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A group of five adults stand in front of some plants.
January 4, 2022 - Filed Under: Master Gardener, Flower Gardens

The new year offers a new opportunity for garden enthusiasts who want to hone their craft and give back to their communities. The Mississippi State University Extension Service is offering the Master Gardener training and certification online again this year.

A single pink rose bloom.
January 3, 2022 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

As I was thinking over the holidays about how my 2022 home garden will look, I was still harvesting heirloom tomatoes and various peppers from my 2021 garden. Can you imagine collecting fresh tomatoes and peppers on Christmas Day, let alone on New Year’s Day?

But that all came to an end when temperatures dropped on Sunday from 78 to 35 with a 27-degree wind chill. Now, I can get back to my 2022 garden planning.

A hanging basket is filled with pink blooms.
December 27, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I like to close every year with a look back at plants that were some of the solid performers and those that were surprises in my landscape and garden. I’ve shared most, if not all, of these plant observations with the Southern Gardening Nation in the hope that my experience gives you some great choices for your home landscape.

Panels display timber, chickens and soybeans.
December 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics

High commodity prices in 2021 pushed Mississippi agriculture to a sharp increase in total value -- a record estimated $8.33 billion -- despite a huge decline in government assistance aimed at coronavirus relief. Agriculture’s estimated value is up 19% from 2020.

A chart lists the value of the top 11 agricultural commodities in Mississippi.
December 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics

Excellent commodity prices propelled Mississippi agriculture to its highest level: an estimated $8.33 billion value in 2021. This figure is a 19% increase over 2020. Poultry, soybeans and forestry continue to rank first, second and third, respectively, in the state’s agricultural economy.

A chicken.
December 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Livestock, Poultry

Strong consumer demand for chicken is one part of the equation that added up to a nearly 40% increase in production value for Mississippi’s poultry industry in 2021. The commodity held on to the No. 1 spot among all the state’s agricultural commodities, totaling an estimated value of $2.65 billion. 2021 marks the 27th consecutive year poultry has topped Mississippi’s value of production list. Final figures will be released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in April. Higher prices also influenced this year’s value of production.

Soybeans in a field.
December 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- An improved price environment for soybeans pushed the crop’s value of production to near record highs in Mississippi in 2021.

Soybean production grew about 25% from $1.2 billion in 2020 to $1.49 billion this year. It is Mississippi’s second largest agricultural commodity for the second straight year and by far the state’s most valuable row crop.

Will Maples, a row crops economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, estimated soybean prices to be up around 20% from 2020.

A front end loader.
December 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Forestry, Forestry Impacts, Timber Prices, Timber Harvest

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Forestry is the third largest agricultural commodity in Mississippi for the second straight year with a production value of nearly $1.29 billion in 2021, up 5.7% over last year.

Large, flat seeds are visible inside a paper packet.
December 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Besides this being the multiple holiday season with Christmas and then New Year’s back-to-back, it’s also the time when many gardeners start planning their landscapes and plantings for the coming year. One of my favorite things to do in past years was to gather all the seed catalogs and start dreaming.

December 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Farming, Forages, Livestock, Soils

A new online platform can help farmers learn about and implement management practices to improve profitability, soil health and land stewardship. Created by a multistate team of university Extension professionals and farmers, One Good Idea provides farmers across the U.S. an online classroom to learn through videos and podcasts. Topics include cover crops, conservation tillage, rotational grazing and nutrient management.

Individual yellow blooms stand upright from green foliage.
December 13, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

We’re in the season when social media is lit up with gorgeous images of flowering shrubs. The sasanqua camellias are particularly beautiful this fall, and how about the reblooming azaleas like Encore and newer Perfecto Mundo from Proven Winners?

Pink poinsettias.
December 6, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This is one of my favorite seasons -- but aren’t they all? -- for enjoying my membership in the horticulture community. Last week, Mississippi State University hosted the first of what we hope will be an annual Poinsettia Open House at the South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville.

December 1, 2021 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting, MSU Extension Head Start

The Mississippi State University Extension Service Head Start program is hiring for various positions in Harrison County. Head Start needs qualified candidates to fill positions including lead teachers, assistant teachers, a project coordinator, an educational leader, a floater, an administrative assistant, an office associate, an assistant cook and a custodian.

A flower garden with raised beds.
December 1, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Insects-Ornamental Plants

A grant from Coast Electric will allow for a renovation of the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum’s pollinator garden. Pat Drackett, director of the arboretum, said the pollinator garden was established in 2001 as the Explorers’ Garden. It is a 3,000-square-foot space with a variety of native and other plants that helps teach visitors how to create havens for pollinators.

Small corn plants grow in a row among dead grasses.
November 30, 2021 - Filed Under: Corn

Researchers at Mississippi State University looking at how to successfully use cover crops in corn production systems must develop strategies to overcome challenges unique to this row crop. Cover crops are plants grown outside of the normal cropping season mainly for conservation purposes.

A head of cabbage grows in a garden.
November 29, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Even though I still have tomatoes and peppers producing in my home garden, I know these summer vegetables are on borrowed time. While I like being able to harvest tomatoes on Thanksgiving, it’s the time of year to appreciate the great cool-season vegetables we can grow.

Two male deer locking horns
November 24, 2021 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Each year in Mississippi, thousands of hunters spend time in the woods hoping to see and harvest a buck. Last year, hunters in the Magnolia State harvested about 122,000 bucks, producing venison for the table and antlers to admire for a lifetime.

Even without having to worry about hunters, however, life for a buck is no cakewalk.

A woman and a man pose in front of shopping bags and blue crates.
November 24, 2021 - Filed Under: Rural Development, AIM for CHangE

DREW, Miss. -- The small Delta town of Drew in the heart of Sunflower County has created a private, public and academic partnership to fight food insecurity.

For its efforts, the town recently received a big new honor, along with funding to advance ongoing health equity improvements. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) last month awarded Drew and nine other communities the 2020–2021 Culture of Health Prize, along with $25,000.

A yellow bloom.
November 22, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This Thanksgiving week, I’m recovering from a particularly nasty infection in my leg. I’m not looking for sympathy, but it has given me the opportunity to think about what I’m thankful for in the garden and landscape.

This past weekend, the weather was glorious on the Coast, and I hobbled through my garden, which I hadn’t seen for a week.

November 22, 2021 - Filed Under: Community, Rural Development

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A team led by a Mississippi State University unit has been recognized on the national level for its contributions to race relations.

The Coming Together for Racial Understanding (CTRU) project received the 2021 National Diversity in Extension Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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