Feature Story from 2012
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In an industry with small profit margins, a perishable product and fierce, largely unregulated competition, one Mississippi company has confidently filled its market for more than 30 years.
Pride of the Pond is the catfish processing operation of Battle Farms of Tunica. Owned by Bill Battle, the farm has about 10,000 acres of row crops and 2,700 acres of ponds in Panola, Tunica and Quitman counties. The state-of-the-art catfish processing plant is located just a few miles outside Tunica and employs 121 people.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – July brought 32,000 grasshoppers to Mississippi State University, but rather than being a plague of locusts, they are a research bonanza.
The Mississippi Entomological Museum is borrowing a portion of the grasshopper collection from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. JoVonn Hill, a research associate with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said the collection complements what MSU already has.
JACKSON – Seventy-eight Mississippians have been diagnosed with West Nile Virus, and one death is attributed to the disease.
Mississippi is one of the three hardest-hit states, following Texas and Oklahoma. Specialists predict the number of cases will continue to increase through early fall.
STARKVILLE – A Mississippi museum is conserving the past inside and embracing the future outside with its modern, sustainable landscape.
Visitors to the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum will enjoy a new pavilion’s shade but may not realize they are surrounded by environmentally friendly solutions to a challenging landscape using environmentally friendly solutions.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Seeing the forest and the trees is a lot easier with software developed by scientists at Mississippi State University.
Researchers at MSU’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center have created the Mississippi Forest Monitoring and Information System, a forest inventory and information system that combines satellite remote sensing data and ground surveys. It is the first time forest-related satellite data and ground measurements have been combined on such a large scale in the United States.
TUPELO – Steve Hale is banking on today’s young consumers embracing sustainable vegetable production for the good of the environment and their health.
2012 is Hale’s first year in the hydroponic tomato business. St Bethany Fresh tomato farm, located just west of Tupelo in Pontotoc County, started with 3,000 plants in December. By mid-April, Hale was harvesting blemish-free, vine-ripened tomatoes.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Much of agriculture’s success depends on effective water management, which must be done to keep both farmland and surrounding areas healthy.
Agriculture was a $6.7 billion industry in Mississippi last year, and the state is on track to match that value in 2012. That makes agriculture big business with a big responsibility to the environment.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Gardeners may be getting ready to put away their gloves for the year, but now is the perfect time to get a head start on environmentally friendly landscaping projects.
Planning ahead can make yard maintenance easier, save money and conserve natural resources.
By Kaitlyn Byrne
MSU Ag Communications
STARKVILLE – A growing number of Mississippians are interested in how their food gets from the farm to the table and are looking for local fruits, vegetables and meat.
Ali Fratesi, a graduate student in Mississippi State University’s Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, said more people are choosing locally grown food. When they do, they can ask farmers how it was grown or raised.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A Mississippi State University veterinary student interested in bovine health recently won a national scholarship.
Matt Mundy, a third-year student at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, received an American Association of Bovine Practitioners’ Amstutz Scholarship. This is the first time an MSU student has received this prestigious award.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The Mississippi State University Extension Service is preparing for Tropical Storm Isaac’s landfall, shutting down county and district offices and making information available online to Mississippians.
Counties in western Mississippi remain in the projected path of the storm that by midmorning Monday continued to move farther west than originally expected. South Mississippi is under a hurricane warning. Tropical storm-force winds are expected as far north as Highway 84 across the state.
By Karen Templeton
MSU College of Veterinary Medicine
MISSISSIPPI STATE – As Tropical Storm Isaac heads toward Mississippi, residents in flood-prone areas may have to consider evacuation, and those with pets should have a plan of departure that includes their furry and feathered family members.
By Laci Kyles
MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi has some of the best fisheries in the nation, and Mississippi State University researchers are working to keep the threatened species in them from disappearing.
Peter Allen, assistant professor of aquatic sciences, conducts research on the fisheries that provide food and fun for Mississippians. He works at MSU’s South Farm Aquaculture Facility, a joint venture of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Individuals receiving paper benefits checks from the U.S. government have only a few months to sign up to receive payments electronically under the new paper-free system.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A poultry specialist with industry and Extension Service experience recently joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
Thomas Tabler began work as an Extension professor Aug. 1 in MSU’s Department of Poultry Science after teaching a year in Shungnak, Alaska, 20 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Even as the remnants of Hurricane Isaac were leaving Mississippi on Friday, Mississippi State University Extension agents were assessing its impact on crops that were so close to harvest.
Lodging, or laying down, can be a significant harvest challenge in wind-blown fields, especially corn.
Extension corn specialist Erick Larson is cautiously optimistic that most of the corn crop escaped with minimal damage.
POPLARVILLE – Dairy producers in Mississippi and Louisiana can learn more efficient ways to produce, store and use forage crops at the Dairy Forage Production and Utilization Pasture Walk on Sept. 12.
JACKSON – The surge in heartworm-positive animals, some of them on preventatives, has stirred debate about the cause and worries pet owners.
“The high incidence of positive cases in the Delta has made some of our clients very nervous,” said Dr. Edwin Nordan, a veterinarian at Greenville Animal Clinic and Hospital. “Some have installed pesticide misting systems around the exterior of their homes to help reduce the number of mosquitoes their pets are exposed to. I understand their anxiety. We deal with positive cases every day, and it is a serious disease.”
STONEVILLE – Mississippi State University recently named a building in honor of a retired agricultural researcher and administrator.
More than 200 attended the Aug. 30 dedication of the new Verner G. Hurt Research and Extension Building at MSU’s Delta Research and Extension Center, despite Hurricane Isaac’s inclement weather.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The annual field day for Mississippi’s blueberry growers will showcase innovation and good management techniques at a Wayne County farm on Oct. 11.
Tom Giles and John Giles of Giles Farm in Waynesboro will host producers, specialists from the Mississippi State University Extension Service and employees from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service and exhibitors from across the United States.