Feature Story from 2005
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Thousands of miles and millions of dollars worth of fences in south Mississippi were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, leaving producers with overwhelming odds if they continue in the cattle business.
Mike Keene, area livestock and forages agent for Mississippi State University's Extension Service, is based in Hattiesburg. He said help is arriving in the form of fencing supplies and feed, but challenges abound for farmers.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi producers suffering losses from Hurricane Katrina can apply for a portion of the $170 million in disaster assistance made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Mississippi has $7.1 million earmarked through the Emergency Conservation Program. Other funds are available through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, Emergency Loan Program, Farm Storage Facility Loans and the Disaster Debt Set-Aside Program.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With up to three year's worth of harvest timber destroyed or damaged, the odds of salvaging much volume or value are slim, and the clock is ticking.
Bob Daniels, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said preliminary estimates indicate Hurricane Katrina damaged $1.3 billion worth of timber on 1.2 million acres.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The cleanup after Hurricane Katrina has been a messy, smelly job, and for some people with allergies or respiratory problems, it can be a dangerous job.
Mold is taking hold across the affected region, lurking under wet flooring, penetrating walls, entering cars, and covering the contents of damp closets and storage areas. Dust is being stirred up as new construction and renovation is under way, and as people clean mud and dirt out of homes and businesses.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Darth Rebel and Bully-Wan-Kanobi are waiting to greet visitors to the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.
The Star Wars-inspired creations are among the 60 residents of this year's Scarecrow Trail, which winds through gardens filled with flowers and landscape plants.
The trail opened to the public Sept. 17 and will remain open through Oct. 25. Admission is free, and families or individuals who want to enjoy the gardens and exhibits may walk the trail anytime Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Grants are available to Mississippi youth wanting to repair environmental damage caused by Hurricane Katrina or for other nature projects that will promote pride in their communities.
Community Pride is a grants and awards program sponsored by the ChevronTexaco Companies and administered by Mississippi State University's Extension Service. The environmental improvement program has been in existence for more than 30 years.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A credit report can be a useful tool to individuals trying to put their lives together again after Hurricane Katrina turned them upside down.
Bobbie Shaffett, family resource management specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a credit report is a good way to replace lost account and credit card information if these records were destroyed.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Two public agencies are joining forces to help address the educational needs of children whose lives were disrupted by Hurricane Katrina.
"Operation ABC - Read" unites Mississippi State University's Extension Service and Mississippi Public Broadcasting to bring a wealth of resources to the remaining shelters and recovering child-care centers damaged by the storm. MPB received a $75,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and received videos and books from Sesame Workshop and WGBH-Boston to provide educational kits to impacted areas.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane Katrina literally blew away millions of dollars of the state's horticulture industry centered in coastal counties hardest hit by the storm.
"Before the storm, Mississippi had close to a billion dollar horticulture industry," said Kerry Johnson, area horticulture agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in George County. "Several hundred retailers, greenhouses, landscapers and nurseries operated in south Mississippi, and the industry had rebounded from the setback it experienced after Sept. 11."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Volunteers, eager to help in storm-ravaged areas, face health and safety hazards left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Jane Clary said volunteers often have a selfless attitude that is not preoccupied with personal risks they may face as they try to help others. Many "just pick up and go" to offer aid without taking some important precautions or considering the absence of medical care in some remote areas.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- After extensive scientific research, at least one food scientist has reached a definite conclusion about freshwater prawns.
"They are just good," said Patti Coggins, director of the Garrison Sensory Evaluation Laboratory at Mississippi State University.
Coggins is one of a group of MSU scientists studying the feasibility of growing prawns in Mississippi, and she has data from formal sensory evaluation studies, including taste tests, to back her personal opinion.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Asian rust began demanding the attention of soybean growers across the South last year, but it is not the only disease producers must consider when growing the crop.
Soybeans began to receive more attention in the late 1980s when average yields finally rose above the low 20 bushels an acre mark. Mississippi State University research and support of the industry, funded in part by the Soybean Promotion Board, was largely responsible.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Families feeling the impact of Katrina-related stress today may find it hard to believe their feelings and anxieties could get worse weeks or months down the road as the holiday seasons arrive.
Patsilu Reeves, family life education specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said some survivors of Hurricane Katrina may not show symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in the first months after the storm.
By Marcus Daniels
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane Katrina continues to turn lives upside down, but neglecting nutritious eating habits can lead to a vicious cycle of depression and poor health.
Sharon Haynes, area nutrition and food safety agent with Mississippi State University's Extension Service based in Winston County, said healthy diets may sound unrealistic given the magnitude of the disaster, but they remain important.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Disasters the size of Hurricane Katrina are almost impossible to fully prepare for, but the American Red Cross director in Tupelo credits 25 years of training and experience as a 4-H volunteer leader with helping her meet the enormous challenges.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's row crops took strikes from hurricanes Dennis, Katrina and Rita, but are still in the game with statewide yield losses not expected to top 35 percent.
Hurricane Rita brought torrential rains to much of the state the last weekend in September, and winds as high as 43 mph in Greenville. State meteorologist Charles Wax said in the four-day period that coincided with Rita's presence, Natchez got 7.8 inches of rain, Cleveland 6.32 inches, Greenville 5.62 inches and Stoneville 6.88 inches.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Pace Seed Laboratory was one of about 12 buildings damaged when a tornado hit the Mississippi State University campus Sept. 25.
The building, which lost about half of its roof, houses the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute and the university’s mini-gin. The section of the roof above the gin was completely blown away by the tornado.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Moisture meters have arrived in coastal counties to help residents make building or repair decisions in water-damaged homes.
Mississippi State University Extension Service offices in 10 southern counties and at MSU’s Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi are loaning the meters to individuals who need them.
Herb Willcutt, Extension professor of agriculture and bioengineering, warned that it is a mistake to rebuild or repair before wood is sufficiently dry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane Katrina caused several thousand Mississippians to lose their jobs along with their homes, and that sudden loss of income is still being felt.
Food, water, medical care and temporary shelter were the first priorities in the days and weeks following the storm. Once basic survival needs were met and things were a little less desperate, residents who lost everything turned their attention to more long-term financial matters.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Livestock exhibitors from south Mississippi will find an additional reward at this year's State Fair in Jackson: therapeutic relief.
The 146th Mississippi State Fair will offer more than the traditional rides, good foods and entertainment. It will offer a sense of normalcy that many of the state's counties have been lacking since Hurricane Katrina hit on Aug. 29.