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News From 2009

Flambé chrysocephalum is a proven winner in Mississippi with honors from New York to Florida and Minnesota to Texas, and most states in between. It has nonstop blooms on a plant that is drought tolerant, heat tolerant and frost tolerant to around 30 degrees.
April 2, 2009 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

As you shop your local garden center this spring, keep your eyes open for the 2009 Mississippi Medallion award-winning Flambé chrysocephalum. It has the ability to make itself at home in your garden, and it is one of the toughest plants you will grow.

The Mississippi Medallion award program began in 1996 when it recognized New Gold lantana and Blue Daze evolvulus. This year’s award went to Flambé for its stalwart performance in Mississippi’s extreme heat.

Jerome Goddard
April 2, 2009 - Filed Under: Insects-Human Pests, Insects

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A medical entomologist and a physician spent several months researching a small bloodsucker on the comeback trail and their findings are bringing extensive national attention to the problem.

April 2, 2009 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Producers getting ready to plant soybeans in 2009 can expect fewer problems than they faced last year when they dealt with shortages, poor quality and small sizes.

Trey Koger, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said poor germination and vigor resulted in a significant amount of seed withheld from sale last year.

“This coupled with extreme demand due to high soybean prices resulted in a shortage of good-quality seed to be planted last year for many varieties,” Koger said.

March 27, 2009 - Filed Under: Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's wheat is emerging from the winter with the same potential as last year’s record yield, but many opportunities remain for Mother Nature to spoil the final outcome.

Although the weather at planting time was favorable, the profit potential for wheat was not. The result was a wheat acreage decline of about 50 percent from last year, when growers averaged 62 bushels per acre on 485,000 acres.

Scientists have discovered that butterflies do a lot more than just pollinate plants. Conserving the butterfly population by increasing their habitats benefits food production and the ecosystem. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
March 26, 2009 - Filed Under: Environment, Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Scientists at Mississippi State University's Forest and Wildlife Research Center are researching ways in which farmers, through the use of conservation buffers, can help keep butterfly habitats safe and healthy.

March 26, 2009 - Filed Under: 4-H

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- More than 94,000 Mississippi youth enrolled in 4-H have a lifeline to achievement and purpose because of adult volunteers who help them make their best even better.

“The people in our organization all seem to have one thing in common,” said Harvey Gordon, 4-H youth development specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “They love 4-H and feel a huge need to share the 4-H experience with anyone who will listen.”

Slim Jim eggplant offers exceptional dark purple foliage and iridescent lavender-violet blossoms and can be grown as an ornamental. (Photo by Norman Winter)
March 26, 2009 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Whether you are interested in an edible landscape or a plain old vegetable garden, you will want to try the 2009 Mississippi Medallion award-winning Slim Jim eggplant.

Slim Jim is the fifth vegetable to win the Mississippi Medallion award. The others are Purple Ruffles basil, Mini Charm tomato, Tequila bell pepper and Red Giant mustard. You'll find these and other vegetables and herbs at your local garden center.

March 26, 2009 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Logging professionals throughout Mississippi have opportunities to take required core classes or earn continuing education credits and maintain their expertise.

To earn “trained” status, loggers must complete core classes in four educational areas. These classes cover the sustainable forestry initiative, logging and transportation safety, best management practices for water quality, and business management.

March 24, 2009 - Filed Under: Nuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi pecan growers can learn how to maintain their orchards at an April 9 workshop in Crystal Springs.

The half-day workshop begins with registration at 9 a.m. at Mississippi State University’s Truck Crops Experiment Station. Lunch will be provided following the workshop.

Topics for discussion include use of clovers in pecan orchards and crop insurance. Participants will visit clover plantings in the orchard located at the experiment station.

March 19, 2009 - Filed Under: Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A newly established poultry assistantship will help Mississippi State University expand its research of animal welfare issues.

KFC and the Yum! Brands Foundation are funding the assistantship at MSU’s Poultry Science Department in memory of J. Paul Thaxton, a former professor of poultry science at MSU and member of KFC’s Animal Welfare Advisory Council. Thaxton passed away in October 2007.

