Guide to Greenhouses for Southern Gardeners

The COVID-19 pandemic inadvertently created a new generation of gardeners. Gardening eases our boredom, soothes our nerves, and provides food during a time of inflation. While millions of people began to garden as a coping mechanism, many are now in the third year of their new favorite hobby. 

If you are considering taking your gardening hobby to the next level, consider adding a greenhouse. In this article, we will explore why people in Louisiana and Mississippi use greenhouses, whether to buy or DIY, and the variety of design options available.

Why Greenhouses?

Frost

In both Mississippi and Louisiana, we usually have at least one significant cold snap each year. Many of us won’t forget the arctic outbreak of February 2021. At one point, Shreveport fell to a low of one single degree Fahrenheit. One degree!

After spending months tending to your outdoor plants, you don’t want to lose them in a freeze. By moving your plants to the greenhouse, you give them a chance at surviving the cold. 

Starting Seeds

You can more easily control the temperature and humidity inside a greenhouse. During a cold spring, this can help you grow vegetables and other plants from seed. Then you can transfer the seedlings when the outdoor temperature is right. Use space in your greenhouse to propagate root cuttings of houseplants, herbs, roses, and more.

Critter Protection

There is a gardening rule closely related to Murphy’s Law: if there are plants you don’t want animals to eat, animals will try to eat them. Deer, rabbits, groundhogs, foxes—they’re all hungry, and your baby lettuce smells like dinner. With the right materials (deer can tear through some plastic sheeting), you can mitigate some damage animals can cause. 

Greenhouse Elements

Orientation

In the summer, the sun rises in the northeast and sets in the northwest. In the winter, we receive the most sunlight on the south and southeast side of a house. If you orient your greenhouse north-south, some crops will receive more sunlight than others. This article includes more information on site selection and orientation for greenhouses.

Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation

You will need reliable heating, cooling, and ventilation to properly grow seed trays and plants. This HVAC article from the UGA extension school goes over all types of heating systems and includes information on:

  • Heat conduction, convection heat transfer, radiation heat transfer, and factors affecting heat loss.
  • Ventilation systems including exhaust fans, pressure fans, evaporative cooling, mist cooling, and natural ventilation.

Amenities

These elements can help make gardening more pleasurable and convenient:

  • Waist-high benches are great for helping the sun hit your plants. Working at this level is also much more comfortable for the gardener. You can also use these benches for workspace and shelving.
  • Water access: if your spigot is far away, consider running a pipe to the greenhouse for a convenient water source.
  • Automatic controls and electricity: set it and forget it. You won’t have to constantly worry about the humidity and temperature of the greenhouse if there is a thermostat that automatically helps with regulation. 

Buying a Greenhouse

Greenhouse Kits

Many online retailers and big box stores offer the equivalent of an IKEA greenhouse. Though less expensive than buying a professionally made greenhouse and having it installed, they can be more flimsy and are more susceptible to damage in inclement weather. If you buy a kit, make sure that you anchor the greenhouse to the ground. If not properly secured, a greenhouse kit you buy at the hardware store can blow over in 40mph winds.

Greenhouse Dealers

There are a number of reputable greenhouse builders and dealers who deliver to Louisiana and Mississippi, but you’ll pay a premium to have a fully assembled greenhouse delivered to your lot. These greenhouses can be customized with waterproof electrical outlets, overhead lights, vents, and even ceiling fans.

Download Free Greenhouse Design Plans

If you’d like to build your own greenhouse instead of purchasing a kit or prefabricated greenhouse, there are some free greenhouse plans available via Louisiana State University and Mississippi State University. These plans were primarily designed in the 1970s, so some informations might be outdated or missing tech innovations, but they are a solid jumping off point in terms of design, framing, and structure. Keep in mind that if you build a greenhouse, you should check with your local municipality about building codes and permits you may need.

The top recommendation for hobby farmers from horticulturists and greenhouse management experts is a Lean-To style greenhouse. A “lean-to” is half a greenhouse built onto the side of another structure. When you orient your lean-to on the south side of another structure, not only do you get all the sunlight from the south, you avoid the cold winter wind coming from the north.

A lean-to requires one less wall, so it is easier and less expensive to build than a freestanding structure. A big bonus is its sturdiness against weather events like hurricanes. 

Slant Leg Greenhouses

Home Greenhouse (10’ x 12’)

Combination Greenhouses

Greenhouse & Storage Building (10×14): designed half for storage and half as a greenhouse

More Information

We’ve only scratched the surface on what information is available about greenhouses. For more inspiration and information, visit these greenhouse sources:

Get More Room for Your Greenhouse

Want to build something bigger than an 8’ x 10” greenhouse? The sky’s the limit when you move to the country. Southern AgCredit helps make gardener dreams come true by financing country homes in rural areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. Start building the greenhouse of your dreams by contacting the Southern AgCredit office near you.

Get to Know Stephen Bass

Meet Southern AgCredit’s Vice President of Lending in Meridian, Mississippi

We are excited to announce that Southern AgCredit is opening a new office in Meridian on June 1, 2022. Stephen Bass is the vice president of lending in the new office.

Learn more about Stephen’s passion for the outdoors and how he can help you reach your land-ownership goals.

Hi, Stephen! What were you doing before you came to Southern AgCredit?

I was working at a commercial bank in Meridian, primarily doing commercial and consumer loans.

You live in Meridian now, but where are you from originally?

I’m originally from Liberty, Mississippi, which is in south Mississippi. I went to college at Mississippi State University then moved to Senatobia when I started working with the MS Land Bank. I’ve had a few other jobs since then so I guess you could say, I’m coming back home to Farm Credit.

Are you an outdoorsman?

