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News From 2016

Children do not have to leave the city limits; they can explore nature in their own backyards. Eastern box turtles (left), which are native to Mississippi, are land dwellers and do not even need ponds to find friends who want to play. Getting dirty is half the fun for children exploring and playing in the great outdoors (right). Rain may drive families inside for a time, but they provide some great water features after the thunder and lightning have passed. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
May 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Children and Parenting

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With the busy schedules many of us keep, it is hard to make time to spend outdoors with our kids, but this is a vital part of their development.

 A news article recently caught my eye with a report I found appalling. On average, prisoners spend more time outside than our youth do. To me, this is incredibly sad. Most of our schools are not doing much to help young explorers thrive.

Our children spend over 90 percent of their time indoors and more than 50 hours a week on electronic devices. Society needs to wake up before it is too late.

Rocky Lemus (left), forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, explains successes and challenges with fescue growing at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center. Lemus led tours during a Forage Field Day near Starkville, Mississippi, on April 7, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A cool, wet spring delayed growth of several summer grasses, but not the weeds that compete for space in fields and pastures across Mississippi.

Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the state has about 903,000 acres of bahiagrass and 770,000 acres of bermudagrass.

The Mississippi State University Aiken Village Preschool director Lucy Bryant, on right, led a tour of the facility and playground for a group of early care and education providers interested in quality improvements. (Submitted photo)
May 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

STARKVILLE, Miss -- Sometimes seeing is believing, and a group of early care and education providers got a firsthand look at what it takes to create high quality learning environments for young children.

Quality is the goal of all early care and education providers, but it might look different depending on resources and facilities. The Early Years Network recently hosted 36 early care and education providers and members of the staff from the Allies for Quality Care project based in Jackson for a tour of three different child care facilities to see quality in action.

May 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- Jeramie Kelly nearly lost a leg, but he found his heart.

After a work-related accident left him unable to walk for almost three years, Kelly could not return to his job on a riverboat. Without a high school diploma, he had few other options.

Owners who make arrangements ahead of time can successfully transfer family land to the next generation rather than seeing it sold to others. (Photo illustration by MSU Extension Service and Can Stock Photo/Gina Daly)
May 4, 2016 - Filed Under: Farming, Community, Family

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Aging brings a variety of challenges to individuals, but taking steps to make sure family farms are inherited by relatives is a task that sometimes gets overlooked.

Older Americans Month in May is a good time to consider land succession, which is how land ownership often passes from one generation to the next.

Bryon Parman, Mississippi State University Extension Service agricultural economist, said the average age of Mississippi farm owners is 60. This age mirrors the national average and has risen steadily in the last few years.

Dr. Jeb Cade, an assistant clinical professor at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, is part of a team researching more efficient and cost-effective ways of treating a common condition in Mississippi dogs. (Photo by MSU College of Veterinary Medicine/Tom Thompson)
May 4, 2016 - Filed Under: Pets

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine invites dog owners to enroll their pets in a new study.

In cooperation with local veterinarians, this research initiative is designed to develop practical and cost-effective methods of managing chronic diarrhea, a common condition in dogs.

Chronic diarrhea can be difficult for pet owners to manage, and community veterinarians often have to refer dogs to specialty centers, such as the MSU veterinary college, for care if commonly used treatments do not work.

American marigolds are often called African marigolds. The Antigua series is popular, such as this orange-and-yellow variety. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
May 2, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

A popular question I get when talking to home gardeners is, “If you could have only one flowering annual for the summer, what would it be?”

Carley Wigley, a senior at Mississippi State University from Petal, Mississippi, introduces Luke Iglay and Sam Eifling to a calf during “Afternoon on the Farm,” on April 29, 2016. The outreach program is part of the MSU Department of Animal and Dairy Science capstone course and teaches visiting students the fundamentals of livestock agriculture. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Livestock, Community
Hummingbird feeders attract tiny migrating visitors to Mississippi yards, but anyone who is not willing to keep fresh feed in a frequently cleaned container should consider planting a hummingbird garden instead. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
April 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The sight of a hummingbird darting from flower to flower announces spring’s arrival and offers hours of entertainment all summer long.

Many of us provide hummingbird feeders to increase the numbers of the tiny birds we see around our homes before they migrate back to their winter homes in Mexico and Central America.

