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Feature Story from 2021

Flood waters surround a home in the south Delta.
June 7, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Health, The PROMISE Initiative, Rural Health

To some people, farming is an idyllic way of life, but producers face some unique stressors that can impact their well-being. In fact, a national poll by the American Farm Bureau Federation in 2019 confirmed that about two in five farmers and farm workers reported experiencing increased stress levels and more mental health challenges since 2014.

A goat stands in front of a fence.
June 10, 2021 - Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock, Agriculture, Agri-business, Goats and Sheep

Dairy goats make up a niche market of the Mississippi livestock industry, but their popularity is growing across the state. Interest has grown among 4-H livestock program members, people who participate in various other showmanship contests and people who want goat milk products.

Two watermelons on the vine.
June 15, 2021 - Filed Under: Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Watermelon production is on track despite cool weather at planting.

“I’ve been in our watermelon fields a good bit over the past several days,” Heath Steede, Mississippi State University Extension agent in George County, said on June 9. “The crop looks really good. We had a slow start with the cool nights this spring, but they caught up later. The watermelons are stacked in there, and we’ll have a good crop as far as the number of melons.”

Continuous rains, however, have Steede a little concerned.

June 17, 2021 - Filed Under: Soil Testing

Mississippi agricultural producers and landowners who are interested in carbon sequestration can test their soil’s carbon content through the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

A hand holds a brown snake.
June 18, 2021 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education

Young people with an interest in the outdoors have a chance to engage with nature in Mississippi State University’s 2021 Conservation Camp hosted July 19-23. The weeklong day camp is for rising sixth- through ninth-graders. It is based on the MSU campus, and features wildlife science and outdoor exploration. A $100 fee includes lunch each day and all activity costs. The camp extends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Two people step off a bus.
June 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Health, AIM for CHangE, Rural Health

Citizens in northern Sunflower County can use a new ride-sharing service to maintain an independent and healthy lifestyle. The service, called Healthy Destination Access, kicked off June 15 with ribbon cuttings in Rome and Drew.

June 23, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A yearly seed technology short course offered at Mississippi State University has expanded its scope to include additional agricultural technologies.

The MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station invite seed industry professionals, producers and crop consultants to attend the Seed and Ag Technology Short Course Aug. 3-4 at the Bost Extension Conference Center.

A tractor parked outside of a shed at night.
June 24, 2021 - Filed Under: The PROMISE Initiative
By Erica Hensley
For the MSU Extension Service

Colby Hardin managed his depression since he was diagnosed at 18. With medication, he kept it under control throughout college, while working at Mississippi State University's dairy farm.

Water stands in a corn field
June 24, 2021 - Filed Under: Crops, Corn, Cotton, Soybeans, Disaster Response

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- MSU Extension agents will be assessing agricultural damage from early-June flooding until well into July, but preliminary estimates indicate losses could break records.

The 2019 Yazoo Backwater Area flood caused $617 million in crop damage alone. It looks like the more recent flood will exceed those losses.

Heavy rainfall, primarily north of U.S. Highway 82, throughout the second week of June waterlogged crops during critical growth stages. Flooding caused complete or partial losses in many fields.

A large, yellow machine lifts downed trees to load onto a log truck.
June 29, 2021 - Filed Under: Timber Prices, Timber Harvest

Although construction costs are through the roof timber prices have not kept pace, and Mississippi forest landowners are waiting for improved markets. Shaun Tanger, a forestry economics specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the recent increase in construction costs is a demand-side phenomena.

A photo of a female Asian horntail wasp.
June 30, 2021 - Filed Under: Insects, Insect Identification, Insects-Home Lawns, Insects-Pests

Mississippi is home to several flying insects that can be mistaken for the invasive Asian giant hornet discovered in Washington in 2020. Blake Layton, Mississippi State University Extension Service entomologist, said this insect, also called a “murder hornet,” has not been confirmed outside the Northwest. However, Layton said he has been contacted by people who think they have seen these hornets in Mississippi and Alabama in the last few weeks.

July 7, 2021 - Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Safety Programs, 4-H SAFETY

Qualifying senior 4-H members will compete in the Mississippi 4-H S.A.F.E.T.Y. State Invitational July 16 and 17 at the Jimmy Bryan 4-H Youth Complex in West Point and at the Starkville Gun Club.

July 8, 2021 - Filed Under: AIM for CHangE

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Only eight teams were accepted into the Society of Public Health Education Writing for Publication Workshop this summer, and one of them is from Mississippi State University.

Katharine Halfacre and Masey Smith, Extension specialists in the MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, were accepted into the competitive program for their involvement with the MSU Extension program AIM for CHangE.

Portrait of farmers market produce
July 9, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farmers Markets

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State University’s Extension Service is working to enhance direct sales, farmers markets, and local food development in northeast Mississippi as part of a new project “From Gravel Roads to City Streets” funded by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

Catfish swimming above a net.
July 16, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Catfish

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippi restaurants that serve catfish have had to pay their distributors more to keep the popular Southern dish on the menu this year or go without, but pond inventory is not the primary issue.

Instead, labor shortages at processing plants are more to blame, said Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. Industry data, he said, show processing is down 9% for the first five months of 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020.

A woman holds a stalk of grain while standing in a field.
July 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Rice, Soybeans

Researchers are learning how to manage rice fields when paraquat drifts onto them early and late in the season, but what impact this herbicide has on grain quality and what happens when drift occurs midseason are still unknowns.

Ruined watermelons lie in a muddy field.
July 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber, Watermelons

One month ago, watermelon production in southeast Mississippi was on track. Now, growers there have lost much of their crop to the summer’s wet weather.

Man in a maroon shirt and baseball cap in a greenhouse.
July 22, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, AIM for CHangE, Mental Health First Aid

LOUISVILLE, Miss. -- Jim McAdory wears many hats. On any given day, the Mississippi State University Extension Service agent fields calls from local cattle farmers, teaches kids about the importance of daily nutrition, and tests soil to diagnose front yard and garden harvest problems -- all before lunch.

Based in Winston County, McAdory recently gained an additional role: Mental Health First Aid instructor.

A group gathers around a table-top planter growing small plants.
July 27, 2021 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

In late July, 54 stakeholders from across the country met in person and remotely to hammer out their perspectives on the best way to sustain the nation’s sweet potato industry.

Numerous tiny, white insects with brown heads dot a surface full of holes and crevices.
August 4, 2021 - Filed Under: Insects-Pests, Invasive Plants

Mississippi’s climate has proven to be ideally suited to hosting a variety of introduced, invasive plants and insects, but vigilant residents can prevent these pests from becoming overwhelming problems. One of the latest invaders is the box tree moth. North Mississippi residents are confronting this new challenge, which is a serious pest of boxwood shrubs that began showing up on boxwoods bought in Tennessee this spring.

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