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Feature Story

A man stands outside a structure.
September 29, 2022 - Filed Under: Termites

The word “termite” strikes fear in the hearts of homeowners because this insect is the most economically damaging pest in Mississippi, is very common and requires constant vigilance. Blake Layton, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the cost of termites is so large that it is hard to pin down.

September 27, 2022 - Filed Under: 4-H, Junior Master Wellness Volunteer

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A Mississippi 4-H health and wellness program is expanding after receiving a $100,000 grant from a large health care and insurance company.

UnitedHealthCare awarded the grant to the Mississippi State University Extension Service to expand the Junior Master Wellness Volunteer program -- or JrMWV. This program equips young people with health messages that help improve health literacy and lead to choices and lifestyle changes for a healthier Mississippi.

September 20, 2022 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Health, Rural Health

A Mississippi State University Extension Service specialist was recently reelected to the National Board of Public Health Examiners board of directors. Initially elected in 2020, David Buys, Extension health specialist and associate professor in the MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, will now serve a second two-year term.

September 14, 2022 - Filed Under: Soils, Mississippi Land Resource Areas, Healthy Soils and Water, Healthy Water Practices

COMO, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service will cohost a collaborative field day in Panola County Sept. 29 to share information about cover crops and reduced-till farming, soil and water health, and pasture soil and water management.

The Mississippi Land Stewardship field day runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and begins at Buckeye Farms at 3251 Tom Floyd Road in Como. Attendees will then travel to two different fields, one row crop and one pasture. The field day will conclude at Home Place Pastures. A complimentary lunch is included for participants.

A man kneels beside a harvested buck.
September 14, 2022 - Filed Under: Chronic Wasting Disease, White-Tailed Deer

Deer hunters are urgently needed to participate in the battle to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease among the state’s prized white-tailed deer population. Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is a 100% fatal, transmissible, neurogenerative disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that deer infected with this disease should not be eaten. One challenge of detecting the disease is that until deer enter the last stages of CWD, they often appear completely healthy.

September 1, 2022 - Filed Under: About Extension, County Extension Offices, Extension Administration, Research and Extension Center Heads, Extension Administrative Council, Research and Extension Centers

Angus Catchot assumed the role of interim head of the Mississippi State University Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center Sept. 1. Catchot, who is currently the associate director of operations for the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, will provide temporary leadership for the center’s faculty and staff, as well as the region’s branch experiment stations.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

A white larva can be seen inside a peeled back grass stem.
July 27, 2022 - Filed Under: Forages, Insects-Forage Pests

Following last year’s significant fall armyworm outbreak, hay producers should be careful not to overlook another important pest -- the Bermudagrass stem maggot -- while watching for armyworms. While farm armyworms attack hay fields, home lawns, golf courses and more, the non-native Bermudagrass stem maggot is primarily a pest of hay fields.

Two men standing in front of a pickup truck parked in a rice field.
July 27, 2022 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Rice

A producer with 40 years’ experience growing high-quality rice using environmentally sustainable practices has been named Mississippi’s 2022 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. Mike Wagner grows top-quality rice while preserving the soil and environment on his Two Brooks Rice farm in Tallahatchie and Leflore counties. He also grows non-genetically modified soybeans.

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