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News From 2011

July 7, 2011 - Filed Under: Technology

Many students are buying more than just pencils, scissors and glue as they prepare for the school year ahead. Families are finding that a computer is a necessary item that often does not make it on the traditional back-to-school supply list. More and more, students need computers to research school projects, participate in online learning modules, dissect frogs in virtual reality labs, and practice Spanish with language pals halfway around the world.

July 7, 2011 - Filed Under: City and County Government

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Elected and appointed municipal government officials in Mississippi have another resource to turn to for leadership and problem-solving in the daily operation of local government.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service’s Center for Governmental Training and Technology recently published its Third Edition of Municipal Government in Mississippi. The center distributed more than 1,200 copies of the book at the recent Mississippi Municipal League Annual Conference in Biloxi.

Butter Cream lantana's flowers start out as a bright golden yellow; the edges turn creamy white and eventually, the entire flower is white. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
July 5, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

With the temperatures heating up, many landscapers and gardeners are looking for plants that can stand up to the Mississippi summer. Luckily, they don’t have to look any farther than hot summer lantana.

Shrimpers landed 901,000 pounds of shrimp in Mississippi during the first two weeks of the season, but most of those being caught in the Mississippi Sound are small. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
July 1, 2011 - Filed Under: Catfish, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE – They may be living up to their name in size, but Gulf shrimp are being landed in Mississippi in good numbers, and large ones are selling for high prices.

The state’s shrimp season opened May 25, which was about a week earlier than normal. Dave Burrage, marine resources specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the early opening was due to Mississippi River flooding.

June 30, 2011 - Filed Under: Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE – All species of mammals are susceptible to rabies, but pet owners can create a line of defense with a few simple precautions.

Bill Epperson, head of Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine, said the rabies virus is generally transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. One way to prevent or reduce the risk of rabies is to vaccinate pets.

Edward Entsminger, wildlife and fisheries science graduate student, checks trail cameras to monitor wildlife presence and spreads native wildflower seeds. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
June 30, 2011 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife

By Edward D. Entsminger
MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Two Mississippi agencies are working together to determine if growing native plants along highway rights of way will reduce maintenance costs while maintaining visibility and safety.

June 29, 2011 - Filed Under: About Extension

MISSISSIPPI STATE – J. Mike Phillips has been selected as the new head of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Mississippi State University.

Phillips has been the chair of the Department of Agricultural Sciences at Morehead State University in Kentucky since 2007. Before his appointment at Morehead, Phillips served as professor of agronomy and director for the Southwest Research and Extension Center at the University of Arkansas.

A juvenile bald eagle found in late April near the Burnsville community would have died if not for the efforts of a concerned citizen and three organizations. (Photo by MSU College of Veterinary Medicine/Maggie Horner)
June 28, 2011 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – One of America’s fondest symbols, the bald eagle, could be flying high again after a concerned citizen and three organizations worked together to save its life.

A passerby noticed an injured bald eagle in the Burnsville community near County Road 306 and immediately sought help.

The Cascade Pink Blush flowering Vinca has pastel pink petals and a dark eye. It looks great planted in a wall sconce or even in an old shoe, as pictured here. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
June 28, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

One of the most important factors in choosing flowering annuals is finding one that tolerates the hot Mississippi summers. Many annuals cannot maintain their color in the high temperatures, but the flowering Vinca is one that can.

Flowering Vinca is a versatile, full-sun plant. Known botanically as Catharanthus roseus, flowering Vinca originated in the hot and dry regions of southern Africa. It looks great mass-planted in the landscape or as a flowering ground cover.

Chickasaw County farmer Doil Moore checks a young watermelon that will be ready before Fourth of July celebrations. (Photo by Linda Breazeale)
June 24, 2011 - Filed Under: Watermelons, Fruit, Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s sunny skies are producing sweet watermelons and blueberries just in time for Fourth of July tables.

David Nagel, horticulturist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said most of the state’s fruit crops saw very little rain as they approached maturity. Fortunately, many of Mississippi’s commercial watermelon and blueberry plots have irrigation and plastic mulch to help protect plants from droughts.

A worker cuts young sweet potato plants, known as slips, in preparation for transplanting at a farm near Vardaman in Calhoun County.
June 23, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE – It takes two planting seasons to harvest one sweet potato crop, and hot, dry weather made this year’s second planting challenging for Mississippi growers.

In March, sweet potato growers bed their crop, which means they plant high-quality seed stock in the ground to produce transplants, known as slips. These slips are planted in May and June to produce the harvest in September and October of the state’s highly acclaimed sweet potatoes.

June 23, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture

PONTOTOC – Mississippi State University experts will provide information and demonstrations about agronomic research activities on July 14.

MSU’s Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station will host its biennial Research and Demonstration Tour. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and the tour will get started at 8:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided, and continuing education credits will be available.

