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News From 2013

January 28, 2013 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Waterfowl

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi State University is hosting about 500 waterfowl biologists and wetland scientists for the North American Duck Symposium and Workshop in Memphis.

The event runs Jan. 27 to 31 at the Peabody Hotel, home of the world-famous mallard ducks.

The Savannah holly has a natural pyramidal growth habit that is loose and open. It can be used as a screen or a single specimen. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
January 28, 2013 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Landscape Architecture

January and February are good times to see where landscapes need evergreen color to break out of the drab grays and browns of winter. When you find a spot that needs a pick-me-up, Savannah holly is a superb evergreen plant to grow in our Mississippi gardens and landscapes.

It has a natural pyramidal growth habit that is loose and open. This holly is versatile in the landscape and can be used for screening or strategically placed as single specimens.

More Mississippi couples are opting for non-traditional wedding venues, such as Lazy Acres Plantation in Chunky, that offer one-of-a-kind experiences. (Photo courtesy of Freida DaVault)
January 25, 2013 - Filed Under: Community, Family

JACKSON -- With a wide range of venue types, Mississippi couples can tie the knot in the setting of their dreams.

Beth Bell, child and family development area agent with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service in Tallahatchie County, said couples are choosing less traditional venues for many different reasons. Some couples anticipate more guests than can be accommodated at a small church or have demanding schedules that spare no time to plan a wedding. Other couples simply want a one-of-a-kind experience.

January 25, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Livestock, Forestry, Catfish

VERONA – Mississippi State University’s North Mississippi Research and Extension Center will host its annual Producer Advisory Council meeting Feb. 21 at the Magnolia Conference Center in Verona.

This yearly meeting allows growers, producers, ranchers and other agricultural clients to meet with scientists and specialists from MSU’s Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station to share concerns, ask questions and provide feedback about research and Extension programs.

Fei Yu
January 25, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Biofuels

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant is funding research at Mississippi State University that will help develop a process to create a clean, renewable energy source.

Researchers at MSU and Ohio State University received $6.5 million to work together on the project. They plan to develop a process to convert methane gases produced from leftover plant materials, or biomass, into cost competitive liquid fuels that more closely resemble diesel and gasoline.

January 24, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Environment

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Ronnie Crawford’s 300-acre pasture and forage operation in Prentiss County is the kind of conservation success a Mississippi State University initiative is trying to encourage across the state.

Daniel Peterson
January 24, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Cotton, Biotechnology

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A Mississippi State University genetic researcher recently won a national award for his collaboration with a team of scientists to map a cotton genome.

Daniel Peterson, director of MSU’s Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology and scientist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, received the 2012 Cotton Biotechnology Award from the National Cotton Council of America and Cotton Incorporated.

January 24, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Commercial Horticulture, Fruit

VERONA – The growing interest in fruit and vegetable farming in north Mississippi is reflected in the expanded agenda for an upcoming growers’ meeting at the Lee County Agri-Center.

Two full days of seminars and activities are planned for the third annual North Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Trade Show Feb. 14 and 15 in the Magnolia Building at the agri-center in Verona.

January 24, 2013 - Filed Under: Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Upcoming Mississippi State University workshops can help landowners or managers interested in attracting gamebirds learn how to encourage quail and turkey populations on their land.

The Gamebird Workshop: Managing Quail and Turkey in Mississippi is offered through the MSU Extension Service, MSU College of Forest Resources and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. It will be held twice at different locations.

This late-1950s photograph contains proof that Patricia Drackett has a lifelong love of playing in the dirt with worms, nature's original gardeners. Today, Drackett serves as the director of Mississippi State University's Crosby Arboretum near Picayune. (Submitted photo)
January 24, 2013 - Filed Under: Community, Lawn and Garden, About Extension

PICAYUNE -- Patricia Drackett has a life-long love of playing in the dirt with worms, nature’s original gardeners, and she has the picture to prove it.

The photo of a little girl covered in dirt and holding a long earthworm is old and faded, but it remains one of Drackett’s most treasured possessions, especially after it survived Hurricane Katrina. She said her love for plants started with pulling weeds in her grandmother’s garden.