Yes, my dad was a hunter and we spent a lot of time in the woods deer hunting when I was a child. As I got older and went to college, we got more involved in duck and turkey hunting. Also, I love to fish. I’d say that fishing and turkey hunting are my favorite hobbies.

While my mom’s side of the family is made of farmers, they were gone before I was born, so I didn’t grow up on a farm. We had some timberland in the family, so I was initially exposed to forestry through that. I’m a registered forester, and at MSU I got a bachelor’s degree in forest management and a master’s degree in agricultural business management.

Rural lending is a great fit for me because I can help people own a piece of land, get outdoors, and enjoy it with their family.

What are your children like?

I have a 9-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter. My son is involved in sports. He plays football, baseball, and basketball. I’ve introduced my son to hunting and fishing and we spend a lot of time outdoors. I want him to enjoy and experience the outdoors as he grows up just like I did. My daughter is less outdoorsy and is involved with theater and plays. I go from deer hunting with my son to building a set for a play with my daughter. I love spending time with my kids and being involved in what they like to do.

We started kayaking now that my kids are old enough to paddle. That’s an outdoor activity that we all enjoy and we can do it together which is fun. We like to take our kayaks to some local lakes in Meridian. We have some buddies with kayaks as well so we’ll meet up with them and let our kids fish and kayak together.

Do you own any recreational land?

We have a hunting lease about 30 minutes from Meridian. On this property, we are fortunate to have a cabin, lakes and places where we can dig for Indian artifacts. I like to get my kids’ friends involved in the outdoors as well so we often stay for the weekend and fish, hunt or dig for arrowheads.  Getting kids involved in the outdoors is a good way to connect with your family and friends as well as keep the future of hunting and agriculture alive. 

Having a registered forester as a loan officer comes with some real advantages. Can you take a look at a tract and give a customer a forester’s perspective about its condition and value?

Yes. For example, last week I went and looked at some property with a customer. The land was his family’s land and he was interested in buying out the other family members. The property had been neglected so we drove all over the land and discussed how he could actively manage it as a timber investment and for recreation benefits as well.

I think that’s one of the benefits of dealing with Southern AgCredit. All the lenders specialize in different things, so we have a really strong network in place and can reach out to each other when questions come up. I may not know every answer about timberland, but my background and education have allowed me to be connected in the timber industry. I can help borrowers find someone to assist in selling their timber or site prep their property. Whatever they may need to manage their property—I can try to connect those people. 

What is the best way for someone looking for hunting and recreational land to find the tract for them?

There are lots of ways to find properties but I’ve found that word of mouth is one of the best ways. Many properties are never listed for sale with a realtor. Often I learn about these properties through my network of landowners, forestry consultants, and people in the timber industry. I always ask the potential buyer to tell me what they’re looking for in a property and what their main focus or goal is then we go from there.

Why should someone finance their land with Southern AgCredit?

Being a customer of Southern AgCredit is more than just having a loan. Since we are a cooperative lender, once you have a loan, then you are also a stockholder of Southern AgCredit. Being a stockholder comes with benefits such as patronage, customer appreciation dinners, scholarships and more. We are always looking for ways to help our borrowers succeed.

Come in and visit with us. Tell us what you’re looking for. I like to help my customers figure out what they want—what excites them about the property they’re searching for. Some business professionals don’t have a lot of spare time to work on a property and want something that’s already set up, and others want to get up and ride their tractor to relax and get away from the daily grind. I intend to help customers get the property they want and manage it the way they want. 


If you’re considering purchasing land or making any other kind of agricultural loan in eastern Mississippi, Stephen Bass is ready to help you. Details about the Meridian office opening are forthcoming, but you can get in touch with him today at 1-800-449-5742 or by email at stephen.bass@southernagcredit.com.

Rural Internet Options in Louisiana and Mississippi

The lack of high-speed Internet options for rural residents of Louisiana and Mississippi was a problem before the pandemic. COVID-19 lockdowns and library closures have made clear what people living outside the city limits already knew: high-speed internet is an essential utility, and not enough people have it. 

The Scope of the Internet Access Issue: the Rural-Urban Broadband Divide

The pandemic has deepened what is referred to as the Rural-Urban Broadband Divide—a disparity that leaves millions of Americans behind. The reason why this divide exists in the first place is multipronged, but the main issue is that laying fiber optic cable lines is not profitable for for-profit utility companies to build. 

Construction of internet cable is time-consuming and difficult. When homes are close together, internet service providers are happy to make this investment, but in rural areas where locations are fewer and miles apart, it can be much more difficult.

As a result, rural communities in Louisiana and Mississippi suffer from a lack of high-speed internet every day. Imagine not being able to attend school online, hop on a Zoom call, place an online order, or send a business invoice. Mississippi and Louisiana have some of the lowest rates of rural broadband access in the country.

Recent Developments

Both Louisiana and Mississippi are receiving funds from the following federal grant and loan programs to bolster broadband infrastructure.

FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund in August 2019 to bring high-speed internet to rural areas of our country. The program has provided $4.7 billion in funding to bring broadband to 2.7 million locations so far. 

In January and March 2022, the FCC announced that additional rounds of funding will be released to more unserved areas of the country as well as locations that had defaulted bids during Phase I and Phase II of the initial launch of the program.

FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program

“The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more.

The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

“The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.”

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is awarding grants to expand broadband infrastructure to twelve states and Guam. NTIA’s Broadband Infrastructure Program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed in 2021.

USDA ReConnect

Funded through the CARES Act of 2020, USDA’s ReConnect program provides grants, loans, and grant/loan combinations to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to build broadband and fuel long-term economic development in rural areas. 

Louisiana

Governor John Bel Edwards applauds the recent developments in state and federal broadband infrastructure funding. He said the broadband networks will “serve to connect the unconnected, bring digital inclusion and equity to our residents, and allow our rural communities to be competitive in the 21st Century.” Below are some programs being implemented. Governor Edwards has also established the Broadband for Everyone in Louisiana Commission to facilitate the process of building broadband for all residents.

FCC

Louisiana is adding broadband through the Rural Opportunity Fund. The FCC has published a list of the winning bidders, the number of locations they will serve, and the amount of each bid for Phase I. 

NTIA

The Acadiana Planning Commission, covering Acadia Parish, Evangline Parish, and St. Landry Parish, was awarded $29,940,612. The Acadiana Regional Public/Private Partnership for the Deployment of a Fiber to the Home Network in the Rural Underserved Areas of Acadiana project is a last-mile broadband deployment designed to bring qualifying broadband to 22,196 unserved households.

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Louisiana on March 21st to raise awareness of the digital divide as well as announce the NTIA funding.

GUMBO Program

Louisiana’s Office of Broadband Development & Connectivity (ConnectLA)’s grant program, Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities, or GUMBO, is helping build rural broadband. The ISP contract winners for the first round of funding have been announced. 

USDA ReConnect Program

The USDA ReConnect program provides grants, loans, and grant/loan combinations to ISPs to build broadband to fuel long-term economic development in rural areas through the CARES Act.

Star Telephone Company received two ReConnect awards to build high-speed broadband infrastructure in Iberville, Pointe Coupee, and St. Landry Parishes. These awards are a 50 percent grant/50 percent loan.

Funding RoundNumber of HouseholdsAward AmountDetailsParishes
20192,609$15,525,694Creates or improves connectivity for 2,609 rural households, 16 pre-subscribed farms, 13 educational facilities, 2 healthcare centers, and 8 critical community facilities spread over 100.26 square miles.Iberville
Pointe Coupee
St. Landry
20201,472$12,321,244This Rural Development investment will be used to deploy fiber-to-the-premises broadband service in rural Louisiana. The funded service areas include 1,472 households, 5 educational facilities, and 2 essential community facilities spread over 191.64 square miles.Rapides
Concordia
Pointe Coupee
Avoyelles
Evangeline

Mississippi

FCC

Mississippi is also adding broadband through the Rural Opportunity Fund. The FCC has published a list of the winning bidders, the number of locations they will serve, and the amount of each bid for Phase I. 

NTIA

In February, Mississippi received an NTIA award for $32,696,322. This grant is a last-mile and middle-mile broadband deployment across the entire state of Mississippi. It consists of ten unique projects that are designed to bring qualifying broadband to a total of 12,487 unserved households across ten counties.

Governor Tate Reeves said the following about the NTIA grant. “When Mississippi Public Utilities Staff approached us about whether a grant application should be submitted, I knew we absolutely had to proceed. Mississippi received the second-highest award total out of any state – a testament to the strength of our application and proof positive just how important these 10 projects are to not only Mississippi but to our country. My administration will continue to leverage every tool at our disposal to ensure all Mississippians, regardless of where they live, have access to the full breadth of benefits technology has to offer.”

The following entities will be funded through the Mississippi Public Service Commission:

ProjectCountyAward Amount
Bay Springs Smith CountySmith County$5,507,845.20
Bruce TelephoneCalhoun County$7,625,076.17
C Spire IssaquenaIssaquena County$894,780.00
C Spire Madison CountyMadison County$625,500.00
CableSouth Media 3 CollinsCovington County$1,755,000.00
Franklin TelephoneLincoln County$5,326,250.40
MaxxSouth New AlbanyBenton/Union County$3,072,303.78
MaxxSouth PontotocPontotoc County$1,693,345.18
Uplink CoahomaCoahoma County$4,859,330.58
We Connect Calhoun CountyCalhoun County$1,336,901.24

USDA ReConnect Program

The USDA ReConnect program provides grants, loans, and grant/loan combinations to ISPs to build broadband to fuel long-term economic development in rural areas through the CARES Act.

Two ISPs received 100% grants in the 2020 funding round to build high-speed broadband infrastructure in Mississippi

ISPNumber of HouseholdsAward AmountDetailsCounties
Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association878$16,091,872This Rural Development investment will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-home network in rural Mississippi. The funded service areas include 878 households and nine essential community facilities spread over 474.74 square miles.Yalobusha
Tallahatchie
Panola
Grenada
Quitman
Bay Springs Telephone Company2,037$4,692,817This Rural Development investment will be used to deploy fiber-to-the-premises broadband service in rural Mississippi. The funded service areas include 2,037 households, five educational facilities, seven essential community facilities, and two healthcare facilities spread over 96.71 square miles.Jasper
Jones
Newton
Lauderdale
Smith

Mississippi Electric Cooperatives Broadband COVID-19 Grant Program

Electric co-ops are now allowed to provide broadband thanks to a law passed by the Mississippi legislature in 2019. The Mississippi Electric Cooperatives Broadband COVID-19 Grant Program awarded money to ISPs to build broadband in areas unserved or underserved by broadband. You can view all the providers and their award amounts at the Mississippi Public Service Commission.

Broadband is Coming

While broadband may not have reached your particular parcel of rural land in Louisiana or Mississippi, the federal government as well as the government leaders of Louisiana and Mississippi are actively identifying unserved areas and allocating funds to bring broadband to you. To keep up with broadband providers in your area, visit the NTIA’s Broadband Availability Map.

At Southern AgCredit, we look forward to seeing all of our rural borrower-owners enjoy broadband on their farms, hunting camps, country homes, and more. For more information on financing your property in the country, contact a Southern AgCredit office near you.

