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News From 2021

Man on a tractor plants corn.
May 7, 2021 - Filed Under: Precision Agriculture, Rural Development, Technology

From computer programs that regulate moisture sensors to smartphone apps that allow growers to monitor market data, most facets of agriculture continue their shift to digital platforms. This transition makes reliable internet access no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

Despite Mississippi agriculture’s annual economic impact of around $7 billion, broadband infrastructure is in short supply in the state’s densest agricultural hub: the 19-county Mississippi Delta.

Three volunteers unload boxes from an 18-wheeler.
May 6, 2021 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, AIM for CHangE

MAYERSVILLE, Miss. -- Alexis Hamilton never thought he would be hauling a green plastic dinosaur sheathed in protective plastic through an empty field in the Mississippi Delta. But when he looks back on his career, it’s not that big of a leap.

A basket holds an assortment of red, yellow and green peppers.
May 3, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

The month of May signals that it’s time for me to start planting culinary peppers in my home garden.

A field with four black cows.
April 30, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Beef

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s beef cattle herd size and farm inventory have not changed much in the last three years, but changes are taking place elsewhere in the industry.

The most recent count from the MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine lists 920,000 head of cattle on 15,980 farms as of 2020. In 2018, the state had a head count of 930,000 on about the same number of farms.

Plants grow from wooden boxes that have an overhead, curved pipe system.
April 28, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

Mississippi’s long growing season means potential gardeners have until at least July to start growing vegetables, but the state’s ideal gardening climate also means weeds and pests are constant threats. Gardeners often grow flowers in containers to add pops of color and spots of greenery in otherwise unworkable areas, and they can be equally successful using containers to grow vegetables.

A low-growing plant with tiny leaves grows in a large pot.
April 26, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

When looking at all the plants growing in landscapes, I’m reminded that each plant has a role in the story of that garden. And most garden stories have plants with sidekicks that you always find side by side.

A garden story that I recently enjoyed was the British TV show, “Rosemary & Thyme.” Rosemary Boxer (a university lecturer) and Laura Thyme (a former police officer) were a dynamic duo in the garden. They solved mysteries -- mostly murders -- while working as gardeners in beautiful landscapes all across Europe.

An American goldfinch sits on a bird feeder.
April 22, 2021 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

Mississippians concerned about the number of dead songbirds being found near feeders can use this opportunity to learn best practices to follow when offering birds food and water.

A man rests his hand on a table displaying floral arrangements.
April 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Floral Design

Thirty young people will have a unique opportunity to learn the basics of floral design in a half-day camp June 22 with the help of a highly skilled group of instructors.The in-person event for students aged 8-12 will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center at 1815 Popps Ferry Road in Biloxi. A $30 attendance fee covers all materials and a snack. Participants will take home their floral projects.

A clump of plants has trimmed tops and exposed roots.
April 19, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Many of Mississippi’s perennial landscape plants will start to decline after several years. That means they will have smaller foliage and won’t flower as much, even though they’ve been well cared for with regular fertilizer and irrigation.

April 19, 2021 - Filed Under: Economic Development, Rural Development

John J. Green is bringing a career immersed in Southern sociology and community development to his new position as director of the Southern Rural Development Center headquartered at Mississippi State University.

Two workers walk behind a red tractor in a field.
April 15, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farm Safety, The PROMISE Initiative

Planting season is underway and with it comes the transportation of heavy equipment along Mississippi’s roadways.
Drivers can help support local agricultural producers and their $7.4 billion contribution to the state’s economy by staying alert while sharing the road with planters, tillers and tractor-mounted sprayer

Graphic showing red snapper count in the Gulf of Mexico.
April 14, 2021 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Fish Management

BILOXI, Miss. -- The results of the Great Red Snapper Count are in!

In 2017, a team of fisheries experts began a two-year task of estimating the population size of red snapper in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico through this unprecedented, federally funded $12 million project. Scientists from several Southeastern universities and institutes, including Mississippi State University, used a variety of methods across the Gulf to accomplish this ambitious goal.

A black and white chicken stands in a black container inside an enclosure.
April 14, 2021 - Filed Under: Poultry

Backyard chicken flocks continue to grow in popularity as Mississippians embrace the ability to produce some of their own food and enjoy the quirky personalities of the birds.Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said those considering starting a backyard flock need to make clear-headed plans before bringing home darling little chicks.

Tiny pink blooms emerge along a green spike.
April 12, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

It’s no secret that I’m a real fan of salvia. A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed highlighting sage, which is a great culinary salvia. This week I’m going talk about perennial salvia, another group of these great plants.

Smoke rises from a mostly burned structure.
April 8, 2021 - Filed Under: County Extension Offices

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State University Extension Service in Pearl River County has a new temporary location after the building housing its office sustained irreparable damage from an overnight fire.

Located at 204 South Julia Street in Poplarville behind the county courthouse, the facility is scheduled to be operational by April 16. The main office number, 601-403-2280, is still active for clients in need of assistance. MSU Extension operations in Pearl River County will take place at this location indefinitely.

A closeup of a fire ant mound.
April 6, 2021 - Filed Under: Fire Ants, Insects-Home Lawns, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

Fire ants are the most common pests of home lawns, but homeowners can manage them with the right approach, and spring is the perfect time to begin the process.

A winged, greenish insect rests on a branch.
April 5, 2021 - Filed Under: Insects, Forest Ecology

Many states are expecting an extra loud chorus of chirping cicadas this summer with the emergence of a massive 17-year brood of the insects, but Mississippi will not be part of this phenomenon.

A single, green cucumber hangs on a vine.
April 5, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

If you read this Southern Gardening column frequently, you realize that I grow much more than pretty flowers in my home garden. Besides ornamental plants, I love to grow vegetables that my wife and I can enjoy for dinner.

Graphic showing 2021 planting intentions
April 1, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Corn, Cotton, Rice, Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi row crop growers are planning to plant more soybeans and corn in 2021 than they did last year but not as much cotton, rice or hay.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, publishes its planting intentions report each year at the end of March. This report provides a state-by-state estimation of how many acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton farmers will plant in the upcoming growing season.

A bee gathers pollen form a blueberry bloom.
March 31, 2021 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit, Nutrition and Wellness, Nutrition

Mississippi’s recent bout of bad weather came at a critical time for producers of blueberries, the state’s largest commercial fruit crop. Blueberries can be easily damaged by cold weather, but the timing of mid-February’s icy weather limited the potential damage.

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