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Feature Story from 2015

Agricultural professionals from Pakistan look on during a visit to Mississippi State University as dairy herder Kenneth Graves rakes sand at the Joe Bearden Dairy Research Center on Aug. 10, 2015. Similar groups from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania also visited MSU over the past month to enhance their skills in agriculture. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
August 20, 2015 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Groups of agricultural professionals from three countries visited Mississippi State University over the last month to take advantage of training opportunities offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service.

August 20, 2015 - Filed Under: Rural Health

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippians may be eligible for financial assistance to help pay for health insurance.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service offers information on the Affordable Care Act on their website.

The enrollment period for the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins on Nov. 1. Early enrollment may be offered to individuals who have experienced certain life changes, such as birth of a child or loss of a job.

Children in the after-school program at the Mississippi State University Child Development and Family Studies Center are eager for the new school year. (Photo by MSU School of Human Sciences/Amy Barefield)
August 20, 2015 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Success in school depends more on the 16 hours spent outside the classroom than many parents may realize. Physical, emotional and social factors at home contribute significantly to academic success.

Students who eat breakfast perform and behave better in school, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children under 11 need one or two daily servings of fruit and two to four daily servings of vegetables.

Cogongrass is a hardy, fast-growing invasive weed that is spreading across the Southeast. Mississippi State University Extension Service weed scientist John Byrd said it has no value as forage and displaces native ecosystems. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
August 21, 2015 - Filed Under: Invasive Plants

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cogongrass was introduced to Mississippi 100 years ago as a new forage crop, but it is now an invasive weed landowners and managers are trying to destroy.

John Byrd, weed scientist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said it was thought that this perennial grass had potential to benefit rural families.

August 25, 2015 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Avian Flu

PEARL, Miss. -- The Mississippi Board of Animal Health will not be alone in the battle to protect the state’s poultry industry from bird flu this winter.

“Now is the time to make sure our response plans are in place to minimize bird losses and economic damage when migratory birds return from infected nesting grounds,” said Dr. Jim Watson, state veterinarian with the Mississippi Board of Animal Health.

August 27, 2015 - Filed Under: Animal Health

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Authorities across Mississippi are reminding residents to vaccinate their pets and avoid all contact with wild animals as an investigation continues into the first confirmed case of rabies in a land animal since 1961.

The case was identified in Starkville last week in a feral, black and white kitten. While there is no ongoing health risk, people should notice warning signs and call their local animal control or sheriff’s office if they see a mammal that could be diseased.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused more than $35 million in damages to the state’s commercial fishing fleet. The state’s 69 seafood-processing plants, 141 seafood dealers, and five land-based support facilities saw more than $100 million in damages. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Ben Posadas)
August 27, 2015 - Filed Under: Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- Ten years after Hurricane Katrina left him with nothing but his three medium-sized refrigerator vessels, shrimper Steve Bosarge has overcome major tribulation to expand his business.

Years before the catastrophe, Bosarge diversified his business because of increased shrimping competition. In the 1990s, he began providing endangered species animal relocation and site clearance services for oil companies. He had no way of knowing that this side work would save his business. He continues that service today, along with his original career.

Tree farmer Cecil Chambliss thought Hurricane Katrina put him out of business, but 10 years later, he has changed his management practices and improved production on his Forrest County farm by replanting with longleaf and slash pine, which are more resistant to high winds than loblolly pine. (Submitted photo)
August 27, 2015 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As bleak as the outlook seemed for Mississippi’s forestry industry in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the state’s second largest agricultural commodity is slowly recovering.

August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Disaster Preparedness

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Less than a week after Mississippi State University hosted multihazard emergency training for colleges and universities, the state’s land-grant school experienced a real-life crisis with someone posing a potential threat.

At 10:15 Thursday morning, MSU issued a “Maroon Alert” to warn students, staff and faculty to shelter in place because of a campus threat. By 10:30 a.m., the suspect was in custody.

Hurricane Katrina displaced both family pets and large animals. (MSU Ag Communications file photo/Jim Lytle)
August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Disaster Response

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In the hours immediately following Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, a team of Mississippi State University veterinarians specially trained to work with animals in disaster situations arrived at the state’s designated animal disaster relief shelter in Jackson.

While the Mississippi Animal Response Team’s immediate focus was to assist the Mississippi Board of Animal Health with assessing and managing the growing number of displaced animals, they also had other duties.

