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News From 2016

Cherokee Sunset produces large flowers that are a mix of single and doubles. The warm, autumnal colors on sturdy stems make them a good choice for use in fall indoor arrangements. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
July 25, 2016 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

When the summer season heats up starting in July, I really like seeing Rudbeckias in our Mississippi landscapes. Who can argue how the brightly colored flowers bring needed freshness when some of our other flowering plants may be showing wear and tear?

July 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Technology

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Parents who want to buy first-rate, back-to-school computers for their children on a midrange budget may want to keep their heads in “the cloud.”

Roberto Gallardo, an associate Extension professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Center for Technology Outreach, said speed and Wi-Fi capabilities should take priority over hard drive space, as more computer manufacturers are shifting to cloud-based computing, which relies on the internet for much of its digital storage capacity.

Peaches displayed for sale on a bright blue table. Production and sale of peaches, strawberries and other fruit and vegetable truck crops are on pace to be strong once again this year. (File photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
July 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Farmers Markets, Organic Fruit and Vegetables

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Favorable weather and a steady consumer appetite for local produce are keeping Mississippi’s truck crop industry strong.

The state now has more than 80 farmers markets, compared to 52 in 2010. These markets make up the main avenue through which truck crop growers sell their goods, but local produce can be found with more frequency on grocery store shelves during the growing season. This trend reflects the shift in consumer preference.

Tucker Wagner, far left, a graduate student in the Mississippi State University Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, and Brett Crow, far right, an instructor in the department and coach of the MSU Livestock Judging Team, are pictured with the Lincoln County 4-H team at the statewide 4-H/FFA livestock judging contest. The event was held at the MSU Horse Park in Starkville, Mississippi, on May 21, 2016. Team members from left are Rylie Melancon, Walker Williams, Jacob Johnson and Will Watts. (Submitted Ph
July 22, 2016 - Filed Under: 4-H Livestock Program

By Vanessa Beeson
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Teams that want to win big in 4-H and FFA livestock judging competitions should attend the Mississippi State University Livestock Judging Camp.

The three-day camp in the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is open to teams and individuals who are 14 to 18 years of age. Past attendees have included top winners in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee livestock judging competitions.

Adara Blalock, 10, visits with a grasshopper (or vice versa) while taking a break during the Adams County Farm Camp near Natchez, Mississippi, on July 7, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
July 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

NATCHEZ, Miss. -- Life in a rural community does not guarantee opportunities to experience agriculture, understand where food comes from or learn how to treat animals.

The Adams County Farm Camp offered 35 children, ages 8 to 13, hands-on activities around cattle, chickens, horses, fish, wildlife and gardens.

Using reusable products and eating unprocessed foods are good for the environment and simple steps along the path in the “going green” journey. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Beth Baker)
July 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The “going green” movement is evidence that people and businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about the environment.

The development of products that are energy efficient and eco-friendly also shows that people want to protect the earth and its precious resources.

Campers (front row, from left) Jendiya Harkins, Jayda Robson, Ankeria Harkins and Morgan Peterson; and Travis Jones and Ceniyah Jamison learn robotics at a community summer camp on July 11, 2016 in Artesia, Miss. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and 4-H uses robotics to introduce children to science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs at an early age. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Michaela Parker)
July 20, 2016 - Filed Under: STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Technology

By Michaela Parker
MSU Extension Service

ARTESIA, Miss. -- Children’s faces lit up as they watched their bright-blue robots glide across the floor at their commands.

Nate Peterson, community development coordinator for Artesia, watched his 32 summer campers beam with excitement as they played with robots for the first time. Peterson worked alongside camp director Betty Sanders to coordinate sports, educational demonstrations and other activities for local children to enjoy while their parents were at work.  

Ping Pong is a new gomphrena series that delivers a blast of color in any landscape bed. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
July 18, 2016 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

If you’re looking for a tough plant that will tolerate the combination of summer heat and humidity and keep right on blooming, take a look at gomphrena.

When children from the Mississippi State University Child Development and Family Studies Center go home for the summer, their parents can find many options to stimulate imaginations and encourage learning. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)
July 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Summer vacation gives children a break from school, but that does not mean they should stop learning or that summer has to be boring.  

RAND Corporation researchers found elementary school students’ academic performance falls by about a month during the summer.

But continued learning does not mean math worksheets, vocabulary lists and tests. Summer is a great time for children to discover learning is fun and can happen anywhere.

Mississippi’s growers harvested about 80,000 acres of wheat and averaged 58 bushels per acre in 2016. These amber waves of grain (left) are in a Coahoma County, Mississippi, field on May 23, 2016. David Wade (right) knows his Coahoma County, Mississippi, wheat would have produced better yields if persistent spring rains had not stunted the crop’s development. He is standing in his wheat field on May 23, 2016, shortly before harvest. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Reduced acreage, average yields and low prices have added up to another tough year for Mississippi wheat farmers.

