Feature Story from 2004
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Vaccinate horses now against the West Nile Virus to reduce the risk of contracting the potentially deadly disease and fears of infection during the 2003 mosquito season.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently granted a full license to Fort Dodge Animal Health for its WNV vaccine, labeled West Nile - Innovator. The vaccine previously was available through a conditional license while studies were conducted.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As therapeutic riding programs catch on across the state, Mississippi State University is planning to host a national training workshop for instructors and volunteers interested in improving their skills.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A primary tool for managing risk of any sort is insurance, and many Mississippi farmers have found that crop insurance remains an important component of their farming operations.
The most basic kind of entry-level crop insurance is catastrophic coverage, known as CAT. This insurance provides 50 percent coverage for average yields at 55 percent of the established price. CAT coverage costs $100 per crop per county in which the producer farms.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High school students can learn about horticulture and landscape careers in a unique summer seminar at Mississippi State University.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The program for the upcoming Statewide Dairy Field Day reflects that successful dairy producers must be up-to-date on a wide variety of topics from herd health and nutrition to financial management, all at the same time.
Mississippi State University's annual dairy event will take place on May 27 at the Buddy and Neville Rials dairy farm in western Marion County. Registration and exhibits will open at 8:30 a.m., one hour before the program begins.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent rains and warmer temperatures caused explosive growth of summer grasses in Mississippi's pastures and hay fields, but producers have faced an unrelenting battle with weeds throughout the spring.
John Byrd, weed scientist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the best time to treat weeds is before they have the opportunity to bloom and produce seeds. Producers should follow label directions regarding grazing and haying restrictions.
Yellow fields of buttercups are among the most visible weeds in Mississippi every April.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Entrepreneurs who dream of creating and manufacturing food products can learn how to make those dreams reality at a day-long workshop offered in two locations across the state in June.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is sponsoring Food as a Business workshops at the county Extension offices June 2 in Greenwood and June 29 in Starkville.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The itching and scratching associated with poison ivy rashes can sometimes be avoided if those seeking the outdoors learn to identify and kill the vine.
John Byrd, weed scientist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a mild winter and early warm weather allowed poison ivy to be more advanced earlier in the year than it normally is.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The young and young-at-heart will enjoy studying insects during a unique, five-day camp offered in two summer sessions by Mississippi State University.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Efforts to increase financial literacy among Mississippi's high school students are beginning to pay off.
National surveys were conducted in 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2004 for the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy by Lewis Mandell, a professor of finance at the University of Buffalo School of Management. The survey demonstrates students' aptitude and ability to manage financial resources such as credit cards, insurance, retirement funds and savings accounts.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Catfish producers saw actual profits last year after two years of losses, and are hoping feed prices in 2004 won't put their operations back into red ink.
Jim Steeby, Extension aquaculture specialist with the National Warmwater Aquaculture Center in Belzoni, said feed prices have made it difficult to see a profit in the catfish industry.
"Last year, our average feed price was $230 a ton," Steeby said. "This year's feed prices are going to be at least $50 a ton above that price."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- For most people dirt is just dirt. Farmers, however, know all too well that soil properties can mean the difference between the success or failure of a crop.
Soil scientists also don't take dirt for granted. That's especially true of a group of Mississippi State University and Canadian researchers changing the way natural organic matter in soil is studied.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's population is reflecting national trends as it undergoes a generational shift in assets, and that means a lot of forest land is changing hands without clear ownership.
Glenn Hughes, forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Purvis, said a recent survey indicated that many Mississippi landowners do not have a written will and are unprepared for the transfer of land and other assets.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi is growing the earliest crop of soybeans it has ever planted as weather has been very cooperative through mid-May.
Alan Blaine, Extension soybean specialist with Mississippi State University, said farmers started planting soybeans around March 10 rather than the end of March, when planting usually begins. Nearly 80 percent of the crop was planted by the end of April. As of May 9, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service reported 89 percent of the crop in the ground.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Keeping up with equine vaccination schedules may seem like an expensive inconvenience, but protected horses likely will avoid more serious and costly health problems.
BILOXI -- Extension agents spend most of their time working with youth and providing research-based advice in peaceful settings, but they are increasingly finding themselves in the middle of heated debates as rural issues collide with Mississippi's expanding populations.
Larry Oldham is a soil specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service who has seen more than his share of contentious meetings. Those experiences prompted him to help organize a recent training session to help agents lead environmental discussions.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University experts say applying fertilizer to plants should be neither random nor intimidating, and offer homeowners a few recommendations on how to take the guesswork out of the job.
Norman Winter, horticulturist with MSU's Extension Service, said knowing when and what kind of fertilizer to apply is not that difficult. The first step is to get a soil test.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some of the state's cotton crop suffered significantly from recent rains, while for other fields it was an easy hurdle to overcome.
In the Delta, one of the least affected areas, some cotton is behind in development but should catch up by the time it reaches maturity.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Melissa Mixon is the new associate vice president of Mississippi State University's Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, pending approval by the board of trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning at their June meeting.
Her responsibilities will include initiating Division procedures for planning and resource development, goal setting and the execution of programming within the Division. Special emphasis is to be placed on multi-disciplinary collaboration across the university.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A veteran crop scientist has been named head of Mississippi State University's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.
Michael Collins assumed his new duties in April, following more than 25 years in research, instruction and administration at the University of Kentucky and the University of Wisconsin.