These Merced variety strawberries growing at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs looked good on April 21, 2016, despite rainy spring weather that has increased disease pressure on most of Mississippi’s crop. Researchers at the station are conducting a strawberry variety trial to help Mississippi producers choose the best performing varieties for the state. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
April 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Fruit, Commercial Fruit and Nuts

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Record-breaking rain and cloudy skies this spring increased disease problems in most of Mississippi’s strawberry crop and decreased the sweetness of the popular berries.

“It’s been one of the wettest Marches in years statewide, and the wettest March in history for Jackson,” said Bill Evans, a horticulture researcher with Mississippi State University. “When strawberry plants get wet and stay wet, they get diseased.”

The Choctaw Agriculture Professionals Program for Students, or CAPPS, is the culmination of a relationship Mississippi State University Extension Service agent Jim McAdory has been working to foster between the tribe and MSU for several years. (Photo by Kevin Hudson/MSU Extension Service)
April 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Community

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Choctaw Central High School senior Jasmine Hickman has known for a while that she will be a student at Mississippi State University next fall, but she didn’t know about the range of careers she could pursue in agriculture and natural resources.

Hickman is now reviewing all these options after having her eyes opened through a new MSU mentor program that she and 20 other Choctaw teens recently participated in.

Chickasaw County Emergency Management Agency Director Linda Griffin, second from right, teaches 4-H members how to use found objects to save someone who is drowning during a meeting of the 4-H sportfishing club April 14, 2016, at the Chickasaw County Agricenter. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 27, 2016 - Filed Under: 4-H

HOUSTON, Miss. -- Participants in the state’s first 4-H fishing program have not wet a line yet, but they are already getting outside more often and learning life skills in the process.

Scott Cagle, Chickasaw County coordinator for the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said 4-H membership in his county saw immediate growth after he started the program in February.

April 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture

PRENTISS, Miss. -- Specialty crop farmers can learn how to build or improve their online presence and expand marketing strategies during the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production field day May 20.

The on-farm field day will be at PL88 Farms, located at 5641 Highway 84 in Prentiss.

April 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Food Safety

BILOXI, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service is offering a three-day food safety course for food industry personnel.

This course, developed by the Food Safety Preventative Controls Alliance (FSPCA) in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration, will be May 23-24 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and May 25 from 8 a.m. to noon. The Coastal Research and Extension Center will host the event at 1815 Popps Ferry Road in Biloxi.

Siam Queen is a Thai basil with purple flowers and a licorice aroma and flavor (Photo by Gary Bachman/MSU Extension Service)
April 25, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

If there is an herb that my wife and I love to grow, it has to be basil.

There is nothing better for the hot months because it is gorgeous in any landscape and really delicious for fresh summer meals.

April 25, 2016 - Filed Under: Nuts

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The Mississippi Pecan Growers Association will host a spring field day on May 3 in Raymond, Mississippi.

Registration for the field day will begin at 1 p.m., and the program will end at 4:30 p.m. The event, to be held at Pecan Hill Farms at 19470 Highway 18, is open to the public.

Nora Molina, 5, is proud to show her horseback riding trophy to her teacher Leslie Earnest, a research associate at the T.K Martin Center at Mississippi State University. Molina was one of 46 riders taking part in the second annual Therapeutic Riding Expo at the Mississippi Horse Park on April 19, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
April 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Equine Assisted Therapy Programs

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Therapeutic horseback riding is about much more than physical therapy.

Cassie Brunson, coordinator of the Mississippi State University Extension Service Therapeutic Riding and Activity Center, said participants first come to the program for the exercise, but they stay for the relationships.

Mississippi placed 14.5 million broiler-type chicks for meat production during the week ending April 16. In about five weeks, those chicks will be the size of these broilers, which were growing on a Chickasaw County farm on April 15, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Poultry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi poultry and egg companies are poised for expansions to fill the national gaps caused by the 2015 bird flu outbreaks in other states.

Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said companies are looking for more broiler growers or additional barns on existing farms.

Alligators are protected by Mississippi law, so consult wildlife officials for guidance in removing these unwanted visitors from ponds and lakes. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Pond and lake owners frequently seek help to control unwanted pests in and around their water, such as turtles, beavers, muskrats, nutrias, alligators and sometime geese.

A new lake or pond provides a new habitat for local critters to move into and live. When landowners decide to put a pond or lake on their property, they need to consider control plans for those unwanted visitors because it is only a matter of time until these animals move in and call the body of water home.