News From 2013
If there is one herb my wife and I love to grow more than the rest, it has to be basil. There is nothing better for the hot months because it is gorgeous in the landscape and delicious in fresh summer meals.
Many of the gardeners I have talked to think we have taken basil growing to the extreme.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Many Mississippi farmers celebrated Memorial Day in their tractor seats as they took full advantage of about a week of good weather to make significant strides in planting.
A nearly unbroken string of rains kept farmers mostly out of the fields through the early-spring planting window. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s May 26 Crop Progress and Condition Report shows their efforts to catch up.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s major land-grant university recently hosted a delegation from the Philippines who wanted to learn more about the Extension Service -- everything from federal funding to local county programming.
Mississippi State University Extension Service Director Gary Jackson provided an overview of the state’s programs and arranged for a visit to the Oktibbeha County Extension Office.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A well-respected and popular professor in Mississippi State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics has received a national award for his excellence in student advising.
Randy Little is a professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who has formally guided the career paths of more than 300 undergraduate students since he began at MSU in 1990. He has informally advised more than 1,000 students during that time as students value his wisdom and seek his guidance.
Mississippi’s Commissioner of Agriculture Cindy Hyde-Smith speaks to Boys State 2013 participants in Lee Hall’s Bettersworth Auditorium. (Photo by MSU University Relations/Megan Bean)
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cindy Hyde-Smith, the state’s leading advocate for Mississippi agriculture, touted the nation’s food supply as the safest and most affordable in the world when she spoke Tuesday [May 28] at the 2013 Boys State.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Evidence of a healthy national economy may be found in the strength of the timber industry.
Forestry is a billion-dollar industry in Mississippi and the state’s second-largest agricultural commodity. A depressed national economy in recent years had negative impacts on housing construction and furniture manufacturing, which hurt the forestry sector, but industry experts are seeing signs that a recovery is at hand.
When you think of summer blooms in the home landscape, it’s hard not to think about zinnias.
A lot of attention has been given to the Profusion and Zahara series of zinnia in summer and fall landscapes. Profusion is a Mississippi Medallion winner and both are All-America Selections. They provide fantastic summer color.
But I like the old-fashioned zinnia elegans with the big, pompom flowers on long stems that are perfect for cutting and bringing inside. And guess what? Some of these are All-America Selections, too.
Memorial Day is when many Americans take a step back to remember those who died in service to our country. Technology can bring us closer to those brave souls who died on the shores of Normandy or those laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, even if time and distance separate us.
Don’t let lengthy to-do lists or holiday activities such as family picnics and long weekend getaways cause you to forget the reason we observe Memorial Day.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Conservation-minded Mississippi farmers have enrolled 126,470 acres in the Research and Education to Advance Conservation and Habitat program, a Mississippi State University effort to impact land management.
Robbie Kroger, an assistant professor of aquatic sciences in the MSU Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, leads the REACH initiative, which as of April includes 41 farmers. Participation in the program impacts management practices on their acreage.
STONEVILLE – Soybean growers and consultants will benefit from an upcoming tour that teaches control measures for a springtime weed that plagues fields every year.
Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center will host a yellow nutsedge discussion from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. May 31 in the B.F. Smith Auditorium. Following a brief seminar, participants will travel a short distance to a trial area that has been established to demonstrate various tactics for controlling this weed, both before and after soybean plants have emerged.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Healthy eating does not mean home chefs must abandon favorite dishes, but they can trim sugar, salt and fat and boost fiber to create lighter versions of beloved recipes.
Many Southern comfort foods include rich, high-calorie ingredients that can be exchanged for lower calorie options, said Natasha Haynes, a family and consumer sciences agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
Baking chicken instead of frying it is just one way to lighten up a traditional dish.
Although many Mississippi gardeners are wondering if it will ever quit raining and let their landscapes dry out a bit, now is actually a good time to think ahead to the inevitable hot and dry weather of summer.
Dry conditions create problems for our home gardens and landscapes, and gardeners water their lawns and landscape beds a lot more than usual during these times.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Poor weather has created so many rain delays that most of the nation’s row crop planting is behind schedule, and Mississippi is even farther behind than other states.
“We’re a month behind,” said Ernie Flint, an area agronomist who has been with the Mississippi State University Extension Service for 22 years. “I’ve never seen anything that compares with this spring. I’ve seen the Delta planted late but never the whole state.”
Before he came to MSU in 1991, Flint spent 18 years as a crop consultant, so he spoke from a long perspective in agriculture.
STONEVILLE – Mississippi State University named two researchers to Extension Service appointments at the Delta Research and Extension Center, effective May 1.
Entomologist Jeff Gore and rice agronomist Tim Walker will divide their work between the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the Extension Service. MAFES, the research arm of MSU’s agriculture division, is funded separately from Extension, MSU’s service branch.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine will host the sixth annual Merial Rabies Symposium on World Rabies Day, Sept. 28, 2013.
The symposium, sponsored by animal health company Merial, brings together noted public health speakers, veterinarians and veterinary students to discuss this major public health issue.
JACKSON -- Social media is often thought of only as a way to keep up with friends and family, but electronic communication is an essential part of today’s farming operations.
Angus Catchot, Extension professor and entomology specialist with Mississippi State University’s Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, said the number of farmers and consultants who use social media and other online platforms might surprise many people.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A career interest developed in Mississippi State University’s School of Human Sciences led one student to Nigeria, where she spent a week teaching agriculture.
Alyssa Barrett, a senior agricultural science major from Wiggins, spent spring break in the West African nation teaching Nigerians how to plant and use moringa trees. Her team used Extension Service techniques to share practical information designed to improve lives.
Many gardeners try to give their landscape the feel of an informal cottage garden. This garden concept has a loose, flowing feel, kind of like you just let plants grow wherever they happen to pop up in the landscape.
I had a professor way back in college who had a unique cottage garden planting method: He would walk through the landscape and just toss plants over his shoulder. We planted them where they landed. And you know what? His gardens looked awfully good.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cattle producers wanting to improve their herds’ genetics recently turned to Mississippi State University for an advanced, hands-on reproduction workshop.
“If producers want to make rapid progress in herd genetics, the economic benefits of artificial insemination are there,” said Jane Parish, beef specialist with the MSU Extension Service. “Producers can have access to a top-quality bull in another part of the country or one that has been injured or died after its semen has been collected.”
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