Feature Story from 2005
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Savvy U.S. consumers want to know the pedigree of the products they buy, a trend that is driving change in American production and industry, and Mississippi's forestry industry is no exception.
A nationwide market is developing for forest products produced in an economically, ecologically and socially sustainable manner. Products such as lumber produced under these standards are sold as certified forest products.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Environmental Protection Agency is examining air emissions from livestock and poultry operations, and producers must decide soon if they will take part in the agency’s two-year study.
Mark Crenshaw, swine specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said producers should study all aspects of the issue before signing the Air Emissions Consent Agreement, but the July 1 deadline to sign is quickly approaching.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A leadership training opportunity is bringing Oktibbeha County residents together to identify needs and make improvements in their community.
Lady Cox participated in The Forum: Oktibbeha County Leadership Development, a program that taps into the talents and skills of a diverse group of local citizens to evoke positive community change. Cox, a local realtor, said The Forum leadership training taught her how to build consensus and achieve synergy in a community.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cool temperatures have forced Mississippians to wait even longer for summer's much-anticipated first tomatoes.
A perennial treasure from Southern gardens, tomatoes may be late, but the quality should compensate eager consumers.
David Nagel, horticulturist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said tomatoes from Florida to Arkansas are as much as two weeks behind schedule because of lower-than-normal temperatures.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When David Courtney upgraded his fresh vegetable produce market from an on-farm stand to a year-round store, he needed some help figuring out how to display his merchandise.
"Folks from the Mississippi State University Extension Service helped with the layout and arrangement of our products to be attractive to the customer," Courtney said. "They showed us where fast-moving items should be located and where the more permanent items should be."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Tree and shrub growers in South Mississippi can take advantage of a one-day seminar in June to hone their abilities to control pests.
The Tree and Shrub Pest Management Seminar runs from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. June 28 in Biloxi at Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center. It is sponsored by MSU and the South Mississippi Lawn and Landscape Association.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Consumers in the market for a new home have more financing options than ever before, but choosing an unconventional mortgage could lead to future financial troubles.
Gregg Ibendahl, agricultural finance specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said Mississippi housing prices have risen about 5 percent each year since 2002.
"Current median house prices have increased dramatically from 2002 to 2004. In the South, the average price in 2002 was around $140,000, and in 2004, the average price was $170,000," Ibendahl said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent rains provided most of Mississippi's struggling crops with the boost needed to grow out of seedling stages and on toward maturity.
With the exception of the extreme northern counties, the Memorial Day holiday week brought much-needed rains to Mississippi. While all crops lacked water, corn may have been the most needy.
Erick Larson, corn specialist for Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said much of the state had not received rain since mid-April. Corn plants were in various stages of water stress.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Asian soybean rust came to Zimbabwe in 1998, and researcher Clive Levy was on the front line battling the disease in commercial fields in that African nation.
Levy was in Mississippi in mid-June, searching for the disease in the state's fields with Mississippi State University Extension Service personnel. As of June 30, rust has not been found in Mississippi this year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Warm temperatures go hand-in-hand with grilling out for many Mississippians, but take care to ensure this popular pastime doesn't result in dangerous fires.
Ted Gordon, a Mississippi State University Extension Service safety specialist at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, said safety precautions can make using charcoal or gas grills safe and fun.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Parents looking for affordable ways to entertain restless children during the summer months need look no farther than their own backyard.
Chasing and catching fireflies offers fun for all ages and creates special family memories that will last a lifetime.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Broiler prices weakened slightly while egg prices dropped sharply during the first part of 2005, giving consumers slightly more reason to be optimistic about prices than producers.
Mike Pepper, president of the Mississippi Poultry Association, described 2004 as a favorable year for broiler production.
"Prices were good last year -- close to the record levels set in 1986. This year prices are down slightly, but production is up," Pepper said. "Feed costs are not as high as they have been some years, but energy costs are.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When a patient comes in the door of the Mississippi State University veterinary college's Animal Health Center, three types of imaging tools help clinical faculty, staff and students provide the best care.
Diagnostic Imaging Services in MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine has a cardiac-capable ultrasound, large- and small-animal X-ray facilities and a computed tomography, also known as a CT or CAT, scanner. Dr. Dan Cantwell, chief of diagnostic imaging services, said the acquisition of the CT scanner was important for the veterinary college.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Experts recommend teaching safety skills and instilling confidence in children to prevent a parent's worst nightmare from becoming tragic reality.
Patsilu Reeves, a Mississippi State University Extension Service family life education specialist, said parents need to be aware of predators' most commonly used tricks and teach their children not to fall for them.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- There's a balance between class work and on-the-job experience in Mississippi State University's gin management and technology program.
The four-year program, called GMT for short, is offered through MSU's Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department and prepares students to operate and manage modern state-of-the-art cotton ginning facilities.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dairy prices remain strong after a banner year in 2004, but most producers will need to channel much of that income to pay off large amounts of debt accumulated in previous years.
Bill Herndon, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said milk prices exceeded the once-considered unreachable level of $20 per hundredweight in 2004, which was significantly higher than the previous record.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some good advice from the Mississippi State University Extension Service given at just the right time saved James Goodlow a lot of money.
Goodlow, owner of Goodlow Farm in Canton, farms about 350 acres of soybeans today, but he, his brother and father used to farm about 2,500 acres in Madison County.
"About seven years ago, I had about 1,000 acres of cotton. My scout told me I had an armyworm problem," Goodlow said. "I went to my Extension agent and told him I had to spray all my cotton for armyworms. It was going to cost me $16 an acre.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- For a producer running about 200 cattle at any one time, sound technical advice on a variety of issues -- from artificial insemination to marketing -- is invaluable.
Lee County producer Hamilton Smith said his local Mississippi State University Extension Service agents have provided assistance on numerous occasions.
"They give a lot of technical advice that's already been tried and proven. This keeps me from having to learn things through trial-and-error," Smith said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The MAFES Sales Store on the campus of Mississippi State University will make a short move to a new location by Aug. 1.
Shoppers looking for MSU's famous Edam cheese and other Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station dairy items will have a more convenient location to visit. The store is moving to the front of the Herzer Food Science Building on Stone Boulevard across from Dorman Hall and the university greenhouses.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most cotton in the state looked "pretty good" in late June, but areas in the north Delta have received very little rain since April.
Tom Barber, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said some of the best cotton in the state is in the south Delta, while producers in the north Delta are having to irrigate heavily.