Feature Story from 2004
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wholesale greenhouse growers, retailers and landscape professionals from Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas will benefit from an upcoming conference at Hinds Community College in Raymond.
The Mid-South Greenhouse Growers' Conference at the Eagle Ridge Conference Center will begin with a 1 p.m. general session on June 8 and conclude at noon on June 10. The educational programs are co-sponsored by Mississippi State University's Extension Service, the Louisiana State University AgCenter and the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A leadership program that focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses offers individuals the opportunity to handle issues and problems that arise in their communities.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dry conditions during March enabled growers to plant much of the 2004 rice crop ahead of schedule and produce hopes for another good season -- this year with better price potential.
Mississippi rice growers harvested a record average in 2003 of 6,800 pounds per acre. The average price for the market year was $6.65 per hundredweight, which was a couple dollars more than the previous two years, but still low.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- This year, June Dairy Month celebrates the "Power of 3" -- the number of dairy servings needed each day and the number of weeks experts say it takes to develop a healthy dairy habit.
Incorporating milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products into daily eating routines helps build strong bones and keep bodies healthy. The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association encourages families to serve these healthy foods at daily snack times for three weeks to give children and adults the opportunity to develop this healthy eating habit.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most towns do not boast about losing, but West Point residents earned some serious bragging rights in a weight-loss challenge this year.
Prompted by Mississippi's recognition as the "fattest state in the nation," Clay County Extension Director Donna Cliett wanted to reverse the growing trend. In a showing of sincere commitment to healthier lifestyles, community residents lost nearly 6,000 pounds during the first three months of 2004.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dairy producers finally have good reasons to celebrate June, National Dairy Month, as milk prices reach record levels and their heifers bring top dollar.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In a country where animal agriculture makes up nearly one-third of the gross national product, quality veterinary care is a life-or-death need.
That's why veterinarians like Dr. Cory Langston volunteer to visit Third-World countries and assist with various issues affecting the animals there. Langston, a professor of clinical sciences at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, recently took a 10-day trip to Mongolia to evaluate laboratory needs and make recommendations for improvement.
By Bonnie Coblentz
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soil sampling provides a classic example of how a "one size fits all" approach to farming often is not a good idea.
Soil sampling involves taking small amounts of soil from representative areas of a garden or field and chemically processing it. The process determines the crop nutrient status of the soil, and provides a basis for recommendations on improving its production capability.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- "Pretty" is a useful adjective for describing a girlfriend or a Mississippi sunset, but this year's corn fields are producing similar admiration from crop watchers dreaming of a second year of record yields.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most snakes in Mississippi are not venomous and many help keep mice populations down, but very few people want reptiles slithering near family homes.
Instead of purchasing questionable repellents, homeowners should invest their time in cleaning up their yards and eliminating snake habitats.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Newly elected officers for Mississippi State University's College of Forest Resources alumni are planning a "grand" 50th reunion for July 31.
Throughout the day, groups will tour campus locations such as the newly renovated Montgomery Hall, the Forest Products Lab, the wildlife holding pens and aquaculture unit. MSU baseball coach Ron Polk will be the guest speaker during the evening banquet in the Bost Extension Center.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new wrinkle in the tax code allows timber owners to deduct the cost of fertilizer as an ordinary and necessary business expense.
Deborah Gaddis, forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said before the Internal Revenue Service ruling, fertilizer costs were treated as a capital expenditure and handled differently. Landowners now can deduct this cost all at once, up to certain limits, rather than recovering it over the expected life of the fertilizer, generally three years.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A common part of rural scenes in Mississippi alongside grazing cattle and picturesque houses and barns are the round bales of hay dotting pastures.
While it may look pretty, hay is not made for its beauty, and storing it outside can cut its value as a feed in half.
Richard Watson, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said hay stored outside typically loses 40 percent to 50 percent of its nutrients in one year. Losses come from weather, mold and animal waste.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's commercial watermelons appear to have avoided significant disease problems despite frequent summer showers and are ripening in time for Fourth of July picnics.
Charles Waldrup, Smith County director for Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said rains and humidity promote several diseases in watermelons. As the late spring rains steadily arrived across most of the state, growers noted only slight cases of diseases, such as gummy stem blight.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University is using its resources to help the state's manufacturers become more effective in a highly competitive global community.
The university is officially launching its new Industrial Outreach Service with the naming of Duane Motsenbocker as interim director. IOS will be staffed by a core group of professionals who will provide assistance directly to state industries. IOS will also provide a connection between industry and MSU faculty, students and researchers who can help solve a variety of technical and management problems.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A dairy farmer in Forest quadrupled the size of his herd and took advantage of technological innovations to give his production an edge in a financially tight industry.
Quinton Mills of Mills Dairy in Scott County recently completed construction on his expanded, state-of-the-art dairy facility. He went from milking about 100 cows four years ago to milking 400 today.
Making that increase in production meant he had to do some things differently.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The heat of Mississippi summers presents a challenge to dairy farmers trying to keep their cows cool enough to produce abundant milk.
Traditional dairy barns are built with high ceilings so heat will rise and open sides that allow the free movement of air. Fans and water spray are used to cool the cattle.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite worries caused by a wet winter and suspected herbicide drift, Mississippi's wheat crop will meet, if not exceed, 2000's record yields.
"I expect we will probably set a new record state average yield," said Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "I imagine we'll exceed the 2000 record of 55 bushels per acre. If we don't exceed it, we'll at least be very close to it."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The new Extension cotton specialist at Mississippi State University is a weed scientist who is no stranger to MSU or agronomic crops.
Before Tom Barber was named the MSU Extension Service cotton specialist on July 1, he spent three and a half years at MSU working with cotton and corn. Most recently, he was responsible for managing 170 acres of remote sensing, site-specific precision agriculture and weed control field and plot research.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new specialist will assume the responsibility of supporting the rice industry in the state when Mississippi State University’s Extension Service appoints Nathan Buehring to the job.
Buehring assumes his duties July 16 and will work from the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. Before being named rice specialist, Buehring established a background in weed control and pest management in various agronomic crops.