Feature Story from 2006
By Bonnie Coblentz
By Robert Wells
STONEVILLE -- Mississippi State University is using genetically modified plants in its cotton breeding program to create better cotton varieties for producers.
“We hope something great will come out of this to help the farmers,” said Peggy Thaxton, a cotton breeder at MSU's Delta Research and Extension Center.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Commercial plant growers, retail garden centers, landscapers and people planning to enter one of those professions can preview the plants of tomorrow during an upcoming conference in Raymond.
The Mid-South Greenhouse Growers, Retail Garden Center/Landscape Conference will be held June 5-7 at Eagle Ridge Conference Center in Raymond, just south of Jackson on Highway 18.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi landowners interested in earning additional revenue from their land can take part in a one-day workshop May 23 focusing on natural resource enterprises.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Everyone involved in Mississippi’s dairy industry is invited to the Statewide Dairy Field Day May 25 in Tylertown.
“Mississippi has lost a lot of dairy producers in recent years due to extreme fluctuation in the price they are paid for their milk coupled with increasing production costs,” said Lamar Adams, event organizer and Walthall County director with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane Katrina has flooded the timber market with trees as landowners try to salvage some of their investments. The storm of the century also provided insights into which species might hold up best in future hurricanes.
Bob Daniels, forestry professor with Mississippi State University Extension Service, said landowners with smaller tracts of timber have not been able to salvage as many trees as the owners of larger tracts.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Months after Hurricane Katrina tore through Mississippi and Louisiana, the storm is still doing damage to landscapes.
Blake Layton, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said some effects of landscape trees damaged or destroyed by Katrina's winds are only beginning to be felt. Many azaleas and St. Augustine lawns that once thrived in the shade are now in bright sunlight.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A horse’s retirement last fall means Mississippi State University’s Extension Service needs one additional safe, gentle horse for hippotherapy and therapeutic riding sessions.
The MSU Extension Service’s 4-H TEAM (Therapeutic Equine Activity Member) Program is one of two accredited therapeutic programs in Mississippi. The selection criteria for their horses require they be in reasonably good health, have a current Coggins test, and be people friendly and extremely calm.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An upcoming goat sale in Raymond will help youth become involved in the rapidly expanding 4-H and FFA junior livestock program.
The Mississippi Club Goat Association will be holding a sale on June 10 at Hinds Community College. About 60 meat goats born this spring will go on the auction block. All will be age-appropriate for the 2007 Dixie National Junior Livestock Show. Vaccinated and dewormed, they have been weaned and are on feed.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dr. Kent Hoblet, a native of Ohio, has been named dean of Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Currently a faculty member and administrator at Ohio State University, Hoblet will assume his new duties at the Starkville campus June 16.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's blueberries have overcome weather obstacles and now are approaching harvest time with a good fruit load.
John Braswell, horticulture specialist with Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center in Poplarville, said Hurricane Katrina removed about 10 percent of the state's plants from production, and a late frost caused additional 2006 yield reductions. However, the remaining bushes are sporting a good fruit load as they approach harvest time, which typically runs the last week of May through the second week of July.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi producers may get some financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in their continuing recovery from the devastation caused by the 2005 hurricanes.
In early May, USDA announced four crop and livestock assistance programs backed by $250 million in funds for producers affected by the destruction. The four programs are livestock indemnity, feed indemnity, hurricane indemnity and tree indemnity.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many graduating seniors believe their hardest lessons are behind them, but life's future tests may prove to be their toughest exams yet.
Graduation milestones often give students the impression that their new diplomas are symbols of attained wisdom and their arrival into adulthood.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hot temperatures in April excited cotton growers with the prospect of an early crop, but the return of cool, wet conditions delayed growth and later plantings.
Peggy Thaxton, associate professor at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, said her research plots were not planted until mid-May.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In 1946, Harris Barnes Jr. began taking snapshots of his first child, Harris III. Sixty years and three more children later, the Clarksdale resident has a photojournalism legacy that includes three books and hundreds of articles and photos in a variety of farm publications.
Barnes' first book, “Cotton: A 50 Year Pictorial History,” was published in 2002. “The Beauty of Southern Agriculture” followed in 2004, and his latest, “Good Old Days on the Cotton Farm: A History,” is set for release in September.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Termites have nearly finished their swarming season in Mississippi, but their threat continues year-round, only less visibly.
Blake Layton, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said termites from established colonies swarm once a year to start new colonies. Winged swarmers fly out, pair up for mating, fall to the ground and lose their wings before trying to start a new colony.
“Thank goodness it happens because many people wouldn't realize their houses had termites if they didn't swarm,” Layton said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The potential for record yields and the opportunity for excellent 2007 crop prices should reverse Mississippi's recent trend of reduced wheat acreage.
Mississippi growers now are harvesting 70,000 acres of wheat, which is about half the 2004 acreage and one-third as much as in 2001. Yields are predicted near the 2000 record of 55 bushels per acre.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- First Lady Laura Bush is among the hundreds of spectators this summer expected to view a play by Mississippi 4-H members promoting literacy.
The lead writer of “Sarah and the Magical Mix-Up” was Linda Mitchell, 4-H technology and creative programming specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The evolving global energy market and the challenges and opportunities it presents agriculture will be the topics of the Mississippi Agricultural Economics Association annual symposium in Starkville.
The symposium will be held June 22 and 23 at Mississippi State University in the Forest Products Auditorium. The public and those representing the ag industry, business and finance are invited to attend. A $20 symposium fee covers the Friday meeting and lunch.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University was a little greener the last week in May as more than 750 4-H youth and adult volunteers converged for the 2006 State 4-H Congress.
Their theme of “Green people doing great things” played off the color they wore so prevalently and the community service projects they do throughout the year and while on campus. They represented the nearly 90,000 4-H members in Mississippi.
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