The state’s wheat appears to be on track for a third consecutive year in which the value of production was cut in half from the previous year.

Mississippi State University Extension Service agricultural economist Brian Williams said wheat production values were $154.5 million in 2013, $71.7 million in 2014 and $31.5 million in 2015.

Perennials, such as ladino white clover, are available to wildlife forage all year long with its peak production time from mid-spring through early summer. In addition to finding the right soil and applying the recommended amounts of lime and fertilizer each year, managers will also have to battle both cool- and warm-season weeds. (Submitted photos)
July 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When planting wildlife food plots, which is better: annuals or perennials? Ideally, you should have different plots designated for both cool- and warm-season annuals, as well as perennials.

David Young, a flight coordinator with the Geosystems Research Institute at Mississippi State University, prepares an unmanned aircraft to fly over test plots at the H. H. Leveck Animal Research Center April 7, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
July 15, 2016 - Filed Under: Field Scale Crop Assessment with Drones

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Part of understanding any emerging technology is clearing up common misunderstandings about it.

About a year ago, the Mississippi State University Extension Service began developing a new program known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Decision Agriculture and Environmental Management. The program is designed to educate anyone who might use unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, professionally or recreationally.

July 14, 2016 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Professional turfgrass managers can learn about innovations in turfgrass and landscape management strategy during the 2016 Turfgrass Research Field Day Aug. 23.

Hunters, land managers and forestry professionals can learn about white-tailed deer, such as this buck, at one of the three deer management workshops, hosted by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, in August. (File Photo by MSU Extension Service)
July 13, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

By Michaela Parker
MSU Extension Service

Jhade Jordan of Durant shadows a local doctor while enrolled in the 2016 Rural Medical Scholars program. This Mississippi State University Extension Service program is designed to address the state’s shortage of doctors in rural areas. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 12, 2016 - Filed Under: 4-H, Rural Health

By Michaela Parker
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With only one doctor available in her hometown of Durant, Jhade Jordan understands the importance of practicing medicine in rural areas.  

Jordan is a member of the class of 2016 Rural Medical Scholars program. High school seniors from across Mississippi spent June on the Mississippi State University campus to learn more about becoming a family medicine physician. Through this program, supported by the MSU Extension Service, she learned what it means to be a doctor.

July 11, 2016 - Filed Under: Beef

RAYMOND, Miss. -- New regulations passed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will continue to help cattle producers and veterinarians protect the health of animals and humans.

The amended rules will require all cattle producers to obtain a veterinary feed directive, or VFD, from a licensed veterinarian to use feeds that contain medications. Antimicrobials used in drinking water also require this veterinary prescription.

Artemisia Quicksilver forms a tight groundcover in the trial beds of the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs, Miss., on July 11, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
July 11, 2016 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

Gardeners are always looking for landscape plants that provide interest, and they primarily concentrate on the colorful flowers. But in my experience, even the most floriferous garden plant will need some help to maintain garden beauty.

This is where foliage plants come to save the day, and coleus is usually the first choice. But Artemisia is an alternative landscape plant that doesn’t get enough attention.

Mindy Rutherford and her family added a dairy to their Rolling Fork, Mississippi, farm this year. Milk produced by the farm’s small dairy is processed on site. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 11, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Women for Agriculture

ROLLING FORK, Miss. -- Mindy Rutherford devotes her days to the family’s expanding Rolling Fork farm.

A former teacher, she left the classroom 11 years ago to focus full time on the row crop farm’s administrative duties and to help manage the first beef cattle herd she and her husband, Bill, bought. They are continuing a legacy begun by Bill Rutherford’s father in 1971.

“I always heard that if you are passionate about what you do, you never work a day in your life. It’s true, and that’s how I feel about the farm,” Mindy Rutherford said.

“Leaves of three, let them be” (left) is the rhyme people use to identify poison ivy while it is actively growing, but every part of the plant can cause itchy outbreaks, even during winter dormancy. Virginia creeper (right) is often mistaken for the three-leaved poison ivy, but there is no need to fear these vines with five leaves. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
July 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Health, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Outdoor activities in the spring and summer increase the risk of exposure to poison ivy, but the plants’ danger does not disappear when frost arrives.

Thriving on Mississippi’s hot, humid climate, poison ivy is very common across the state and causes discomfort for 80 to 85 percent of the population. The additional bad news is that allergic reactions from exposure to any part of the plants, including roots, also can occur during the winter from dormant plants.

High demand for fingerlings to stock ponds is keeping catfish supply tight and resulting in profits for Mississippi’s catfish industry. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
July 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Catfish

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- As demand for catfish remains high, the only components of its production trending down this year in Mississippi are pond acreage and the price of feed.

Producers are receiving an average of $1.12 to $1.21 per pound of catfish and paying less than $380 for a ton of feed. To Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, those data are good news for the bottom line.