Early Years Network field technical assistant Norma Hayes (left) worked with Eloise Barnett (center) to get Lil’s Angels Family Center in Hattiesburg up and running after Hurricane Katrina. Barnett’s sister, Patricia Hughes also works at the center. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With so much loss after Hurricane Katrina, it would have been easy to overlook some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens: infants, toddlers and preschool children. Families needed to get back to work whenever possible, but without someone to watch their children, what could they do?

Winston County Extension agent Mike Skipper, left, discusses recovery issues from the April 2014 tornado with Rusty Suttle of Louisville at an Agricultural Disaster Resource Center set up May 15, 2014. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Disaster Response

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi State University leaders realized the importance of instituting a standardized response system to assist with all types of catastrophes that might strike the state.

Six months after Katrina, the MSU Extension Service Center for Government and Community Development began training university employees, as well as local emergency management officials, 911-call-center operators, and elected and appointed officials.

Gardeners getting ready to plant fall color, such as that provided by these pansies, should take advantage of recent good weather to get their beds ready. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
August 31, 2015 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

If I didn’t know better, I would swear that Mother Nature is teasing us.

This past weekend was glorious in my south Mississippi garden, especially in the humidity department. I don’t know the last time the humidity was 40 percent at the end of August and the heat index was below the temperature of the surface of the sun.

Like many other home gardeners, this break from the oppressive summer heat got me back out into the landscape to do some chores that needed to be done.

Catfish, such as these fillets sold in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Sales Store on the Mississippi State University campus, are considered part of a healthy diet. (Photo by Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
September 2, 2015 - Filed Under: Catfish

September is National Catfish Month…

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Catfish is high in protein and low in saturated fat, making it healthy and delicious.

Mark Peterman, an aquaculture associate with the Mississippi State University Extension Service based in east Mississippi, said all of Mississippi’s catfish must pass a minimum of three sensory taste tests before processing plants will accept delivery.

September 3, 2015 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

VERONA, Miss. -- Gardeners are invited to attend the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center Fall Flower and Vegetable Tour on Sept. 26.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will host this annual tour in Verona from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

MSU horticulture experts will lead educational seminars, provide tours of the flower and vegetable gardens, and answer gardening questions. Fun activities for children will be available.

Dr. Dena Lodato, a board-certified veterinary surgeon with the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Emergency and Referral Clinic in Flowood, greets Lad, a local patient that recovered from serious injuries he suffered when a train hit him. (Submitted photo)
September 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Animal Health

By Brandi Van Ormer
MSU College of Veterinary Medicine

FLOWOOD, Miss. -- Most amazing stories begin on a normal day, and the story of a collie named Lad was no different.

But what started as a routine day of play ended with a long-term relationship with experts at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s affiliate emergency and specialty center in Flowood.

September 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Technology

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A free webinar series will offer business owners tips for using technology to improve online branding and social media tools.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi’s Creative Economy and the Mississippi Development Authority Entrepreneur Center are partnering to deliver four sessions related to business development.

Ornamental kale and cabbage provide easy fall and winter color. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
September 8, 2015 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Many homeowners consider it a point of pride to have a nicely manicured landscape. Southern Gardening is one of many sources of information to help gardeners with maintenance tips and plant selection.

But sometimes, especially at the end of a long, hot summer, the home gardener loses landscape momentum. As I admitted in last week’s column, I’ve found myself in this position. To tell you the truth, it bothers me even though I downplayed the situation.

Staff members at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Experiment Station are working to put together displays such as this flower-filled fountain for the Fall Flower & Garden Fest scheduled for Oct. 16 and 17 at the station. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
September 8, 2015 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. – The Southeast’s most popular home gardening event will open to home gardeners and horticultural professionals Oct. 16 and 17 at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs.

Each year, the Fall Flower & Garden Fest draws an average of 5,000 visitors interested in learning about all aspects of vegetable, flower and herb gardening.

This crape myrtle branch is encrusted in the white felt of crape myrtle bark scale, an invasive insect that damages the once low-maintenance trees. (Photo by MSU Extension/Blake Layton)
September 9, 2015 - Filed Under: Plant Diseases, Trees

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University experts found an invasive insect that attacks crape myrtles on the coast this spring and now have spotted the pest in two cities on opposite ends of the state.

The insects are crape myrtle bark scale, or CMBS, and they were found March 15 in Ocean Springs in Jackson County. In August, the insects were detected at five locations in Olive Branch and Southaven in DeSoto County.


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