Looking for food? MarketMaker expands

For those looking for food, there is good news out of Mississippi State University.

Mississippi food businesses will soon have access to customers all over the world through the expansion of MarketMaker, a database of searchable food industry-related information.

Through a new license with MarketMaker, not-for-profit company Riverside Research has exclusive rights to the database.

MarketMaker currently links producers and consumers in 19 states, including Mississippi and the District of Columbia. Farmers and food-related businesses can register online for free to access a virtual marketplace where they can sell their products to customers all over the world.

Although MarketMaker is one of the largest databases of its kind, Riverside Research’s worldwide network will help promote and grow MarketMaker.

Ken Hood, an Extension professor in agricultural economics at Mississippi State University, said the new agreement will benefit everyone involved.

“The new globalization licensing agreement gives us a stronger link between the different groups, because of the resources available at Riverside,” Hood said. “In the past, the different universities had to pay an annual fee that went toward maintaining the system overall, and now that will be handled by the corporation.”

MSU and other land-grant universities enhance MarketMaker’s capabilities to improve research in food distribution networks, and Hood feels Riverside Research will help take MarketMaker to the next level.

“They have dedicated teams available that can devote more time and effort to get the job done faster,” Hood said.

This year, Riverside Research’s goal is to make the public more aware of MarketMaker and form relationships with farmers and buyers throughout the state.

Mississippi producers and consumers can connect with one another at the Mississippi MarketMaker website www.marketmaker.msstate.edu.


MSU recruiting future doctors through Rural Medical Scholars

Mississippi was facing a shortage of doctors even before the Affordable Care Act was enacted. Now, one public university is offering a program to try to put more physicians to work here in the Magnolia State.

Mississippi high school juniors considering medical careers in their home state have the opportunity to take part in a summer program at Mississippi State University.

The five-week Rural Medical Scholars summer program at MSU aims at identifying the state’s future primary care doctors and help them become members of the medical school class of 2023. Applications for the June 1-July 7 program must be submitted by March 24.

“Mississippi still has the lowest number of physicians per capita in the nation, which limits access to care and contributes to many of the negative health issues plaguing our state,” said Bonnie Carew, rural health program leader for MSU’s Extension Service. “The one constant in health care reform discussions is the need for more primary care physicians. The scholars program is helping to address that need in Mississippi.”

Carew said with a declining number of rural physicians, the concern for adequate health care increases as well. A goal of the program is to develop a pipeline of future medical providers.

“The program is clearly meeting the need it was designed to accomplish — increasing the availability of primary care physicians and health care services throughout rural Mississippi,” she said. “To date, 294 students have participated in the Rural Medical Scholars program, with most planning health-related careers. Thirty-four of our graduates went on to medical school, and 20 of those are practicing physicians today.”

The program is primarily funded by the MSU Extension Service with additional assistance from the Mississippi Office of Rural Health. Students between their junior and senior years with ACT composite scores of at least 25 will take two pre-med courses on the Starkville campus — biology and sociology. They also will observe doctors at practice.

The selected scholars will receive tuition and housing during the program. A $60 registration fee is required after acceptance, and the scholars will be responsible for their food and textbook expenses. Applications and program details are available online at www.RMS.msucares.com.

Department name-change reflects new movement in forestry

A department at Mississippi State University is changes its name as it changes with the times.

MSU says its Department of Forest Products is now the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts.

Department head Rubin Shmulsky said over the last few decades, the forestry industry has evolved to include both wood and other bioproducts, including agricultural residues, natural fibers and adhesives. He said the name change reflects the focus on renewable, sustainable products that are already part of the Mississippi State University program.

The university says the department currently offers only graduate degrees. However, faculty and administrators are developing a new sustainable bioproducts undergraduate curriculum.


John-Richard’s Alex Malouf receives the 2013 Tozzoli International Business Award

Alex Malouf

Alex Malouf

GREENWOOD, Mississippi — Alex Malouf, CEO and Chairman of the Board of John-Richard, has received the 2013 Tozzoli International Business Award for excellence in the development of international business leadership. The Tozzoli International Business award is named for Guy Tozzoli who was the founder and President of the World Trade Center Association in NYC and a three time Novel Peace Prize nominee.

The award was presented at an international awards luncheon recently at the Country Club of Jackson. Past honorees include Dr. JanosRadvanyi, Mississippi State University’s Center for International Security and Strategic Studies; Hartley Peavey, Peavey Electronics Corporation; Hassell Franklin, The Franklin Corporation; Lex Taylor, The Taylor Group Inc; Woods Eastland, StaplCohn; Sue Lobrano, USA International Ballet Competition; the Les Lampton Family; ERGON; Doug & Susan Williams, Kalalou; Lisa Looser, The Cirlot agency; Joe Frank Sanderson, Sanderson Farms and William ‘Bill’ Yates, The Yates Corporation.

