Educational sessions on tap this week at Extension office

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 17, 2008

The Extension Service is sponsoring several educational sessions this week to help prepare you for Christmas shopping, obtaining social security retirement benefits and feeding your cows.

If you go

* Buying a GPS Navigational Device – Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-noon

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* Social Security online – Thursday, 5:30 p.m.

* Corn ethanol coproducts conference – Tuesday, 8:15 a.m. at Extension Service regional headquarters in Raymond.

Since some of you may actually be out doing some early Christmas shopping this weekend, let me begin by explaining the program we are offering called Buying a GPS Navigational Device. If you plan to purchase one, you may put off that particular decision until after you have attended our session.

In-car navigational systems or GPS devices are poised to be among some of the hottest, must-have gadgets on shoppers’ Christmas gift-lists this year, but shopping for the right system may be a daunting task. How does one learn the terminology associated with these accessories, decide what to look for or how much to pay?  

Our session on buying a GPS navigational device Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until noon will take a look at the newest line of GPS navigational devices and will help you decide which one is best for you. Mariah Smith, Extension computer specialist, will present this program via our interactive video network. Participants will learn to identify basic functions and compare various systems.  

Also, on Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. we will host an interactive session with Shawn Mercer, Social Security public affairs specialist, who will present a program to teach individuals anticipating retirement how to complete online applications for social security benefits.

Participants will learn how to make the process simpler, quicker and more efficient. With the number of boomers who are approaching retirement age, the lines could be long ones at the local centers. Learning how to complete the application process online will reduce that waiting time. 

Interested individuals should register for this free service by calling the Extension office at 636-5442, as space is limited.

Finally, for our cattlemen out there who are wondering how they might be able to use the coproducts of our relatively new ethanol plant to feed their cattle this winter, we will be hosting a conference on using corn ethanol coproducts at our Extension Service regional headquarters — the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center — in Raymond Tuesday at 8:15 a.m.

This conference will feature beef cattle nutritionists from Purdue University Extension Service, who have had extensive experience with feeding corn ethanol coproducts to cattle and will also include instructors from Mississippi State University. Instructors will address the physical, chemical and economical considerations for using coproducts from corn ethanol production in livestock diets. 

Since our local ethanol plant opened this summer, several area livestock producers have discovered the benefits of feeding the coproducts. However, producers should be aware of several important considerations in order to obtain maximum benefits from the product as a feed ingredient.

John C. Coccaro is county Extension director. Write to him at 1100-C Grove St., Vicksburg, MS 39180 or call 601-636-5442. E-mail him at