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News From 2009

July 31, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Three weeks of cool, rainy weather in July were just what the state’s soybeans needed, breathing new life into the struggling crop.

Trey Koger, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said weather extremes have affected the crop. Cold, wet spring weather delayed a lot of planting. Most of June was hot and dry and most of July was wet and cooler.

Snow Princess will dazzle in mixed containers, falling over the edge like a blanket of snow and giving off a sweet honey aroma. (Photos by Norman Winter)
July 30, 2009 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

In the South, I hear people referring every now and then to snow in July. Of course we rarely get snow even in the winter, and it sure doesn’t fall in July, but we can have the illusion of snow with a new plant called Snow Princess.

The University Florist staff stays busy preparing arrangements for weddings, parties and other special occasions. Lynette McDougald is preparing these floral arrangements for an event at the Union.
July 30, 2009 - Filed Under: Community, Flower Gardens

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The University Florist has operated for most of its history in the heart of Mississippi State University, where it serves as both a full-time business and a design laboratory for students.

The University Florist began 75 years ago and predates the professional program by quite a few years.

July 30, 2009 - Filed Under: Environment, Forest Ecology, Forestry

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippians with timberland in production are looking at carbon as a new source of income, and they are learning to manage their land for the most profit while participating in efforts to lower greenhouse gas levels.

Carbon dioxide, or CO2, often called simply carbon, is one of several chemical compounds known today as greenhouse gases, or GHG. These gases occur both naturally and as byproducts of fossil fuel use in various transportation and industrial processes.

July 28, 2009 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The 20th annual KIDS COUNT Data Book was released this week and includes information on the needs and conditions of Mississippi’s children and families.

The book presents national and state data to determine the degree to which children and families benefit from and are supported by their local environments. The data helps each state determine how they are doing compared to other states and the nation as a whole. Data for Mississippi reveals that trends in child well-being have improved in some areas and declined in others since 2000.

July 24, 2009 - Filed Under: Corn

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – While Mother Nature is showing corn producers a little mercy after her relentless drubbing earlier this year, the futures market is not.

Excessive rainfall early in the season caused many problems for the crop, but recent showers and temperatures in the 80s have kept plants healthy, allowing them to fill out ears.

Fourth-year Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine student Katie Ebers and faculty member Dr. Phil Bushby provided services to security dogs working at the National Governors' Conference in Biloxi. Here they are giving a bath to a dog with irritated skin. (Photo by MSU College of Veterinary Medicine/Dr. Carla Huston)
July 23, 2009 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Disaster Response

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The top-notch security team at the National Governors’ Conference includes canine members, and Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine was on hand to lend them support.

CVM’s Disaster Animal Response Team works with the Mississippi Board of Animal Health’s Mississippi Animal Response Team to provide emergency care and services to animals around the state. The team gives support to companion animals and sometimes livestock during and after disasters such as hurricanes. They also participate in large events involving pets or livestock.

The Royal Purple Queen looks a little like a mini angel trumpet. The leaves are large and velvety, giving a slight gray appearance, and its clusters of dark purple flowers dazzle all summer long. (Photo by Norman Winter)
July 23, 2009 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

If you love hummingbirds, then let the Royal Purple Queen reign in your garden.

Many people have a renewed passion to create a “backyard wildlife habitat,” and I am regularly asked if certain plants will attract hummingbirds. While natives are naturals in this setting, there are some stalwart performers from other countries that make it fun to garden. One such plant is the Royal Purple Queen.

Peter Drackett, 11, of Long Beach scrapes the bark of a dead tree at the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge to find pine bark beetles. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
July 23, 2009 - Filed Under: 4-H, Wildlife Youth Education, Insects

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi State University’s 4-H Entomology and Horticulture Camp is one of the few of its kind to offer overnight stay for nocturnal collecting, which attracts participants to the event just like moths to light.

“We introduce campers to the technique of attracting night insects using black lighting, which opens up a new world for them,” said retired MSU Extension Service entomologist Mike Williams. “You could jokingly say we end activities with a last call for the appropriate type of alcohol.”

July 17, 2009 - Filed Under: Catfish, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Low prices and below-average landings are making a poor season for shrimpers, but consumers are getting a great deal on high-quality Gulf shrimp.

Dave Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said Mississippi’s shrimp season opened late and in two phases. Normally the season opens in early June, and part did open June 7, but the rest did not open until June 25.

