Better Kansas – Ideas for Living, Growing and Succeeding

Month: March 2020

Better Kansas – March 26, 2020

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In this week’s Better Kansas we offer resources to help keep us healthy and nourished during this unprecedented time in our country and our world, including information about extension offices across the state, shopping efficiently when you DO venture out, free online gatherings for farmers and ranchers dealing with current markets, possible freeze injury to wheat and honoring some of the state’s best. This is a small glimpse of what K-State Research and Extension across the state has to offer. Share on social media and subscribe! – Mary Lou Peter mlpeter@ksu.edu

Better Living, Better Communities

K-State Research and Extension has compiled numerous publications and other information to help people take care of themselves and others during times of crisis. See the complete list of resources online.

Local K-State Research and Extension agents are still on the job during this time of closures and confinement. They, too, are practicing social distancing. Email is the best way to reach them, but call forwarding and voicemail allow for closed local offices to be reached by phone as well (some responses could be delayed). To find out how to reach your local agents, visit the K-State Research and Extension county and district directory.

THE PANDEMIC THAT’S SWEEPING THE COUNTRY AND THE WORLD, COVID-19 aka coronavirus, has many of us thinking, feeling, reading about and DOING many things we’ve not considered before. Just yesterday a friend sent a message saying how hard it is to be so isolated. I, myself was pretty confident that I had enough food and supplies to get me through a couple of weeks or longer, but now I’m questioning that and if I don’t, will there be any on store shelves when I need them? K-State Research and Extension has assembled a range of resources in one place with tips from how to talk to your children during disasters to emotional eating to understanding stress and depression and much more. We’ll be adding resources to the COVID-19 Extension Resource page as we can, so check back. And remember, we Kansans are hardy and resilient people.

 

Last week, something went awry when I tried to highlight this resource, so I’m repeating it because it’s worth repeating:

SOME OF US MAY BE COOKING AT HOME MORE THAN USUAL OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS. The Cooking with Confidence web page provides a wealth of information to everyone from novices to experienced cooks, with links to resources from K-State and other land grant universities around the country. Topics such as Eating Well Made Easy, Cooking Veggies, Healthy Cooking and Recipes and many more are included. Take a look!

 

ARE YOU A LIST MAKER OR A RANDOM SHOPPER? In these strange and unusual days, we’re encouraged to limit our trips to the super market, so it’s especially wise to be intentional about what you want before you walk through those doors. Check out this article and radio interview for tips on making those trips as efficient as possible. Making a list and checking it twice isn’t only for Christmas!

Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening

LIKE ALL ASPECTS OF THE U.S. AND GLOBAL ECONOMY, COVID-19 IS AFFECTING AGRICULTURE. Check out this series of online gatherings on Thursday evenings at no cost, hosted by K-State Research and Extension ag economics specialists. Join your fellow ag producers and agribusiness owners via Zoom to discuss the challenges this unprecedented event is presenting to us. Dates and topics include:

  • Thursday, March 26 – 7 p.m. – Further Updates on the Macroeconomy
  • Thursday, April 2 – 7 p.m. – Grain Markets and Planting Intentions
  • Thursday, April 9 – 7 p.m. – Ongoing Effects on Livestock Markets
  • Thursday, April 16 – 7 p.m. – Effects on Land Values

In addition to the primary topics, specialists will be available to help answer questions and to discuss other topics. Each online gathering will include a short presentation and the opportunity for participants to discuss and ask questions. Feel free to register for one or all gatherings. Registration is required and limited to the first 300 people.

 

WE’RE AT A TIME OF YEAR WHEN IT’S BALMY SPRING ONE DAY AND TEMPS PLUMMET BELOW FREEZING THE NEXT. Take a look at an article about spring freeze injury to wheat in the Agronomy eUpdate, complete with weather maps showing air and soil temperatures and what to look for in your crop if you’re concerned about freeze damage. Whether it’s vulnerable depends on factors such as the stage of development, tillage practice (linked to soil temperature), when the wheat was planted and when it emerged.

 

KANSAS IS WELL KNOWN FOR ITS AGRICULTURE, and no one exemplifies or represents the state’s farmers better than Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers. Six couples were recently honored for their leadership in agriculture, environmental stewardship and service to their communities. Read more and listen about:

  • Grant and Gayla Corley – Anderson County
  • Mark and Eva Gardiner – Clark County
  • Doug and Saundra McGraw – Finney County
  • David and Janet Olson – Brown County
  • Richard and Denise Swenson – Cloud County
  • Richard and Karen Works – Allen County

The Kansas Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker Program is co-sponsored by K-State Research and Extension and Kansas Farmer magazine.

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For more resources and activities, contact the K-State Research and Extension office in your area. Check out our other blogs and subscribe to our weekly emails here: https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/blogs/

Better Kansas – March 19, 2020

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In this week’s Better Kansas, we touch on where to go for official COVID19 information, suggestions for cooking with confidence, recommendations for refrigerating and freezing foods, cutting back ornamental grasses, an anaplasmosis vaccine in development and a farmland lease survey. This is a small glimpse of what K-State Research and Extension across the state has to offer. Share with others on social media and subscribe! – Mary Lou Peter mlpeter@ksu.edu

Better Living, Better Communities

IT’S IN TIMES LIKE THIS, WHEN WE’RE BOMBARDED WITH INFORMATION about COVID19 aka novel Coronavirus 2019, that it’s sometimes hard to determine what’s credible and what’s not. Like many of you, I marveled … and was somewhat perplexed, that not only were the toilet tissue shelves cleared out at my local store a few days ago, but so were the bread, pasta and peanut butter sections. Keep an eye on the Prepare Kansas blog, where we point to sources of official science-based information on topics that affect all of us. It won’t help you find supplies, but it will cut right to the latest official word. If there’s one thing I’m thankful for right now, it’s that the days are getting longer and the weather warmer. Take care and look out for one another.

 

SOME OF US MAY BE COOKING AT HOME MORE THAN USUAL OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS. The Cooking with Confidence web page provides a wealth of information to everyone from novices to experienced cooks, with links to resources from K-State and other land grant universities around the country. Topics such as Eating Well Made Easy, Cooking Veggies, Healthy Cooking and Recipes and many more are included. Take a look!

 

HAVE YOU EVER PLANNED TO USE THAT PREVIOUSLY OPENED PACKAGE OF CREAM CHEESE IN YOUR EVENING SUPPER, only to find there was a nice layer of mold growing on the surface? Not a welcome sight. A handy guide to Safe Food Storage for the refrigerator and freezer lists all kinds of foods and the recommended maximum amount of time they can be stored there (or if they can be stored there at all). I didn’t know until recently that you can refrigerate or freeze bananas. This confirms it!

Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening

MARCH IS A GOOD TIME TO CUT BACK THOSE BEAUTIFUL ORNAMENTAL GRASSES now that winter has mostly slipped away and new growth is starting. Whether you need pruning shears or a chainsaw depends on the type of grass … and your enthusiasm and energy level! The March 10 Horticulture newsletter includes a segment on the topic, plus several others, including fertilizing the garden, cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.), rhubarb, planting potatoes, vegetable spacing and more. I’m by no means an experienced gardener. I’ve grown a few vegetables, including broccoli, but wasn’t familiar with the expressions “bolting” and “buttoning” in cole crop plants. Take a look.

 

GOOD NEWS FOR THE BEEF INDUSTRY: Veterinary researchers at KSU have teamed with Iowa State University to develop a new vaccine platform to produce long-lasting protection against anaplasmosis infection. Bovine anaplasmosis, caused by the blood-borne parasite Anaplasma Marginale, is the most prevalent tick-transmitted disease of cattle worldwide and causes significant disease loss to beef producers in the United States. It can result in aborted calves, lost milk production in dairy cattle, death loss and more. Read an article or listen to the Agriculture Today radio interview on the topic.

 

DO YOU WISH YOU KNEW MORE ABOUT WHAT OTHERS IN KANSAS WERE LEASING FARMLAND FOR? It’s especially helpful if you’re thinking of leasing out your own land to your neighbor, Abby down the road or if you hope to lease your cousin Bill’s fields to expand your crop production. To help yourself and others’ understanding of current lease rates, K-State agricultural economists ask that you participate in a Kansas non-irrigated farm lease survey. The survey is voluntary and confidential, and will be open until the end of April. Results will be compiled and available on www.agmanager.info. Questions? Contact the Land Use Survey Center at tsoodle@ksu.edu or 785-532-1517. For a look at how the data will be used, check out the 2016 report.

