Feature Story from 2006
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Boll Weevil Eradication Program and worm-controlling varieties have allowed tarnished plant bugs to skip to the top spot as cotton's No. 1 pest.
Once growers removed boll weevils from their lists of pests, they began planting transgenic Bt cotton to control tobacco budworms and cotton bollworms. Producers reduced sprays for those insects, and this allowed tarnished plant bug numbers to grow.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- To many people, a wedding ring, keys to a new car and the title to a house should all quickly follow the college degree, but financial experts urge first-time home buyers to count the cost before making this decision.
Many couples don't like the idea of paying rent, so they try to buy a house as soon as possible, sometimes even before the wedding. They see two incomes and a consolidated set of living expenses, and a home purchase seems like a good idea.
By Marcus Daniels
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Newlyweds face a variety of challenges, many of which stem directly from the financial decisions all couples must make.
“Problems with family finances are the No. 1 cause of marriages breaking up,” said Susan Cosgrove, area family resource management agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
Couples may bring large debt into the marriage or can easily get over their heads in debt very quickly. It takes hard work and a true commitment to achieve financial goals.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many couples look for ways to reduce wedding costs, but cutting out a professional florist should not be an option.
Lynette McDougald, an instructor in plant and soil sciences at Mississippi State University and manager of the University Florist, said professional florists can guide couples to effective floral displays within any budget.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The cake may be beautiful, the table gorgeous and the appetizers terrific, but if the food hasn't been handled and stored properly, guests can go away from the wedding reception with a very bad experience.
Food-borne illnesses are a serious issue, causing more than 80 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths nationwide each year. Symptoms of a food-borne illness can be similar to indigestion, heartburn, a stomach bug or the flu, so many people don't realize what made them sick.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Figuring out how much to serve at the wedding reception can be just as hard as coming up with a guest list, but a few tips can take some of the guesswork out of the equation.
Wedding planners know that a reception can be a significant part of the total cost of a wedding. While cake and punch receptions in a church hall are typically not very expensive, costs rise dramatically when a full menu is served.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Chemical usage, disaster issues and wildlife are among the topics that will be discussed in the upcoming Integrated Pest Management workshop in Raymond on Feb. 21.
Mississippi State University’s Extension Service is sponsoring the General Pest Management Workshop at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center. Registration is $10 and begins at 8 a.m. for the full-day event to be held in the auditorium.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Fruit and vegetable growers can learn how to produce the safest food possible during an upcoming workshop in north Mississippi.
The workshop is slated for Jan. 27 in Hernando at the public library. Participants will review food safety issues including good agricultural, handling and manufacturing practices that will meet food safety requirements during production, harvesting and grading. The afternoon session will be devoted to each producer developing an individualized manual and documentation needed for their food safety programs.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many returning soldiers are planning to march down the aisle into a new life of marital bliss, but couples will need patience as they adjust to their life together.
Wartime separations have a long tradition of producing brides, either before soldiers are deployed, when on leave or soon after they return home.
Paul Purser, family assistance supervisor with the Mississippi Military Department, said these weddings mean many returning soldiers will be newlyweds, even if they got married a year and a half ago.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Weeds are opportunistic, and when Hurricane Katrina damaged or destroyed much of south Mississippi, weeds were given the opportunity to thrive.
John Byrd, weed specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the wind, the storm surge and cleanup efforts allowed weeds to gain ground.
“Weeds enter in the voids where other vegetation was growing,” Byrd said. “You hope the weeds that come up are native plants, but there are a number of introduced plants that can spring up. Because they have no natural enemies, they can thrive.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Brushing a dog's teeth is something most people think is not necessary or even silly, but Susan Seal has good reason to be aware of her pet's dental health.
“When I was growing up, my grandparents had a poodle with health problems related to gum disease,” Seal said. “Taking care of his teeth could have helped him live a longer, healthier life.”
Sadie, Seal's 2-year-old Shetland sheep dog, is benefiting from those childhood memories. The Starkville resident brushes Sadie's teeth two or three times a week.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Greenhouse tomato growers and people with an interest in this business should mark their calendars for the 16th annual greenhouse tomato short course to be held in Jackson on Feb. 28 and March 1.
The intensive, one-of-a-kind short course is exclusively dedicated to helping producers of greenhouse tomatoes. Mississippi is home to 130 growers who combine to produce a $6.5 million greenhouse tomato crop annually. In 2005, the short course attracted more than 168 participants from 26 states.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- 4-H’ers trying to gain educational extracurricular experience while in high school have the opportunity in March to work in Mississippi government.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H program and the Center for Governmental Training and Technology are recruiting four youth to serve as legislative pages March 13-17. The youth will serve either in the state Senate or House of Representative for one week during the 2006 legislative session.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An interactive video conference on Medicare D will be held at 10 a.m. on Feb. 13 in participating Mississippi State University Extension offices across the state.
Speakers will discuss the prescription program and remind participants of the part Social Security plays in the Medicare D program. This video conference is a service of the Stone County Rural Health Coalition, MSU Extension Service, Cahaba Government Benefit Administrators, Medicare and Social Security.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Arbor Day's annual emphasis to replenish Mississippi's valuable resources is taking on new importance this February.
Hurricane Katrina showed no mercy on the beautiful trees located throughout Mississippi communities. Professional arborists want to make sure replacement trees are considered as soon as possible in the recovery plans.
Walter Passmore, assistant director of public outreach for the Mississippi Forestry Commission, said more than $1 billion in economic damage occurred to the trees in cities and towns across the state.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi landowners interested in earning additional revenue from their land can take part in a March 8 workshop focusing on natural resource enterprises.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi youth are applying for grants to help them gain pride in themselves and in their communities through an environmental improvement program.
Community Pride is a grants and awards program sponsored by the ChevronTexaco Companies and administered by Mississippi State University’s Extension Service.
By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center
STONEVILLE -- Mississippi State University's recent release of Pace means Delta rice growers no longer have to choose between a high yield or a solid disease package.
“Pace is a long-grain, high-yielding, semi-dwarf variety with good straw strength and field tolerance to sheath blight and blast diseases,” said Pace's developer Dwight Kanter, a rice breeder at MSU's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Americans are conditioned to dread taxes, but for some working Mississippians, tax time can bring a bonus check or some hurricane-related tax relief.
Bobbie Shaffett, family resource management specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the Earned Income Tax Credit can be a big help to many taxpayers.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Consortium for the History of Agricultural and Rural Mississippi was formed in 2002 to ensure preservation and access to important documents related to the individuals and organizations that built the state's rural heritage.
CHARM’s mission is to promote understanding and appreciation of the role played by agriculture, forestry and rural life in Mississippi’s past. The organization is working to collect, preserve and provide access to important historical materials as a foundation for teaching, learning and research.