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February 19, 1998 - Filed Under: Trees

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Redbuds are not the only flowering trees that herald the arrival of spring. One different looking, but gorgeous tree you may have noticed is the Taiwan cherry.

February 12, 1998 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Sweet potato vines are becoming all the rage as landscape plants. It is not too hard to believe when you realize that many of us grow their close relatives, the morning glories or moon flowers.

February 9, 1998 - Filed Under: Health

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Good health practices and cleaning habits can help protect people from widespread colds and flu during the peak of the season.

Dr. Mary Currier, state epidemiologist, said Mississippi has experienced an average flu season. The best news is that reports have been on two strains of Influenza A, which are easier to treat than Influenza B. Unfortunately, one of the strains (A-Sidney) could not be controlled by the vaccine.

February 9, 1998 - Filed Under: Youth Projects, 4-H Safety Programs, ATV Safety

By Kelli McPhail

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- All-terrain vehicle accidents claim lives and cause hundreds of injuries each year, and young operators especially need to learn responsible habits to avoid deadly accidents.

Recreational use of ATVs, better known as three- and four-wheelers, increases as temperatures warm and days lengthen.

Dr. Dannie L. Reed, Choctaw County extension agent, said kids often see ATVs as toys. However, ATVs carry severe consequences if not carefully operated.

February 9, 1998 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Few areas of the financial world remained untouched by Asia's economic troubles that started in October, but Mississippi farmers are weathering it well.

Agricultural markets were shaken when Asian stock markets plummeted last fall. Hardest hit were Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan. These countries along the Pacific Rim have traditionally been strong consumers of American grain, cotton and poultry.

February 9, 1998 - Filed Under: Farming

By Bonnie Coblentz

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The topic of many causal conversations this winter is no light matter to farmers who must make decisions for the upcoming year based in part on the weather.

January has not brought the freezing temperatures it usually does, and warmer weather means more crop pests can survive until spring. But a lack of cold weather did not stop the rain, which has brought area flooding to some portions of the state.

February 9, 1998 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Company is coming to Mississippi in the form of hundreds of thousands of tourists, and Mississippians are encouraged to have the state ready for visitors.

First Lady Pat Fordice initiated the Splendors of Mississippi program last fall to complement the upcoming Splendors of Versailles and the International Ballet Competition, both to be held in Jackson this year. Her two-part beautification program is encouraging the planting of yellow, white and gold flowers all over the state, and keeping roadways free of litter.

February 5, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

MillionBells is the name for an exciting new group of petunias making their debut this year. They may be the most beautiful of all the new petunia family from the past five years.

January 29, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Remember the love that went with those flowers -- roots and all -- you as a child gave your mother. That same spirit can be captured this Valentine's Day with gifts of rose bushes.

January 26, 1998 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's rich soil has a reputation for producing impressive cotton crops, but Georgia's boll weevil-free fields have rapidly become the top Southeast producers.

"When the market is not strong, growers need all the breaks they can get to make a profit," said Dr. Michael Ouart, extension state program leader for agriculture and natural resources at Mississippi State University. "If boll weevils are not a control factor, growers can invest that money in other ways to produce higher yields."

January 26, 1998 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's catfish industry already leads the world in production, and in 1997 increased 22 percent to record a $380 million farm gate value in the state.

The latest figures show that Mississippi had 102,000 acres of catfish ponds as of Jan. 1, 1997. The United States had a total of 177,300. Twenty years ago, Mississippi had just 17,000 acres of catfish ponds.

Jim Steeby, area extension aquaculture agent in the Delta, said no other place in the nation is so uniquely equipped for catfish production.

January 26, 1998 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Weather and Mississippi State University played major roles in the record yields state farmers have produced in recent years among Mississippi's top row crops.

In 1997, cotton farmers saw their highest production with 896 pounds harvested per acre. Soybeans matched 1996's second highest production with 31 bushels an acre, while corn set a new record at 107 bushels per acre. Rice and wheat also set yield records in the past two years.

January 26, 1998 - Filed Under: Soybeans, Technology

By Rhonda Whitmire

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean farmers have relied on variety testing results for many years, and now they can view the latest results on the Internet.

Since 1982, the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station, in cooperation with Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, has tested various soybean varieties. Farmers receive the results through MAFES and extension publications and by word of mouth.

January 22, 1998 - Filed Under: Landscape Architecture

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

If your landscape looks a little desolate, barren or Siberia- like, it probably needs some evergreens. Of all landscape plants in the South, conifers are some of our most beautiful.

Conifers are important to our timber industry, but their usefulness doesn't stop there. A conifer is a cone-bearing tree or shrub. Familiar ones are the loblolly, slash pine, long and shortleaf pine, and others.

January 15, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The winter weather has not been so cold, but it certainly has been dreary. The bulbs are starting to show their first green signs letting us know spring is coming. But if we simply cannot wait, which I can't, then primulas are the easy solution to the winter doldrums.

Europeans adore primulas, or primrose, but most Mississippi gardeners overlook them as a source of late winter and early spring color.

January 12, 1998 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children can add a precious element to wedding ceremonies, but adults first need to have realistic expectations for a child's behavior.

Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said children require special considerations for being in a formal ceremony.

January 12, 1998 - Filed Under: Family Dynamics

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Once the wedding is over and the couple is back from the honeymoon, it's time to start playing together.

Dr. Louise Davis, child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said couples should make a habit of spending time together. Communication grows with shared interests.

"Treat your spouse as your deepest and best friend," Davis said. "Learn to enjoy each other's interests and find an activity of your own to do as a couple."

January 12, 1998 - Filed Under: Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In reality, outdoor Mississippi weddings are often very different from the imagined clear skies with a cool breeze rustling through the flowers.

Mississippi has many beautiful outdoor wedding settings with fresh air and open spaces. But it is very hot in the summer with humidity, bugs and afternoon rains that must be planned for.

Ann Stevenson, area extension agent in the northwest district (Panola County), said outdoor wedding can be successful, but require more time and effort.

January 12, 1998 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Couples are no longer the only ones adjusting to new marriages. Children from previous relationships often have the hardest time adapting to a new parent in the house.

Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said effective communication early-on is the key to helping children accept step-parents.

January 12, 1998 - Filed Under: Food and Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Newlyweds can avoid the common problem of gaining weight by eating healthy and exercising as a team.

"Exercise is important for everyone's physical and emotional condition," said Linda Patterson, extension health specialist at Mississippi State University. "It's a great way to relieve stress and control weight."

Patterson said early in a marriage is a good time to develop a habit of regular exercise.