Growing Healthy Lawns: Turf Management in Louisiana and Mississippi

For homeowners whose landscaping is a point of pride, the lawn is often considered their crown jewel. Since beautiful turf doesn’t just happen by itself, we’ve assembled some information on grass maintenance in your area of Louisiana and Mississippi. We are fortunate to have turf experts near us with all the information we need to improve our lawns.

Louisiana and Mississippi Growing Zones

First, it’s important to recognize your growing zone when consulting with a lawn expert or considering grasses for your landscaping. 

Louisiana

Plant hardiness zone map - Louisiana.

Mississippi

Plant hardiness zone map - Mississippi.

Most Common Grasses

Each type of lawn grass has varieties with its own water, mowing and light requirements. Research what seed or sod you’re purchasing, and consider consulting with a turf expert before you seed your lawn.

Type of Common TurfgrassHardiness ZonesMow Height (inches)Light
Bahiagrass7-113-4Full sun
Bermudagrass7-10⅜-1.5Full sun, poor shade tolerance
St. Augustinegrass8-102.5-3.0Full sun to moderate shade
Centipedegrass7-101.5-2.5Full sun to light shade
Zoysiagrass6-111.0-2.0Full sun to partial shade
Carpetgrass7-10¾-2.0Full sun to partial shade
Kentucky Bluegrass7a-7b2.5-3Full sun to moderate shade
Tall Fescue3-82.5-4.0Full sun to partial shade
Perennial Ryegrass (cool season)7-101.0-3.0Full sun, poor shade tolerance

Turf Maintenance Resources

Both Louisiana and Mississippi have rigorous college programs advancing the field of turf management. These departments are incredible resources for any turf issue you may come across.

Louisiana

LSU’s AgCenter has published the Turfgrass microsite, Louisiana Lawn Series: A Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Louisiana Lawn. The microsite covers topics such as:

  • Turfgrass species identification
  • Turfgrass management practices
  • Soils and soil fertility
  • Weeds
  • Insects and other pests
  • Diseases
  • Testing laboratories and services
  • Pesticide safety education and training
  • Testing laboratories and services
  • Ask an expert
  • Turfgrass groups and associations

Mississippi

The Mississippi State University Extension service is the go-to resource for turf concerns and resources in the state of Mississippi. 

The MSU Extension site has the following:

Free eBook on Home Lawns

MSU has published a comprehensive book on home lawns:

“The home lawn and turf areas surrounding churches, parks, and office buildings do more than just serve as pleasant green backdrops. The grass plants that make up the lawns serve as miniature air-conditioners and pollution-abatement centers. Download the PDF to learn more about establishing and maintaining your home lawn.”

Download Establish and Manage Your Home Lawn for free.

Common Turf Issues

Below are some of the most common turf issues that homeowners in Louisiana and Mississippi are currently experiencing. If you are experiencing a problem that’s not listed below, please refer to the turf maintenance resources.

Traffic Holes

​​There are no grasses that can hold up to regular wear and tear from children and dogs, with the exception of Bermuda grass. Using fertilizer and water, Bermuda grass recovers most quickly, which is the reason athletics fields in the south use it exclusively.

Weeds

Identify weeds and read about controlling them safely via fertilization, mowing and herbicides. LSU’s Turfgrass Weed guide has extensive information on the following types of weeds:

  • Weedy grasses (e.g. barnyardgrass, annual bluegrass, torpedograss)
  • Sedges & grass-like weeds (e.g. nutsedge, false garlic, green kyllinga)
  • Broadleaf weeds (e.g. doveweed, mock strawberry, lespedeza)

Insects and Armyworms

Your lawn is susceptible to a variety of insects. High on the list of pests ruining lawns across Louisiana and Mississippi right now is the armyworm. Armyworm larvae can eat an entire lawn in one night. 

If you have a hayfield, MSU has a lot of advice for identifying and treating armyworms in pastures

LSU’s advice is geared toward home lawns. Check out LSU’s horticulturist Heather Kirk Ballard explaining more about identifying them in your yard and treating the infestation.

Finance Your Lawn in the Country

If you’re building or buying a home in the country, Southern AgCredit can help you with financing. To learn more or get started, contact Southern AgCredit today.

Ice Storm Prep for Rural Properties

If you live in a rural area of Louisiana or Mississippi, severe weather can be devastating. And even though we live in a relatively warm climate, we aren’t impervious to severe cold and ice storms. The North American winter storm that hit us in February 2021 caused significant devastation across the country. 

Locally, the storm caused thousands of traffic accidents and was officially declared a disaster by the federal government in both Louisiana and Mississippi. 

An ice storm of that magnitude can possibly happen again, and preparing may help you mitigate the effects of the storm. Below are some tips, products and information you can use to stay safe and warm this year and for years to come.

Tricks of the North

Southerners rarely come into contact with the everyday tools that people in colder climates use when dealing with ice and snow. Though these may be used sparingly, you won’t regret having some of them on hand. 

Rock Salt

Rock salt can be used on sidewalks, stairs, patios and driveways to prevent slipping on ice. Don’t handle the salt with your bare hands, and be judicious about the amount of salt you use. Carefully wash your pets’ paws if they step in salt, as it will irritate their paw pads. If you properly store rock salt in an airtight container, you can keep it indefinitely.

Tire Traction

Many Southerners have heard the term “tire chains,” but do they know what that means? We all know how well sand melts ice, so try as they might, roads will likely be impassable until it melts. If you have to leave your home and are worried about getting stuck, there are some tire gadgets that can help get you out of a rough spot. Search for tire traction chains, tire traction mats and trac-grabbers.

Ice Accessories

Here are some nice-to-haves that you may enjoy during an ice storm:

  • Windshield scraper for removing ice on your car windows
  • Over-the-shoe ice cleats to reduce slip and falls
  • Touch screen gloves to keep your hands warm while using your mobile device

Propane

Chances are if you live in a rural area, you use propane for cooking and heating your home. The good news is that your home will likely stay warm. The bad news is that you’ll be using quite a bit more propane to heat your home and may risk running low or even running out. Propane tanker trucks could be running behind or unable to travel at all if the roads are too inaccessible. 