July 16, 2009 - Filed Under: Forages, Livestock

MISSISSIPPI STATE – It is common in Mississippi to see cattle grazing in pastures surrounded by trees, but researchers at Mississippi State University are looking into the feasibility of bringing it all into one field.

The goal of silvopasture systems is to use space and the growing season more effectively by combining trees or shrubs with forage and livestock production in the same acreage.

Farm manager Sean Horton prepares a grader to check road beds at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. Maintaining safety standards is one of Horton's many responsibilities at the 4,100-acre site. (Photo by Rebekah Ray/MSU Delta Research and Extension Center)
July 16, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Family

By Rebekah Ray
MSU Delta Research and Extension Center

STONEVILLE – Even though Sean Horton’s father discouraged him from pursuing a career in forestry and agriculture, the Greenville teenager was determined to follow his dream.

Since 1993, the younger Horton has worked as farm manager at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, the university’s largest off-campus research center.

A Blonde fern glows like a lantern in this shady environment. This stunning display combines large, palmate-leafed fatsia; aucuba with spots that echo the color of the fern; Siam Ruby banana with lime green variegation; holly fern; and hot pink begonias. (Photo by Norman Winter)
July 16, 2009 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Hey, Tiger, there’s a new Blonde in town, and she’s a real looker. I’m neither joking nor talking about girls, but I am referring to two of the hottest ferns in the gardening world.

The Tiger fern has been climbing steadily in popularity, but the competition just got a lot tougher thanks to the Blonde. If you are a fern lover, then you will delight in having both.

Hernando High School student Christian Crews, 16, removes a plant from its container as part of a laboratory exercise. (Photo by Patti Drapala)
July 16, 2009 - Filed Under: Community

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most high school students who attend Mississippi State University’s horticulture summer seminar do not become plant scientists or landscape architects, but the experience often shapes the way they approach their future vocations.

July 10, 2009 - Filed Under: Forages

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s 2.1 million acres in forage production have struggled from one extreme to the other, and farmers are hoping for a little help from Mother Nature to produce an adequate 2009 crop.

Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said pastures and hay fields are just passing the midway point in the growing season.

July 9, 2009 - Filed Under: Food

MISSISSIPPI STATE – As the economy continues to present challenges, an upcoming workshop will help new food business owners learn how to battle the stiff odds and have a better chance to succeed.

“Food as a Business” is a day-long video conference Aug. 11 with satellite locations at Mississippi State University and in Biloxi, Raymond, Verona and Cleveland. The $40 registration fee covers breaks, lunch and conference materials, and must be received by July 31.

July 9, 2009 - Filed Under: Biofuels

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The interdisciplinary faculty at Mississippi State University’s Sustainable Energy Research Center, who are exploring how to convert plant biomass into renewable energy, will present their findings at the fourth annual MSU Biofuels Conference Aug. 6-7 in Jackson.

Researchers from the energy industry, other universities, laboratories, foundations and government agencies will join them at the conference to share information about sustainable, environmentally sound energy alternatives.

The Black Thai can add height to a landscape. Some commercial growers suggest that it can reach almost 18 feet. (Photo by Norman Winter)
July 9, 2009 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The Black Thai banana was one of the most sought-after bananas at the early spring Mississippi Garden and Patio Shows. If you were like me, you missed the chance to grab one for yourself. My friend Barbara Harvey in Kosciusko did not miss out on the opportunity to brighten up her landscape with this banana.

July 9, 2009 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- College students moving away from home for the first time are often amazed at how much it costs to eat every day, and high consumer prices can make it harder than ever to eat well on a budget.

College students can expect to spend as much as 30 percent of their budget on food, said Susan Cosgrove, Mississippi State University Extension Service family resource management area agent. Especially in tough financial times, college students should identify all sources of income, then stick with a monthly budget that covers all expenses.

July 9, 2009 - Filed Under: 4-H

By Steven Nalley
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi has been a driving force in helping expand the National 4-H Council’s “Health Rocks!” program from a regional experiment to a national standard in less than a decade.

Health Rocks! began as one of 4-H’s Youth-Adult Partnership programs, in which two teenagers lead their peers with the help of an adult facilitator. Initially, the goal was to establish an anti-smoking program that would target 10- to 14-year olds.