Feature Story from 2004
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi summers often seem endless, but now is the time to prepare home lawns and plants for the inevitable winter months.
Wayne Wells, turfgrass specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, offered the following suggestions to ensure lawns survive the winter months and thrive in the spring.
"Even though we're still in the dog days of summer, it won't be long before we start feeling that crispness in the morning when we get up, and fall will be here," Wells said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Garden and landscape enthusiasts will flock to the Fall Flower and Garden Fest at the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs on Oct. 15 and 16 for the latest plant recommendations.
The 26th annual fall fest will take place from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. both days. Visitors can tour the three-acre vegetable, flower and herb gardens. Additional plots include ethnic, butterfly, hummingbird and shade gardens, the Mississippi Medallion Winners Garden and the All-America Selection Winners Garden.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Fall applications of lime make the most sense for state producers, but experts suggest a soil test before applying it.
Larry Oldham, soil specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said controlling soil acidity is the most important aspect of soil fertility management. Adding lime changes the pH of the soil.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi rice growers are anticipating a fifth consecutive year of record or near-record yields.
Nathan Buehring, rice specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the state crop has cleared most of the major hurdles, and harvest is progressing well so far. The threat of hurricanes or localized storms is the biggest challenge remaining for the crop as it finishes in September, National Rice Month.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A limited income can make people feel they have a limited chance to succeed in life, but a program in Mississippi has spent the last 35 years showing that does not have to be true.
The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, known as EFNEP, is offered by the Mississippi State University Extension Service in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its goal is to assist limited-resource families in improving their nutrition, health and economic status. This year it celebrated 35 years of work in Mississippi.
By Tricia Hopper
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Libby Walden of Jackson is an avid football fan who cheers her team through each battle on the turf, but she never dreamed that food from tailgating festivities could hit harder than an offensive lineman.
"There have been countless times when I've left dishes sitting out in the hot sun for hours. Just because food has been left out more than two hours doesn't mean it will be easy to throw away," Walden said. "Some food seems too good to just chunk in the trash."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Declining populations of quail led Mississippi State University researchers to a grant to study the effectiveness of programs that restore habitat for this traditionally popular game bird.
Wildlife researchers hope to turn around the Northern bobwhite quail's population decline by recreating elements of historic land conditions. The potential exists for quail hunting to once again become an economically significant sport.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Experience with farm equipment can increase a person's safety, but the safest farmers are the ones who survive accidents and know what can happen in a split second.
"It takes a long time to tell my story, but the actual accident probably took less than 25 seconds. One little miscalculation can be life threatening. You can die so quickly," said accident survivor Kinney Carlton of Adams County.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's poultry and egg industries are proving they are strong, viable contributors to the state's economy despite a national decline in exports during 2004.
While some industries may be scaling back or outsourcing, Mississippi's No. 1 agricultural industry is on track for an increase in its farm-gate value for 2004. The 2003 poultry value for Mississippi was $1.6 billion.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Use caution while operating generators in the wake of Hurricane Ivan to avoid further damage to homes and health.
Herb Willcutt, safety specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said generators can be an invaluable resource after a disaster hits, but improper use can be deadly.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- No age is immune from stresses that accompany natural disasters such as Hurricane Ivan, but children may need extra help coping with the situation.
"Adults may get so caught up in all the traumatic details like relocations and damaged property that they overlook the emotional needs of the children around them," said Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most people just want to get their life back together quickly after a storm deals a devastating blow to their house, but rushing too fast can compound the problem.
Homeowners across the Southeast are trying to reassemble the pieces of their homes and belongings after Hurricane Ivan tore through Mississippi, Alabama and Florida early Thursday. The urge is to clean up quickly and get things back to normal as soon as possible.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- After Hurricane Ivan made his mark on the state, officials are adding price gouging and illegitimate charities to the list of things they must deal with.
Bobbie Shaffett, Extension associate professor of human sciences at Mississippi State University, said Mississippians are a generous people, but there are always a few people who see a disaster as an opportunity to scam others.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane damage threatens two things necessary for human and animal survival: food and water.
Peggy Walker, a Mississippi State University Extension Service nutrition and food safety area agent based in Panola County, said cooking and eating habits must change to fit the situation during a power failure or flood.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High waters from hurricanes and floods will drive snakes and rodents into areas they may not venture normally, such as homes and storage buildings.
Bill Maily, area wildlife agent with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said anytime a building has been flooded, people should enter it with extra caution.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane Ivan has passed, but the deadly aftermath has just begun.
Glenn Hughes, a professor of forestry with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the amount of damage appears to be less than what the state was expecting. However, for those with trees in their homes or on their cars, it feels catastrophic.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- One of the friendly bugs is about to become rather unfriendly.
As fall approaches, the ladybug, known scientifically as the Asian lady beetle, will be looking for a warm place to spend the winter. In their native land, this overwintering home is a rocky outcropping, but in Mississippi, they make do with light-colored buildings.
Blake Layton, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said buildings with unshaded western or southern exposures are the most attractive to the beetles.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi plant nurseries mostly succeeded in minimizing damage from Hurricane Ivan, but their biggest challenges still may be ahead of them.
Fred Croom has been running Croom's Nursery in George County for four years. As Hurricane Ivan approached, he removed the shade cloth and plastic from his greenhouses and waited out the storm. After Ivan passed, Croom's 19 greenhouses, 10,000 mums, 4,000 ferns and 20,000 pansies were mostly fine, but his market in Mobile was gone.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An upcoming workshop will help Mississippi entrepreneurs learn how to use the Internet to market their products and services.
"Electronic Retailing: Selling on the Internet" will be offered Oct. 28 in Greenwood, Nov. 2 in Starkville and Nov. 4 in Brandon. Sponsored by Mississippi State University's Extension Service, each workshop is designed for new and existing businesses wanting to sell products and services through a retail Web site.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Research on a disease in chickens that closely resembles Hodgkin's lymphoma in humans could provide better diagnosis and treatment for people who suffer with this cancer.
Dr. Shane Burgess, an assistant professor in Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said one of the significant findings of his research on Marek's disease virus of chickens is that Marek's disease is the first natural model for Hodgkin's lymphoma in humans.