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HortAgMag_Layout 1 5/29/14 11:09 AM Page 1

Faces of Mississippi’s

HORTICULTURE INDUSTRY Jeremy Edwards

Dan Batson

Great Southern Farms Blueberries

GreenForest Nursery

What do you grow? My family and I grow 130 acres of Southern High Bush and Rabbiteye blueberries. We pick our berries from the last week of April to mid-July. We have a large packing house, and this year, we will pack almost one million pounds of our own berries. We also pack about 500,000 to 750,000 pounds of blueberries grown by other farmers. Where do you market your blueberries? We market them wholesale nationwide and in Canada. How did you become a blueberry grower? My father, Malcolm, planted the farm’s first blueberry bushes in 1990, and I joined him in 2004. We planted more bushes, expanded the operation, and in 2008, built our own packing house. My brother, Justin, works with us, as do our wives, Jennifer and Wendy. Jennifer works in the office, and Wendy works in the packing house. What types of skills do you need to grow blueberries? You need a good work ethic. It’s a job, and it isn’t easy. You need a good business sense in order to successfully market your crop. You need to know how to work with people. During picking season, we have 50 people working in the fields and 45 people working in the packing house. With blueberries, you need to know a little bit about a lot of different things, from chemicals to soil types to nutrients and how all of this works together. It is a fine balance. Do you enjoy what you do? Yes, I do. I love farming. In addition to the blueberries, I have a large vegetable garden each year that supplies the whole community. I like to see things grow. You look at your crops, and you think, “I did that.�

Rick Snyder

Extension/Research Professor Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center

Crystal Springs, MS

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation ÂŽ

What is a nursery? It is a business that grows plants, including vegetables, woody plants, and flowers, for wholesale or retail sales. What type of nursery do you own? I operate a wholesale tree nursery. We grow anything you might see in a landscape, from crepe myrtle to oaks to holly, from shade trees to flowering trees and screening materials. We sell our trees nationwide.

What is Horticulture? Horticulture is the branch of agriculture concerned with growing plants used by people for food, medicinal purposes, and visual appeal. Horticulture can encompass many areas, ranging from a small vegetable or flower garden to a large-scale produce or nursery operation. Some horticulture farmers grow food crops such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, mushrooms, and herbs used in cooking. Others grow non-food crops such as flowers, trees, shrubs, and turf grass as well as herbs used in medicines. Horticulture also includes landscape design, maintenance, and restoration as well as plant conservation.

Why did you choose to do this for a living? I love working with plants. My dad was a horticulturist as was my grandfather and my great-uncle. It is kind of in my blood. I always had the goal of working as a horticulturist. What I thought I was going to do changed, but being involved with horticulture did not. What types of skills do you need to operate a nursery? You need a good work ethic. You need to have a knowledge about plants, but you also need to have a feel for plants and what they need to grow and thrive. As a business owner, you need good communication, marketing, and money management skills. You need to know how to manage people.

Horticulture as a science studies the way plants grow and ways to improve plant growth. The science of horticulture includes all facets of plant production, from entomology (the study of insects) to weeds, diseases, and water.

What is your education? I knew that I liked plants since I was very young and grew my own vegetable garden when I was 15. I studied horticulture at three different universities. I got a B.S. at the University of Connecticut, then moved to Ohio to get a master’s degree at Ohio State University. Finally, I moved to upstate New York to work on a Ph.D. at Cornell University. After working as a Post Doc at Purdue University for a year, I landed my dream job as an Extension specialist at Mississippi State. What types of skills do you need for your job? Anyone who works for Extension has to have excellent communication skills as well as excellent people skills. You really have to enjoy working with people to help them with their problems. In my case, the problems that people call about have to do with growing vegetable plants. So, both a solid education and lots of experience in horticulture are very important skill sets for my job. Do you enjoy your work? I love my job. I cannot think of any other field that I would rather be in. Extension really suits my personality as well as my desire to assist and educate people about plants. 

This issue of Ag Mag is compliments of:

  

  



    



What do you do? As an Extension vegetable specialist, I help our vegetable farmers and greenhouse tomato growers produce healthy vegetables for you to eat. In addition to talking directly to growers (phone, email, visits), I also assist our county agents around Mississippi, writing publications, giving talks, doing websites, and using social media to educate the public about horticulture.

An agricultural newsletter for kids from

What areas do you specialize in? I specialize in greenhouse vegetables, vegetable crops, and mushrooms.

