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News From 2022

September 1, 2022 - Filed Under: Extension Administration

Gary Jackson, who has served as director of the MSU Extension Service since 2011, has been selected to fill a new leadership position focused on university outreach and engagement activities.

Jackson will fill the newly created position of associate vice president for outreach and engagement, effective Sept. 1. Steve Martin, currently associate director for county operations, will serve as interim Extension director.

A man uses small tools to work on a tree.
September 1, 2022 - Filed Under: Landscape Plants and Trees Diseases, Forest Pests

A few sassafras trees across Mississippi have started to show signs of dieback, and Mississippi State University is asking for help in identifying affected trees. The trees are suspected of having laurel wilt, a disease caused by a fungus that has already proven deadly to the state’s redbay trees. The fungus is carried by the redbay ambrosia beetle, an invasive species native to Asia.

A white flower blooms on top of a cotton plant setting bolls.
August 31, 2022 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Cotton

Most cotton in Mississippi got off to an excellent start in May, received the heat needed in June and July, and now is ready for sunny skies so growers can harvest a potentially above-average crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 56% of the crop is in good or excellent shape, with another 38% estimated at fair. As of Aug. 28, bolls were opening on an estimated 25% of the crop.

One hummingbird hovers near a red hanging feeder while a second perches on it.
August 29, 2022 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Over the weekend, we had a most welcome visitor return to my home garden and landscape after an absence of several months. Our first hummingbird of the fall season arrived, and this was an indicator of lots of activity in the next few weeks. I get excited to see the first fall hummingbirds because it means they’re going to start gathering all along the Gulf Coast in preparation for their fall migration.

Flooded row crop field
August 25, 2022 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Cotton, Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Portions of central Mississippi and the lower Mississippi Delta saw more than 1 foot of rain between Aug. 21 and 25, and flash flooding will affect some agricultural commodities in these areas.

Torrential downpours dropped 8-13 inches of rain in much of Leake, Neshoba, Scott, Kemper, Hinds and Newton counties, as well as parts of surrounding counties, prompting road closures and evacuations.

Flooded row crop field
August 25, 2022 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farm Safety, Safety and Regulations, Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Late summer and early fall are when many growers begin thinking about when to make their last cut of hay each year, but safety should always be the top priority of anyone operating a baler, whether it is May or October.

Regular equipment maintenance and inspections are the best ways to prevent hay baler fires, but disaster can sometimes happen regardless of good upkeep and storage practices.

A cluster of flowers has white edges and red centers.
August 22, 2022 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Even though we’re still in a very warm August, now is the time to start thinking about fall color. It can be a garden challenge trying to maintain a variety of color in the coming cool-season landscape. In my opinion, dianthus is one good choice to help keep your garden interesting, and it is an easy choice for that extra splash of cool-season color.

A man displays a frame from a honeybee hive box.
August 22, 2022 - Filed Under: Research and Extension Centers, Beekeeping, Apiculture: Honey Bee Health

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Delta Agricultural Weather Center stations typically record historical weather data and help growers make production decisions, but now they are also key components of a new honeybee study at Mississippi State University.

Esmaeil Amiri, an assistant professor of apiculture with the MSU Extension Service and researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, is using the facilities and datasets provided by the weather center for his research team’s study on the effect of weather on honeybee health.

Creek with trees on the left providing shade and a steep bank on the right.
August 17, 2022 - Filed Under: Healthy Soils and Water, Natural Resources, Pond and Lake Management, Pond and Lake Water Quality, Pond and Lake Topics, Pond and Lake Management Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The presence of a water source on private land can make a property much more desirable for several reasons. Whether it’s a lake, pond, stream or river, a water source provides opportunities for recreation, development, agricultural production, and wildlife and fisheries habitat.

A key aspect of maintaining the value of the water resource is ensuring that it is protected and used wisely.

A man stands on crutches in silhouette against a background of farm equipment.
August 16, 2022 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Health, The PROMISE Initiative, Prescription Opioid Misuse, Mental Health First Aid, Farm Stress, Rural Health

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The rollout of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers more hope to individuals dealing with mental-health-related distress. That population includes farmers and farm workers, who are among those most at risk for suicide and mental health distress.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, male agricultural workers have the fourth highest suicide rate among men in all industries. 

Rice in a field
August 15, 2022 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Grains, Rice

Mississippi rice producers and crop specialists are optimistic about the state’s 2022 harvest despite a high population of rice stink bugs that were difficult to treat.

A butterfly rests on a cluster of white blooms.
August 15, 2022 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

As the time nears for summer to turn to fall and temperatures drop, I get excited thinking about the changes this will bring to the landscape. Depending on where you garden in Mississippi, September, October and November can be filled with some of the brightest colors of the year.

Ruffled yellow flowers bloom on a branch.
August 8, 2022 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

After last week’s discussion of growing sunflowers in the fall season, I was inspired to consider what is involved in growing yellow flowers all year in most Mississippi gardens and landscapes. Obviously, different plants need to be selected for the different seasons, so I’ve put together a list of yellow flowers that you can enjoy through the year.

Closeup of gummy vitamins in a child’s hand
August 3, 2022 - Filed Under: Family, Healthy Homes Initiative, Health, The PROMISE Initiative, Prescription Opioid Misuse

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Over-the-counter medications and supplements seem safer than prescription drugs, but a dramatic rise in pediatric melatonin overdoses serves as a warning that these products can be dangerous and must be stored safely.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 530% increase in melatonin overdose in children from 2012 to 2020. Most of these ingestions were unintentional and occurred among children 5 or younger in their homes.

A field is covered with blooming sunflowers.
August 2, 2022 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I think sunflowers fall into the category of sunny, summer royalty. One of the most striking sunflower sights I have ever seen was while driving through North and South Dakota on the way to Sturgis and Bike Week. There were miles and miles -- acres and acres -- of yellow sunflowers blooming for as far as the eye could see.

Soybeans in a field
August 1, 2022 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The condition of Mississippi’s soybean crop in early August literally depends on where you stand.

“We have some really good-looking irrigated soybeans that were planted in the optimum planting window and have made it to this point of the season with very few issues, other than extreme heat,” said Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We even have some nonirrigated soybeans that could fall into that same description after catching several timely rains.

A brown caterpillar rests on a blade of grass.
August 1, 2022 - Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests

Mississippi pastures, hay fields and lawns are threatened annually by fall armyworms, and close observation and quick action are the only ways to successfully battle the pests again this year. Keith Whitehead works in Franklin County with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. He said no one knows each year how bad the fall armyworm problem will be or when the insects will show up.

A man stands in a field with sweet potatoes in his hand.
August 1, 2022 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

The state’s sweet potato growers will have a wealth of information available to them in a half-day event Aug. 25 in Pontotoc. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station are hosting the 2022 Sweet Potato Field Day at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station. There is no cost to attend. Registration begins at 8 a.m., with the station tour starting at 8:30.

August 1, 2022 - Filed Under: Leadership, Master Gardener, Lawn and Garden

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Dates for the fall 2022 session of the Master Gardener course have been set.

Registration for the asynchronous online seminars will be open from August 15 to September 12. The sessions will be available from October 3 to December 2. Once registration opens, it can be accessed at http://msuext.ms/mg.

Vial of monkeypox vaccine ready to be injected
July 27, 2022 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Diseases, Health

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Though monkeypox is not as easily spread as COVID-19, it has become a public health concern as documented case counts approach 4,000 nationwide.

The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder. Infections in this outbreak are from the West African type, which has an infection fatality rate of 1% and is considered the milder of the two types of the virus.

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