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News From 2023

These poinsettias have white or pink bracts.
December 4, 2023 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Poinsettias are classic holiday plants, known for their vibrant red and snowy white hues. You may not know that there are also many colorful versions of this popular plant that can add a unique and festive touch to your holiday decor. I love the many different colors that range from pink and coral to yellow and marbled. Today, poinsettias can be found in a variety of shades to suit your preferences.

Tiny, grassy plants.
November 30, 2023 - Filed Under: Wheat

Extreme drought from July onward is expected to significantly reduce the state’s winter wheat crop that is typically small compared to the primary summer crops, but recent rain may help what was planted.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that, as of Nov. 26, 82% of the state’s wheat had been planted, 71% emerged, and only 50% was in good or excellent condition.

A man looks on as a child controls a remote for a drone.
November 29, 2023 - Filed Under: 4-H, STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Youth Projects

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service Center for 4-H Youth Development recently received a grant that will help close the digital divide in the state. The one-year, $53,000 grant from the National 4-H Council and Verizon will help implement the 4-H Tech Changemakers program. The program enlists 4-H members to teach digital skills that can provide more opportunities, including better jobs, to adults in their communities.

Children stand and sit around life-size, bright-yellow letters that spell out “share.”
November 29, 2023 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Health, AIM for CHangE

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service recently received a second cycle of funding for a project that has worked to combat obesity by helping people eat healthier and participate in physical activity. The AIM for CHangE program was awarded a five-year, $4.4 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help continue efforts to combat obesity in 10 target counties.

A man adjusts a valve on a water pipe.
November 29, 2023 - Filed Under: Water, Rural Water Association, Water Quality

Although few consider what makes it possible to turn on the tap at home and get abundant, clean water, there is an entire critical infrastructure operating smoothly to make that happen.

A huge, pink flower has a dark center.
November 27, 2023 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Reflecting back on Thanksgiving, I feel thankful for the opportunity to grow plants that share their large, beautiful flowers with me. I think plants with big flowers have a bold presence that adds interest and value to any landscape. While they may have a shorter flowering period compared to those with small flowers, do not underestimate the impact they can have.

Tiny purple flowers bloom on golden foliage.
November 19, 2023 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

During a recent visit to the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs, I stumbled upon two striking plants that were in full bloom and showing out. While admiring their beauty, I noticed that bees were equally drawn to these plants. What caught my eye was the Caryopteris plants.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith stands next to a display case in a library.
November 17, 2023 - Filed Under: 4-H

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, a native and resident of Brookhaven, observes the Lincoln County 4-H display that is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” exhibition at the Lincoln County Library. 

Christmas trees of various sizes stand at Worthey Tree Farm in Amory, Mississippi.
November 15, 2023 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Christmas Trees

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Michael May expects to see tree growth impacted for at least the next three years on his Chunky, Miss., Christmas tree farm after this year’s severe to exceptional drought conditions that spanned most of the state.

Five purple flowers bloom in a cluster.
November 13, 2023 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Fall is a great time to start planning for the upcoming spring season. If you’re thinking about making some changes to your landscape, have you considered bringing in a new color? Purple is a regal, attention-grabbing color that can add a touch of sophistication and elegance to your garden or landscape.

November 10, 2023 - Filed Under: Community, Economic Development, Rural Development

RAYMOND, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University Extension Service specialist was recently recognized for her work with the rural tourism industry. Rachael Carter, tourism specialist with the MSU Extension Center for Government and Community Development, or CGCD, received the Agnes Zaiontz Rural Tourism Leadership Award from the Alabama-Mississippi-Tennessee Rural Tourism Conference committee.

Close-up of a tiny brown insect on human skin.
November 9, 2023 - Filed Under: Insects-Human Pests

When bedbug outbreaks make headlines, many travelers feel itches that may not exist because of the psychological trauma these pests inflict. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long classified bedbugs as a public health pest. These tiny parasites feed on the blood of humans and animals. Adult bedbugs are reddish-brown, have six legs and two antennae and are about the size of Abraham Lincoln’s engraved head on a penny.

A large room full of people watching a presentation.
November 8, 2023 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Cotton, Rice, Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Online preregistration for Mississippi’s premier row crop course is open.

Hosted by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the 2023 Row Crop Short course will be held on Dec. 4-6 at the Mill Conference Center in Starkville.

Flowers made up of tiny blooms are red, orange, yellow and pink.
November 5, 2023 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

A dreary November landscape can get a gardener dreaming of spring, and if you’re like me, you’re already thinking about plants that will add a splash of color to the landscape next year.

A hand holds five pecans.
November 3, 2023 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Nuts

A late freeze, high summertime temperatures and a devastating drought mean a poor pecan crop for Mississippi in 2023.
Eric Stafne, fruit and nut specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said weather stacked the odds against a good crop this year.

A large volume of sweet potatoes in a container.
October 31, 2023 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Sweet Potatoes

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most of Mississippi’s sweet potatoes are grown far northeast of the state’s worst drought conditions, but that did not keep excessive heat and dryness from factoring in this year’s crop.

Lorin Harvey, sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said dry weather affected production more than most growers anticipated. Because of the drought, irrigated acres performed better than potatoes on dryland.

An Ideal cos romaine lettuce plant has green leaves.
October 29, 2023 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I love cool-season gardening. It’s a fantastic way to keep enjoying fresh and healthy produce even as the temperatures begin to drop, and days get shorter. The cooler months are perfect for growing several crops such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kale, lettuce and spinach.

Different plants decorate the area beside a set of stairs.
October 24, 2023 - Filed Under: Landscape Architecture

One man’s landscape architectural legacy at Mississippi State University has allowed generations of home and professional gardeners to learn from industry-leading professionals about how to beautify their own spaces. This year marked the 68th Edward C. Martin Landscape Symposium hosted by MSU Extension Service, the MSU Department of Landscape Architecture and Garden Clubs of Mississippi Inc. Started in 1957, the event is named for Martin, who helped establish the MSU Department of Landscape Architecture and served 45 years at MSU.

October 24, 2023 - Filed Under: Community, City and County Government, Economic Development

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Members of the inaugural Excellence in Tourism Leadership Program graduated from the program and received their certificates on Oct. 5. The two-year program helps tourism professionals learn how to market and increase tourism while gaining insight into leadership, advocacy, public policy and administration.

A night view of a downtown street in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, lined with shops and parked cars.
October 23, 2023 - Filed Under: Community, Economic Development

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Ocean Springs. Natchez. Vicksburg. These Mississippi cities are just a few of the state’s gems drawing praise from various publications for their tourist-friendly atmosphere. WorldAtlas highlighted these three cities along with Tupelo, Oxford, Woodville and Bay St. Louis for their “warm and inviting” main streets that offer “endless activities.” Forbes recommended the entire state of Mississippi as a travel destination, noting its “cutting-edge culinary scene to buzzing small towns to incredible natural beauty.” None of this is a surprise to Rachael Carter, tourism specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. She knows how much thought and planning it takes to execute successful tourism programs. Carter and her colleagues in the Extension Center for Government and Community Development spend countless hours working with and providing support services to tourism professionals throughout the state.

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