Welcome to Edition 3 of the Better Kansas blog from K-State Research and Extension, written by yours truly, firstname.lastname@example.org. Every week we’re shedding light on a few events, resources and other information designed to make Kansans’ lives, businesses, communities and state better. This is new for us, so be sure to scroll through weeks 1 & 2 also. For many more resources and activities, check with the K-State Research and Extension office in your area.
Better Living, Better Communities
YOU’RE CRUISING DOWN THE MEAT AISLE AT YOUR LOCAL GROCERY STORE, looking for dinner inspiration. We’ve all been there. The label on this package says it’s “Natural/Naturally Raised” and another package says “Raised Without Antibiotics” and yet another says “Grass-Fed.” Really, what does all of this mean?! The Meat Product Labeling and Marketing: What Do All Those Words Really Mean factsheet explains these and a lot more.
REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE PRESCRIBED THAT STRONG PAIN MEDICATION AFTER SURGERY? Or maybe it was your neighbor managing pain from aching chronic arthritis? Or your niece’s soccer injury? Opioids are a class of drugs that include powerful prescription pain relievers, which can be an important part of medical treatment. They also carry a significant risk, however, for addiction and overdose because of the euphoria they create and a human’s tolerance that occurs after repetitive dosing. Many of us don’t realize we have some of these medications in our own homes. Approximately 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, and many more are at risk. Learn more with the fact sheet The Opioid Crisis: What You Need to Know and video.
WORKING WITH KANSANS ACROSS THE STATE TO IMPROVE MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH is the plan behind a K-State Research and Extension effort called the Culture of Health. The goal, part of a nationwide effort, is for extension to do for mental and physical health what extension has done for agriculture for years. Extension offices across the state have always offered classes and resources aimed at educating the public about ways to live healthier lives. The Culture of Health initiative, however, sharpened the focus and is providing extension agents with more tools to support mental and physical health programs.
The initiative kicked off in 2018 when K-State Research and Extension brought together 250 representatives of health departments, health coalitions and other stakeholders with extension staff in seven locations around Kansas to identify existing resources and challenges. Among the most significant concerns were:
- heart disease
- farm stress
- access to health care
- access to healthy foods
Read more about how extension agents and specialists are enhancing resources in Kansas communities.
Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening
KANSAS RANKS 10TH IN HOG AND PORK PRODUCTION, AND GROWING THE NEXT GENERATION of producers and other industry professionals is imperative to keep the industry moving forward. Many in that next generation will participate in the 2019 Dr. Bob Hines Kansas Swine Classic June 28-29 at CiCo Park in Manhattan. This is not your run-of-the-mill competition for Kansas youth and their animals. Educational workshops, a photo contest and a skillathon are built into the agenda, along with showmanship and the Prospect Pig and the Barrow and Market Pig shows. And this year a family pork cook-off has been added! Oh, by the way, in 2018 Kansas producers sold 3,505,878 market hogs, feeder pigs and seedstock with a gross market value of more than $471 million.
MANY OF US LOVE THE BELOW-AVERAGE TEMPERATURES; THE WHEAT CROP, NOT SO MUCH. We all need certain conditions to grow and thrive and that’s true for wheat, too. This spring’s below-average temperatures slowed the Kansas wheat crop’s development, which may cut the amount of grain coming out of those fields. And don’t get me started about the rain. Much more detail is included in the June 10 Agronomy eUpdate. What’s at stake? Kansas is typically the No. 1 wheat producing state, in recent years averaging about 328 million bushels from an average 8.5 million acres. Nearly one-fifth of all wheat grown in the United States is grown right here in Kansas. And we help feed the world: About half our wheat is exported to other countries.
SIDEDRESSING, DEADHEADING AND SUCH … FLOWERS, THAT IS: Abundant spring rainfall kept many of us from having to water flowers much early on, but those lovely flowers still need TLC and a drink when they get dry. Modern annual flowers are bred to flower early and over a long period of time. Recent K-State Horticulture Newsletters dig into – pun intended 🙂 – such topics as sidedressing annual flowers and when it’s helpful to remove old, spent flowers, an activity also known as deadheading … and when it’s not. This has me thinking about the other Deadheads, as in fans of the Grateful Dead, but again, I digress! The newsletters contain a trove of information on horticulture topics from how short to mow the grass to pests in vegetables (and how to excuse them from your garden) to tree diseases and way more.