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News From 2016

June 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming, Agricultural Engineering

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service invites state row crop producers to a seed technology short course to be held Aug. 2-3 at MSU.

Seed Tech 2016: From Bin to Bag will cover techniques in seed cleaning, separating and sorting. There will also be equipment demonstrations and workshops focusing on testing, labeling, intellectual property, legal issues and litigation.

The workshop will offer professional development credit. Commercial applicator recertification courses will be available for seed treatment or demonstration research.

The updated U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Nutrition Facts label highlights added sugars, as well as serving sizes and calories. The new label will be seen on packaged foods starting in 2018. (Illustration courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
June 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Nutrition

By Michaela Parker
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE. Miss. -- The iconic design of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Nutrition Facts label will stay the same, but the content of the label will soon be updated to reflect new scientific information.

The FDA announced on May 20 the final changes to the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. The label will keep many of the same nutritional facts it has displayed for more than 20 years, but several new features will give it more up-to-date, research-based data.

Hardy hibiscuses can withstand Mississippi winters and have massive flowers. Many bright and beautiful colors are available, such as this Summerific Cherry Cheesecake. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
June 20, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Hibiscus has to be one of the best groups of plants you can have in your garden and landscape. Here’s several reasons why.

Mississippi’s shrimp season, which opened June 6, is mostly yielding small brown shrimp. However, hot weather and warmer water in the Gulf is creating ideal growing conditions for the shrimp. (File Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 17, 2016 - Filed Under: Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- Selling directly to the public takes longer, but it allows fishermen to make some profit from a shrimp season that has been below average so far this year in Mississippi.

Dave Burrage, commercial and recreational fisheries specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said shrimp landed in Mississippi have been small through mid-June.

June 17, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The life of a fish is more complicated than most people realize. It needs places to hide from predators, ambush prey, spawn and guard young fish, and just loaf and relax.

A Thad rice paddy is pictured at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi, on September 17, 2014. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center/Ed Redoña)
June 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Rice

By Vanessa Beeson
Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Nearly half of all rice produced in the U.S. is exported, so Mississippi farmers need rice variety options to ensure strong foreign demand for their harvests.

In 2015, Mississippi growers harvested nearly 150,000 acres of rice across more than 250 farms. The crop had a production value of $132 million.

The deep purple of a Sweet Caroline Bewitched sweet potato vine grows alongside the Bright Ideas Rusty Red and Bright Ideas Lime varieties, with Diamond Frost Euphorbia providing a pop of tiny white flowers. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
June 13, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

The Old Farmer’s Almanac says the official start of summer is June 20 at 6:34 p.m., but after this past weekend, I’m convinced we’re already into summer.

Mississippi’s rice crop was mostly in good or excellent condition in early June. This field in Washington County, Mississippi was photographed June 8, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Bobby Golden)
June 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Rice

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It was clear by early June that spring’s wet, cool weather caused few issues for Mississippi’s rice crop, as growers got it planted on time and the emerged crop  looks good overall.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that as of June 5, the crop was 99 percent planted and 97 percent emerged. Of that acreage, 78 percent was in good or excellent condition, and 20 percent was in fair condition.

The dark, fiddle-shaped pattern on the back of the brown recluse helps distinguish it from other spiders. Because of their reclusive nature, watch out for these venomous spiders in dark, neglected areas. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Blake Layton)
June 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects, Household Insects, Insect Identification, Insects-Home Lawns

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Warmer days motivate many people to tackle cluttered closets, disorganized garages and idle storage buildings. But before pulling out neglected boxes of junk, consider who -- or what -- might have taken up residence in the dark, undisturbed piles.

June 7, 2016 - Filed Under: Food and Health

BILOXI, Miss. -- Food safety professionals who work for facilities that manufacture, process or store food for human consumption can earn certification mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act during an upcoming workshop.

Experts with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will offer Preventive Controls for Human Food on July 12-14. The course was developed by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance.

June 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture

GREENWOOD, Miss. -- Farmers can learn about free-range poultry farming, high-tunnel vegetable and flower crops, and integrated disease and pest control during the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production field day June 17.

