Feature Story from 2007
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent rains are turning struggling lawns across Mississippi into lush landscapes, and homeowners must work hard to keep them looking good all summer.
Wayne Wells, turf specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said now that the grass is growing, those performing lawn maintenance need to be sure to cut their turf to the correct height.
WOODVILLE -- Scouts with the Mississippi State University Extension Service found Asian soybean rust on kudzu in Mississippi July 12 in Wilkinson County.
As of July 13, no soybean rust has been found on soybeans in any field in Mississippi, but recent rains across the state created ideal conditions for the fungus.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A week of almost daily rains after July 4 could not overcome three years of deficit rainfall, but Mississippi's pastures and crops show evidence that the drought is over, at least for a short time.
Charles Wax, state climatologist and Mississippi State University professor of geosciences, compared the rain deficit to lost sleep.
“When you lose sleep, you can't catch up. Extra rest can help in the future, but the past is over,” Wax said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent high demand for dairy products has pushed milk prices to near-record highs even before schools resume their massive use of milk.
Bill Herndon, dairy specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said milk prices have been steadily increasing since the middle of 2006 when milk was at a 25-year low.
“This July was the 13th month in a row to have increased milk prices,” Herndon said. “The public is responding by consuming fewer products, and farmers are responding by gearing up to produce more milk.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Entomologists and wildlife and fisheries faculty at Mississippi State University think you can learn a lot from insects, so they are interested in developing a curriculum for K-12 education that uses the creepy-crawlies to teach a variety of subjects.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Influenza becomes an issue in schools every winter, but the increasing threat of a pandemic flu demands more efforts to minimize the spread of germs.
Jane Clary, health specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said a pandemic influenza will be far worse than the seasonal-flu outbreaks that schools and communities experience each year. A pandemic is a disease outbreak that spans the world.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Head lice have an uncomfortable way of finding a new home regardless of their host's age, social status or personal hygiene, and with school about to start, chances are good that many Mississippi families will encounter these annoying parasites in the months ahead.
Blake Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said there is no shame in getting head lice.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Fewer shrimp boats are working the waters off the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but the industry is showing signs of recovery from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.
“About 300 boats were counted in Mississippi waters the morning of June 6, the official opening date of the state's shrimp season,” said David Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extenison Service in Biloxi. “This is about the same number of boats counted last year, but still less than one-third the number before Katrina hit in 2005.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Knowledge of how to plant and manage a legal dove field in Mississippi can put hunters ahead of the game as mourning dove season approaches.
Two Dove Field Demonstrations and Wildlife Field Days will be held in August. The first will be at Mississippi State University’s Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Experiment Station on Aug. 11 and the second at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Newton on Aug. 18.
By Andrea Cooper
MSU College of Forest Resources
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cogongrass has spread across the southern United States since arriving as packing material in crates shipped from Asia to Mobile, Ala., in 1912.
The invasive grass, which chokes out native plants and causes problems for livestock and wildlife, is the subject of two recent studies in Mississippi State University's College of Forest Resources.
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The most commonly known people-plant connections are food and oxygen, but the use of plants to help individuals with mental illnesses goes back several hundred years.
Two Mississippi State University employees have teamed up to teach a graduate-level course this summer exploring the people-plant connection as a therapy tool. The 10-week class is offered at MSU's Meridian campus through the counselor education curriculum.
MISSISSIPPI STATE –Who does not want to be in “high cotton”? The answer is Mississippi cotton growers.
For the rest of society, being in high or tall cotton signifies prosperity and good fortune, but for this year's cotton growers, tall plants mean less fruit, or bolls.
James Smith is a research professor at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. He said growers are using growth regulators to reduce the vegetative growth.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An Extension forage specialist with experience across the United States is one of the newest experts to join the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
Rocky Lemus will serve as the primary contact for Extension education information on forages and grazing lands technology, said Michael Collins, head of MSU’s Plant and Soil Sciences Department.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- One north Mississippi family turned tragedy into an opportunity to bring happiness to the lives of terminally ill children nationwide when they deferred money intended for them to the Catch-A-Dream Foundation, based at Mississippi State University.
Anthony Lucas was a French Camp police chief who was slain in the line of duty in 2005. Friends and fellow law enforcement officers organized the Anthony Lucas Memorial Golf Tournament to raise money in his memory. The proceeds of the first year paid for a monument to commemorate his life.
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University veterinarians are urging pet owners to practice effective tick control on cats after the emergence of a fatal feline disease in the state.
Examinations of several domestic cats suffering unexplained deaths in the state and a recent cat patient that died at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine's Animal Health Center revealed cytauxzoonosis, a parasitic blood infection that is a “death sentence.”
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- They still have three years of classes ahead of them, but members of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine's class of 2010 have already made a positive impact.
The class has pledged $10,000 to the Pegasus Partners Endowment Fund.
“We were speechless at first,” said Dr. Robert Cooper, associate dean at the college. “No entering class had ever proposed an ambitious undertaking such as this one.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Refinancing a home mortgage can be a useful tool to free some income or speed up a payment plan, but it also can be an easy way to get into deeper financial trouble.
Bobbie Shaffett, family resource management specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said there are many dangers to avoid when purchasing or refinancing a home.
By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center
STONEVILE -- High corn acreage and herbicide resistance are affecting crops in the Mississippi Delta, according to research presented at the Agronomic Crops Field Day held recently at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Three weeks of rain in July came just in time to salvage acres of the state's soybeans on the verge of drought, and now the overall crop is in good shape.
Dan Poston, soybean agronomist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said the rains were extremely helpful except in low-lying areas.
“The dryland crop really got turned around,” Poston said. “For the earliest planted beans, it was too late, but the crop as a whole was late, so it helped.”
CLEVELAND -- Mississippi farmers want to show off their rice crop at its best, served in hundreds of dishes for sampling at the 17th annual rice luncheon in Cleveland.
The meal will be served from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Sept. 21 at Delta State University’s Walter Sillers Coliseum.
Ben Spinks, Bolivar County director for Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said the event attracts more than 1,000 people each September, which is National Rice Month.