Perkinston, MS

   

Richton, MS

HORTICULTURE

President

 

Owner

g a M g A

Issues of Ag Mag can be purchased at cost: 20 for $5. Contact the Women’s Department at pjones@msfb.org or 601.977.4854.

In Mississippi, the main horticultural crops and areas include vegetables, melons, potatoes, fruits, tree nuts, berries, sod, nurseries, greenhouses, floriculture, and Christmas tree farms.

Mississippi State University, through its teaching, research, and Extension programs, works with many diverse areas of horticulture, including field-grown and greenhouse vegetables, annual and perennial ornamental crops, landscape design, fruits, pecans, melons, sweet potatoes, turf grass, medicinal crops, and more.

IN THE FLOWER GARDEN BELOW, FIND THE MISSISSIPPI HORTICULTURE ITEMS SHOWN ABOVE. CIRCLE THEM WHEN YOU SEE THEM.

Alcorn State University administers horticultural programs through its Mississippi Small Farm Development Center (MSFDC) as well as through a farmers market in Natchez; a vegetable processing center in Marks; and the Small Farm Incubator Center in Preston.


HortAgMag_Layout 1 6/3/14 12:28 PM Page 2

Activity: Try your hand at Horticulture GROW A GARDEN

Begin by choosing the kind of seed you want to plant. Herbs are a great place to start and can be used in the kitchen to add flavor to meals. They smell great and can also be used to make salsa, spaghetti, pizza...the possibilities are endless! Try basil, garlic, oregano, chives, cilantro, dill, or oregano. Mint does well, but can take over a garden and is best grown in a container. For colorful blooms try snapdragons, zinnias, petunias, sunflowers, nasturtiums, and marigolds.

Next, you must decide if you will plant them in a garden space or in a container. Any container can be used as long as it has drainage for excess water to drain. If you decide to plant your seed in a container, you will need to add potting soil. Plant seeds according to directions and wait for them to sprout or germinate. Keep soil moist by watering. Keep a journal of how long it takes to see growth, how much light they got, and how many blooms you see.

Y w o e u r r G Christm o h W a

Back before Christmas tree farms, families would go out in the woods and cut down a tree. Today, about 98 percent of live Christmas trees come from a tree farm. It takes 4-5 years for trees to become ready to be harvested. During that time, farmers work hard keeping the trees fertilized, pruned, and protected from insects. There is also a lot of mowing to keep the trees from being overgrown with grass and weeds. You may be surprised by how environmentally friendly live trees can be. While growing, they add oxygen to the atmosphere, and after the Christmas season is over, the trunk and branches can be used as mulch for parks, gardens, or animal stalls. Discarded trees can also be put in ponds to improve fish habitat.

e?

s Tr e

Most artificial trees are imported from other countries. They are usually not biodegradable and can remain in landfills for years. By buying from a local Christmas tree farm, you support an American farmer and have an opportunity to make wonderful holiday memories.

The Green industry

The “green industry” in Mississippi refers to those businesses and individuals who produce, maintain, use, or sell plants. This industry includes: greenhouse production, nursery production, and landscape service.The climate and location of the state make it very suitable for growing nursery and greenhouse crops Ornamental plants are what are used to decorate your landscape and make green spaces more interesting. The ornamental industry is rapidly growing in our state. There are more than 150 sod and ornamental producers in Mississippi. An acre of land can produce $60,000 of container-grown nursery stock. The counties with the most nurseries are George, Harrison and Jackson counties in the southern part of the state.

Word Search HORTICULTURE

E D U S P J Q V L F K E C B I

W P O D V Q S E V L Y S J D Y

B I A H F N M G G O S U G M T

L L B C E C M G J R S O D Q I

T Y U D S O M I Y I S H V R U

N O R E S D N E X C E N C O R

E A M T B U N S R U S E T N F

G D B A R E I A D L O E R S I

L J X S T S R T L T D R A T X

I Z E C G O I R Q U O G G E O

E R I V B A C J I R Q S L F D

Y L U W A T E R M E L O N K Y

S M O O R H S U M P S K R V P

S T U N C C G E Z S F C L O A

P O T A T O M R B N Q L Y W I

BLUEBERRIES FLORICULTURE FRUIT GARDEN GREENHOUSE LANDSCAPE MUSHROOMS NURSERY NUTS POTATO SOD SOIL TOMATO TREE VEGGIES WATERMELON

GROW A HAIRY GRASS HEAD What you'll need 2 tablespoons grass seed Nylon stocking foot 1 cup potting soil

Plastic yogurt container Water 2 googly eyes

Permanent marker Double-sided tape Decorative crafts for clothing

How to make it Spoon the grass seed into the stocking foot and add the potting soil on top of the seed. Tie a knot in the stocking, leaving the excess fabric hanging. Fill a yogurt container halfway with water and place the stocking head on top with the nylon tail in the water to make a wick to keep soil moist. Be sure to check the water level in the yogurt container every day, keeping it at least half full. Attach googly eyes to the head and draw on a mouth with permanent marker. To decorate the yogurt container, tape on clothing made from card stock or other materials. Get creative. Once the “hair” starts growing well, think about different haircuts you can give your new friend. Perhaps a mohawk?!

Mississippi Blueberries

• Mississippi ranks 9th in the nation in blueberry production. • The majority of blueberry acreage is planted in the southern half of the state. • There are approximately 2,700 acres of blueberries planted in Mississippi. • An acre is about the size of a football field. • Fresh blueberries are available in the marketplace from May through September with June and July being the peak harvest season. There are many farms in Mississippi where you can pick your own blueberries. Find a farm near you at www.pickyourown.org/MS.htm or www.mdac.state.ms.us/publications_and_forms/publications/pdf/reg_fruit_u_pick_own.pdf.

Sweet, Summer Watermelo

ns

• The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt. • Watermelons were once grown on more acres than any other vegetable crop in Mississippi. • Watermelon is 92 percent water. • Watermelon's official name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is a cousin to cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash. • By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew. •Early explorers used watermelons as canteens. •The first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1776 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles. • According to Guinness World Records, the world's heaviest watermelon was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 2005, weighing in at 268.8 lbs (121.93 kg). Lloyd grew and weighed in for the Annual Hope, Arkansas Big Watermelon Contest on September 3, 2005. • The United States currently ranks 5th in worldwide production of watermelon. Forty-four states grow watermelons, with Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, and Arizona consistently leading the country in production.

Half of your plate should be fruits and veggies!

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent diseases and help manage your weight. Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. Neither fruits nor vegetables contain cholesterol. They are both important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), and vitamin C. Some vegetables also contain vitamin A.

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.

Based on their nutrient content, vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups: dark green vegetables, starchy vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, and other vegetables.

Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed. Try to make a rainbow on your plate with new and interesting-looking fruits and veggies. Your body will thank you!


HortAgMag_Layout 1 6/3/14 12:28 PM Page 2

Activity: Try your hand at Horticulture GROW A GARDEN

Begin by choosing the kind of seed you want to plant. Herbs are a great place to start and can be used in the kitchen to add flavor to meals. They smell great and can also be used to make salsa, spaghetti, pizza...the possibilities are endless! Try basil, garlic, oregano, chives, cilantro, dill, or oregano. Mint does well, but can take over a garden and is best grown in a container. For colorful blooms try snapdragons, zinnias, petunias, sunflowers, nasturtiums, and marigolds.

Next, you must decide if you will plant them in a garden space or in a container. Any container can be used as long as it has drainage for excess water to drain. If you decide to plant your seed in a container, you will need to add potting soil. Plant seeds according to directions and wait for them to sprout or germinate. Keep soil moist by watering. Keep a journal of how long it takes to see growth, how much light they got, and how many blooms you see.

Y w o e u r r G Christm o h W a

Back before Christmas tree farms, families would go out in the woods and cut down a tree. Today, about 98 percent of live Christmas trees come from a tree farm. It takes 4-5 years for trees to become ready to be harvested. During that time, farmers work hard keeping the trees fertilized, pruned, and protected from insects. There is also a lot of mowing to keep the trees from being overgrown with grass and weeds. You may be surprised by how environmentally friendly live trees can be. While growing, they add oxygen to the atmosphere, and after the Christmas season is over, the trunk and branches can be used as mulch for parks, gardens, or animal stalls. Discarded trees can also be put in ponds to improve fish habitat.

e?

s Tr e

Most artificial trees are imported from other countries. They are usually not biodegradable and can remain in landfills for years. By buying from a local Christmas tree farm, you support an American farmer and have an opportunity to make wonderful holiday memories.

The Green industry

The “green industry” in Mississippi refers to those businesses and individuals who produce, maintain, use, or sell plants. This industry includes: greenhouse production, nursery production, and landscape service.The climate and location of the state make it very suitable for growing nursery and greenhouse crops Ornamental plants are what are used to decorate your landscape and make green spaces more interesting. The ornamental industry is rapidly growing in our state. There are more than 150 sod and ornamental producers in Mississippi. An acre of land can produce $60,000 of container-grown nursery stock. The counties with the most nurseries are George, Harrison and Jackson counties in the southern part of the state.

