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News From 2021

People stand in a garden.
August 13, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community, Food and Health, Food, Vegetable Gardens

When members of the Jackson chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority brainstormed ways to serve their community, they decided to start a gardening project. Their plan was twofold: grow fresh produce for members of the community who could not get to the grocery store on a regular basis; and get community members involved and teach them how to grow produce. But they soon discovered they were going to need some guidance.

A rice field.
August 13, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Rice

A crisis exemption that allowed Mississippi rice farmers to control fall armyworms helped them keep this year’s crop in good condition as harvest approaches.

August 12, 2021 - Filed Under: 4-H

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- 4-H Game Day at Mississippi State University will be held before the Bulldogs’ second home football game Sept. 11.

Bost Extension Center Building B on the MSU campus will be the site of the annual tailgate for the state’s 4-H’ers and 4-H clubs. The tailgate features various games, activities, prizes and food leading up to the 6 p.m. kickoff against North Carolina State University. There is also an option to join the tailgate virtually on Zoom.

A single caterpillar rests on a blade of grass.
August 11, 2021 - Filed Under: Insects-Forage Pests, Management - Forages, Insects-Home Lawns, Insects-Pests

Lawns, pastures and even winter food plots are at risk as an insect army advances across much of the state in higher than normal numbers. Blake Layton, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said fall armyworms are the most damaging insect pests of bermudagrass hayfields and pastures

Two medical ampoules of COVID-19 vaccine with a syringe.
August 9, 2021 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Coronavirus

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading three times as easily as previous strains in Mississippi and unvaccinated patients comprising most of the state’s cases, receiving the vaccine is now more critical than ever to slow the spread.

State health leaders are strongly encouraging Mississippians still grappling with vaccine hesitancy to consult governmental sources when seeking out data to inform their decisions. As of Aug. 5, 39% of Mississippians had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while only a third were fully vaccinated.

Lime green, ruffled leaves have reddish centers.
August 9, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

All the gardeners I know try really hard to keep their landscapes colorful even when the summer temperatures and humidity are keeping them inside. Smart gardeners use a secret weapon for color in the heat of the summer: colorful foliage.

August 9, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Rice, Culinary Tourism

People can enjoy the annual rice tasting event held in Bolivar County in a different format this year. The Rice Festival will be held Sept. 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the streets of downtown Merigold.

A woman holding a gardening tool stands in a green landscape.
August 5, 2021 - Filed Under: Master Gardener

Gardeners who want to give back to their communities can take advantage of an online training opportunity to hone their skills this fall. Registration opens Aug. 15 and ends Sept. 15 for the newest class of Master Gardeners.

Numerous tiny, white insects with brown heads dot a surface full of holes and crevices.
August 4, 2021 - Filed Under: Insects-Pests, Invasive Plants

Mississippi’s climate has proven to be ideally suited to hosting a variety of introduced, invasive plants and insects, but vigilant residents can prevent these pests from becoming overwhelming problems. One of the latest invaders is the box tree moth. North Mississippi residents are confronting this new challenge, which is a serious pest of boxwood shrubs that began showing up on boxwoods bought in Tennessee this spring.

A single bloom has white petals with thin red stripes.
August 2, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This summer has been one of the toughest I’ve experienced in all my years in horticulture. The heat and humidity have taken a toll on our garden and landscape plants, as well as the gardeners. I’m getting older, and I’m wilting a lot faster than in the past.

Fuzzy, green pods grow on a soybean plant.
August 2, 2021 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Soybeans

Most soybeans in Mississippi are having a good year to date, with 82% of the crop appearing in good or excellent shape past the midway point in the season.

Prices also look good, with averages above those of recent years.

A group gathers around a table-top planter growing small plants.
July 27, 2021 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

In late July, 54 stakeholders from across the country met in person and remotely to hammer out their perspectives on the best way to sustain the nation’s sweet potato industry.

Three large, yellow flowers with dark centers bloom on green stems.
July 26, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

When Mississippi’s oppressive heat and humidity drive gardeners indoors, there’s one blooming beauty sure to brings us back outdoors: the Rudbeckia. These flowers, also commonly known as black-eyed Susans, make gorgeous cut flowers for indoor use.

Man in a maroon shirt and baseball cap in a greenhouse.
July 22, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, AIM for CHangE, Mental Health First Aid

LOUISVILLE, Miss. -- Jim McAdory wears many hats. On any given day, the Mississippi State University Extension Service agent fields calls from local cattle farmers, teaches kids about the importance of daily nutrition, and tests soil to diagnose front yard and garden harvest problems -- all before lunch.

Based in Winston County, McAdory recently gained an additional role: Mental Health First Aid instructor.

Ruined watermelons lie in a muddy field.
July 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber, Watermelons

One month ago, watermelon production in southeast Mississippi was on track. Now, growers there have lost much of their crop to the summer’s wet weather.

A woman holds a stalk of grain while standing in a field.
July 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Rice, Soybeans

Researchers are learning how to manage rice fields when paraquat drifts onto them early and late in the season, but what impact this herbicide has on grain quality and what happens when drift occurs midseason are still unknowns.

Small pink flower clusters bloom at the end of branches.
July 19, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Looking at gardens and landscapes across the South in July, there’s one plant that has most gardeners talking. You may have guessed that I’m referring to the crape myrtle. Who doesn’t love the large, showy panicles with their many small, individual flowers?

Catfish swimming above a net.
July 16, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Catfish

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippi restaurants that serve catfish have had to pay their distributors more to keep the popular Southern dish on the menu this year or go without, but pond inventory is not the primary issue.

Instead, labor shortages at processing plants are more to blame, said Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. Industry data, he said, show processing is down 9% for the first five months of 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020.

Bucket full of trash.
July 16, 2021 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Animal Health, Health, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The amount of trash along Mississippi’s roadways and waterways is distressing. Beer bottles, soda cans, soiled diapers, cardboard boxes and fast-food wrappers are routine. Tires, gas cans and household appliances are not uncommon.

Every day, people discard millions of tons of trash in recycling containers or garbage cans. Unfortunately, people also leave trash in other places where it can harm wildlife, pets and even other people.

Pink flowers bloom on a green plant
July 12, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One of the best flowering annuals we can have in the second half of the summer season is the flowering vinca. I made a brief comment a couple of weeks ago about replacing petunias with flowering vincas

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