commodity.
Mississippi's poultry industry is expected to have a value of $1.45 billion in 2000. This value is down about 2 percent from 1999 and down from a high in 1998 of $1.54 billion. Production is estimated at 1.58 billion eggs and 706 million broilers weighing 3.5 billion pounds in 2000.
By Crystel Bailey
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hot and dry conditions made it tough for Mississippi cotton farmers in 2000 even though they managed to increase cotton acreage.
Mississippi's cotton's estimated value in 2000 was $518 million, which was up from $441 million in 1999. This makes cotton the state's No. 3 crop. Mississippi farmers planted 1.36 million acres of cotton in 2000, and harvested 1.28 million acres. Yields averaged 649 pounds per acre, compared to 708 pounds per acre in 1999.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The drought of 2000 hit Mississippi's farmers hard, with conservative estimates exceeding $300 million in lost revenues and increased production costs.
Charlie Forrest, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said many of the actual losses are near impossible to calculate. The hardest hit commodities were cotton, soybeans, cattle and forestry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- More than $12 million in federal support provided by Congress through the Agriculture Appropriations Act will fund Mississippi State University projects in agriculture, forestry and rural health in 2001.
Sen. Thad Cochran heads the ag appropriations committee responsible for dividing the money among worthy projects. This year's ag appropriations is funding a variety of projects in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and MSU's Extension Service and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center.