Category Archives: Agribuisiness

Columbus and Starkville Have Some New and Returning Businesses to Support

Courtesy of the Dispatch

COLUMBUS

Columbus Inn & Suites across from the Magnolia Bowl is up for sale to the right entrepreneur. The building, located at 506 Hwy 45 N, has 90 rooms, a fully-equipped restaurant, kitchen, pool and meeting areas. The asking price is $1.45 million.

Window World recently opened its doors at 134 Lincoln Road, next to Walmart, earlier this month. It is part of a 200-store chain that services both interior and exterior window needs of all kinds. They are open Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-5p.m and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Waldrop and Co. Real Estate has now moved in to the old Cross Golf Cart building at 5736 Hwy. 45 N.

Grassroots Natural Candle Company has come back, having moved across the street to 127 Fifth St. N. Offering a wide variety of fragrance products (not just great candles!), they are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from noon-5 p.m.

STARKVILLE

Twigs Nursery and Landscaping at 7653 Oktoc Road opened for business last week. MSU graduates Kody and Kandiace Brown offer a variety of plants, flowers, arrangements, seeds, pots, garden tools, Mississippi-made items, pottery and of course landscaping. It’s open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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International Paper Keeps Going On Strong in Columbus

International Paper Keeps Going On Strong in Columbus

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

David Phillips, Columbus Mill manager for International Paper – Photo by Mary Pollitz

Columbus Mill Manager David Phillips recently spoke to the Rotarians at Lion Hills Center in Columbus about his facility, which was acquired by International Paper a couple of years ago, and the company’s plans for the future. They have begun a new initiative called “IP Way Forward,” having already invested $135,000 within the local community as a way of giving back to the good people of Columbus. Their initiative calls for the company to focus on “[I]nvesting in people, sustaining forests, improving the planet, innovative products and inspiring performance.” This includes helping out the less fortunate by assisting with education, hunger, and medical programs.

Kellum Kim, mill communications manager said that they wish to continue the good works done by Weyerhauser, the prior owners of the mill, with regards to the community in Lowndes County: “People that know Weyerhaeuser, know that they did a lot of great things in the community, they just did more behind the scenes,” Kim said. “What we are really trying to change is getting more hands-on, (and) get more of our team members involved.”

“Part of the IP Way Forward is to provide value for stakeholders,” Phillips said. “One of our stakeholders is the community and so we want to make sure we are providing value for the community that our employees live in.”

Kim added: “It’s all about investing in our communities and being a good steward of our communities and what we can do to make our community a better place for everyone in Lowndes County.”

The mill currently has about 325 full-time employees, including thirty who were brought on board this year. They also contract up to a hundred workers per day, and their average pay rate is about $28/hr. Philips noted that the mill is largely self-sustaining, as they generate all of their own power by harnessing the steam generated by burning tree bark that might not otherwise be useful; they also use the surrounding 65-acre marsh to treat their wastewater.

International Paper and their Columbus Mill are giving back to their local community while making products that we use every day — and THAT’S Good for Business!

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Columbus Superfund Site Cleanup Well Under Way

Columbus Superfund Site Cleanup Well Under Way

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

EPA Region 4 Director Franklin Hill – Photo by Mary Pollitz

The EPA recently brought together local officials at each of ten Superfund cleanup sites across the country in order to recognize the solid progress on each of them, and the Kerr-McGee site here in the Memphis Town area of Columbus was one of them. In part, they celebrated the fact many of the 42 officially-recognized recommendations from a list put together last year were things that the KMG cleanup crew had been doing for as long as seven years already: “We’re already on the cusp of that . . . We’re already taking early actions in this community,” said EPA Region 4 Superfund Director Franklin Hill.

Kerr-McGee once had a wood treatment plant here that was in operation from about 1928 to 2003; the resulting waste product, creosote, contaminated the site and local grounds, making it one of the 1,800 Superfund sites in the US, and one of the top 30 “priority” SF sites which are being given special attention and expedited funding.

Hill went on to say, “We did that collectively … and this community [of Columbus] was at the forefront of it. This community are the people who held us to task. … Even though we slipped schedules from time to time, they would remind us when we were slipping schedules.”

“We no longer want to clean up the site and walk away from it and leave it and it becomes just an open field,” Hill said. “We’d like to see that property return to the tax rolls. We’d like to see that property make a contribution to the local municipality and government, and we’d also like to see the community realize a benefit from their community being revitalized from years of the plight that’s been associated with the site that’s basically (been) dormant in this community since 2003.”

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Caledonia’s Market on Main a Success

Caledonia’s Market on Main a Success

CALEDONIA – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Amanda Boltwood (courtesy photo)

Caledonia has joined the Golden Triangle’s habit of hosting Farmer’s Markets this time of year, and they have been met with rapid success. Their first outing (on May 4) featured eight vendors of all kinds, and this number promptly doubled for the second one. Market on Main in downtown Caledonia is open on designated Fridays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The idea originated with Amanda Boltwood, who also chairs the annual fall Caledonia Days festival. “I just really love being involved in the town,” Boltwood said. “I thought this would be a great way to get everyone out on Main Street and bring the community together for the summer.”

Alderwoman Tammy McCool remarked, “It invites people into our town; they’ll visit our restaurants and our businesses here. It’s just another way to showcase Caledonia.”

Vendor Callie Shelnut remarked, “I was just amazed, for such a small town, the number of people who came out — but then, this town pulls together so well.”

