This week was a down week at the Extension office. Last week was the Mid-South Fair which was very successful for Mrs. Julie White and her team. I wasn’t able to coordinate my class schedule with the fair so I wasn’t able to attend but I gladly greeted the team home on Sunday and spent the afternoon unloading the trailer. The rest of the week was spent washing all of the banners and boxes and reorganizing all of the supplies used. I’m looking forward to continuing preparations for the next FARMtastic event held in November.
This week I was able to participate in the Wood Magic Science Fair put on by the College of Forest Resources at Mississippi State. The fair is aimed at elementary school children to teach them the importance of wood and wood products. It provides hand- on experience through different fun stations. I was responsible for directing participants from the economic exhibit to the chemistry exhibit. I was also able to assist Mrs. White with clipping and grooming 4H goats that were headed to the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson to compete. Back at the Extension office, I continued preparing for FARMtastic with cleaning of boxes and banners and obtaining pallets to be used in an exhibit. I thoroughly enjoyed the activities we did this week.
Week 5 started off finishing up the last little bit of preparing A.I. school binders. Tuesday evening I went with Dr. Karisch and her graduate students to the Noxubee County Cattlemen’s meeting at Tanner Farms in Shuqulak. Dr. Karisch did her presentation on “Culling the Cow Herd” for the local cattlemen. Her presentation was very informative, and it was nice to see what she does outside the office educating the producers. We also got to see some of the bulls that would be in the Tanner Farms Production Sale later this month. We were also treated to a steak dinner which is always nice. On Wednesday I inventoried all the supplies needed for A.I. school, so we could order the necessary material. Next week will also be another exciting week with the Mississippi State Fair starting in Jackson.
Monday September 15th, I arrived at the office at eight that morning. BJ had nothing planned for the day. So, I helped Mrs. Debbie do office work. She had to send out newsletters for the Agriculture National Resource list. We made copies of the letters, folded them and put them in the envelope, addressed the envelope, and sealed them. We had to send out over two hundred letters, so this took the entire morning and still some. When I left at eleven, we were not even half way done.
Thursday September 18th, I arrived after lunch. Mrs. Debbie said they had been slow all morning. BJ did not have anything planned right away so I helped Mrs. Debbie make copies for exhibit day. Once I made the copies, I cut them out and gave them to Mrs. Natalie Ray. Later on that day, we had a farm visit. We drove out for a producer visit discuss planting Alfalfa. BJ explained to him how the process would have to go and the cost of everything. Once we finished looking at one pasture we drove to a different pasture. The man wanted to know which field the soil would be best for planting the Alfalfa. BJ told him which field he thought would be best and explained why. Once we were finished discussing soil information, we headed back to the office. By the time we got back it was time for me to go home.
This week the Mid-South Fair hosted the first FARMtastic event of the semester in Southaven, MS. Third grade students from surrounding counties came to experience agriculture at their fingertips Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The third graders that attended got a hands-on experience with various parts of agriculture in Mississippi, including row crop production, horticulture, livestock production, and forestry. I traveled to help with FARMtastic’s public day on Saturday. This day allowed people of all ages to come through and learn about agriculture in Mississippi. In the morning we made sure all of the displays were set up and ready for the day. As people started to arrive, I spoke with them about how the dairy industry provides us with milk, cheese, ice cream, and how important dairy farmers are to everyday life. People were also able to experience milking a cow by hand (thanks to Maggie-the life sized Jersey cow). I also spoke to people about the importance of beef cattle by telling them that beef cattle provide us with food, leather, and many other products we use everyday. Saturday evening, we packed everything up and came back to Starkville to start preparing for the next FARMtastic event in November.
This week was spent continuing AI school preparation. Monday I went to Bost and picked up the publications we had ordered the previous week. Now that we had all the necessary publications in hand we could get those hole punched and placed in to binder for AI school participants, which I did later in the week. Also on Monday I had to gather materials to replace signs that Extension uses at various events. Mrs. Mari and I made new posters for the signs so they can be used at the upcoming AI school.
Week 3 of my internship was spent mostly in the office preparing for upcoming events. Throughout the week Dr. Karisch received entries for the upcoming BCIA sale in November. I checked over entries to ensure all sale candidates met the necessary requirements for weaning weight, age, and had proper EPDs listed. Mrs. Mari and I also prepared BCIA newsletters filed with different educational articles to send out to producers. Dr. Karisch had noticed some of the beef publications on the MSUcares extension website had broken links, so I checked all the links to ensure she can get these back available to the producers. I also had to update program reports with current numbers for the annual report for the Animal & Dairy Science Department. This was neat to see how beneficial extension programs can be for the producers. Now I’m ready to see what week 4 entails.
Monday (September 8th), I showed up to the office. When BJ arrived, he called for an office meeting. I listened in as they planned the details for the upcoming events. We talked about setting a date, the different awards to be given out, and the food being served at the 4-H Banquet. This took about an hour to discuss. Once the meeting was over, I made copies for the small ruminant flyers. I also helped Mrs. Debbie do more office work.
Wednesday (September 10th), BJ was in Greenwood doing the retinal imaging. He told me to find something to do or stay at the office and do paperwork. So, I chose to volunteer at The Emerson Animal Hospital. Dr. Emerson welcomed me and made me feel like I was a part of their staff. When I first arrived, I help Mrs. Tony take the dogs out, feed them, give medicines, and bring them back inside. Once we finished, we prepped for a tumor surgery on a dog. I was taught how to set everything up for the surgery. Dr. Emerson preformed a dental clean then moved on to the tumor surgery. I watch as the surgery was being performed. The tumor was the size of a baseball, so you can imagine that this was not a quick surgery. Once everything was stitched back up, we waited as she woke up and then we put her in recovery. I helped clean up the surgery room and get in prepared for the next surgery. She also removed a hernia from a different dog. I watched as she completed this surgery. We had a patient come in that had blood in the feces. We did a feces test and looked at it under the microscope. We found out that this dog had food poisoning. Dr. Emerson treated this dog with two different medications. During my first visit here, I learned that Dr. Emerson and her staff are very friendly. They are kind and caring to all their patients. The facility and equipment shows how generous she is, having cameras and TV’s in the dog room to having a heated surgery table. It is the small things that count. I enjoyed my day and learned a lot from her.
Thursday (September 11th), I arrived at the office after lunch. BJ told me how I missed a lot at the retinal imaging and I told him how my day went. As we finished, we left the office to go out to the Prairie Wildlife. I did not realize how huge this place was as well as beautiful. We examined cedar trees. BJ was explaining the problems of what was wrong and how they could fix it. This was not my idea for a fun day. We spent the entire afternoon out in the heat looking at trees. I was so glad to arrive back to the office.
This was another busy week at the Extension office. We put together the remaining 500 student bags to give to the third graders that will be attending the FARMtastic event in Southaven next week. We also packed 40 bags to give to the teachers with documents relating to every commodity group Mississippi has to offer so that the teachers could help teach their students more about agriculture. I was also assigned the task of re-organizing all of the supplies that go into the Enchanted Forest room. In doing that, I had to go cut 2 giant stumps and paint a clear coat on them. These stumps will be used for a Count the Rings activity where the students learn how to age a tree. A more entertaining part of the week included the FARMtastic student worker and I having to give the Forage Display a hair cut. This display is made up of a planter about the size of a coffee table that contains freshly planted Rye Grass. Mrs. White wanted us to trim the grass down about 2 inches using scissors. This next week will contain last minute details being completed, and us packing the truck and trailer for our first traveling event.
With one week left until the first FARMtastic event, we had to make sure everything was ready to go. On Wednesday, Roy and I went out and collected leaves for the leaf rubbing activity. This station is for the students to learn more about the parts of the leaf, such as the stem and veins. We collected leaves from Magnolia, Cottonwood, and Red Oak trees. We also cut tree cookies for the” Know Your Trees” station. The tree cookies teach the students how to age a tree on a smaller scale. Friday, we packed the trailer with all the materials for the event in Southaven next week. After we did a final inventory of the materials heading North, we cleaned and organized the FARMtastic room in order to be ready for our return. This insures we can immediately begin preparing for the bigger FARMtastic event coming to Starkville in November.
Cutting tree cookies.
This week has been hectic at the extension office. We have been doing “the flight of the bumblebee” trying to tie up loose ends for the Mid-South Fair. One of my projects was to collect a variety of leaves for the leaf box and tree cookies. Fellow intern (Alex) and I headed out to the “back forty” to pick up leaves and find a tree to cut up for the tree cookies. Some turned out great and some looked more like tree biscuits rather than cookies. Next it was on to the large task of loading the trailer for the Mid-South Fair. We took it room by room and organized it pretty well, if I do say so myself. It took all day, but we finally got it all loaded. I’m looking forward to hearing all about how it goes!
Cutting tree cookies.
This week we continued getting ready for FARMtastic in Southaven. I participated in assembling student and teacher bags. I was also responsible for making display pieces for the crops box. This display will show the children what crops like cotton, soybeans and corn look like in the ground and how they are used. I tended to my growing vegetables, which are coming along nicely. They were very thirsty this week. I also worked on getting the display ready for the vegetable garden. It’s exciting to see everything coming together for FARMtastic.