Feature Story from 2005
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The headline, "Mare produces three foals in one season," reads like the front page of a grocery store tabloid, but one Mississippi State University mare actually accomplished this feat in 2005.
Described by her former owner Buddy Wiggins as a star among cutting horses at the age of 3, Cal Senorita's athletic efforts in the arena resulted in career-ending leg problems. Wiggins donated the American quarter horse with an outstanding pedigree and more than $16,000 in earnings to MSU in 2000.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean growers will not be deterred by the threat of Asian rust or spring rains as they work to plant the 2005 crop as soon as possible.
Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said growers have been running later than last year, but not significantly off the five-year average.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High school students from across Mississippi can learn about horticulture and landscape architecture during a three-day summer program at Mississippi State University.
Students currently enrolled in grades 10 through 12 are eligible to attend the program June 12-14. The summer seminar in horticulture and landscape is co-hosted by MSU’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and Department of Landscape Architecture, and it is sponsored by the Garden Clubs of Mississippi.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Eight years, two grant renewals and 75 individuals later, the Mississippi AgrAbility Project continues to do its part to keep farmers on the farm.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service began offering AgrAbility in 1997 with two partners: the Mississippi Easter Seals Society and MSU's T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability. Soon, the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services joined.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Paul Myrick learned with tomatoes that a business must change with the times or lose its market.
Each year, Myrick has 500 to 700 plants in commercial field tomato production in Stringer. He and his wife have been in the business for about 12 years.
Several years ago, the Mississippi State University Extension Service helped Myrick and other growers get a grant and loan to build a tomato packing shed.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi berry producers are optimistic about their 2005 crops as strawberry harvest approaches the midway point and blueberries show promise of an upcoming bumper crop.
Mel Ellis of Mayhew Tomato Farm in Lowndes County is in his second year of strawberry production. He has doubled his crop size this year to half an acre, or 7,000 plants.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High school and middle school teachers have an opportunity to learn how to teach financial matters during an upcoming conference in Jackson.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dairy producers from across the state will converge on a farm in Scott County May 19 to learn about waste and energy issues as well as animal health and milk quality topics.
Registration for the 2005 Statewide Dairy Field Day begins at 8:30 a.m. at Quinton Mills Dairy north of Forest. Mills' farm is the first commercial dairy farm in the state to use tunnel ventilation to cool cows and has installed a methane digester to turn dairy waste into electricity for on-farm use.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many products Mississippians use every day are made from wood, and some of these can create extra income for forest landowners.
Butch Bailey, a forester with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most homes in the United States are built with wood, and the average home is built from about 25 trees. But people use other items on a daily basis that they probably do not realize are made from forest products.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Twenty-three sentinel plots circle the state, standing watch for the anticipated reappearance of soybean rust in Mississippi.
Soybean rust is a devastating fungal disease spread by spores. It can be carried by wind for hundreds of miles, transported on people or machinery, or spread by infected plant material. Left untreated, it completely defoliates and often kills a plant, reducing yields by as much as 80 percent. It was identified in the state Nov. 17, and already has been spotted this year in Florida and Georgia.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cattle producers are expanding their herds as prices remain strong during the first months of 2005.
John Anderson, an agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said cattle producers are expanding their herds rather than sending them to feed lots. Most expect prices to remain strong throughout the year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi pecan growers can learn more about production and marketing issues at a June 30 workshop in Raymond.
Registration for the free workshop begins at 8:30 a.m. at Mississippi State University's Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center. The morning educational programs will address worker protection standards, a pecan insect update, calibration of air-blast sprayers and the "Make Mine Mississippi" marketing program.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Every day can be a day full of learning opportunities for children if parents and caregivers seize opportunities in the routine to teach lessons.
Micki Smith, area child and family development agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said homes are filled with wonderful learning opportunities for children.
"Everyday routines such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, eating, cleaning, sorting laundry and making beds can be rich learning experiences for kids," Smith said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Strong leadership in rural communities often is hard to find. But one Stone County woman stepped up to the challenge and now serves as president of the Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers Inc.
Jean Colwart coordinates the efforts of the MHV board and encourages leadership skill development among club members. Her goal as president is to involve all homemakers in the walking program she developed to go along with the current MHV wellness theme.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dead birds in Mississippi are attracting attention as careful observers look for the first indication West Nile virus has again appeared in their county.
Dead birds that test positive for the virus indicate West Nile has arrived in an area. Humans and horses can get the virus after being bitten by disease-carrying mosquitoes. The best prevention for humans is good insect repellent and up-to-date vaccinations for horses.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's rice crop is fighting off the challege posed by early cool temperatures, and growers are preparing to battle weed problems and high fuel costs.
Mississippi growers made record rice yields three of the last four years, and they would like this year's crop to make it three years in a row. State growers posted yield records in 2001 and 2003, then topped it last year with the current record of 6,900 pounds per acre.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Agricultural policy and the state of the agricultural industry will be the topics of the Mississippi Agricultural Economics Association annual symposium in Starkville.
The 31 st annual symposium will be held June 2 and 3 at Mississippi State University in the Forest Products Auditorium. The public and those representing the ag industry, business and finance are invited to attend. A $20 symposium fee covers the Friday meeting and lunch.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Internet scams are becoming more sophisticated and harder to recognize, even for the experienced Web surfers.
Before the Internet, grifters were criminals who moved from town to town, seeking easy targets for money scams. Today, they find their victims using mass e-mails designed to trick people into sending money or disclosing financial information. The technique is call phishing.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Home vegetable gardeners have a better chance of success if they take steps to prevent or control common insect pests.
Blake Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said vegetable gardeners can avoid insect problems if they know what to look for and how to react.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Good prices and lower feed costs are helping catfish producers after they suffered nearly four years of high production costs and low market prices.
Terry Hanson, Mississippi State University Extension agricultural economist, said catfish producers are receiving 70 to 75 cents a pound, and prices have been above 70 cents since October. Market prices in 2002 and 2003 dropped as low as 55 cents a pound. Prices may be helped by increased U.S. interest in eating catfish.