Word Search HORTICULTURE

E D U S P J Q V L F K E C B I

W P O D V Q S E V L Y S J D Y

B I A H F N M G G O S U G M T

L L B C E C M G J R S O D Q I

T Y U D S O M I Y I S H V R U

N O R E S D N E X C E N C O R

E A M T B U N S R U S E T N F

G D B A R E I A D L O E R S I

L J X S T S R T L T D R A T X

I Z E C G O I R Q U O G G E O

E R I V B A C J I R Q S L F D

Y L U W A T E R M E L O N K Y

S M O O R H S U M P S K R V P

S T U N C C G E Z S F C L O A

P O T A T O M R B N Q L Y W I

BLUEBERRIES FLORICULTURE FRUIT GARDEN GREENHOUSE LANDSCAPE MUSHROOMS NURSERY NUTS POTATO SOD SOIL TOMATO TREE VEGGIES WATERMELON

GROW A HAIRY GRASS HEAD What you'll need 2 tablespoons grass seed Nylon stocking foot 1 cup potting soil

Plastic yogurt container Water 2 googly eyes

Permanent marker Double-sided tape Decorative crafts for clothing

How to make it Spoon the grass seed into the stocking foot and add the potting soil on top of the seed. Tie a knot in the stocking, leaving the excess fabric hanging. Fill a yogurt container halfway with water and place the stocking head on top with the nylon tail in the water to make a wick to keep soil moist. Be sure to check the water level in the yogurt container every day, keeping it at least half full. Attach googly eyes to the head and draw on a mouth with permanent marker. To decorate the yogurt container, tape on clothing made from card stock or other materials. Get creative. Once the “hair” starts growing well, think about different haircuts you can give your new friend. Perhaps a mohawk?!

Mississippi Blueberries

• Mississippi ranks 9th in the nation in blueberry production. • The majority of blueberry acreage is planted in the southern half of the state. • There are approximately 2,700 acres of blueberries planted in Mississippi. • An acre is about the size of a football field. • Fresh blueberries are available in the marketplace from May through September with June and July being the peak harvest season. There are many farms in Mississippi where you can pick your own blueberries. Find a farm near you at www.pickyourown.org/MS.htm or www.mdac.state.ms.us/publications_and_forms/publications/pdf/reg_fruit_u_pick_own.pdf.

Sweet, Summer Watermelo

ns

• The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt. • Watermelons were once grown on more acres than any other vegetable crop in Mississippi. • Watermelon is 92 percent water. • Watermelon's official name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is a cousin to cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash. • By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew. •Early explorers used watermelons as canteens. •The first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1776 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles. • According to Guinness World Records, the world's heaviest watermelon was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 2005, weighing in at 268.8 lbs (121.93 kg). Lloyd grew and weighed in for the Annual Hope, Arkansas Big Watermelon Contest on September 3, 2005. • The United States currently ranks 5th in worldwide production of watermelon. Forty-four states grow watermelons, with Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, and Arizona consistently leading the country in production.

Half of your plate should be fruits and veggies!

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent diseases and help manage your weight. Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. Neither fruits nor vegetables contain cholesterol. They are both important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), and vitamin C. Some vegetables also contain vitamin A.

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.

Based on their nutrient content, vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups: dark green vegetables, starchy vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, and other vegetables.

Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed. Try to make a rainbow on your plate with new and interesting-looking fruits and veggies. Your body will thank you!


HortAgMag_Layout 1 5/29/14 11:09 AM Page 1

Faces of Mississippi’s

HORTICULTURE INDUSTRY Jeremy Edwards

Dan Batson

Great Southern Farms Blueberries

GreenForest Nursery

What do you grow? My family and I grow 130 acres of Southern High Bush and Rabbiteye blueberries. We pick our berries from the last week of April to mid-July. We have a large packing house, and this year, we will pack almost one million pounds of our own berries. We also pack about 500,000 to 750,000 pounds of blueberries grown by other farmers. Where do you market your blueberries? We market them wholesale nationwide and in Canada. How did you become a blueberry grower? My father, Malcolm, planted the farm’s first blueberry bushes in 1990, and I joined him in 2004. We planted more bushes, expanded the operation, and in 2008, built our own packing house. My brother, Justin, works with us, as do our wives, Jennifer and Wendy. Jennifer works in the office, and Wendy works in the packing house. What types of skills do you need to grow blueberries? You need a good work ethic. It’s a job, and it isn’t easy. You need a good business sense in order to successfully market your crop. You need to know how to work with people. During picking season, we have 50 people working in the fields and 45 people working in the packing house. With blueberries, you need to know a little bit about a lot of different things, from chemicals to soil types to nutrients and how all of this works together. It is a fine balance. Do you enjoy what you do? Yes, I do. I love farming. In addition to the blueberries, I have a large vegetable garden each year that supplies the whole community. I like to see things grow. You look at your crops, and you think, “I did that.�

