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Feature Story from 2013

Holstein calves are among of the tourist attractions at Ard's Dairy Farm in Lincoln County. Other agritourism opportunities on this working dairy farm include an operational milking parlor, a corn maze, a playground and a barrel train. (MSU Ag Communications File Photo/Kat Lawrence)
November 6, 2013 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Corn mazes, pumpkin patches and Christmas tree farms are becoming more popular tourist destinations across the country.

Becky Smith, assistant professor in agricultural economics with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, works with various agritourism businesses around the state. She said each endeavor takes significant planning and effort. She answers the “what’s in it for me” question with one word: revenue.

November 7, 2013 - Filed Under: Family, Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The amount of money available to a person does not change the importance of sticking to a budget during the holidays.

“People from any economic group can dig themselves into a hole during the holidays if they get carried away with emotional or irrational spending,” said Bobbie Shaffett, family resource management professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Debts created by excessive gift buying, travel, and decoration or food expenses could still be on credit card bills at this time next year.”

November 7, 2013 - Filed Under: Family, Family Dynamics

MISSISSIPPI STATE – In the rush of parties, shopping and decorating, families can enjoy traditions that bring some predictability to the craziness that often comes with the holidays.

Carla Stanford, Pontotoc County agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a tradition can be almost anything, but smaller is sometimes better.

Poinsettias at Standing Pine Nursery in Raymond get consistent water and fertilizer through a modified low-pressure, drip irrigation system in this Oct. 18 photo. The irrigation system helps the business save time and water and reduces disease pressure on plants. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
November 7, 2013 - Filed Under: Nursery Safety Videos, Irrigation

RAYMOND – Standing Pine Nursery is growing flowers – and its profit margin – by experimenting with an irrigation system designed for field crops.

The low pressure drip irrigation system helped increase the nursery’s efficiency and sustainability by reducing labor demands and water usage.

November 8, 2013 - Filed Under: Technology, Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE – New technologies are making it easier than ever to shop for that hard-to-buy-for person.

“Regardless of the shopper’s budget or the recipient’s skill level, there are many technological options available this year,” said Mariah Smith, assistant professor in the Mississippi State University Extension Service’s Center for Technology Outreach. “Some of the best ideas are the items that can support the more expensive electronics that people already have.”

November 8, 2013 - Filed Under: Family, Family Dynamics

JACKSON – Family gatherings, marathon cooking sessions and shopping trips induce waves of anxiety instead of moments of joy for some.

“Some families feel a lot of pressure to create the perfect holiday experience by buying the latest toys for the kids, traveling to visit extended family, and attending every party,” said Cassandra Kirkland, family life specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service.

November 8, 2013 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

JACKSON – During the holidays, children often focus on the gifts that await them, but now is the perfect time for parents to reinforce the importance of giving.

“This is a wonderful time of year for building appreciation and letting children experience the joy of serving others,” said Cassandra Kirkland, family life specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “There is a unique joy that comes from serving others, and that joy is what we want children to get excited about during the holidays.”

George Hopper
November 12, 2013 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station is the new chair-elect of the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors.

George M. Hopper was voted chair-elect for 2013-14 at the organization’s fall meeting. He will assume the responsibilities of chair in 2014-15.

November 13, 2013 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A sweet potato production conference organized by Mississippi State University faculty and collaborators in other states won a national award on Nov. 10 for excellence in promoting multistate research.

MSU faculty Ramon Arancibia, Raja Reddy, Steve Meyers, Mark Shankle, Juan Silva, Jason Ward and Filip To are members of the National Sweetpotato Collaborators working group that planned the annual conference of sweet potato researchers.

Frank Davis, founder and coordinator of the Insect Rearing Workshop at Mississippi State University, leads a tour of the USDA Agricultural Research Service lab Nov. 5, 2013. The 16th annual Insect Rearing Workshop featured sessions on raising insects for protein. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
November 13, 2013 - Filed Under: Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Insect-rearing enthusiasts from all over the world gathered at Mississippi State University to learn from specialists in the field at the 16th annual Insect Rearing Workshop. This year’s workshop focused on raising insects for protein to help reduce world hunger.

Frank Davis, founder and coordinator of the Insect Rearing Workshop, said 11 countries were represented at the workshop Nov. 4 through Nov. 8. And though more attendees had doctorates than in previous years, people were encouraged to attend regardless of education.

The conservation practice known as CP33 is showing significant results in increasing the bobwhite quail population of the state. (Photo by MSU University Relations/Russ Houston)
November 13, 2013 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Quail season will open in Mississippi Nov. 21 with relatively low bird populations, but new agricultural practices may provide a boost for the bob-white-whistling game fowl.

