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Kyle’s News & Reviews In Agriculture

By Kyle Jeffreys
Mississippi State
Extension Service

I was out driving around the county this morning just looking for flood waters after the four-inch rain we got Sunday and the water levels are almost identical to what they were last year.  I saw a few fields that had corn planted in them, I don’t know how they got it planted, but they did.  

I also saw a little damage from last week’s frost, especially on kudzu that was greening up. There was even frost damage in some lawns around the area.  I know some of you might be wondering how I am out looking at all of this with a shelter in place order.  

I can assure you that I was around no one other than my family and I took pictures from the driver’s seat of my pickup.  Over the last couple of weeks I have really gone out of my way to limit contact with people other than my family, as I am sure most of you have.  There have been a few times like stopping for gas at a convenience store when I was  a little nervous but I have never thought that I was in any real danger.  

I would like to inform everyone about a project that is coming up soon called the 4-H Poultry Chain.  The poultry chain is a project designed to help kids along with parents that don’t have the area to handle traditional livestock projects like horses, calves, pigs, or goats but still would like to have a project they can work at and compete with at a state level.  If anyone is interested in learning more about the 4-H Poultry Chain, please contact me at 662-832-1402.  The deadline for registration of this project is May 1, 2020.

Storm Recovery Requires Extra Care During 


Social distancing guidelines already urged by federal and state health agencies should be followed closely to prevent exposure to COVID-19 during post-storm cleanup.

A severe weather outbreak April 12 caused widespread damage across the Southeast, but south Mississippi was hit particularly hard after a series of tornadoes left 11 deaths, several injuries and property destruction in its wake.

The state remains under a shelter-in-place order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but power outages and structure damage are forcing some to seek temporary shelter elsewhere while first responders and volunteers are aiding in the cleanup.

“Storm victims and those assisting them are right to be concerned about exposure to the coronavirus. Physical distancing and sanitation measures must be followed even more carefully in these conditions,” said Mississippi State University Extension health specialist David Buys. “Remember to have a face covering, utilize phone or any other type of distance messaging, wash your hands as frequently as possible, and don’t touch your face, nose, or eyes with gloved or bare hands.”

Food safety is also a major consideration after any disaster. Courtney Crist, assistant Extension professor in food safety, said food in the freezer that still contains ice crystals and feels as cold as if refrigerated can be safely refrozen or cooked, but all perishable foods left in the refrigerator when the power has been off for more than four hours must be thrown out. These include meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers. The food safety rule is “When in doubt, throw it out.”

“In the event that the power goes out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature,” Crist said. “If it is half full, a freezer will keep the temperature for about 24 hours if the door remains closed. Buy dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep an 18-cubic-foot, fully stocked freezer cold for two days.”

In many of the affected communities, cleanup crews have already begun debris removal. Remind family and friends who have property damage to be wary if approached by contractors offering their services unsolicited.

“Always verify the credibility of anyone you don’t know who might try to scam or overcharge you to make a quick buck,” said Becky Smith, Extension family financial management specialist. “Many well-established insurance companies and faith-based volunteer groups have good intentions, but you have to watch out for opportunists.”

Financial donations are always more helpful to disaster victims that material ones, and that is especially true during the current public health crisis.

“In between donation and receipt, material items may come in contact with someone who has COVID-19, and the virus can live for hours to days on some surfaces,” Buys said. “Storm victims can use financial assistance to purchase routinely donated items such as clothing and canned goods.”

Financial contributions can be delivered to the Red Cross or local non-profit, civic or faith-based groups with tax-exempt status.

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