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News From 2013

Mallory Ritter, a West Hancock Elementary School second-grader, takes a closer look at an ant hill at Mississippi State University's Crosby Arboretum in Picayune during Bugfest on Sept. 27. Experts and volunteers introduced children and adults to the correct methods for insect collection during the two-day event. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
October 1, 2013 - Filed Under: Environment, Insects

PICAYUNE – “Endangered,” “nocturnal” and “habitat” might not be words that appear on every second-grader’s vocabulary test. But West Hancock Elementary School teacher Teri Borne said insects help her teach everything from science to language arts.

That is why Borne, an avid insect collector and nature lover, takes her class to Bugfest at Mississippi State University’s Crosby Arboretum every year.

Fall-blooming flowers such as these Gomphrena Fireworks will be on display throughout the Fall Flower and Garden Fest Oct. 18-19 at Mississippi State University's Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
September 30, 2013 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

One of the best horticulture field days in the Southeast has three extra benefits: It’s free, it’s in Mississippi and it’s scheduled just around the corner.

Clear your calendars now for the Fall Flower and Garden Fest at Mississippi State University’s Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs. The two-day festival on Oct. 18-19 will be fun for the entire family and will be an interesting and educational experience, whether you’re a garden novice or Master Gardener.

Benny Graves, executive director of the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council and Matthew Knight, a grower in Webster County, inspect harvested sweet potatoes on Sept. 4, 2013. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
September 27, 2013 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In spite of recent rains, the state’s sweet potato growers have a lot to be excited about this harvest season.

“Growers set the majority of the crop back in late May and June under ideal conditions,” said Stephen Meyers, sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We had good root set, which means the number of roots per plant has been good.”

September 25, 2013 - Filed Under: Landscape Architecture

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- People eager to learn about new plants and how to deal with challenging conditions can hear from experts at Mississippi State University’s annual landscape design event Oct. 16.

The 58th Edward C. Martin Jr. Landscape Design Symposium features three speakers, who will address practical topics:

September 25, 2013 - Filed Under: Community, Flower Gardens

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi State University will host two major horticultural activities for the public on Oct. 4.

Scott Kitayama, president of Greenleaf Wholesale Florist, will explain where retail flowers come from during a 3 p.m. seminar in the greenhouse classroom behind Dorman Hall. Then at 4 p.m., he will offer his vision for the future of the floral industry.

September 25, 2013 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Rural Development, Natural Resources

BELZONI -- Landowners who want to branch out and earn extra income can attend a Natural Resource Enterprises Business Workshop on Oct.16.

Hosted by Mississippi State University, the workshop offers attendees the opportunity to learn different ways to make more money from their land. Topics include recreational businesses, marketing, cost-share programs, liability reduction and wildlife management.

Clyde Brown, an agricultural technician with Mississippi State University's Forest and Wildlife Research Center, stands on a fire lane to monitor a prescribed fire on a cut-over in Oktibbeha County. After the site was clear cut and an aerial application of herbicide was applied, it was burned and replanted in pines. (Photo by MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center)
September 25, 2013 - Filed Under: Environment, Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Landowners interested in maximizing the value of their investment need to plan for proper site preparation when replanting trees after harvesting timber.

John Kushla, a forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and MSU’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center, said this preparation involves manipulating the site to increase the survival and growth of seedlings. Proper site preparation also makes tree planting or seeding more efficient.

September 24, 2013 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

CRYSTAL SPRINGS – Garden and landscape enthusiasts will flock to the Fall Flower and Garden Fest on Oct. 18 and 19 at the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs for plant and health recommendations.

Fans celebrated a win and 4-H Youth Development Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, at Mississippi State University’s football game against Troy University. From left are Greg Bohach, vice president for the MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Gary Jackson, director of the MSU Extension Service; MSU President Mark Keenum; Rep. Preston Sullivan with grandsons Lake and Tyler; State 4-H President Mary Kate Gaines of Coldwater; Sen. Billy Hudson and his wife, Barbara; and Paula Threadgill, Exten
September 24, 2013 - Filed Under: 4-H
The annual Nestle Purina Human-Animal Bond week at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine includes an art contest open to students in first through fifth grades. Children should submit an original print, drawing or painting by Oct. 11 that depicts the theme "Arctic Adventure." (Submitted Photo)
September 24, 2013 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Community, Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine invites children to use their creative talents in an art contest that celebrates the connection between humans and animals.

