Feature Story from 2003
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The state's leading cotton specialist will assume new responsibilities with Mississippi State University's Extension Service as assistant director and state leader for agriculture and natural resources.
Joe McGilberry, executive director of University Extension and Outreach, recently announced Will McCarty's promotion, effective Dec. 15. McCarty has been serving as Extension leader, professor and cotton specialist in MSU's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mother Nature and the agricultural markets must have known they needed to make up for 2002 with Mississippi's farmers, and agricultural economists now predict a record of $5.6 billion for the state's 2003 farm-gate value.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Timely planting of early-maturing varieties coupled with ideal weather gave Mississippi soybean producers record yields in 2003.
"Growers have learned to think outside the box when it comes to choosing soybean varieties," said Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "They are realizing what good variety selection can do for them, and they're also continuing to capitalize on early planting."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton farmers have reason to celebrate 2003 as prices made a long-anticipated rebound and growers harvested the highest average yield in Mississippi history.
Cotton has an estimated 2003 value of production of $780 million, a 78 percent increase from the previous year. It continues to hold its own as the state's largest row crop and the third-most valuable agricultural product behind poultry and forestry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's 2003 timber industry did not begin its climb out of the depression of recent years, but officials believe the descent has stabilized and recovery should be in the near future.
Agricultural economists and forestry specialists with Mississippi State University's Extension Service are predicting the value of Mississippi's 2003 timber harvest at $1.03 billion, compared to 2002's value of almost $1.04 billion. That prediction represents a 0.3 percent decrease.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Good prices this year combined with a strong national appetite for chicken mean Mississippi's No. 1 agricultural commodity grew nearly 15 percent in value since 2002.
Poultry retained its top spot in Mississippi agriculture with an estimated 2003 value of $1.6 billion, according to agricultural economists with Mississippi State University. Eggs saw the biggest increase, up 25 percent from the previous year to $205 million.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High commodity prices and high government payments usually don't happen simultaneously, but some Mississippi crops experienced both in 2003.
John Anderson, an agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said there is a good reason for this seemingly impossible event.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Responsible gun ownership begins with education, and a donation from one Mississippi agency to another will help enable the state's youngest residents to learn safety and skill when handling firearms.
The Mississippi 4-H Shooting Sports Program just received a donation of 120 firearms from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. The firearms, mostly .22 caliber rimfire rifles, previously were used in hunter education classes.
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