Supertunia Raspberry Blast is an attractive, deep hot pink with a dark cerise star accent at the throat of each blossom. (Photos by Norman Winter)
March 19, 2009 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

A trip to any garden center this spring will likely show that petunias are increasingly popular. Though there are dozens of varieties from which to choose, one group rising to the top is the Supertunia.

Many trial reports have given top honors to the bright-pink Supertunia Vista Bubblegum and the reddish-purple Vista Fuchsia. However, shoppers at a recent garden and patio show preferred the Supertunia Raspberry Blast and Supertunia Royal Velvet.

March 19, 2009 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Efforts to beat soybean rust are already under way before the soybean crop is even in the ground in Mississippi, but without federal funding, experts are scrambling to secure money to monitor for the presence of the disease this year.

Mississippi State University is researching high tunnel greenhouses as a way to grow produce and cut flowers year-round in Mississippi without heating. Strawberries can be seen growing March 6 in black plastic mulch rows in this high tunnel in Faison, N.C. (Photo by Mengmeng Gu)
March 12, 2009 - Filed Under: Farming

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Growing produce and cut flowers year-round could offer a potentially significant economic opportunity, and Mississippi State University researchers are collecting data to determine if it is a feasible strategy for the state's growers.

Bill Evans is the leader of a team that received a nearly $500,000 competitive grant for a three-year project at two MSU and two growers' sites. This project was supported by the National Research Initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

March 12, 2009 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife

By Karen Brasher
MSU College of Forest Resources

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Intensive commercial forestry and urban development are threatening natural habitats and have put the gopher tortoise on the federally threatened species list for Alabama, Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana.

March 12, 2009 - Filed Under: Beef

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Cattle producers will gather this month in Verona to network and position themselves for possible upswings in the demand for beef. 

The 12th Mississippi Beef Agribition, or MBA, will be held on March 27 and 28 at the Lee County Agri-Center. The event will provide a venue for cattle buyers and sellers to develop new business relationships and learn more about improving their herds.

March 12, 2009 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Those with a love for the outdoors have five conservation camps to take advantage of this summer offered through the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in Mississippi State University’s College of Forest Resources.

The camps are educational and intergenerational and are geared for anyone interested in the outdoors. They will be especially useful for those who participate in wildlife competitions or on Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program teams.

Allow Wojo's Gem vinca to hang down from baskets, creating a great vertical element. This planting uses Wojo's Gem with Dragon Wing Red begonia, Melampodium and Diamond Frost euphorbia for a dazzling combination. (Photo by Norman Winter)
March 12, 2009 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

It won't be long until you start thinking about designing your mixed containers, and when you do, remember Wojo's Gem. This exceptional variegated vinca gives an incredible performance as a spiller plant.

When we mention the formula of “thriller, filler and spiller” or “tall, small and fall,” I think sometimes we put too much emphasis on the thriller plant and let the filler be treated as an afterthought.

March 12, 2009 - Filed Under: Health, Colon Cancer Screening

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Recruitment is under way for people to become Smart Aging: Healthy Futures volunteers to help promote healthy living among seniors in their communities.

Training is scheduled from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on April 1. The session will be at the Lauderdale County Extension office located on the fifth floor of 410 Constitution Ave. in Meridian. The deadline to apply is March 30.

March 12, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Technology

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi farms and specialty businesses have a virtual route to potential customers with an interactive computer mapping program on the Internet.

MarketMaker is a tool to link farmers with grocery stores, food processors, specialty outlets, food industry representatives and consumers who want to buy their products. University of Illinois Extension created this software five years ago when specialty beef producers had trouble reaching potential buyers in Chicago.

March 5, 2009 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi may surpass the national average of children living in poverty and the teenage birth rate, but its child advocates plan to refocus their efforts after sharing success stories and ideas at the recent Mississippi KIDS COUNT Summit.

More than 150 attended the second annual Summit at the Mississippi State University Riley Center in Meridian. The purpose was to focus on the progress that Mississippi must make to improve the well-being of its children.