Chloe Gray, 4, a student at Train up a Child Christian Learning Center in Clinton, takes a leap during physical development activities as part of the Nurturing Homes Initiative. (Photo by MSU School of Human Sciences/Alicia Barnes)
June 23, 2011 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

By Alicia Barnes
MSU School of Human Sciences

MISSISSIPPI STATE - Aiming to serve the 54 percent of Mississippi children attending unlicensed home childcare programs, the Nurturing Home Initiative provides materials and education to improve the quality of these popular programs.

As part of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Nurturing Homes Initiative, or NHI, partners with home childcare programs where caregivers open their homes to create safe learning environments.

As part of the Snack Pack program, Head Start students were given a small backpack that contained a book, information sheet, and a healthy take-home snack. (Photo by MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion/Stacey Johnson Knepple)
June 23, 2011 - Filed Under: Family, Food and Health, Nutrition

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A new program is targeting the youngest members of families to help parents make healthy and affordable food choices.

Mississippi State University is teaching families in low-income communities about healthy, low-cost foods so they can eat nutritious foods on a budget. The efforts are funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation, which works through national partnerships to help end childhood hunger.

Mississippi State University professor emeritus John Fuquay (right) presents a copy of the first edition the Encyclopedia of Dairy Science and a CD-ROM of the second edition to Terry Kiser, head of MSU's animal and dairy sciences department. Fuquay was recently honored for his work as editor-in-chief of the second edition of the encyclopedia. (Photo by Scott Corey)
June 23, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A comprehensive reference publication on the various aspects of dairy science was recently published under the leadership of a long-time Mississippi State University professor.

John Fuquay, now professor emeritus in MSU’s Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, is editor-in-chief of the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Dairy Science. Fuquay served as the dairy production editor on the first edition and in 2008 was asked to be the primary editor of the second edition.

Using organic soil amendments can produce beautiful flowering displays, such as these Vista Bubblegum Petunia Supertunias. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
June 21, 2011 - Filed Under: Organic Fruit and Vegetables, Flower Gardens

As we enter the hot part of the summer, I’m reminded of how much the cold of winter and the heat of summer have in common.

Before you dismiss me as crazy, let me explain how summer and winter can be similar. Due to the current heat and humidity, most Mississippi gardeners – including me -- are spending time indoors trying to avoid sunburn and heat stroke. This gives us a lot of time to think about what to plant and new gardening projects to accomplish when cooler temperatures return.

June 17, 2011 - Filed Under: Peanuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE – About 40 percent of the state’s peanut acres are under extreme drought, and unless rains come soon, it’s going to be a very bad year for the state’s crop.

Mike Howell, Mississippi State University Extension Service peanut specialist, said drought delayed some planting in early May until a timely rain allowed the rest to be planted.

Deputy State Veterinarian and Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Brigid Elchos, left, accepts her alumnus of the year award from Dr. Kent Hoblet, dean of Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Elchos received the honor because of her outstanding achievements and leadership. (Photo by MSU University Relations/Megan Bean)
June 16, 2011 - Filed Under: Animal Health

By Karen Templeton
MSU Office of Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – As a student, Dr. Brigid Elchos chose a college major that would give her a lot of options. Little did she know that the path she was on would put her in a key position to respond to Mississippi’s animal health disease emergencies.

Elchos was recently honored as Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s alumnus of the year for her outstanding achievements and leadership. She credits her success to a quality education and her diverse work experiences.

A rainwater harvesting system donated to the Crosby arboretum by Avon Engineered Fabrications collects run-off in a flexible storage tank. (Submitted photo.)
June 16, 2011 - Filed Under: Irrigation

PICAYUNE – A local manufacturer of fuel and water storage tanks is testing a rainwater irrigation system at Mississippi State University’s Crosby Arboretum.

Senior Curator Patricia Drackett said the irrigation system offers environmental and financial benefits to this unique facility located in Picayune.

“We are interested in offering water conservation solutions to the local community,” she said. “The system has a solar controller and holds about 3,000 gallons of run-off from the roof of a portable building near the greenhouse.”

Doil Moore, left, gets a closer look at young tomatoes on Prospect Produce Farm in the Sonora Community, south of Houston. Moore and his business partner, James Earnest, have been selling locally grown fruits and vegetables since 2009.
June 16, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Commercial Horticulture, Fruit, Farming

HOUSTON – Two Chickasaw County farmers are discovering it takes a village to raise a crop.

Doil Moore and James Earnest have been business partners for more than two decades, but their latest adventure requires an extensive network of advisors to guide them through each challenge. In 2009, they started a small produce business on 3 acres in Houston. Thanks to advice from Mississippi State University specialists and other producers, they have expanded their acreage, crops and markets in 2011.