As part of the Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series, sponsored by Nestle Purina, the veterinary college encourages children in first through fifth grades to submit an original print, drawing or painting that fits within the theme “Arctic Adventure.” The artwork should be no larger than 11 inches by 14 inches.

September 24, 2013 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As hunters gear up for the Oct. 1 opening day of the state’s white-tailed deer archery season, scientists at Mississippi State University are announcing a new tool to help manage Mississippi’s most popular game animal.

MSU’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center recently launched the MSU Deer Lab website, The site is based on four decades of research conducted by researchers in the university’s deer ecology and management laboratory.

Grow herbs such as these colorful Dark Opal and Purple Osmin basil plants in a container so you can have fresh seasonings and decorations for dishes all winter long. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
September 23, 2013 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

With fall officially here, many gardeners hooked on cooking with herbs may start to worry about how they’re going to cook once it’s too cold to grow herbs outside.

Although many gardeners still have herbs growing strong, others may dread reaching for the little red and white cans in the cupboard once it’s too late to go outside and snip something fresh from the garden. If that’s your worry, you can make some preparations now to keep you enjoying those fresh summer herbs during Mississippi’s winter months.

September 20, 2013 - Filed Under: About Extension

STONEVILLE -- Mississippi State University’s largest agricultural research center will get a new leader Nov. 16.

Jeff Johnson, whose research interests include water policy, farm management and natural resources management, will be the head of the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville.

Scott Willard
September 20, 2013 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University professor and administrator is the new associate dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Scott Willard, head of the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, will assume the position of associate dean on Oct. 1.

Willard has been at MSU since 1999, first as a professor of reproductive and environmental physiology in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences before taking the helm in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2007.

Wes Lowe, Mississippi State University research team member, demonstrated the undercutter prototype during the Aug. 22 sweet potato field day at MSU's Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station. The undercutter is built from off-the-shelf components and is the focus of research aimed at reducing skinning injury to sweet potatoes and speeding up harvest. (Photo courtesy of MSU Ag and Bio Engineering/Jason Ward)
September 20, 2013 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes, Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A machine designed by a group of Mississippi State University researchers could help sweet potato farmers reduce skinning injury to potatoes and speed up harvest.

The undercutter prototype, made from off-the-shelf components, shows early potential to help lower harvest and post-harvest losses caused by skinning, said Jason Ward, assistant Extension professor in MSU’s Agriculture and Biological Engineering Department. Problems stemming from skin abrasions that happen during digging and handling account for 20 to 25 percent of storage losses, he said.

September 20, 2013 - Filed Under: Swine

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi swine producers are discovering the only constant in their industry is change.

John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a variety of challenges have kept the state’s swine producers adjusting their strategies to avoid financial losses in recent decades. Just when producers adjust to overcome one hurdle, another one develops to drive prices down and the cost of production up.

September 19, 2013 - Filed Under: 4-H

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Since the 4-H goal of making the best better applies not only to young people but also to the volunteer leaders who oversee local clubs, ongoing training is key to staying prepared.

A group of 23 volunteer leaders from Mississippi will join about 200 others at the annual Southern 4-H Volunteer Conference at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Ga. This year’s theme, “4-H: Framing our Future, Building our Best,” is being coordinated by hosting states Georgia, North Carolina and Kentucky.

September 19, 2013 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The threat of inclement weather forced organizers to cancel a game-day tour of new trial gardens at Mississippi State University.

Bulldog fans had been invited to town early for the Sept. 21 football game to get ideas for their home landscapes at an open house and tour of the trial gardens and Veterans Memorial Rose Garden.

The morning event at the R. R. Foil Plant Research Center, was sponsored by the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

Scott Edwards, a private lands wildlife biologist with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, talks about how herbicides and controlled burns can benefit a pine stand on a demonstration farm near Aberdeen, Miss., on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
September 19, 2013 - Filed Under: Environment, Natural Resources, Wildlife

ABERDEEN – Landowners are learning they do not have to decide between managing for wildlife or managing for timber production.

Responding to frequently asked questions, Randall Nevins of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Monroe County organized a multicounty forest and wildlife tour on a farm just north of Aberdeen on Sept. 12.

September 17, 2013 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Anyone who teaches financial education in the classroom, community or home school setting is invited to attend a free, one-day workshop offered by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.