During the winter months, try to make sure that your tank is regularly topped off by enrolling in a regular fill schedule with your propane company. 

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes were a major issue during last year’s storm. There were boil water notices, burst pipes and busted mains. 

First, prepare to be without water by storing some at your home. The same general FEMA-recommended rule applies to winter storms as it does to hurricanes: plan for one gallon per person, per day. If you are able, try to keep enough for two weeks. 

Second, try to keep your pipes from freezing. If you have pipes that are exposed to cold air, you can purchase wrap or tube insulation from the hardware store. You can even wrap pipes and spigots with old towels and duct tape if you’re in a pinch. If you notice a frozen pipe, you can use an electric hairdryer to thaw it. However, don’t leave the dryer unattended. 

Third, you may have read that you need to keep your faucet dripping in order to keep the pipes flowing. That’s one way, but that method helps contribute to low water pressure across the whole system. 

Treeline Maintenance

Your risk of knocking down power lines increases in rural areas, and it may make roads impassable. Sleet-covered trees will snap or blow over during a winter storm. If a fallen tree has caused an impasse on your property or on a public road, be 100 percent sure that there is no power line under the tree before you attempt to clear it. 

Generator Safety

Hundreds of thousands of people lost power last year during the winter storm, and tragically, lives were lost due to house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you are going to use a generator to power your home during a blackout, please consider the following warnings very carefully:

  • Only heat your home with something designed to heat a home. This includes your fireplace, central heat and safely operated and monitored space heaters. Do not use an oven, stove or other burning device to create heat for your home.
  • Never run your car in a closed garage.
  • Do not take your generator inside, ever. Keep it as far away from the home as you can, as they create quite a bit of carbon monoxide.

Report Outages and Down Power Lines

If your power goes out, there’s no guarantee that your utility company will know about the issue. Let them know by reporting the outage on their app, website or by phone.

Many electricity providers in Louisiana and Mississippi now offer mobile apps, and if you allow notifications, the app can send you information on outages and restorations. However, even if you download your utility’s app, consider keeping both their number and your account number written down on paper just in case.

The chart below contains numbers to report outages and down power lines to electrical providers in the areas that Southern AgCredit serves.

Louisiana Electricity Providers

For urgent help with down power lines, you may also call 911.

Electricity ProviderReport Outages &
Down Power Lines
Outage Map
Claiborne Electric Co-op(800) 900-9406Outage Map
Cleo Power(800) 622-6537Outage Map
Entergy Louisiana(800) 968-8243Outage Map
City of Minden Utilities(318) 377-2144n/a
Panola-Harrison Electric Co-operative(800) 972-1093Outages text message alerts
City of Ruston Utilities(318) 255-1316n/a
SLEMCO(888) 275-3626Outage Map
SWEPCO(888) 218-3919Outage Map

Mississippi Electricity Providers

For urgent help with down power lines, you may also call 911.

Electricity ProviderReport Outages &
Down Power Lines
Outage Map
Canton Municipal Utilities(601) 859-2474n/a
Central Electric Power Association(601) 267-3043Outage Map
Coast Electric(877) 769-2372Outage Map
Collins, MS Electric Utility(601) 765-4491n/a
Delta Electric Power Association(662) 453-6352n/a
Dixie ElectricSmarthub app
(601) 425-2535
Outage Map
East Mississippi Electric Power(601) 581-8600Outage Map
Entergy Mississippi(800) 968-8243Outage Map
Greenwood Utilities Commission(662) 453-7553n/a
Magnolia Electric Power Association(601) 684-4011Outage Map
Mississippi Power(800) 487-3275Outage Map
Natchez Trace Electric Power(662) 456-3037
After Hours:
(662) 456-6185
(662) 456-6186
n/a
Pearl River Valley EPA855-277-8372n/a
Philadelphia, MS Utilities(601) 656-1121n/a
Singing River Electric CooperativeSmarthub app
Lucedale: (601) 947-4211
Gautier: (228) 497-1313
Outage Map
Southern Pine Electric(800) 231-5240Outage Map
Southwest Mississippi Electric Power AssociationSmarthub app
(800) 287-8564
Outage Map
Tallahatchie Valley Electric(662) 563-4742Outage Map
Twin County Electric Power(662) 827-2262
After hours:
(866) 897-7250
n/a
Public Service Commission of Yazoo City(662) 746-3741n/a
Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association(662) 746-4251
(888) 484-4277
n/a

Stay Put and Enjoy the Quiet

If we have another ice storm, and you’re properly prepared, we recommend staying put and enjoying the quiet. Mother Nature will melt the roads eventually. 

Southern AgCredit works to help our customer-owners realize their dreams of living in the country. For more information on financing land for yourself, contact an office near you.

How to Prepare Your Garden for Freezing Temperatures

The climate is predictably unpredictable in our part of the country. Each year we hope to avoid winter weather whiplash, but in January, one day it may be 70 degrees outside and then 23 degrees the next.

The ice storm of February 2021 brought record lows to Louisiana and Mississippi. In addition to shivering temperatures, the cold front brought a dangerous amount of snow and sleet. 

Tips for Winter Garden Protection

Was your garden prepared for precipitation and single digits? This type of weather event could happen again, and the change can put a lot of stress on your garden. So, in order to preserve some of your hard work and prized plants, we have some tips for protecting your garden from severe cold and ice. 

1. Bring Your Pots Inside

This may seem intuitive, but it bears repeating: bring those pots and planters inside! For example, if you have a potted plant that usually stays outdoors, you can avoid it becoming damaged by temporarily bringing it indoors.

2. Know Your Vegetables

Some winter vegetables such as kale, collards and cabbage can endure a hard freeze. While others cannot handle frozen temps. It’s important to know which ones can endure winter weather and which cannot. If possible, vegetables that thrive in a warmer climate should be harvested prior to harmful winter weather.

3. Spray Fruit Trees and Bushes

If your fruit trees or shrubs are budding, you can protect them by spraying them with water. If they’re wet, the hydrogen bonds that form ice during a freeze release a small amount of heat that is then locked in with the buds. This ice will also help protect them from wind and sleet.

4. Covers Your Plants

Coverings can help protect your plants, but they can only help to a certain point. When you use covers, make sure that they extend all the way to the ground in order to trap any ground heat. Covers cannot properly protect against extremely cold temperatures, but they can help protect against sleet and wind. 

If you have very prized plants that you cannot move indoors, consider using multiple layers of covers on a particular plant. Like layering winter clothing, it can provide some extra warmth and protection, but avoid creating too much extra weight on top of the plant. 

5. Don’t Forget the Fish

Do you have a koi pond? Make sure your koi stay safe and healthy through a winter freeze. First, adjust their feeding schedule. The digestive systems of koi slow down when temperatures fall. Do not feed them if the water is below 41 degrees. Also, make sure the pond water is moving with the use of an aerator. If the cold snap will last long enough to freeze the pond completely solid, move the koi inside

Southern AgCredit Connects People With Land They Love

Don’t panic! If you lose any plants during a freeze, keep in mind that even master gardeners lose plants every season. One of the best things about gardening is the ability to experiment and add new types of shrubs, flowers, trees and vegetables to your yard.

If you’re a nature enthusiast and are thinking of purchasing land in the country, Southern AgCredit is an experienced land bank that finances life outside the city limits. Learn more about our loans for country homes and recreational land or contact a loan officer near you.

All About Prescribed Burning

Learn about Controlled Burning Practices and Get Certified to Perform Them

Did you know that 34.41 million acres of Mississippi and Louisiana are forestland? That makes up 65 percent of Mississippi’s land base, and 50 percent of Louisiana’s. That’s a lot of vegetation, environment, and animal life to keep healthy. And fire is a big part of that.

The Benefits of Prescribed Burning

It’s rare that we hear about fires as a good thing, but they are an important and vital tool used by trained professionals to keep forests and woodlands healthy. The fact is, there are several ecosystems that depend on fire to flourish. The U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that a prescribed fire can:

  • Reduce hazardous fuels
  • Minimize the spread of pest insects and disease
  • Remove unwanted species that threaten species native to an ecosystem
  • Provide forage for game
  • Improve habitat for threatened and endangered species
  • Recycle nutrients back to the soil
  • Promote the growth of trees, wildflowers, and other plants

Prescribed fire, also called a controlled burn, is performed during particular times and under certain conditions to limit any threat to the public, or uncontrollable spreading. These burns are carefully planned by burn managers. Plans include maps, the best times to burn, and burn targets. Burn targets usually include dead grass, fallen branches, dead trees, and thicker sections of undergrowth. 

Types of Controlled Burns

According to National Geographic, there are typically two types of prescribed burns: broadcast burning and pile burning. Broadcast burning includes large, controlled fires across hectares of land. Pile burning, on the other hand, is focused on smaller, individually burned piles of vegetation or debris. The second is more commonly used when conditions for broadcast burning aren’t safe, or to burn remnants of forest thinning and logging operations.

Performing a Prescribed Fire

If you own a tract of land that could benefit from a prescribed fire, the first step is to call a professional. Controlled burns are carefully planned and executed by trained personnel with specific goals. Nobody should start lighting fires on their land without the guidance of a trained burn manager.

Interested in becoming a burn manager? There’s a training program for that.

Prescribed Burn Trainings

Mississippi

The Mississippi Forestry Commission offers the Prescribed Burning Short Course several times a year. This class allows anyone in Mississippi to become a Certified Prescribed Burn Manager.

Though the class is normally for several days, it has been condensed to a one-day session due to COVID-19.

To complete the one-day Prescribed Burning Short Course, participants must first complete the online delivery of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s (NWCG) course “S-190 – Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior.”

Visit Mississippi Forestry Commission to learn more.

Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry offers a Certified Prescribed Burner Program. Act #589, passed in 1993, instructs the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to conduct the training required for people to meet the standards for identification as a Certified Prescribed Burner. 

In order to meet the standards for identification as a Certified Prescribed Burner, an individual must:

  • Have received either formal or on-the-job training in prescribed burning
  • Have conducted five burns as the supervising professional
  • Burn with a written prescribed burn plan
  • Adhere to all Louisiana Voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines and Voluntary Best Management Practice Guidelines
  • Meet the Louisiana Notification of Burn directives
  • Successfully pass the certification exam with a score of 70% or higher

If you’re interested in completing the program, contact your preferred contractor from the prescribed burning contractor list provided. Visit Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to learn more.

Financing For Your Future Forest

If you own land, and you’re looking to utilize a prescribed fire to better nourish your land, please be safe. Get the training you need and leverage control fires appropriately. If you’re looking for land to care for, whether as a timber and forest product, hunting and recreational land, or country home, Southern AgCredit can help! Get in touch with us today and let’s explore your financing options.

Higher Education Programs in Forestry

Degrees Programs for Future Foresters of Louisiana and Mississippi

Why Forestry Education

Timber is big business in our neck of the woods (no pun intended). If you’re interested in a career related to forestry, opportunities abound. Before you apply, you’ll need to make sure you’re qualified for the position. 

