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News From 2000

July 17, 2000 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Snakes

By Crystel Bailey

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians enjoy telling about close encounters with most wildlife species, but snakes are usually a different story.

Summertime activities place people outdoors during a time when snakes are more active. Awareness of potential snake habitats and cleaning up those areas may be the best bets for avoiding an unwanted encounter.

"Snakes are seen more frequently when mating, in spring, early summer months and then fall," said Dean Stewart, wildlife specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.

July 17, 2000 - Filed Under: Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Heat is an enemy of dairy milk production, and Mississippi's heat and humidity combine to significantly cut production during the summer.

When outside temperatures reach 75 to 80 degrees, dairy cattle experience mild heat stress. At 90 degrees and higher, they experience severe heat stress. During heat stress, a cow's normal body temperature of 101.5 degrees can reach 105 to 106 degrees.

July 17, 2000 - Filed Under: Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Veterinary college tends to produce clinical practitioners despite the graduates' ideal preparation as researchers, a national problem Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine is hoping to address through a summer research program.

Dr. Jerald Ainsworth is director of the Summer Research Experience for Veterinary Students at MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine. He said veterinarians' broad scientific background in anatomy and physiology and multiple animal species prepares them well for careers in research.

July 10, 2000 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Congressman Roger Wicker brought a 10-member delegation of Russian Duma members and staff to Mississippi State University this summer as part of their trip to the United States to see democracy in action.

The delegation spent the day on campus visiting the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Engineering Research Center and meeting senior MSU officials. They also learned how the land- grant system generates research and passes that information on to the people of the state.

July 10, 2000 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Daffodils, tulips and daylilies are some of our most common flowers from bulbs, but this year there has been a blue flower called the agapanthus that has really put on a show from the coastal counties to North Mississippi.

July 10, 2000 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Two faculty members from Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine witnessed first-hand the uphill struggle educators and agricultural trade associations face following decades of communism and in the aftermath of government instability in Albania.

July 7, 2000 - Filed Under: Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- What little rice was planted on Mississippi farms this spring is looking good at the halfway point in the growing season.

According to the Mississippi Agricultural Statistics Service, state farmers planted about 20 percent fewer rice acres, dropping the state total to about 260,000 acres, down from 323,000 acres harvested in 1999. Some rice experts expect that number to drop even further. Prices which were a low $5.25 in 1999 are even lower this year.

July 3, 2000 - Filed Under: Sweet Corn, Vegetable Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

I used to consider myself a real outdoor cooker until the other day when my 10-year-old son James asked if that was the first time I had cooked chicken. Have I been too busy for a decade?

That night I was cooking one of my grill favorites, corn on the cob with the shuck still on. There may not be finer eating in the whole world than corn on the cob with that smoke flavor.

July 3, 2000 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The big yellow school bus is such a part of daily routines for thousands of Mississippi youth that many people take for granted that it is safe.

While statistics show that the overwhelming majority of youth riding the bus arrive safely every day, accidents do happen. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are an average of 128 school bus-related fatalities each year. Most fatalities occur in other vehicles involved in the accident, but about 8 percent are school bus passengers.

July 3, 2000 - Filed Under: Family

By Chantel Lott

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As parents begin to prepare kids for the annual return to classes, their thoughts turn to financing and selecting school clothes.

Everlyn Johnson, an apparel and textile program leader with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, had some basic tips for all shoppers.

July 3, 2000 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

By Chantel Lott

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Parents' concerns are rising about the violence in the schools their children attend.

More and more parents are searching for information to educate themselves and their children about the risk of violence in school. Some preventative measures can ease the anxiety of parents and of children.

July 3, 2000 - Filed Under: Nutrition

By Chantel Lott

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Parents can spruce up school lunches without sacrificing nutrition or their children's satisfaction by including them in the planning process.

"The first step in planning any school lunch should be to ask a child what he or she wants to eat. Children tend to eat healthier if they have a say in the meal," said Barbara McLaurin, human nutrition specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.

July 3, 2000 - Filed Under: Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Teachers and politicians alike preach the value of computers for every student, but is access the only issue?

An average home computer starts at $1,300 for hardware, software and accessories. While schools can get discounts through mass purchases and government programs, sometimes other priorities rank higher than providing a computer for every student in class.

June 30, 2000 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi farmers reeling from last year's low prices and often-poor yields are pinning their hopes on many crops not projected to perform much better in 2000.

With figures being finalized for 1999, agricultural economists show that most of the state's top crops declined in value last year. The traditional high dollar crops were the worst hit.

John Lee, head of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University, said 1999 was a tough year for farmers as typically average yields were sold for very low prices.

June 26, 2000 - Filed Under: Food

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Giving a food product a longer shelf life means increased quality and often opens new markets.

Foods that stay fresh longer have greater consumer appeal. They also can survive the transport time needed to reach distant markets, or can be stored fresh and used when needed to maintain a steady supply.

June 26, 2000 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Most people consider plastic birds in a yard either an unpleasant spectacle or a spectacularly creative display.

June 23, 2000 - Filed Under: Farm Safety

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Burns from mishandled fireworks are a continual threat, but this year's dry weather means fireworks present a serious fire threat in many areas of the state.

Earlier this year, Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove issued a statewide burn ban, but this was rescinded when certain areas of the state received sufficient rain. However, burn bans remain in many counties still under drought conditions. Because of Fourth of July fireworks sales, many communities have extended burn bans to limit or prohibit the use of fireworks.

June 23, 2000 - Filed Under: Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Weather that has been bad for crops and lawns is just what shrimpers need to make this year good for shrimp.

"The same things that have been bad for the cotton and the gardens and the lawns has been good for the shrimp," said Dave Burrage, Extension fisheries specialist at Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. "The lack of rainfall and hot weather has been ideal for shrimp production."

June 19, 2000 - Filed Under: Pesticide Applicator Certification

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent headlines, "EPA to ban common pesticide," may have caught consumers' attention, but the most important message for users is on the need to follow product labels.

On June 8, 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency cited health risks to children as the reason for phasing out the use of chlorpyrifos in gardens and homes and cutting back its use in agriculture. Chlorpyrifos, one of the most common pesticides, is sold commonly under the trade names Dursban for home use and Lorsban for agricultural use.

June 19, 2000 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

As we start to get into the heat of the summer, the tropical vines are showing that they are worth every penny of their cost. Everywhere I look, the mandevillas are showing off with their huge pink, bell-shaped flowers.

But we have some new tropical vine choices out there. In March, I was given a pandorea jasmine, or pandorea jasminoides, in a basket. It is also known as Bower Vine.