A recent Mississippi State University-led study found that implementation of an agricultural initiative known as Conservation Practice 33 - Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds or CP33 increases fall populations of bobwhite quail.

A test plot of a smooth-leaf cotton variety, right, planted next to a test plot of a hairy-leaf cotton variety, left, at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville shows the impact of tarnished plant bugs on cotton yields. (Photo courtesy of Wilks Wood)
November 14, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Insects-Crop Pests, Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE – New research shows potential for offering new strategies to limit tarnished plant bug damage in cotton, but sure options already exist.

Mississippi State University scientists and Extension specialists have compiled decades of research to create a comprehensive recommendation for dealing with tarnished plant bugs in cotton.

November 14, 2013 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Three Mississippi row crops are expected to post record yields for the 2013 growing season, and a fourth major crop may also break its previous record.

Corn is expected to average 180 bushels per acre; cotton, 1,090 pounds per acre; and rice, 7,500 pounds per acre. Hay has yielded an average of 3 tons per acre in 2013. Previous records for these crops were 165 bushels of corn per acre set in 2012; 1,024 pounds of cotton, 2004; 7,350 pounds of rice, 2007; and 2.9 tons of hay, 2005.

November 15, 2013 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

PONTOTOC -- Farmers and landowners know that wild hogs are not just nuisances; they are disease-carrying, destructive, invasive thieves that cannot be ignored.

Mississippi State University Extension Service is sponsoring a seminar in Pontotoc to educate the public on the need to manage the exploding population of wild hogs. The workshop will take place from 8:45 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Pontotoc County Extension Office, located at 402 C.J. Hardin Jr. Dr.

November 15, 2013 - Filed Under: Forages

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A special Nov. 19 seminar at a Mississippi State University greenhouse classroom will train participants in pasture and forage management for dual cattle systems.

The MSU Extension Service is hosting the free seminar to teach innovative concepts in this field. Guest speakers will be Rein van der Hoek and Martin Mena Urbina from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Nicaragua.

Darrin Dodds
November 15, 2013 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The annual Row Crop Short Course that offers three days of intensive agricultural education in December will start with a heavy focus on irrigation.

The event is free to producers who register by Nov. 27. Those who register late must pay $40 per person. Darrin Dodds, Extension cotton specialist, is coordinating the Dec. 2-4 event in the Bost Extension Center at Mississippi State University.

I-Wei Chu, with Mississippi State University's Institute for Imaging and Analytical Technologies, helps Biloxi Junior High School eighth-grader, Danaisha Cherry, and her mother, Lydia Cherry, look at some images with a scanning electron microscope during the Pathways2Possibilities career expo Nov. 13. More than 6,000 eighth-graders participated in the two-day event at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center in Biloxi. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
November 18, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community

BILOXI – More than 6,000 eighth-graders got help deciding what they want to be when they grow up during Mississippi’s first Pathways2Possibilities career expo Nov. 13 and 14.

The interactive event introduced coastal-area students to 19 different career paths, including agriculture.

Lucas Ferguson prepares a sterile saline solution for researchers in Dr. Henry Wan's influenza lab at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Ferguson, an MSU freshman, began learning laboratory basics in the faculty-student research program while he was still a senior at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. (Photo by MSU College of Veterinary Medicine/Tom Thompson)
November 18, 2013 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Lucas Ferguson is a little different from most other Mississippi State University freshmen.

Ferguson, a Batesville native, got a head start on his goal to become a medical researcher last year while still a senior at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus. Ferguson began learning basic biosafety and maintenance procedures by assisting Dr. Henry Wan’s graduate, Ph.D. and post-doctoral students with their research in the virology laboratory.

November 18, 2013 - Filed Under: Community, Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A wealth of county-level information is available in seconds through a set of profiles created by experts with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

A new app and website provide community stakeholders, business leaders and elected officials access to detailed socioeconomic statistics for each county in the state.

Mississippi State University scientists are creating a 550-acre demonstration forest in Oktibbeha County by thinning timber to different densities. This section has been thinned to create bobwhite quail habitat. (Photo courtesy of Misty Booth)
November 18, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Scientists at Mississippi State University are transforming a piece of property in Oktibbeha County into a unique habitat for conducting research and teaching best land management practices.

In this forest, wildlife habitat and timber production are intertwined. Deer, turkey, quail and an array of grassland songbirds fill the land while healthy streams flow along its boundaries.

MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center experts began working on the 550-acre property this fall. The land is a living laboratory that showcases proper land management.

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