The on-farm field day will be at Levee Run Farms, located at 802 Grenada Blvd. Extended in Greenwood.

Experts with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will help farmers understand how to prevent, identify, monitor and manage insects, diseases and weeds.

Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine graduates Brittany Storey and David Eldridge are both pursuing careers as veterinary medical technicians in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
June 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Animal Health

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When Brittany Storey of Terry, Mississippi, was searching for a major, she felt a little like Goldilocks -- she couldn’t find the career path that felt “just right.”

Although she loved animals and wanted a career in biology, she did not see herself as a veterinarian. She spoke with different department heads, but she could not picture herself in a career in agriculture or human medicine, either.

Vitex flower spikes can reach 18 inches long. During the initial flush, the show of flowers may resemble a hazy blue or purplish cloud. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
June 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

The first week of June is one of my favorite times in Mississippi landscapes and gardens. This is the time of the year when the vitex begins to bloom with the regularity of Old Faithful.

Christy King, Clarke County Extension agent, and Roberto Gallardo, an associate Extension professor in the Center for Technology Outreach, display items made with a new 3-D printer at the Quitman Public Library. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 3, 2016 - Filed Under: Technology

QUITMAN -- Bringing rural Mississippi communities into the digital age is the objective of a newly established Mississippi State University Extension Service program.

The MSU Extension Intelligent Community Institute, or MSUE-ICI, is a joint project between the Extension Center for Technology Outreach, Extension Center for Government and Community Development, and its parent worldwide organization, the Intelligent Community Forum.

Sunflower fields offer photographers scenic settings in the summer. Later in the fall, fields like this one offer doves some of their favorite dining options. (MSU Extension Service file photo/Kat Lawrence)
June 3, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- With opening day of dove season a few months away, many hunters have begun thinking about finding a perfect field.

Jim McAdory, Mississippi State University Extension Service agent to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, shows Natasha Willis how to use the sunscreen dispenser provided by MSU Extension. The demonstration was part of a May 28 boating event in Neshoba County, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 3, 2016 - Filed Under: Health

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Boating in the summertime can seem like the perfect way to escape the heat, but it is important for everyone enjoying outdoor activities to be aware of sun safety.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated half of young adult Americans get sunburned every year. The CDC estimates that extreme heat kills an average of 658 Americans annually, which is more than the total number killed by tornadoes, lightning, hurricanes and floods combined.

Rabbiteye blueberries make up 80 to 90 percent of the Mississippi’s blueberry crop. Recent dry weather has made harvesting easier than normal. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/File)
June 3, 2016 - Filed Under: Fruit

POPLARVILLE, Miss. -- The first half of June is usually a busy time for blueberry growers in Mississippi, and this year is no different, as recent dry conditions have expedited the crop’s harvest.

A few scattered small-market “U-Picks” can be found in north and central portions of the state, but most of the commercial activity is happening south of Interstate 20, where rain has been in short supply lately. Wayne County boasts the highest blueberry production in the state.

Cuphea Vermillionaire is a heat-loving plant that flowers from spring to frost in the fall and can reach 3 feet in height by summer’s end. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
May 31, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Like almost every gardener I know, I want a gorgeous looking garden and landscape that is drought tolerant and requires little maintenance.

I know I should know better, but I want what I want.

Melissa Tenhet, director of the Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences’ Child Development and Family Studies Center, left, and Andrelyn Smith, center manager, celebrate the center’s recent notice of accreditation. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/David Doleac)
May 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For those in early childhood education, achieving accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children is the mark of excellence in their field.

In Mississippi, few have earned this distinguished honor, but the School of Human Science’s Child Development and Family Studies Center at Mississippi State University is among the elite.

Director Melissa Tenhet learned on May 17 that the center’s efforts in recent years to achieve accreditation have been successful.

May 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Vegetable Gardens, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss – Many of us look forward to a summer garden every year, especially after a long winter.

Unfortunately, many wildlife species find garden vegetables and plants just as delicious as we do. This leads to a battle -- a battle to keep the fruits of our labors to ourselves rather than providing a meal for the local wildlife.