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Feature Story

A closeup of a variable oakleaf caterpillar.
July 12, 2024 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Forestry

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The consequences of last year’s significant drought continue to appear in trees all over Mississippi. Landowners in Central Mississippi have recently reported damage from variable oakleaf caterpillars and hypoxylon canker, according to the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

The combination of the caterpillars and hypoxylon canker has been observed affecting trees in towns including Raymond, Flora and Pocahantas.For drought-stressed trees, the double whammy can be a serious threat, but healthy trees will be able to withstand both pests, said Brady Self, a forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

July 9, 2024 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Forestry, Forest Management, Forest Pests

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Forest landowners who incurred damage from last year’s drought now have more information about the federal cost shares for restoration assistance approved in April. The Emergency Forest Restoration Program, or EFRP, is open to landowners in all 82 counties with private, nonindustrial property in rural areas who have lost pine trees related to pine bark beetle infestations that stemmed from last year’s drought.

A green tomato on a bush is dusted lightly with powder.
July 3, 2024 - Filed Under: Insects Vegetable Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

Mississippi’s ideal growing season means gardens can yield a lot of produce, but this usually comes with the help of pesticides to combat insects and diseases.
It is vital that home gardeners know how much time must elapse between application of the product and when the food is harvested, a time frame known as the pre-harvest interval, or PHI.

Emerging Viruses in Cucurbits Working Group logo.
July 3, 2024 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Other Vegetables, Vegetable Diseases

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Mississippi State University Extension Service plant pathologist Rebecca Melanson was recently recognized for her work to further the development and implementation of integrated pest management in the cucurbit industry. The Emerging Viruses in Cucurbits Working Group, or EVCWG, received the 2024 Friends of IPM Pulling Together Award. Melanson and Bill Wintermantel, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, co-chair the group that was established in 2022.

July 2, 2024 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Crop Growth Stages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Growers interested in the latest updates on row crop research at Mississippi State University are invited to an agronomic field day Aug. 6.

Hosted by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the field day will be held at the head house at the MAFES R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center.

The field day will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is no cost to attend, and the event includes a catered lunch.

A child paints a picture.
June 27, 2024 - Filed Under: Soils, Healthy Soils, Youth Gardening

Young people had the unique opportunity to learn interesting things about the soil, plants that grow in it and animals that feed on top of it at a recent field day.

June 27, 2024 - Filed Under: Health, AIM for CHangE

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- An award-winning program within the Mississippi State University Extension Service will welcome a new leader July 1.

Screenshot of David Gilmer.
June 26, 2024 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming, Livestock, Health, The PROMISE Initiative

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Longtime dairy farmers David and Will Gilmer made the tough decision six years ago to get out of the dairy cattle business. The father-and-son team decided to transition their farm to beef cattle. However, the beef cattle business comes with its own stressful challenges.

An older man drinks water in the kitchen.
June 25, 2024 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Health

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Heat-related illness is a concern for anyone as summer temperatures rise, but older adults are at greater risk of being negatively impacted. Extreme heat -- when temperatures rise above 90 degrees and combine with high humidity for two or more days -- is even more dangerous and can be deadly.

White-tailed deer in a park.
June 21, 2024 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- An urban wildlife specialist and a group of trained volunteers with the Mississippi State University Extension Service have been tracking wildlife in the Jackson metro area for three years to better understand how gentrification impacts urban wildlife populations.

Their work is part of an unprecedented nationwide study led by Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute and recently published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” or PNAS.

June 18, 2024 - Filed Under: Pesticide Applicator Certification, Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Private pesticide applicators will have new training requirements beginning July 1. The Mississippi Pesticide Safety Education Program has updated its online and face-to-face certification programs to meet this demand.

The new mandated training and competency requirements from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are for applicators who use restricted use pesticides on farmland and need to renew or obtain certification.

Green leaves are scattered with black spots.
June 18, 2024 - Filed Under: Fruit and Nut Diseases

Blueberry leaf rust has been identified on blueberries in Perry County, and everyone in the state with blueberries is cautioned to be on the lookout for this disease.
Alan Henn, plant pathologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said leaf rust is not a common disease of blueberries in Mississippi, but it has been identified occasionally in several Mississippi counties during the last 10 years.

A veterinarian loads a syringe with medication for an animal.
June 18, 2024 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Health, The PROMISE Initiative

Dr. Kim Klunk expected a certain level of stress when she began practicing veterinary medicine two years ago near her hometown of Magnolia, Mississippi. “It’s one of those things that you hear other people talk about when you’re in vet school, but you don’t realize the complexity of all of it until you experience it yourself,” said Klunk, who works with her mother Dr. Rachel Bateman at her mixed-animal clinic in McComb. It’s a common realization for many veterinarians who deal daily with financial concerns, work-life balance, compassion fatigue and client relationships among other stressful challenges of the profession.

A woman stands outside in front of a playset.
June 14, 2024 - Filed Under: Nurturing Homes Initiative, Mississippi Child Care Resource and Referral

Carmen Grubbs Collins, a well-respected businesswoman in Simpson County who recently obtained her childcare license, is one of many Mississippians who are improving the quality of childcare they offer working parents. Receiving licensure was a significant milestone for Collins, and one she achieved with the support of the Nurturing Homes Initiative, or NHI, program. The NHI program is offered through the Mississippi State University Extension Service and funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Two men are photographed outdoors.
June 11, 2024 - Filed Under: Catfish, Farm Stress

While every job has stress points, few people go to work knowing they could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in any given day. That is a reality for many in the agricultural sector, and mental health struggles are a frequent result.

Items for a disaster kit are displayed on a coffee table.
June 7, 2024 - Filed Under: Community, Disaster Preparedness, Family

RAYMOND, Miss. -- As hurricane season begins, older adults should be sure their disaster plan is up to date and reflects their current situation.

David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said everyone needs to review their disaster plan periodically, but older adults will want to make sure their plan reflects any new specific needs or special circumstances they may have.

Dozens of people are scattered across a grassy field marked into squares.
June 6, 2024 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

rofessionals involved in the turfgrass industry can register now for a September field day that will showcase Mississippi State University turfgrass research and Extension expertise. The 2024 Turfgrass Research Field Day will be Sept. 19 from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Facility in Starkville.

Boxes of soil are arranged in rows.
June 5, 2024 - Filed Under: Soils

Young people with an interest in soil science are encouraged to sign up now for a June 21 event that explores many aspects of this topic. Mississippi State University will host its first-ever Youth Soil Science Field Day at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona. The half-day event is designed for students ages 8-12.

Five women seated around a table view an assortment of food items and food guideline workbooks as a man stands nearby and looks on.
June 5, 2024 - Filed Under: Community, Food and Health, AIM for CHangE, Nutrition

JACKSON, Miss. -- Food pantry clients may soon find healthier options more often thanks to new food service guidelines.

Thirty-five participants representing 10 food pantries across the state recently received hands-on experience after being trained in the Supporting Wellness at Pantries, or SWAP, guidelines. The collaborative training by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Food Network took place in Jackson.

A screenshot of Sam McLemore
June 5, 2024 - Filed Under: Mental Health First Aid, Farm Stress

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Sam McLemore had exceptional strawberry harvests in 2020 and 2021, but he still couldn’t grow enough produce to meet increased local demand, so he took out a bank loan for a new tractor and began expanding his farm.

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