Better Kansas – Ideas for Living, Growing and Succeeding

Tag: Prepare Kansas

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

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 Questions? Contact the Land Use Survey Center at or 785-532-1517. For a look at how the data will be used, check out the 2016 report.


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 – August 29, 2019


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Welcome to Better Kansas. Where every Thursday we shed light on events, resources and other information designed to make your life, businesses, communities and state better. Don’t forget to hit subscribe! – Mary Lou Peter

Better Living, Better Communities

FOR MANY EVENTS, WE PREPARE. Planning a wedding? The to-do list is a mile long. Expecting a baby? Another crazy list. But disasters happen every year in Kansas, and most of us are woefully unprepared. We’ve had tornadoes, floods and blizzards this year, with more extreme weather likely to come. It’s human nature to be in denial about bad things that might happen, but preparing ahead of time can make getting back to normal easier. Check out the Prepare Kansas blog and also look for resources on the FEMA page for National Preparedness Month. Thinking about being in denial reminds me of the Pam Tillis song Cleopatra: Queen of Denial. The mind does veer sometimes!

WHAT DRIVES YOUNG ADULTS’ FINANCIAL DECISIONS? I don’t mean the occasional stop at Starbucks, but bigger-picture decisions like buying a home or saving for retirement? Student loan debt, which tops $1.5 trillion, is a top-of-mind factor. A section of the article Money Matters in the spring 2019 K-State Seek research magazine sheds light on this and other factors that drive young adults’ financial decisions. In addition, eXtension offers student loan related fact sheets for students and parents, including savings options, such as 529 plans, types of student loans, responsible borrowing, how student loans can impact your later life, plus information on recovering from student loan default. K-State Research and Extension is part of

MUSIC CAN CONNECT US, SOOTHE US AND HAVE POWERFUL EFFECTS on our emotions like nothing else can. It can take us to a different place. And research shows that listening to music as a child can affect the way we think. Researchers believe that the complexity of classical music especially, primes the brain to solve spatial problems more quickly. Take a look at Building Baby’s Brain: The Role of Music to learn more.

So maybe there WERE benefits to those squeaky 4th grade violin lessons despite your family’s cringes while you were practicing!

Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening

SEPTEMBER IS A GREAT TIME TO GIVE YOUR LAWN A BOOST. Tips on seeding, overseeding and fertilizing plus power raking and core-aeration are outlined in a recent horticulture newsletter. And there’s more! Information on dividing peonies, thinking ahead for next year’s vegetable garden and current challenges for oak trees are also covered. And check out the video Fertilize for a Healthy Lawn.

WHEN WE’RE HYPER-FOCUSED ON SOMETHING IT MAY FEEL LIKE WE’RE operating in a vacuum. That can be true of running a farm business or any kind of business. But stepping back and evaluating the growth and progress of your farm or other agricultural enterprise can help pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. Benchmarking against similar farms can also help you assess your financial position and inform your plans for the future. The Financial Benchmarking Tool was developed by K-State and the CoBank Research Fellow program to help agricultural producers, bankers, consultants and others benchmark their financial ratios with cohorts who are members of the Kansas Farm Management Association.


GOING THROUGH STRESSFUL TIMES IS EASIER WITH A BUDDY, RIGHT? Cattle feel that way, too. So, some cattle operations have installed cattle handling systems called the Bud Box, designed to reduce stress for animals and the humans working with them. I admit, when I first heard of the Bud Box I thought it was so named because cattle are more comfortable when other cattle are nearby. That is true – think herd instinct – but the Bud Box is named after stockman Bud Williams who designed the system. It does draw on basic principles of cattle behavior and movement, including that cattle want to be with other cattle. Other principles and more information are outlined in the publication, Designing a Bud Box for Cattle Handling.

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: