Feature Story from 2014
OAKLAND -- As the first woman to win the Mississippi Forestry Association Tree Farmer of the Year award, Patrice O’Brien is a testament to the impact women make on the agricultural industry.
O’Brien jumped feet-first into the agriculture business when her father passed away in 1982, leaving the family farm, Twin Oaks Farm in Oakland, for her and her siblings to manage.
COLUMBUS -- Teens gained an inside look at the agriculture industry and service-learning during a three-week residential collegiate experience at the Mississippi Governor’s School in Columbus.
By partnering with Mississippi State University’s Center for Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence, or CASLE, the Mississippi Governor’s School engaged students with activities about farmers markets, family-run farms and barn quilts.
STONEVILLE -- Mississippi State University personnel gathered Tuesday to address weed, insect, disease and plant development concerns related to the challenge of another growing season pushed off schedule by a late, wet spring.
The MSU Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville stationed 13 Extension and research personnel at eight field stops to discuss soybean, corn, rice, cotton and peanut production at the half-day event. They summarized current crop conditions, discussed the challenges producers face and answered specific questions.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Warmer weather and no school mean local streets and sidewalks are filled with more walking and biking traffic, so drivers and parents must pay special attention to children’s safety.
“In the summer months, there are many additional precautions that parents need to focus on to reduce accidents,” said Louise Davis, Extension professor and director of the Mississippi Child Care Resource and Referral Network with Mississippi State University Extension Service.
LOUISVILLE -- When the April 28 EF4 tornado leveled Destiny’s Day Care in Louisville, center owner Deborah Holmes was relieved by the quick response from two Mississippi State University programs.
“I started getting calls from MSU wanting to know how we were and what we needed,” Holmes said. “They showed up at the right time.”
The first call Holmes received came from the Early Childhood Institute, a program of the MSU College of Education, which had previously provided technical assistance to her staff.
PURVIS – The Pine Belt Master Gardeners reached a milestone June 19.
The group constructed its 100th salad table, which is designated for donation to the University of Southern Mississippi’s Office of Sustainability. It is one of many the group has donated throughout the last year.
When the Pine Belt Master Gardeners built two raised beds for demonstration at the Mississippi State University Lamar County Extension office in 2013, they did not expect the educational project to become so popular.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Shooting fireworks is an exciting way to celebrate Independence Day, but an accident can quickly turn the holiday into a tragedy for any family.
In the month around the Fourth of July, an average of 200 people go to emergency rooms across the U.S. every day with fireworks-related injuries. At least a quarter of the victims are younger than 15, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which provided these figures.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Professional inquiry and persistence recently resulted in the confirmation of a new cattle virus in Mississippi that previously had been identified only in California.
Dr. Jim Cooley, a veterinary pathologist and professor in the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, worked with a colleague at the University of California-Davis to identify the neurologic disease that causes inflammation in the brains or spinal cords of affected cattle.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University scientists analyzed risk-management programs in the Agricultural Act of 2014 and have a recommendation to help soybean producers make informed decisions.
In the new farm bill, soybean producers must decide which of two types of coverage -- Agricultural Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage -- will best protect their profit margins.
STARKVILLE -- Turn on the lights, ready the store and post an online update. Business owners are incorporating social media into their daily routines, and customers like it.
Ellen Graves, social media strategist for the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said using online platforms allows entrepreneurs to join the conversation about their businesses.
JACKSON -- Proposed changes to the nutrition facts label should make it easier for consumers to make decisions about the food they eat.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is updating the label for the first time since it appeared on packaged foods in 1993. The only major change made to the label in its 20-year history was the required addition of trans fats in 2006.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Steak lovers beware: scientists have discovered certain tick bites can cause an allergy to red meat.
Jerome Goddard, medical entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the lone star tick species carries a sugar that can be transmitted through its bite. The transmission of the sugar may cause people to become allergic to red meat.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University experts will share the latest tips and best practices for creating healthy, beautiful and low-maintenance landscapes at an Aug. 1 short course.
Garden enthusiasts can attend the sustainable landscapes workshop at their county Extension office. Up to 20 participants can attend in Room 409 of the Bost Extension Building. The workshop will be broadcast through the distance education interactive video system.
BROOKHAVEN -- Mississippi’s cold, wet winter and spring gave the state’s new tea farm its first test.
Owner Jason McDonald and business partner Timothy Gipson started the farm in October. Their 250 one-gallon plants and 10 three-gallon plants are thriving this summer, despite some losses.
PICAYUNE -- Visitors to the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum can view the work of area artists in the arboretum’s new art gallery.
Located in the recently remodeled visitor center and gift shop, the gallery opened June 21. It displays artwork that celebrates the natural world, and much of the art was made on or inspired by the arboretum grounds in Picayune.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some of Mississippi’s future medical professionals demonstrated their dedication by taking college-level classes the summer before their senior year in high school.
This year, 23 academically gifted high school students participated in the five-week Rural Medical Scholars program at Mississippi State University. Since the program began in 1998, 317 students have participated, experiencing college life and shadowing doctors and other medical professionals for an on-the-job view of their professional lives.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A Mississippi State University undergraduate student and research scholar has won the Harold Weaver Undergraduate Student Excellence Award for his research on the flammability of hardwood forests.
Senior forestry major Zach Senneff of Caledonia, received the honor from the Association of Fire Ecology at the Large Wildland Fires Conference in Missoula, Montana.
VERONA -- The North Mississippi Research and Extension Center’s Agronomic Row Crops Field Day on Aug. 7 will present the latest research to area farmers and consultants.
The field day will be from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Lee County Agri-Center Magnolia Conference Center on Highway 145 South in Verona.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Students who struggle with math rarely consider it interesting or fun, but 30 Mississippi teachers spent 80 hours of intensive training in June learning how to change those students’ attitudes.
IMPACT2, or In-depth Mathematical Practices and Content Teacher Training, is a professional development opportunity for teachers to meet the requirements for their “highly qualified” certification in mathematics.
GOODMAN – Fruit and vegetable growers who sell their produce at local farmers markets and to schools or retailers can learn about food safety training, certification programs and new government rules during a July 18 field day in Goodman.
The Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production Demonstration Farm will host the field day.