Feature Story from 2001
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Finally, dairy producers have something more than a nutritious product to celebrate during National Dairy Month: milk prices.
"Milk prices should average about $2 more per hundredweight than last year," said Bill Herndon, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "That's about a 15 percent increase over 2000."
Herndon said prices will likely remain strong throughout the summer and peak-usage period in early fall. Class I milk prices have the potential of record prices this fall.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Preparing beef, pork or chicken may be routine to some people, but catching on to the tricks of cooking seafood that is delicious and safe can be a bigger challenge than the catch itself.
Overcooked seafood can become rubbery and tasteless, while raw or undercooked seafood can pose many health risks. With a little extra care, seafood can be a delicious and safe addition to a family's menu.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A short-term study of a common catfish pond treatment suggests copper sulfate is an environmentally sound procedure for controlling off-flavor problems.
John Hargreaves, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station aquaculture biologist with the Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, completed a study of the effects of copper sulfate applications to catfish ponds over three years.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Watermelon harvests have begun in some Mississippi counties, but homegrown supplies are slower for other parts of the state.
George County extension agent Mike Steede said some harvesting started the first week of June for the county's 600 to 700 acres of watermelons, and the biggest challenge this year has been the recent rains.
"Up until the tropical storm (Allison), we were having a dry growing season," Steede said. "About 70 percent of the county's crop is irrigated, so the rains mainly helped the smaller, non-irrigated fields."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Food that is good for one person can be dangerous to another because of food allergies that affect about 7 million Americans.
Common foods that people are allergic to include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. More children than adults have food allergies, although many outgrow their allergies as they mature.
Rebecca Kelly, human nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said food intolerances are often confused with true food allergies.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The efficiency and sustainability of Mississippi's timber industry has helped grow it to the $1.2 billion value it has today.
The state has about 18.5 million acres of timberland. Of these, 70 percent are held by private, non-industrial owners. Mississippi's forest types are about 30 percent pine, 25 percent oak/pine mix and 45 percent hardwood.
Bob Daniels, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said forests are quite resilient and the state is using more of its pine than its hardwoods.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite weather putting a damper on the shrimp season this year, shrimpers managed to land twice as many pounds of shrimp in the early part of the season than they did last year.
Dave Burrage is a marine resources specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He said despite the early high landings, the season looks to be an average year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Catfish farmers have economic evidence that battling the most common cause of off-flavor with copper sulfate brings higher profits.
Research shows that adding copper sulfate to catfish ponds to kill blue-green algae greatly reduces problems with off-flavor. By treating to keep the fish on-flavor, producers can expect higher profits.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If the area is dark, damp and warm with pets nearby, chances are good there will be fleas, too.
Dr. John Tyler, small animal internal medicine veterinarian at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said fleas like these environments. Flea habitats include under porches, and in woodpiles, dog houses, piles of debris and similar areas.
"Mississippi is an ideal place for fleas. Up north, fleas are mainly a problem in the summer, but here they can be a problem year-round," Tyler said. "It never gets too hot for fleas."
MISSISSIPPI STATE - Mississippi's turf growers may have survived the last three dry summers only to face a drought of another kind: economic.
Building booms in DeSoto and Tunica counties and along the Gulf Coast in the last decade have attracted a number of new sod growers into the business, but a leveling off in new construction could signal lean days ahead.
By Charmain Tan Courcelle
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new project at the Coastal Aquaculture Unit of the Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center may keep Mississippi saltwater anglers in fish year-round.
Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researchers Ben Posadas and Mark LaSalle have initiated a study to develop an economically viable baitfish production system that will provide a year-round supply of live bait to the state's saltwater recreational fishing industry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Long-time state program leader and administrative support coordinator Joe McGilberry was named director of the Mississippi State University Extension Service effective July 1 after serving one year as its interim director.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- About the only way Mississippi farm-raised catfish resemble other fish found in the state is that they all live in water.
Catfish are grown commercially under controlled conditions. Every aspect of their production is carefully managed to ensure a consistently high harvest and to protect the quality of the product.
Mississippi leads the world in catfish production. In 2000, the state had 110,000 acres of catfish ponds while the nation had a total of 190,000 acres.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Local fairs are finding new life as communities resurrect the excitement of county and regional events across the state this summer and fall.
"Fairs are growing in popularity. They bring us back to the basics of life," said Billy Orr, retired director of the Mississippi State Fair. Orr is directing the organization of the Mississippi Fair Association to help communities plan event dates, and share vendors and ideas.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University veterinarian was one of several Americans who spent time in the United Kingdom this summer helping contain the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
Dr. Wayne Groce, professor and coordinator of the Office of Special Programs in MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine, was in Great Britain from May 2 through June 1working in that country's foot and mouth disease eradication program. Two other Mississippi veterinarians also served on similar teams at different times.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's 1.7 million acres of cotton got off to a good start and are developing well as the crop heads into mid-season.
Farmers planted 400,000 more cotton acres than in 2000, bringing the state's acreage to the highest level it's been since 1974. Soybean acreage is way down, and this year is the first in nearly 40 that cotton acreage has exceeded soybean acreage.
Will McCarty, cotton specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said planting started in early April and was finished in mid- to late-May.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- August can feel like December to family budgets strained by back-to-school purchases, but planning and careful shopping can ease the crunch.
Jan Lukens, Extension consumer management specialist at Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, said how much a parent spends on supplies varies by teacher, grade and school. It is also affected by whether or not the school has uniforms.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Paying for college is expensive, but parents can make the task easier on themselves and their child if they start saving when the child is young.
The cost of a college education at a public university for children born this year is expected to be $100,000. For those wishing to attend a private university, the cost rises to $235,000 for the four-year experience.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Bringing home a report card regardless of the grades can be a traumatic experience for youth, but parents can help lessen the trauma by listening and communicating.
"If parents expect straight A's from their children and they only bring home average grades, youth feel they are disappointing their parents," said Louise Davis, family and child development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
"Parents must know their child's capabilities," Davis said. "A C-average person shouldn't be pressured to do A-average work."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Kids may think a lunch box's primary purpose is to look cool while holding food, but parent's should be sure the lunch box is actually a safe place for food.
Dr. Melissa Mixon, human nutrition specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said packing a safe, healthy lunch for school children can be a bit tricky. Whatever is packed must be able to survive several hours without refrigeration before lunchtime.