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For more resources and activities, contact the K-State Research and Extension office in your area. Check out our other blogs and subscribe to our weekly emails here: https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/blogs/

Better Kansas – March 12, 2020

This week in Better Kansas, we share a unique learning event focused on food and healthy eating, information on spices, growing blueberries, agricultural law and help with farming activities via Kansas AgrAbility to help make your life, businesses, communities and state better. This is a small glimpse of what K-State Research and Extension across the state has to offer. Share on social media and subscribe! – Mary Lou Peter mlpeter@ksu.edu

Better Living, Better Communities

WE ALL EAT! and that’s the idea behind a free hands-on learning event planned in Sedgwick County Thursday, March 28 aimed at demonstrating ways to keep our tummies happy while eating foods that are good for us. WE ALL EAT! will happen 2:30-6:30 p.m. at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 7001 W. 21st Street in Wichita. Cooking demonstrations and activities are planned for all ages so bring the kids to visit more than 50 organizations and booths. Some lucky attendees will win door prizes and other giveaways. Hmmmm… wonder if one of them is a personal chef who comes in and whips up a wonderful, healthy dinner for me every night. We’ll call him Andre´ 😊. Just kidding! WE ALL EAT is a collaboration of K-State Research and Extension, Dillons Food Stores and organizations that make up the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita. The event is free but also FEEL free to bring peanut butter and canned fruit in juice for donation to the Kansas Food Bank.

Don’t live near Sedgwick County? K-State Research and Extension locations around the state offer all kinds of nutrition information and education. Check with yours to see what’s coming up.

WHILE WE’RE ON THE TOPIC OF FOOD, I’ll just say that it’s really helpful that some stores sell spices in much smaller quantities than they used to. Remember buying that huge jar of chopped chives or marjoram for just a teaspoon or two in one recipe….. ummm 10 years ago? And the rest is still taking up space in the spice cabinet? I guess it’s time to let it go! Okay, just a little humor to spice up this post. Check out Spice It Up, for good useful information on herbs and spices.

 

LET’S KEEP THE FOOD THEME GOING on a topic that’s controversial in some circles and enlightening and welcome in others. Alternative Protein Sources is a short new fact sheet that addresses the difference between meat as a protein source and plant-based protein sources, including nutritional considerations, plus how each is regulated by the government. My immediate work group includes omnivores, vegans and vegetarians. Planning our frequent potluck lunches is always an interesting exercise as we want to make sure everyone has plenty of the type of food they can or are willing to eat.

Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening

I NEVER REALLY HAD A FULL APPRECIATION FOR BLUEBERRIES until recent years, but now I’m hooked. Oh, yes … there were always those delectable blueberry muffins, but they’re also so good in yogurt, on cereal, in

Highbush blueberries

pancakes and by themselves! They’re a good source of fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K, and represent minimal calories (85 calories in 1 cup). Plus, the antioxidants in blueberries offer inflammation-fighting and cell-protecting properties. And you can freeze them and they don’t turn mushy like some other fruits! One health website calls them a nutritional powerhouse. This super fruit is not native to Kansas and not always easy to grow, but it can be done, particularly on the eastern side of the state. The March 3, 2020 Horticulture Newsletter provides a video with tips for growing blueberries, plus two written segments, including one on growing them in containers. The newsletter edition also includes several articles on turfgrass. Take a look.

MANY LAWS ARE ON THE BOOKS – SOME NEWER AND SOME FOR A LONG TIME – that affect agriculture, farmland ownership and more. Periodic updates by a Washburn University professor of agricultural law are available via Agriculture Today podcasts. Check out a couple of recent podcasts that include a ruling on the interest rate to be applied in a farm bankruptcy reorganization and the tax code provision called the Qualified Income Business Deduction, and questions he routinely receives from farmers and other landowners about it.

MAKING A CAREER IN AGRICULTURE CAN BE TOUGH UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, but even harder if a farmer or rancher has been injured, has a health condition or a disability. Kansas AgrAbility is available to directly assist the state’s farmers and ranchers as they navigate barriers to continue making their living helping grow our food supply. Kansas AgrAbility specialists combine their knowledge of agriculture with assistive device expertise to give farmers, ranchers and workers with health conditions or disabilities the specialized services they need to safely accommodate activities in everyday operations. Take a look at this fact page or call 1-800-KAN DO IT (1-800-526-3648). The program is part of a national network funded and administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA).

