You are here

News From 2016

November 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Family

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Decorated homes and busy kitchens mark the holiday season for many families, but this time of year also brings an increased number of safety hazards.

Decor and cooking fires increase during the holidays, causing numerous deaths and injuries, as well as millions of dollars in property damage. Between 2009 and 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to about 1,070 home fires a year started by holiday decorations, including Christmas trees, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

November 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Technology, Children and Parenting

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Before buying electronic educational gadgets to help children learn, adults need to recognize the difference in active engagement and passive entertainment.

Louise E. Davis, a professor of child and family development for the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said children who are less than 2 years old should not be exposed to interactive digital media. Instead of screen time, she suggested playing with Lego bricks or large building blocks, as well as reading books together, as ways to encourage imagination.

November 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Family, Family Dynamics

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- On the heels of a heated political season, make family peace a priority during the upcoming holidays.

Alisha Hardman, an assistant professor in the Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences, said holidays offer opportunities for family members to enjoy one another and make memories to last a lifetime.

"Some families have more trouble than others when it comes to controversial or sensitive subjects," Hardman said. "If something cannot be discussed in a constructive manner, it may be best to avoid the topic altogether."

November 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Extension Administration

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In recognition of outstanding public relations work, Mississippi State University staff members recently garnered high honors in a regional competition.


Dianthus is a great choice for fall garden color. This bicolor Telstar Pink picottee selection is perfect for mass planting in the landscape. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
November 7, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Even though outside temperatures are still quite balmy, we are moving into winter. Maybe this year we will actually have a winter. That makes now the perfect time to start planting dianthus.

In fact, the perfect time to plant dianthus is when you plant your pansies. Dianthus and pansies are wonderful fall and winter companion plants.

MSU Merlins Pizazz, otherwise known as “Daisy,” is a beautiful, 2-year-old buckskin mare and one of 17 horses available for purchase through the annual online Mississippi State University horse auction. (Photo by MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences/Elizabeth Caldwell)
November 4, 2016 - Filed Under: Equine

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Seventeen animals are available for purchase through the annual Mississippi State University horse auction Nov. 14-19.

The online auction is available for preview through Nov. 13. Prospective buyers can view photos, registration papers and descriptions of each horse at

November 4, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Estate and Financial Planning, Food Safety, Natural Resources

JACKSON, Miss. -- The Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production will hold its November field day in conjunction with the 2016 Mississippi Food Summit and Agricultural Revival.

The revival is set for Nov. 17 and 18 at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. Participants may also attend Jackson-area farm and garden tours on Nov. 19.

Hammocks offer great resting spots whether the excursion is a day trip or an overnighter. (Photo by MSU Extension Service)
November 4, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cooler weather brings a great time to get outside, set up a hammock and "just hang" between two trees.

When I am outdoors, one of my favorite ways to enjoy the wildlife and wild places in our state -- other than when I am hunting or fishing -- is to spend time in my hammock. Whether I relax in it while hiking or sleep in it while backpacking, lying in a hammock allows me to be comfortable while enjoying in the great outdoors.

Pecan trees at Bass Pecan Co. in Raymond, Mississippi, are loaded on Oct. 11, 2016. Pecan yields are expected to be the best since 2003, when the state produced 4 million pounds of the popular holiday nuts.  (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
November 4, 2016 - Filed Under: Nuts

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Despite timely rains throughout the summer, late-season drought is pushing back pecan harvest for most Mississippi producers.

"We thought we were going to be early with our harvest this year when our nuts set early this spring," said Max Draughn, owner of Bass Pecan Co. in Raymond and president of the Mississippi Pecan Growers Association. "We had rains every week up until Labor Day. Then we had no rain. We went into slow motion when it got dry."

Mississippi State University Extension Service agent Dennis Reginelli explains cotton to students visiting FARMtastic in 2015. This year’s agricultural event will take place Nov. 14-18 at the Mississippi Horse Park near Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
November 3, 2016 - Filed Under: About Extension, Farming, FARMtastic

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Second- through fourth-graders who attend an agricultural event at Mississippi State University Nov. 14-18 will be able to tell their parents about the sources of food, clothing and other common products.

The MSU Extension Service will conduct the fifth annual FARMtastic at the Mississippi Horse Park. Weekday activities begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 1 p.m.

Xenia Wickline, center, is a Biloxi community advocate who works with Kim Gowdy, left, to deliver educational sessions to women in the Mujeres Unidas (Women United) program. Rosa Bender has participated in the program for more than a year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
November 3, 2016 - Filed Under: Community

BILOXI, Miss. -- When Mississippi State University Extension Service agent Kim Gowdy began teaching parenting skills classes to Hispanic immigrants, she had just one challenge: Gowdy does not speak Spanish.

"My audience for these classes is all Spanish-speaking women," said Gowdy, who is based in the Harrison County Extension office. "I have an interpreter who translates for me, and when I have presentations, she will make the slides in Spanish, and then translate what I say."