“People in plant-related fields often look back to their childhood for the origins of their career path,” she said.

January 18, 2013 - Filed Under: Family, Family Dynamics

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The best way to avoid an infamous wedding disaster is to have a supervisor who is able to anticipate factors and think fast when the unexpected occurs.

Karen Benson, an area family and child development agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, has been on both sides of wedding challenges. After directing several weddings for other couples, she gained planning experience last fall as the mother of the bride.

January 18, 2013 - Filed Under: Technology

Technology has integrated itself so far into our daily lives that it is even making its way down the aisles at weddings. The concept may be a little difficult to embrace, but there are some aspects that may appeal even to traditionalists like me.

If family members insist on inviting the black sheep or other unwanted guests, couples can invite them to Skype into the wedding ceremony. Skype also can solve transportation challenges. I’ve heard of a bridesmaid who couldn’t make it to the wedding so Skype enabled a groomsman to carry her down the aisle on an iPad.

The strap-like flowers of loropetalum are reminiscent of witch hazel flowers. They bloom in early spring and sporadically through the rest of the summer. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
January 18, 2013 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Much of the state got a dose of winter weather last week. Seeing pictures of gardens and landscapes farther north covered in a blanket of snow made me thankful for living on the coast. Having lived in colder climates, I had enough of snow before coming to Mississippi.

January 17, 2013 - Filed Under: Family, Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE – While every bride wants a special wedding, having an event that breaks the bank is the wrong way to start married life.

According to, the average cost of a wedding in Mississippi is under $24,000. In Washington County, weddings costs range from $16,724 to $27,874; in Madison County, couples typically spend between $19,367 and $32,279; and in Jackson County, that cost is between $17,025 and $28,675.

January 17, 2013 - Filed Under: Family

JACKSON -- Wedding cakes have long been the centerpiece of the reception, but large multi-layered cakes are being replaced by new trends.

Couples are choosing smaller cakes or no cakes at all and instead offering several different desserts or individual dessert servings.

January 17, 2013 - Filed Under: Family, Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Personal touches in a wedding can take the ceremony from textbook to storybook, and they may even save the new couple some money.

“Sometimes the sentimental things are less expensive than the newest and most fashionable things, and they certainly make the wedding memorable and personal,” said Bobbie Shaffett, family resource management specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Mississippi-based designer Loren James, creator of the bridal fashion company Mamie+James, makes custom-ordered, classically styled dresses for brides and bridesmaids. These come in a wide range of colors and fabrics, such as the gown with Bonne Chance bodice and No.4 skirt this model is wearing. (Photo courtesy of Larissa Erin Greer)
January 17, 2013 - Filed Under: Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Bridal fashions are breaking free of the decade-long fascination with strapless gowns and offering a new take on classic, romantic dresses.

A photo booth at the wedding reception gives newlyweds a chance to take informal pictures that complement their formal portraits and capture the lighthearted side of their relationship. (Submitted Photo)
January 17, 2013 - Filed Under: Technology, Family

By Kaitlyn Byrne
MSU Ag Communications

click to enlarge

MISSISSIPPI STATE — Technology offers ways to improve wedding experiences for guests and connect friends and family who could not attend.

Some couples choose to broadcast weddings via Skype or other live streaming services to loved ones who are not able to be at the wedding because of distance or illness.

January 15, 2013 - Filed Under: Rural Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi high school juniors considering medical careers have the opportunity to take part in an intense and revealing summer program at Mississippi State University.

The five-week Rural Medical Scholars summer program at MSU aims to identify the state’s future primary-care doctors and help them become members of the medical school class of 2022.

January 15, 2013 - Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests, Insects-Forage Pests, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Insects, Insects-Pests

RAYMOND – Producers and consultants can register now to hear agricultural specialists address the management of a wide variety of pests during a daylong workshop on Feb. 12.

The annual pest management workshop will take place at Mississippi State University’s Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center auditorium in Raymond. Registration is $10 and begins at 8:30 a.m. The program begins at 9 a.m., and sessions will conclude by 4:30 p.m.