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For more resources and activities, contact the K-State Research and Extension office in your area. Check out our other blogs and subscribe to our weekly emails here: https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/blogs/

Better Kansas – March 5, 2020

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In this week’s Better Kansas, we take a look at managing sugar cravings, smart grocery shopping, personal money management, basic gardening guidelines, spring wheat, and beef cattle production – in other words more events, resources and other information designed to make your life, businesses, communities and state better. This is a small glimpse of what K-State Research and Extension across the state has to offer. Share on social media and subscribe! – Mary Lou Peter mlpeter@ksu.edu

Better Living, Better Communities

COMING OUT OF THE WINTER HOLIDAYS, it’s easy to stay in that mode where eating sweets is routine. It seems like sugar cravings beget sugar cravings. And no wonder! I’ve just learned that carbohydrates, especially sugar, stimulate the “feel good” chemical dopamine in the brain. That explains why it’s so hard to pass up that Kit Kat bar staring at me in the checkout line! Sugar-sweetened beverages are by far the greatest sources of added sugar in our diet, but plenty of other foods have added sugar, including breakfast cereals, yogurt and even my favorite pasta sauce. The article Taming Those Sugar Cravings has tips to help curb the Cookie Monster within us. One of them is to eat just a little of what you’re craving. An idea that works for me is to keep a bag of semi-sweet chocolate morsels in the pantry. When the craving hits, eat just a few of them. The fat and calories can add up fast, but still beats eating that same number of morsels in cookies. Eating a few grapes sometimes works, too.

 

HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT THE HEALTHIER FOODS at your grocery store tend to be around the perimeter of the store, while more processed foods are in the center aisles? Think fresh produce, lean meat, fresh dairy … and then think about where the cookies, cake mixes and canned foods are. Some of the ways we can shop smarter, cut down on food waste, eat healthier and save money involve planning meals ahead of time, checking what we already have on hand, and making a list before we even set out for the store. Listen to this Sound Living segment on Navigating the Grocery Store. I love the part about looking down. Check it out. And where’s that milk that we always seem to run into the store for? Typically, at the very back of the store, right?!

 

I GREW UP IN A WONDERFUL FAMILY, but there was never really talk about money – good, bad or ugly. And financial education? No way! So, for those of us who missed out on some of those Adulting 101 lessons, or even if you could use a refresher or reminder, take a look at the Financially $peaking page, produced by extension agents and specialists from across the state who are focused on supporting individuals and families with their financial health and wellness. I’ll be mentioning some of the nuggets they come up with from time to time, like this April 2019 article with financial tips on navigating disasters. If you find yourself buying supplies to clean up after a flood, for example, one of the key things to remember, says a FEMA official, is to save receipts from those purchases!

Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening

WE HAVE A NEW BIG BOX LUMBER/HARDWARE STORE NOT FAR FROM WHERE I LIVE and not surprisingly on my first trip there, I was drawn to the garden section. It’s early March, but like many of you, I’m so eager to get outside and try growing new flowers and maybe some vegetables in my little postage stamp of a back yard. Over the next few months I’ll be sharing many resources aimed at helping you do everything from growing healthier lawns to pest management to pruning shrubs and more. I found this short article on Good Gardening Practices to get us started. Let the season begin!!!! (Surely, if we think it, it must be so.)

 

WE GROW A LOT OF EXCELLENT HARD RED WINTER WHEAT in Kansas – in fact it’s what we’re known for. But what about spring wheat? Our HRW wheat, which is typically planted in September or October, vernalizes (goes dormant) in the winter, and is harvested in early summer of the following year. HRW wheat often ends up as yeast breads and rolls, but is also suited for other things. About 95% of the wheat grown in Kansas is HRW. Alternatively, hard red spring wheat is planted in early spring, has a shorter growing season and does not vernalize over the winter. Its high protein and strong gluten make it a good ingredient for artisan breads, rolls, croissants, bagels and pizza crust. To help growers in northwest Kansas who may be considering giving HRS wheat a try, K-State has tested some potential varieties. Take a look at a summary of what they’ve learned and other things to consider if thinking of growing hard red spring wheat in northwest Kansas or if you just want to learn more about HRS wheat.

 

FOR THOSE OF YOU IN THE BEEF CATTLE BUSINESS (there are just a few of you in Kansas, right?), this month’s Beef Tips has articles highlighting a Stock Growers Field Day on March 31 in Beloit, rules of thumb for grazing management, an estrus synchronization tool, supplementing cows during cold weather and much more. I always appreciate the Management Minute section. Much of what’s written in that segment can be applied to many workplaces besides cattle production operations.

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For more resources and activities, contact the K-State Research and Extension office in your area. Check out our other blogs and subscribe to our weekly emails here: https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/blogs/

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