Market on Main dates in downtown Caledonia are Fridays June 1 and 22, and July 13 and 27, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. If interest warrants, more dates may be added in August.

For more information, interested vendors may contact Boltwood at 662-251-2875 or visit facebook.com/marketonmaincaledonia. There is no fee to participate.

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Local Florist Picked to Help Brighten Up the White House

Local Florist Picked to Help Brighten Up the White House

Courtesy of The Dispatch – West Point, MS

 

West Point florist Scott Reed, owner of Petal Pushers recently received official word from The White House last week that he was accepted into the 2017 holiday volunteer program.

West Point florist Scott Reed has been selected to decorate the White House for Christmas. He owns Petal Pushers floral shop. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

“I’ve always worked with design,” Reed said. “And I just remember hearing about this program years ago and thinking ‘how neat would it be to be a part of something like this?'”

He will serve as part of a volunteer team that will go up to the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue for a four-day decorating spree, along with others who have successfully petitioned to do so. “It was really exciting to see something that I’ve wanted to do for so long come to be,” Reed said. “But I was automatically a little bit nervous because, well, I’m decorating the White House.” He has applied for the program multiple times since 2000, and was elated that he has finally be selected to help.

Reed went to MSU, where he earned a degree in ornamental horticulture. This eventually led to his opening Petal Pushers, a shop that specializes in making floral arrangements, as well as selling gifts, collectibles, and antiques to go along with them. His shop is located at 651 Commerce St.

“I’m just so honored to be chosen to do this, especially after trying unsuccessfully a few times,” Reed said. “I know my staff is just as excited as I am too.”

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Fox Onsite at MSU for an Article About ASSURE

STARKVILLE –

Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

The Fox Business Network was on the MSU campus Friday, getting footage for the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), for a story scheduled to air this coming Monday at 4:30PM on Fox Business. ASSURE, an international coalition of universities, is managed by MSU. Their Deputy Director, Steve “Lux” Luxion said that “MSU has taken a leadership role, and it’s got to be recognized . . . When Fox News comes to do a story about the progress, it’s a win.”

Fox News also covered UAS research at MSU, and went to North Farm to take a look at drones used for crop surveyal: “Increasingly, people are beginning to figure out that drones can do many things more efficiently and safely,” Luxion said.

He went on to say that many jobs currently (or formerly) performed by manned aircraft that might end up being done by drones in the future include those which are hazardous, dirty, or just plain monotonous, including routine surveys and hazardous material applications.

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Starkville Farmers Market is Back

Starkville Farmers Market is Back

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Prather (courtesy starkville.org)

Starkville Community Market will be open this Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. at Fire Station No. 1 Park.

SCM manager and Greater Starkville Development Partnership special events coordinator Jennifer Prather reports that roughly eight to ten vendors are expected to sell early spring produce and other goods at the event; more growers and producers are expected to join when the market’s Saturday offerings begin May 6. “We’ve spoken to new vendors outside of Starkville about new offerings, like baked goods and goat’s cheese and milk. We’re looking to increase the variety,” she said.

The Market will be held at Fire Station No. 1’s greenspace, located at the intersection of Lampkin and Russell streets.

Prather went on to say, “We’re working with Starkville Utilities to help grow the capacity for electricity there. Many vendors require refrigeration for their products, so that’s a priority for us moving forward. We’re also working on a project to install new benches and garbage cans, and overall looking into other ways to better develop the area in a community friendly way . . . We’re really enjoying the location. The aesthetics make a huge difference because the area is friendly to vendors and shoppers.”

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Cotton on the Rise in Mississippi

Cotton on the Rise in Mississippi

Courtesy of the Mississippi Business Journal

courtesy photo

Buoyed  by a notable increase in cotton prices, agriculture experts are forecasting a significant rise in the amount of cotton production in the state.

“The outlook for the 2016-2017 crop is we are going to a fairly considerable increase in cotton acres,” said Larry Falconer, Ph.D., an extension professor with the Delta Research and Extension Center. “Cotton prices have rebounded. With cotton futures in mid-70s per pound range for the new crop, it looks like the margins for cotton production are much better than they have been in the past two or three years . . . Hopefully, it will continue to do hang in there at these levels or a little higher,” Falconer continued.

This follows several years of low prices for the crop; in 2015, there were 320,000 acres of cotton planted in Mississippi, a near-historic low. In 2016, cotton acres planted went up to 450,000 acres. Falconer says that, if predictions hold true, there may be as many as 700,000 acres on the high end this year, depending on conditions and the weather.

Brian Williams, Ph.D, assistant extension professor, Mississippi State University, spoke about an upcoming farm bill: “They are thinking about it already,” Williams said. “There is a lot of pressure, more than in past years, to get this farm bill through as early as they can. I think part of that is pure politics. When you look at the makeup of the Senate, especially, there are several Democrats from swing states who are up for re-election in 2018. From what I have heard, they would like to get the farm bill off of their plate before re-election.”

Williams said farm groups are also putting pressure on legislators to get it done as soon as they can just because of the low-price environment and the tight margins compared to where producers where with higher prices when the present farm bill was adopted. He said the sooner  a farm bill is adopted, the better producers will fare in getting more money into the commodity programs.

Agriculture is the number one industry in Mississippi with sales of about $6.2 billion a year and employment of about 30 percent of the workforce.

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