With roots in Mississippi and a strong loyalty to his home town economy, Malouf continues to manage his global business from Greenwood, providing employment locally for close to 200 people. However, to insure timely delivery of product internationally, warehouse and distribution facilities have been established in England, China, India, Vietnam, Russia and Australia as well as in the United States. Through the network John-Richard is capable of servicing retail stores decorators, interior designers and architects around the globe. The company also maintains showrooms to the trade year round in New York City and High Point, North Carolina.

“We believe, says Malouf, “that the most beautiful space you should encounter each day is when you enter your home.”

What started as a line of unique wall décor over 30 years ago has expanded to collections in various categories of home design: Upholstered and fine furniture; lighting; mirrors; botanical arrangements and accessories such as vases, sculptures, candleholders etc. Based upon traditional and transitional references, any handmade piece from John-Richard offers superb quality and adds a timeless and sophisticated touch to any room.

For an overview of John-Richard collections and product photos, please visit www.johnrichard.com.

Scientists looking for new weapons to fight cotton-damaging insect

Cotton has made a rebound over the last few years, but growers still face challenges. One of those is damage from insects.

However, new research shows potential for offering new strategies to limit tarnished plant bug damage in cotton, though 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.

Angus Catchot, MSU Extension row-crops entomologist, said tarnished plant bugs have been a problem for years, and their resistance to insecticides has increased over time. These insects are direct pests of cotton and feed on the flower bud, called a square, causing it to drop from the plant. Yield losses can be very high under heavy pressure.

Mississippi producers have moved away from planting cotton in favor of grains in recent years. Catchot said this decrease in acres makes the problem worse because plant bugs typically develop on other hosts and move into cotton.

“When cotton acres are low, you have the same numbers developing and moving into fewer acres, which can intensify the problems,” Catchot said. “We’ve developed a multi-tactical approach designed to break the tarnished plant bug’s reproductive cycle, decrease damage, and better manage cotton crops based on scientific experiments and what we’ve seen work over the years.”

Earliness …

Planting the cotton crop earlier is Catchot’s first recommendation.

“As planting dates get later, tarnished plant bug populations increase and develop tolerance for the pesticide chemistries,” he said. “Variety selection, in terms of early-maturing varieties, helps manage for earliness and increases yields.”

Location …

Cotton producers should also consider the crops that are planted around cotton fields. Producers can keep insect numbers down by blocking cotton away from other crops, especially corn, to discourage migration into cotton.

Mixtures …

Catchot said MSU researchers found that currently available foliar-applied pesticides produce marginal results. Only a limited number of pesticides are effective at all, so using recommended tank mixtures is important in managing tarnished plant bug populations.

Growth regulation …

“We recommend earlier use of Diamond insecticide, during the third week of squaring,” he said. “Diamond is an insect growth regulator and has activity only on nymphs. The third week of squaring is generally the time we start seeing the first nymphs in cotton. When Diamond is applied at this stage, eggs hatch into the residual insecticide, and nymphs are controlled at their most susceptible state, first instars.”

Host management …

The insects overwinter as adults outside the field and quickly invade broadleaf plants before migrating into cotton fields in early spring. Catchot recommended timely ditch and field bank management to eliminate the wild hosts on which insects develop before they invade cotton.

“Keep the field margins mowed early and keep them from flowering to discourage large populations of tarnished plant bugs,” he said.

Pesticide application frequency …

During times of heavy pressure, Catchot recommended decreasing the time between sprays to help break the pest’s reproductive cycle.

“Two back-to-back applications, even at lower rates, is always better than a single application during heavy pressure times of the season,” he said.

Variety selection …

Jeff Gore, entomologist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, said scientists have found that leaf hairiness may affect tarnished plant bug populations.

In initial experiments, smooth-leaf varieties lost squares, while hairy leaf varieties did not have as much damage, Gore said.

“Interestingly, we found more bugs in the hairy leaf varieties, but bug numbers can be deceiving,” he said. “The evidence in the field was almost shocking to see, in terms of bolls evident in the hairy-leaf varieties compared to the low numbers of bolls in the smooth-leaf varieties.”

Gore said that the expense of the chemicals used to control tarnished plant bugs is not sustainable.

“We want to tie together all of these different management practices into a solid recommendation to reduce management costs for the producers, but also to reduce the amount of chemicals used,” Gore said. “But to get cotton acres back in the Delta, we need a different type of technology.”

Historically, genetically modified cotton has successfully reduced the impact of targeted insect pests. For example, Bollgard cotton produces a toxin specific to caterpillar pests, such as the boll worm or tobacco budworm.

“Tobacco budworm was resistant to all insecticides, and we had a huge outbreak in 1995 that resulted in a lot of money spent on foliar insecticides,” Gore said. “Bollgard cotton came out in 1996, and we have not had to spray a single Bollgard field since that time for tobacco budworm. Now we’re at that stage with tarnished plant bugs.

“We need a technology similar to Bollgard cotton that controls tarnished plant bugs to provide enough incentive for growers to start planting more cotton in the Mississippi Delta,” he said.