Professional foresters have deep institutional knowledge of the forestry industry, in addition to expertise on forest ecology and management. Having an associate degree in forestry technology or a bachelor’s degree in forestry will demonstrate to employers that you’ve acquired additional training.  

Careers in Forestry

Forestry technicians and professional foresters can take many professional routes in Louisiana and Mississippi. Some employers include:

Browse more job opportunities at forestryusa.com 

Forestry Education Paths

Generally speaking, if you’re interested in a career in forestry and want to earn a degree, there are different paths you may take:

  1. Community College

The first option is to attend a community college. Many community colleges in Louisiana and Mississippi offer a two-year associate degree in forestry technology. When you graduate from an accredited community college forestry technology program, you can officially put “forestry technician” on your resume.

  1. Transfer

Many community colleges in both Louisiana and Mississippi can help you earn an associate degree at a community college and then transfer to a four-year college or university.

  1. Four-Year Colleges and Universities

Graduate from an accredited four-year college or university in order to be qualified to be a professional forester. 

Forestry Programs in Louisiana and Mississippi

Louisiana

Louisiana has three universities and two technical community college programs for forestry. 

Community Colleges

Central Louisiana Technical Community College

Huey P. Long Campus
Winnfield, LA 

“The Forest Technology program prepares students to produce, protect, and manage timber; maintain and operate related equipment; and select, grade, harvest, and market forest raw materials for converting into a variety of consumer goods.”

Students may earn the following:

  • Technical Diploma in Forest Technology
  • Certificate of Technical Studies in Forest Harvesting & Planting Assistant
  • Certificate of Technical Studies in Forest Technician Site Assistant
Sowela Technical Community College

Main Campus
Lake Charles, LA

“The Forest Technology program prepares students to produce, protect, and manage woodland resources. Coursework also includes how to maintain and operate related equipment and harvest raw forest materials for converting into a variety of consumer goods.”

Students may earn the following:

  • Technical Diploma in Forest Technology
  • Certificate of Technical Studies in Forest Harvesting & Planting Assistant
  • Career and Technical Certificate in Resource Management Assistant

Four-Year Colleges

Louisiana Tech University
School of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry

Ruston, LA

Louisiana Tech’s Forestry program is accredited by the Society of American Foresters. The program offers two concentration options:

Forestry Management Concentration

“This broad field incorporates biological, physical, ecological, and managerial sciences to help future foresters earn and grasp and appreciate the deep commitment required to understanding and appreciating—and conserving—the world’s forest resources.”

Wildlife Habitat Management Concentration

“This academic program and specific focus on wildlife habitats is designed for students who want to learn about conservation and management techniques that support sustainable wildlife populations and their habitats.”

Louisiana State University
School of Renewable Natural Resources

Baton Rouge, LA

Students at LSU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in natural resources ecology and management and can choose an area of concentration. Six areas of concentration are accredited by the Society of American Foresters:

  • forest resource management
  • forest enterprise
  • wildlife habitat conservation and management
  • conservation biology
  • ecological restoration
  • wetland science
Southern University and A&M College
Agricultural & Mechanical College

Baton Rouge, LA

Students at Southern University may earn a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Urban Forestry. 

“Today, the Department of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources at SU has the most comprehensive Urban Forestry Higher Education Program in the nation and has been recognized as a leader in graduating the diverse, talented next generation of urban forestry and natural resources professionals for the country.”

Mississippi

Community Colleges

East Mississippi Community College

Scooba, MS Campus

“Forestry Technology is an instructional program that prepares individuals to produce, protect, and manage timber and other forest crops. Students enrolled in the program will participate in a variety of learning experiences related to land and forest measurements, growth processes of timber stands, tree identification, timber and forest products harvesting, timber stand management, forest protection, and forest products utilization.

“Forestry Technology is a two-year technical program. An Associate of Applied Science degree is awarded upon successful completion of the curriculum. Enrollment is open in either the fall or spring semesters.”

Itawamba Community College

Fulton, MS Campus

“The Forestry Technology program prepares individuals to assist foresters in the management and production of forest resources. It includes instruction in woods and field skills, tree identification, timber measurement, logging and timber harvesting, forest preparation and regeneration, forest firefighting, resource management, equipment operation and maintenance, recordkeeping, sales and purchasing operations and personnel supervision.”

Northwest Mississippi Community College

Desoto Campus, Southaven, MS

“Forestry is designed for a student who wishes to major in forestry or one of its two divergent areas of study—Forestry or Wildlife and Fisheries Science. A student will receive an Associate of Arts degree upon completion of this two-year program of study.”

Jones County Junior College

Ellisville, MS Campus

“Classroom work, outdoor labs, and Jones County Junior College are utilized to provide learning experiences for the students in all phases of applied forestry. This Program will also provide students with the necessary scientific skills, mathematical theories, and field techniques which will allow them to professionally perform the duties of a forestry technician. Upon completion of all course work, a Technical Certificate or the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S) degree is awarded.”

Holmes Community College

Goodman, MS Campus

“The Forest Technology program is designed to immerse students in various natural resources topics, including tree identification, forest protection and management, wildlife management, timber harvesting, and forest product utilization, volume estimation, environmental protection, forestry certifications, mapping, and navigation. This applied science prepares individuals to work alongside foresters and other natural resource professionals to achieve a wide array of management objectives. Forestry Technology is a two-year technical program. An Associate of Applied Science degree is awarded upon successful completion of the curriculum.”

Four-Year College

Mississippi State University

College of Forest Resources, Department of Forestry
Starkville, MS

MSU is Mississippi’s only four-year university training for forestry professionals. They offer a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and offer six concentrations:

  1. environmental conservation
  2. forest business
  3. forest management
  4. forest products
  5. urban forestry
  6. forestry / wildlife management

“Graduates of the major are qualified to become a Registered Forester in Mississippi after successfully completing an examination for this purpose with the Board of Registration for Foresters (BORF) in Mississippi. Graduates are also qualified to become Society of American Forester Certified Foresters by successfully completing an exam.”