Rick Snyder

Extension/Research Professor Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center

Crystal Springs, MS

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation ÂŽ

What is a nursery? It is a business that grows plants, including vegetables, woody plants, and flowers, for wholesale or retail sales. What type of nursery do you own? I operate a wholesale tree nursery. We grow anything you might see in a landscape, from crepe myrtle to oaks to holly, from shade trees to flowering trees and screening materials. We sell our trees nationwide.

What is Horticulture? Horticulture is the branch of agriculture concerned with growing plants used by people for food, medicinal purposes, and visual appeal. Horticulture can encompass many areas, ranging from a small vegetable or flower garden to a large-scale produce or nursery operation. Some horticulture farmers grow food crops such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, mushrooms, and herbs used in cooking. Others grow non-food crops such as flowers, trees, shrubs, and turf grass as well as herbs used in medicines. Horticulture also includes landscape design, maintenance, and restoration as well as plant conservation.

Why did you choose to do this for a living? I love working with plants. My dad was a horticulturist as was my grandfather and my great-uncle. It is kind of in my blood. I always had the goal of working as a horticulturist. What I thought I was going to do changed, but being involved with horticulture did not. What types of skills do you need to operate a nursery? You need a good work ethic. You need to have a knowledge about plants, but you also need to have a feel for plants and what they need to grow and thrive. As a business owner, you need good communication, marketing, and money management skills. You need to know how to manage people.

Horticulture as a science studies the way plants grow and ways to improve plant growth. The science of horticulture includes all facets of plant production, from entomology (the study of insects) to weeds, diseases, and water.

What is your education? I knew that I liked plants since I was very young and grew my own vegetable garden when I was 15. I studied horticulture at three different universities. I got a B.S. at the University of Connecticut, then moved to Ohio to get a master’s degree at Ohio State University. Finally, I moved to upstate New York to work on a Ph.D. at Cornell University. After working as a Post Doc at Purdue University for a year, I landed my dream job as an Extension specialist at Mississippi State. What types of skills do you need for your job? Anyone who works for Extension has to have excellent communication skills as well as excellent people skills. You really have to enjoy working with people to help them with their problems. In my case, the problems that people call about have to do with growing vegetable plants. So, both a solid education and lots of experience in horticulture are very important skill sets for my job. Do you enjoy your work? I love my job. I cannot think of any other field that I would rather be in. Extension really suits my personality as well as my desire to assist and educate people about plants. 

This issue of Ag Mag is compliments of:

  

  



    



What do you do? As an Extension vegetable specialist, I help our vegetable farmers and greenhouse tomato growers produce healthy vegetables for you to eat. In addition to talking directly to growers (phone, email, visits), I also assist our county agents around Mississippi, writing publications, giving talks, doing websites, and using social media to educate the public about horticulture.

An agricultural newsletter for kids from

What areas do you specialize in? I specialize in greenhouse vegetables, vegetable crops, and mushrooms.

Perkinston, MS

   

Richton, MS

HORTICULTURE

President

 

Owner

g a M g A

Issues of Ag Mag can be purchased at cost: 20 for $5. Contact the Women’s Department at pjones@msfb.org or 601.977.4854.

In Mississippi, the main horticultural crops and areas include vegetables, melons, potatoes, fruits, tree nuts, berries, sod, nurseries, greenhouses, floriculture, and Christmas tree farms.

Mississippi State University, through its teaching, research, and Extension programs, works with many diverse areas of horticulture, including field-grown and greenhouse vegetables, annual and perennial ornamental crops, landscape design, fruits, pecans, melons, sweet potatoes, turf grass, medicinal crops, and more.

IN THE FLOWER GARDEN BELOW, FIND THE MISSISSIPPI HORTICULTURE ITEMS SHOWN ABOVE. CIRCLE THEM WHEN YOU SEE THEM.

Alcorn State University administers horticultural programs through its Mississippi Small Farm Development Center (MSFDC) as well as through a farmers market in Natchez; a vegetable processing center in Marks; and the Small Farm Incubator Center in Preston.


Children's Ag Mag - Horticulture