Feature Story from 2003
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A cotton grower's best defense against insect pests may be a long memory.
Mike Williams, entomologist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, has monitored insect battles for many years across the Cotton Belt and especially in Mississippi. He is familiar with the weapons in growers' arsenals: transgenic cotton, insecticides, application timing and alternative crops. But he believes the most important weapon may be a grower's memory of past challenges in certain fields.
By Laura Whelan
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Herbs are the multipurpose plants of the 21st-century garden.
Mississippi State University Extension horticulturist Lelia Scott Kelly grew herbs commercially for several years, and she is quite familiar with their advantages.
"Herbs have so many functions. They release wonderful aromas, add beauty to the landscape, are great additions to any recipe and have health benefits," Kelly said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE - Mississippi growers are attempting to plant the 2003 crops, but rains and wet fields may change crop intentions from corn to those with later planting dates, such as cotton and soybeans.
Another factor that may influence a change in plans is an increase in nitrogen costs.
Larry Oldham, soil specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said nitrogen prices are about $30 to $40 per ton higher than a year ago, but seem to be trending downward. Natural gas accounts for 70 to 80 percent of the costs in producing nitrogen fertilizer.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Spouses of military personnel have much to consider when talking to their children about deployment and other war issues.
Louise Davis, a Mississippi State University Extension Service child and family development specialist, said parents should strive to understand their children's emotions and take the appropriate steps to give them a sense of security while the well-being of a parent or other family member is uncertain.
By Laura Whelan
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- After facing their lowest levels in 20 years, catfish prices may be on the rise.
"After about a year and a half of struggling with low prices, catfish producers may see prices rising from 55 to 60 cents per pound to around 65 cents per pound within the next few weeks," said James Steeby, Mississippi State University Extension aquaculture specialist.
Catfish prices had declined due to an oversupply in the market. The supply should become short again soon, causing demand to exceed supply and prices to rise.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi livestock farmers and poultry producers are a giant step closer to economic security with the completion of a $500,000 laboratory and ground breaking for an adjacent $18 million facility near Pearl.
Mississippi State University officials joined state government representatives and others with interest in the state's animal industries for the recent opening of the 2,000-square-foot Poultry Diagnostic Laboratory and ground breaking for a 40,000-square-foot facility, which will expand the diagnostic services to all animal species.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's wheat is approaching a critical, yield-producing stage despite weather challenges on the front end of the growing season.
Erick Larson, small grains specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said growers planted a lot less wheat than expected this year because of two main factors.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With the number of identity theft cases rising to 814 last year alone, consumers should take steps to avoid becoming the next victim.
The Federal Trade Commission released information earlier in the year citing credit card fraud as the No. 1 type of identity theft reported in Mississippi, accounting for 46 percent of the cases. Other types of identity theft include phone or utilities fraud, bank fraud, government documents or benefits fraud, loan fraud and employment-related fraud.
By Laura Whelan
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When a pregnant, ailing miniature mare came to Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine for treatment, veterinary staff feared they would lose both mother and baby.
"The mare had suffered severe colic for two days," said Dr. Katie McGahee, the CVM equine resident on the case. "After surgically opening her abdomen, it was evident that her intestines were damaged beyond surgical repair and she would have to be humanely put down."
By Laura Whelan
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent renovations of the internal medicine and critical care unit will improve animal care and student training at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
The Joe Ann Ward Internal Medicine and Critical Care Unit was made possible by a $1.5 million endowment from Joe Ann Ward of Jackson in memory of her husband, Dr. Hugh G. Ward, founder of Briarwood Animal Hospital and Millcreek Animal Clinic. Staff moved into the unit at the end of March while the finishing touches were still being added.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- South Mississippi's growers and fresh-produce consumers will share the disappointment of growth delays for the 2003 vegetable crop.
David Nagel, horticulture specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said a late spring freeze and excessive rains have worked against early-planted vegetables, primarily below Interstate 20.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sensory evaluation is not on the minds of most people as they do the weekly grocery shopping. It is, however, what determines which new food products reach the store shelves and the focus of a new laboratory at Mississippi State University.
MSU's Department of Food Science and Technology dedicated the James E. Garrison Sensory Evaluation Laboratory on April 4. The almost 3,000 square-foot facility contains offices, fully equipped kitchens and areas to conduct a variety of sensory evaluations on food products.
By Laura Whelan
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Easter season often inspires people to adopt bunnies into their families, but these cuddly pets require attention and a long-term commitment.
"Rabbits can make great pets. Unfortunately, people often buy them impetuously as Easter gifts, and six months later, they are past the initial cute, cuddly stage, so they are put in a cage in the backyard and neglected," said Dr. Thomas Lenarduzzi, associate clinical professor at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University study reveals that while catfish producers have experienced lean times recently, the industry continues to spur the state's economy.
MSU agricultural economics professor Terry Hanson co-authored "Economic Impact of the Mississippi Farm-Raised Catfish Industry" with two MSU Extension Food and Fiber Center professors, Stuart Dean and Steve Murray. Hanson said he believes the many benefits of farm-raised catfish to consumers can create a demand that will more than make up for low market prices since 2000.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton-planting season is arriving, and experts say no major problems are expected -- as long as producers avoid rushing the planting process.
Mississippi State University Extension Service agronomists recommend planting cotton during the last two weeks of April and the first two weeks of May.
“People who like to plant early will start at the end of this week,” said Mississippi Extension cotton specialist Will McCarty. “But be patient, and don’t get in too much of a hurry. We’re on the extreme leading edge of the planting window.”
By Laura Whelan
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With an unpredictable economy and increasing urbanization, landowners are looking for alternative ways to gain income while making the best use of their available resources.
To explore and encourage sustainable natural resource development, Mississippi State University Extension Service will host the First National Symposium on Sustainable Natural Resource-Based Alternative Enterprises May 28 through 31.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- For many Americans, the winding down of the war in Iraq means a return to normalcy, but life will never be the same for those who lost a parent or other loved one in the conflict.
Regardless of how the loved one died, children need encouragement and understanding when navigating the difficult -- and sometimes frightening -- stages of grief.
By Laura Whelan
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Technology has opened the door to future success for veterinary students and interns at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
With the help of an advanced on-line computer network called the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program, five graduating students received internships and three current interns were matched with elite residencies.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Researchers and students from many educational levels are gaining information at Mississippi State University from a fully functional cotton mini-gin, the only operational gin on a college campus.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- People who provide child care in their homes can learn how to improve their business and provide a higher quality environment for the children through a free, educational program in its third year in the state.
Mississippi State University's Extension Service offers the Nurturing Homes Initiative for family home child-care providers in Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Human Services' Office for Children and Youth funds the project.