MSU also offers an M.S. in forestry and a Ph.D. in forest resources.

Adjacent Programs

Hinds Community College’s Logging Academy

Raymond, MS Campus

“Hinds Community College is offering a Logging Academy Program in partnership with Mississippi Logging Association and Mississippi Forestry Commission. The academy is an 8- to 16-week program designed to equip students with little or no experience to become a logging equipment operator with safety certifications as well as Professional Logging Manager (PLM) status.”

Timberland Property Financing

Southern AgCredit is a major supporter of the timber and forest industry in Louisiana and Mississippi. If you’re a new timber owner starting out or an existing business, we offer financing for property, equipment, operating lines of credit, and more. To learn more about how we can help your timber business, please contact the office near you.

Get to Know Kelly Coleman

Meet Southern AgCredit’s Relationship Manager in Ruston, Louisiana

After twenty years in commercial lending, Kelly Coleman is glad to be back where he started: agricultural lending. Now a relationship manager with Southern AgCredit, this native Louisianan is inspired to serve Southern AgCredit’s borrower-owners in our growing Ruston office. 

Where did you grow up?

Kelly: I was born in Monticello, Louisiana, in East Carroll Parish and grew up on a 2,000-acre crop and cattle farm. It was a very rural environment. Monticello didn’t have a stop sign or a red light, but it had a cotton gin and a school. My graduating class of 19 kids was one of the largest the school had up until that point. 

Did you have to work on the farm? 

Kelly: You know I did! [laughs] Every day there was something to take care of. My work ethic and self-discipline can be attributed to growing up on the farm. My parents and grandparents were good to their neighbors, and it taught me how to help others. 

You also learn how to build things—weld, run saws, and mend fences. That’s been very valuable in my life.

You have a degree in agricultural education from Louisiana Tech. How did you get into agricultural lending?

Kelly: I was originally majoring in agriculture business, but things were terrible in the economy the whole time I was in college. Land values were collapsing and commodity prices were falling. So, I switched to agriculture education. I graduated with a degree thinking that I was going to teach agriculture in the school systems. Then, I interviewed for the internship program with the [then] Federal Land Bank of Jackson, Mississippi, and they hired me.  

Where have you worked since your internship?

Kelly: After my internship, I went to work for the Federal Land Bank in Louisiana for 15 years. Then I moved to Oak Grove, Louisiana, in 2000 to go into commercial banking. I worked on everything from gas stations and convenience stores to multi-level housing projects. 

I could not be happier to be back in Farm Credit.

“Some people just know they want some property, and with my experience, I can lead them and guide them. People need options and direction. I do everything I can to make it happen.”

Tell us about your family.

Kelly: My wife, Tralynn, and I have six adult children and five grandchildren. All of them live in Louisiana. 

Tell us about being a pastor.

Kelly: I’ve been in pastoral ministry since 2011, and I’m currently the bivocational pastor of Culbertson Baptist Church, about 10 miles north of Ruston in Farmerville. It’s a small church of about 40-50 people.

How has ministering been different during the pandemic?

Kelly: I’ve spent most of my ministry time during the pandemic either teaching or preaching from a porch. The church has an FM transmitter, and the people would park in the church lot like a drive-in movie theater. 

How has working at Southern AgCredit been different during the pandemic? 

Kelly: Serving people in the loan business was tough because I like shaking someone’s hand and getting to know them. 

When I started here in January, Southern AgCredit handed me a laptop, and we are now able to access anything we need from our vehicles or our homes. We are equipped with the technology to be efficient and take care of people’s business, whether we are working from the office or working remotely.  

What do you enjoy about agricultural lending?

Kelly: I like making a difference in people’s lives—helping them meet their goals of owning their own place or improving their operation. I like helping people. 

It means a lot to me to serve other people. In serving, I find joy. Sometimes it’s not all positive. Sometimes people find themselves in problematic situations, and you have to find a way to help them if at all possible—same as ministry. 

When I talk to somebody and find out what their goal is, and we can make that happen, a closing is very rewarding for the lender as well as the person receiving the loan. 

What do you like about working at Southern AgCredit?

Kelly: Honestly, I love everything about Southern AgCredit. I have found Southern AgCredit has a genuine interest in providing competitive products. These products are phenomenal, with good interest rates and are much more competitive than other lenders.  

The efficient way Southern AgCredit runs their business and supports people is very unique. They are very compassionate to their employees and they also do their very best to make the applicants happy. 

If at all possible, we are going to structure something that fits the appetite of the person getting the loan. Not everyone operates that way. 

Do you have any Southern AgCredit stories that you’d like to share? 

Kelly: I’ve found myself meeting with borrowers that I’ve known through the years. There have been numerous borrowers that we deal with that I know, went to school with and made loans to.

I had a guy come in yesterday, and when I heard the name, I instantly remembered it. I went to meet him, and he said, “Kelly Coleman, where have you been?!” Turns out, I financed a home for him in 1989. It was nice catching up with him.

I appreciate our advertising campaigns. People say, “Heard you on the radio!” or “Saw you on a billboard.” It’s just really a blessing.

Contact Kelly Coleman in Ruston

If you are interested in a loan for your agricultural business, contact an expert. As Southern AgCredit’s relationship manager, Kelly deals with commercial accounts of all sizes—everything from small, part-time farms to large operations.

The Ruston, Louisiana, branch serves Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson, Lincoln, Ouachita, Union, and Webster parishes. You can visit their downtown office on Vienna Street from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or give Kelly a call at (318) 255-6539.