November 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Community, Economic Development

STARKVILLE, Miss. – A resource developed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service shows shifts in county populations based on exemptions reported in 2014-2015 federal tax returns.

Developed by MSU Extension specialist Roberto Gallardo, the online map of Mississippi shows counties in green and red. Red represents counties where more people moved out than moved in, or a negative net migration. Counties in green had a positive net migration. Only 25 Mississippi counties had a positive net migration.

Boone Purser enjoys afternoon cuddles with his son, Benji, on Oct. 31, 2016. Benji is a breastfed baby who thrives on attention from both his parents at his home in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
November 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting, Health

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The choice to breastfeed babies does not remove fathers from nurturing duties that create strong bonds with their children.

Hannah Lambey, a dietetic intern with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a father can significantly impact the mother and baby just by doing a few simple things.

"Breastfeeding centers around the relationship between the mom and baby, sometimes leaving dad feeling left out," Lambey said. "Dads have many other bonding opportunities that are just as important for both the mother and child."

Judy Breland, Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Stone County, demonstrates pine needle basket weaving at the 2015 Piney Woods Heritage Festival at the MSU Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, Mississippi. The 2016 festival is set for Nov. 18 and 19. (Photo by Mississippi State University Extension Service/Pat Drackett)
November 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Community

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Craftsmen will showcase the skills and traditions of the Piney Woods region on Nov. 18 and 19 during the Piney Woods Heritage Festival.

Visitors to the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum in Picayune will enjoy educational exhibits and skills demonstrations, including blacksmithing, quilting, spinning and basket making. Local musicians will perform traditional music throughout the day on Nov. 19.

Confederate Rose is an old-fashioned heirloom plant that is actually a hibiscus, not a rose. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
October 31, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Heirloom vegetables get their fair share of gardening attention, but many homeowners don't realize that some ornamental plants are considered heirlooms as well. We often call heirloom ornamentals "pass-along plants."

Jasper County 4-H member Lacie Winn finished her 4-H livestock project career at the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson, Mississippi. Winn placed with Drake, her European crossbred steer, in the competition on Oct. 8, 2016. (Submitted photo)
October 28, 2016 - Filed Under: 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock, Women for Agriculture

By Jessica Smith
MSU Extension Service

LOUIN, Miss. -- For one Jasper County 4-H member, a junior livestock show career has come full circle.

Lacie Winn, 18, has competed in 4-H livestock shows across the state since 2006. The youth development program is managed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and open to youngsters from 5-18 years of age.

The piercing stare of the Barred Owl can catch a hunter’s attention.  (Photo by Bill Stripling)
October 28, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Deer season has arrived, drawing thousands of Mississippians into the woods in anticipation of creating more great hunting memories as in seasons past.

Mental images of the big one walking broadside at 30 yards with the wind in your favor keeps many hunters up at night. For some, especially older hunters, the season is about taking the next generation out to experience this unique tradition.

Harvest was nearly done by the end of October for the state’s 2 million acre soybean crop. Experts expect yields to average 48 bushels per acre across the state, keeping this year’s production in line with that of recent years. This combine was harvesting Leflore County soybeans Sept. 23, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Trent Irby)​
October 28, 2016 - Filed Under: Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A game-changing insect caused significant problems in many Mississippi soybean acres, but good management allowed growers to finish the year with an average crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that by Oct. 23, Mississippi farmers were 92 percent finished harvesting the state's soybean crop, which covered about 2.03 million acres this year. Insect and disease pressures made the effort challenging, but USDA predicts growers will harvest a state average of 48 bushels an acre.

In 1974, Edward C. Martin Jr. became Mississippi’s first registered landscape architect. Today, he displays in his living room the concrete chicken students gave him years ago after he taught a class in landscape design at Mississippi State. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
October 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Landscape Architecture, Landscape Design and Management

By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz and Ms. Madeline Golden
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Fifty-nine years ago, a man who appreciates the design potential of concrete chickens started a landscape symposium at Mississippi State University. Today, he still has a concrete chicken gracing his living room, and MSU's annual Landscape Design Symposium bears Edward C. Martin Jr.'s name.

Jessica Lero, left, records the types of trash Kaileb Williams, center, and Laila Williams found while participating in the 2016 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup on Oct. 22 in Biloxi, Mississippi, with their Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H club in Harrison County. They joined about 2,400 volunteers to collect more than an estimated 10 tons of trash during the 28th annual event. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
October 27, 2016 - Filed Under: 4-H, Natural Resources, Environment

BILOXI, Miss. -- About 2,400 volunteers helped remove trash from beaches and other waterways during the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup on Oct. 22.

Organizers estimate that volunteers collected more than 10 tons of debris at the 28th annual Gulf Coast event. The Mississippi State University Extension Service organizes and implements the Coastal Cleanup in partnership with the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force. Members of the community and local organizations combed more than 50 sites located on beaches, barrier islands and coastal waterways.