Feature Story from 2004
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- East and east central Mississippi soybean and corn growers will gather on Dec. 16 at Mississippi State University to take part in the first production meeting since the recent discovery of soybean rust in the state.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Beef and dairy producers can save on time and travel costs as they learn the latest recommendations in cattle reproduction during a short course available through distance learning in January.
Mississippi State University's Extension Service and College of Veterinary Medicine are sponsoring the day-and-a-half-long course beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 11 and concluding at noon the next day.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Poinsettias in all shades of red, pink and white, as well as a few novelty-type plants, will be on display during Mississippi State University's annual horticulture open house from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Dec. 3.
The Holiday Open House will take place in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences' greenhouses behind Dorman Hall on Stone Boulevard. In addition to the many poinsettias on display, the event will feature educational seminars and a workshop. The student horticulture clubs on campus also will be selling poinsettias, wreaths and garlands.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Before the area was settled, Mississippi's pine forests managed themselves naturally and provided excellent wildlife habitat.
Today, those forests are overrun with mid-story hardwood species, which compete with timber production and take away the thick growth of grasses, legumes and other herbaceous vegetation that wildlife species need to survive.
Ben West, wildlife specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a process called Quality Vegetation Management benefits both timber production and wildlife habitat.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Every season brings its challenges to beef producers, and the winter weather means it's time to supplement what cattle graze on their own.
Brian Rude, beef nutritionist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, urged beef cattle producers to make thoughtful preparation for feeding during the winter months. Cattle often need supplements to meet their winter nutritional needs when grazing or eating stored hay.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Long hours of practice paid off for Mississippi State University's Dairy Products Evaluation team at the International Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest.
The MSU undergraduate team placed first among 18 U.S. and Canadian teams at the Nov. 6 event in Lakeland, Fla. The win marked more than a dozen times Mississippi State students have taken top honors in the event.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The holiday season offers many opportunities for parents to teach their children the benefits of giving as well as receiving.
"The holiday season is a great time to step back and really focus on how you and your family can help those in need. When children see parents helping others and getting joy out of doing so, they learn the season is not all about getting presents," said Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Americans can be grateful for the stewardship of their ancestors who took steps to protect wildlife for future generations to enjoy.
Ben West, wildlife specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said unlike many countries, wildlife is prevalent and considered public property in the United States. However, access to ample wildlife is by design, not luck.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Agricultural producers from across the region will descend on Cleveland Jan. 18 and 19 for the most recent information on soybean rust, international cotton trade issues and other crop concerns during the 32nd annual Delta Ag Expo.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Lulu's parentage was questionable -- part Labrador, part collie ... maybe. What was certain was the bond she shared with Delta farmer Malcolm Mabry Jr.
Fifteen years ago, Mabry and neighbor David Cook found Lulu near the edge of a wheat field on Mabry's farm near Dublin in Coahoma County. The abandoned pup was cold and frightened. Luckily for her, she was too weak to run away.
Mabry, a former state lawmaker, took the dog home, bathed her and provided a meal of warm milk and bread. That was the beginning of a 15-year relationship.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Now is the time to prepare land for pine tree planting, and a new tax law change will affect landowners with both small and large acreage.
Debbie Gaddis, a forest taxation specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said tax incentives for planting pine trees changed in October. In general, this change is beneficial to landowners with large acreage and unfavorable for small landowners.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rural schools and communities in America share an important and often fragile relationship, according to a special report recently released by the Southern Rural Development Center.
"The Role of Education: Promoting the Economic and Social Vitality of Rural America" does not seek to provide definitive answers to the problems facing rural communities. Instead, the report calls attention to the areas in which progress can be made to reverse the trends of urbanization and resource massing that are so devastating to rural America.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Year's end causes many people to look ahead to what they want to do in the new year, but Mississippi State University specialists encourage Mississippians to also look back to tie up any loose ends.
Financial matters may be the most important. Susan Cosgrove, Extension area family resource management agent in Newton County, said December and January are perfect times to pull together documentation for income tax filings.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When her little sister died shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer, grief wasn't the only emotion Peggy Crawford felt.
"My younger sister, Marsha, died at 45 years old, within 50 weeks of learning she had breast cancer. That really ticked me off," Crawford said. Marsha left an 8-year-old daughter behind.
Instead of remaining angry, Crawford started BATTLE, an acronym for Breast cancer Awareness To Teach Ladies Early detection.
By Bonnie Coblentz
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Four major Mississippi crops set production records in 2004, but it took the strength of poultry's $2 billion year to push the state's estimated agriculture value to a record $5.5 billion.
The state's overall value of production is expected to rise 3 percent from the record $5.3 billion set in 2003. Poultry was the big winner, gaining nearly 26 percent to post its new record.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Poultry topped the $2 billion mark in 2004 as record prices combined with higher production for the state's No. 1 commodity.
Poultry set a new record for the estimated value of production, increasing by nearly 26 percent - more than $400 million - to $2.01 billion. Broilers saw a 30 percent increase and chickens a 27 percent increase, but eggs dropped 8 percent in estimated farm-gate value.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A wet summer kept loggers out of the woods and helped the 2004 timber harvest increase in value for the second consecutive year.
The state's No. 2 agricultural commodity is expected to have a 2004 value of production of about $1.1 billion, up 1.5 percent from last year's value. Poultry and timber have retained their No. 1 and 2 spots since the mid-1990s.
Debbie Gaddis, a forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said heavy rains in June, July and August contributed to increased timber prices.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Superior varieties, few pests and cooperative weather helped the 2004 cotton crop exceed last year's record-setting yields.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts the 2004 state average yield to be 1,000 pounds of lint per acre, up from 932 pounds per acre in 2003. Mississippi producers planted 1.1 million acres of cotton in 2004 and harvested 1.09 million acres.