Better Kansas – Ideas for Living, Growing and Succeeding

Tag: healthy eating

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

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.


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:

Better Kansas – June 27, 2019

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Welcome to Better Kansas, a weekly update that touches on a few of the many events, resources and programs available around the state. For more resources and activities, check with the K-State Research and Extension office in your area. In the meantime, check our Better Kansas site for archived entries and to sign up. Share it with friends, family and colleagues! – Mary Lou Peter

Better Living, Better Communities

WHAT A RANGE OF EMOTIONS WE HAVE WHEN FIGURING OUT WHO WILL TAKE CARE OF OUR CHILDREN when we’re heading off to work or school. Maybe you’re considering a child care home where an individual cares for children in a home setting. How do you find a good one? They’re adorable, but babies and toddlers take time and a lot of attention! How many babies are allowed to be cared for by one individual? How many children can one person care for if all of the children are school aged? There are rules and regulations licensed child care homes must abide by in Kansas.  Choosing Care For Your Children: Child Care Homes is one of several K-State Research and Extension resources available that focuses on the ins and outs of choosing the best care for your kiddo.

REMEMBER THAT PROMISE YOU MADE TO YOURSELF EARLY THIS YEAR? The one about eating healthier? If you’re like me, it’s a good time to revisit that promise. Summer is a great time to try new fruits and vegetables! Go to your local farmer’s market or visit with someone in the produce section at your grocery store about what’s in season. Many even have or can direct you to recipes using those foods. The prices on

foods in season are often lower than at other times of the year, making them healthier for your budget, too. There are even foods that help keep you hydrated during the hot weather …. think watermelon! Check out the recent Sound Living podcast Healthy Summer Eating and get familiar with a list of when fruits and vegetables are typically in season in Kansas.

BY THE WAY, MANY FOODS CAN BE PRESERVED SAFELY NOW so you can enjoy the taste of the season long after the season is past. My mind is drifting to strawberry jam and pickles but there’s so much more you can do. Many K-State Research and Extension offices offer tips and training on safe food preservation including in Wichita on June 28 and in Topeka on July 9. Check with your local office to see if there’s one available near you. Even if there’s not, there’s great information on the Preserve It Fresh, Preserve It Safe web page.

Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening

DON’T MISS ONE OF THE VERY BEST AG BUSINESS CONFERENCES IN THE COUNTRY. The 2019 K-State Risk and Profit Conference is Aug. 22-23 at the K-State Alumni Center. Sara Wyant, president of Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc., leads things off as the keynote speaker at the opening lunch, followed by breakout sessions on tons of topics, industry exhibits, social time, dinner, and “A Conversation with a Kansas Producer.” And that’s just the first day. The second day features the grain and livestock market outlooks and more breakout sessions on even more topics, plus lunch. This is the place to be if you want relevant big-picture – plus regional and statewide – information on managing your farms and ranches.

If we’re lucky, we’ll get to hear the Pride of Wildcat Land Marching Band practicing next door again this year. What can I say? I was a band parent!

LOOKING FOR A BETTER WAY TO KEEP YOUR GARDEN AND LANDSCAPE WATERED? COLLECTING RAINWATER IS FREE! If you don’t already have rain barrels, there’s no time like the present to make a trip to the hardware store to get you started on implementing this efficient way to collect rain water for use in the landscape and to help protect water quality. And we’ve got step-by-step information to show you how in How to Build a Rain Barrel Part 1 and Part 2.

Several extension offices across the state have held workshops on how to make and use them. For example, K-State Research and Extension offices in Ellis, Russell and Ellsworth counties have teamed with the KSU Big Creek Middle Smoky Hill River Watersheds, the City of Hays & City of Ellis, Ellis County Master Gardeners, County Conservation District Offices in Ellis, Russell, & Ellsworth counties, and the Fort Hays State University Agriculture Department to build and distribute more than 6,500 rain barrels and kits, including to at least 15 states – even Alaska. That’s collaboration with great outcomes.

Check with the extension office in your area for more information.

SUMMER HAS BEGUN IN EARNEST, AND MANY OF US ARE FUSSING OVER OUR FLOWERS AND WONDERING WHEN watermelons will appear under those leaves. Take that green thumb of yours to the next level and become a Master Gardener! If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity with an educational component, the Extension Master Gardener program has your name on it. Some county and district K-State Research and Extension offices offer the program, which involves donating time in your community in exchange for horticultural training. It’s a great way to meet others and use your training to work at public gardens, garden shows, staffing horticulture hotlines, giving horticulture-related presentations or other activities. Last year alone, Master Gardeners in Kansas donated more than 103,700 hours for a total value of over $2.3 million.

Some extension offices are accepting applications RIGHT NOW. Check to see when and if yours does.

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