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News From 2021

June 4, 2021 - Filed Under: 4-H, STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Wildlife Youth Education

4-H’ers can participate in an upcoming camp and have fun while learning about environmental sciences. The 4-H E.A.R.T.H. Camp, or Environmental Awareness through Recreation, Technology and Health, will be held Aug. 2-4 at Lake Tiak-O’Khata in Winston County.

Smooth, green avocado fruit hang down on single stems.
May 28, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Here’s a little ditty ‘bout Joey and Lila: two cold-hardy avocados growing up in the heartland. Lila was doing OK in my Ocean Springs yard, but I introduced Joey to bring the thrill of living. With apologies to John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane,” avocados have been one of the most interesting additions I’ve made over the past few years to my Heritage Cottage Urban Nano Farm.

Girl wading knee-deep in water measuring its depth with a yardstick
May 26, 2021 - Filed Under: Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program, Environment

Like sea levels, expenses related to flooding in communities and businesses along the Gulf Coast are rising.

One student spent last summer investigating ways to mitigate these costs while enhancing approaches to shoreline protection during her time in the Mississippi State University Extension Undergraduate Apprenticeship program. The program is targeted toward high-achieving undergraduates from across the country to give them firsthand experiences in research and extension to understand how research can be applied.

A single purple bloom has several overlapping petals.
May 24, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I enjoy the last part of May in my home landscape and garden.

My small rose garden -- which I’ve started to expand -- is in its full glory. I’ll share my latest rose story in a future Southern Gardening, but I’m also really loving the various hibiscuses I have growing in my landscape.

A drone in the foreground being controlled by young students in the background.
May 21, 2021 - Filed Under: STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Agriculture

As students toss their caps into the air at graduation, some may be wondering how to combine their love of video games with careers that offer financial independence and stability.

Fortunately, a wide range of careers in agriculture await those more inclined toward advanced technology than previous generations might have experienced.

Several times a year, Mississippi State University Extension associates visit high schools across the state to show students how their love for technology intersects with agriculture, the state’s largest economic driver.

A bird with black and gray feathers perches on a stem.
May 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Biology, Environment

The terms “bird of prey” or “predatory bird” are most often used to describe birds that hunt and kill their prey -- a species also known as raptors. But while all raptors are birds of prey, not all birds of prey are raptors.

 A man in a hat kneels among straw to point at tiny plants.
May 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Crops, Corn, Cotton, Rice, Soybeans

Because it is the first crop planted starting in March, Mississippi corn is in much better shape than other row crops struggling with the challenges of wet, cool weather.

May 19, 2021 - Filed Under: Irrigation

STARKVILLE, Miss.-- A new online resource is helping agricultural producers find technologies to improve water conservation on irrigated land.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is among four land-grant universities collaborating on this web page, which is available at http://surfaceirrigation.extension.msstate.edu. The page hosts dozens of publications and videos related to irrigation, as well as product demonstrations.

A cluster of small, white flowers with red centers.
May 17, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One of my favorite summer color annuals is the old-fashioned red geranium.

This is one of the plants that could be considered an old timey flower whose time has passed, but I don’t think so. They are just as useful and beautiful in our modern gardens and landscapes as they were once upon a time.

As I write this, I find it ironic that I’m calling the geranium one of my favorites.

A woman sits on a patio behind a container where greens are growing.
May 13, 2021 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Food, Health, Nutrition and Wellness

A career as a registered dietitian wasn’t what Qula Madkin had in mind when she started college, but she has no doubt it was meant to be.

May 11, 2021 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Health, The PROMISE Initiative, Farm Stress

The Mississippi State University Extension Service PROMISE Initiative has two upcoming sessions in a webinar series that addresses farm stress, mental health and social structural issues affecting farmers and ranchers. The webinars will be held May 18 and June 15 at noon CST. They are part of the ongoing “R is for Rural and Resilient” series that began in November 2020.

Rows of bagged items line the shelves in a store.
May 10, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

With the summer season fast approaching, I’ve been getting questions about fertilizing, primarily concerning the types of fertilizer and how much to use.I’m glad to get these questions because garden and landscape plants need fertilizer to keep them healthy and growing. Fertilizing at planting helps trees, shrubs and flowering plants get established. It also promotes shoot and root growth, flowering, and optimum fruit and vegetable harvest.

Man on a tractor plants corn.
May 7, 2021 - Filed Under: Field Scale Crop Assessment with Drones, 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.

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