Feature Story from 2002
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- School and health personnel face many challenges in improving health among Mississippi's school children, and a June 6 through 8 conference in Biloxi will offer guidance.
By Jeanie Davidson
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's increasing need for doctors has spurred an opportunity for local students to prepare themselves for careers in the medical field.
"With one out of five doctors in Mississippi approaching retirement age, the state's need for doctors will only escalate," said Bonnie Carew, rural health policy coordinator for Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippi fields are proof that "hope springs eternal" as soybean growers are planting early, aiming for strong yields in a year when prices offer little incentive.
Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said about 60 percent of the crop was planted by May 1. While growers are running slightly behind last year's planting schedule, they are still ahead of the five-year average.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- People trying to refill their propane tanks for summer grilling may encounter an extra expense as they find they must buy a new safety valve.
As of April 1, all four- to 40-pound propane tanks must be equipped with an Overfill Protection Device. This is a new valve that replaces the one on existing tanks. The new valves are marked with "OPD" to designate their compliance with the state law and have three-lobed valve handles, rather than the five-lobe type found on older propane tanks.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's cotton is facing another year of weather challenges as U.S. Highway 82 divides northern counties with plenty of rain from southern counties in need of additional moisture.
Mississippi State University Extension cotton specialist Will McCarty said the cooler temperatures in mid-May haven't helped the crop that was already off to a slow start. Most growers try to have cotton planted by May 25, but the first of June is the absolute latest growers usually plant.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Production costs are up and prices are down, but Mississippi cotton growers have one reason to celebrate this year; 2002 is on course to be the third consecutive year boll weevils will not steal from the state's yields.
Jeannine Smith, executive director of the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corp., said the first week of trapping boll weevils from May 2 through 8 revealed weevil-free fields in 95 percent of Mississippi's cotton.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- What was once possible only in movies is now a reality to the average Mississippian who can visit an online map of the state and find a picture of their own neighborhood and home.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's final poultry value numbers for 2001 reveal a much better year than originally predicted in December.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's poultry production and value summary for 2001 released in April showed the industry's value was $1.66 billion, about $120 million more than economists predicted at year's end for Mississippi. The final figures are well ahead of the previous year's $1.38 billion value.
VERONA -- Farmers from across the state can learn the latest research results and recommendations at the upcoming North Mississippi Research and Extension Center Agronomic Row Crop Field Day.
The event will take place Aug. 8 at the Lee County AgriCenter on Highway 145, south of Verona.
"We believe we will have a very educational field day. This is a chance for growers to keep on the cutting edge of farming technology," said event coordinator Normie Buehring, senior agronomist and superintendent of the Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station.
By Jeanie Davidson
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Summer campers usually try to avoid insects, but the children and adults at Entomology Camp 2002 will enjoy finding as many as possible.
"This is one of the few camps where professionals who work in the field help campers one-on-one," said Mike Williams, program director and entomologist for Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
By Jeanie Davidson
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cultivating food plots is an ideal way to provide much-needed forage for wildlife through late summer and attract these animals before hunting seasons begin.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Unseasonably cold weather in May hurt cotton and led to increased numbers of thrips in many crops, but a bigger problem has been too much or too little rain.
Charlie Wax, state meteorologist at Mississippi State University, said May temperatures ranged from 5 to 9 degrees below normal. The Coast was comparably colder and drier than the rest of the state. Many areas received rain the last few days of May.
By Charmain Courcelle
BILOXI -- Mississippi State University researchers at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi are developing water discharge options for the catfish and horticulture industries.
Environmental standards for pond effluents and horticultural runoffs have not been passed yet, but the Environmental Protection Agency has actively considered a national set of regulations to limit the release of nutrients from these operations for several years.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Mississippi Agricultural Economics Association invites those interested in learning about structural changes in an emerging food industry to their June 14 annual conference.
The meeting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Bost Extension Building at Mississippi State University. Registration is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., and the $25 cost includes lunch. Organizers encourage early registration.
GREENVILLE -- The 1990s were times of growth and prosperity for the catfish industry, but these days, Delta farmer Brent Johnson would just like to break even on his production costs.
Johnson said catfish are bringing between 55 and 56 cents a pound when he sells them to processors. Since it costs him close to 70 cents a pound to grow the fish, he is losing money on every pond he harvests this year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With prices about 25 percent lower than they were last year, dairy farmers are having a difficult time making a profit, but they will soon get government assistance.
Bill Herndon, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said prices are as bad now as they were in 2000, which was a very tough year for the dairy industry.
By Bethany Waldrop Keiper
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Faith Hill, Archie Manning and Morgan Freeman -- what could these Mississippi success stories possibly have in common? They all share a four-leaf bond -- 4-H.
Since its beginnings in the early 1900s, 4-H offers youths from farm or working-class families the opportunity to develop important life skills.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The changes brought by the new Farm Bill will be the subject of four informational meetings held around the state the week of June 17.
Mississippi State University's Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi Farm Bureau and the Mississippi Natural Resource Conservation Service are sponsoring the informational meetings. Each will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Youth from 77 Mississippi counties came to Mississippi State University the first week of June to continue a 78-year-old tradition of competition, socialization and service.
4-H Congress was held June 4 through 6 in Starkville. Susan Holder, state 4-H program director with MSU's Extension Service, said 456 4-Hers ages 14 to 18 attended Congress, with the support and assistance from 89 volunteers and 85 4-H staff from across the state.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most of the state's corn is entering a critical growth period in serious need of water, but a good rain now still can help boost yields at harvest.
Erick Larson, grain crop specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said most corn was in the pollination stage by mid-June.
"Corn has the highest demand for water during pollination," Larson said. "Rainfall now could significantly improve corn yield potential in most of the state."