Better Kansas – Ideas for Living, Growing and Succeeding

Tag: small business

Better Kansas – April 9, 2020

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Welcome to Better Kansas! Today we touch on new resources for teens, tweens and anyone taking care of younger children, cooking with in-season fruits and vegetables, another look at First Friday e-Calls for small businesses, Growing Growers, antimicrobials in cattle and the developing wheat crop. 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

THIS PANDEMIC AND THE CLOSURE OF SCHOOLS AND PRESCHOOLS HAS MANY PARENTS SCRAMBLING TO FIND CHILD CARE. If you know a family with older siblings looking after younger siblings or maybe taking care of a friend’s or neighbor’s kiddos, let them know about a new resource, Suddenly in Charge. Resources added to the new web page will support teens or tweens … really anyone who’s taking care of young children, coronavirus or not. The first item under the “Safety” tab, Baby Sitter Information, features a downloadable, printable list that can be helpful for anyone taking care of children. It includes space for parents’ names, contact information, physical address where you’re caring for the child, child’s doctor’s contact information, a section for rules, screen time, naptime and more. Helpful tools I wish I’d had when I had child care for my own children and later when my children helped care for others’ kids. And don’t forget to check back. New resources will be added in the coming weeks.


I’VE BEEN FOCUSING A LOT ON FOOD LATELY, maybe because like many of you, I’m working from home and am about 10 paces from my kitchen :-0 ! I’ve come across a resource, Simple Seasonal Meals that comes with suggestions for cooking what’s in season, complete with a few recipes to get you started. Soon that will be asparagus, strawberries and spinach! And don’t miss page 8 that features a great harvest calendar. It shows what and when fruits and vegetables are typically harvested in Kansas. You know what that means, right? You’ll likely find them on sale during that time at your favorite market!


LAST WEEK I TOLD YOU ABOUT FIRST FRIDAY E-CALLS AVAILABLE FOR SMALL KANSAS BUSINESSES. We had 190 people on last week’s call that featured several speakers from key state agencies addressing COVID-19 and resources available to Kansas’ small businesses and their employees. Unfortunately, we were one of the many recent victims of Zoom bombing, so the public side of the call was ended quickly. The good news is that the speakers stayed on and recorded their good information. If you’re a small business owner or employee affected by the pandemic, take a look at the First Friday e-call information. It’s hard to know what motivates Zoom bombers, but we’ve taken steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening

GROWING GROWERS IS GEARING UP! Wichita and Kansas City area produce growers, not only those who sell or have thought about selling to the public, but also those who are simply interested in growing fresh fruits and vegetables, have resources available to them through Growing Growers Kansas City and Growing Growers ICT (Wichita/southeast Kansas area). Both programs have workshops available to help hone your skills and for more hands on training, apprentice farmer education programs so you can learn from veteran farmers.

MENTION CATTLE, BEEF AND ANTIMICROBIAL MEDICATION IN THE SAME CONVERSATION, and you’ll likely get all kinds of opinions on antibiotic resistance in humans and animals. But just like humans, cattle do get sick and sometimes need to be treated with antibiotics to fight the infection and return them to health. There are strict requirements for how much time must pass between when an animal is treated with an antimicrobial and when they can go to the packing plant – that first step in the process that ends with beef on your table. To learn a lot more about this topic, take a look at FDA-Approved Injectable Beef Cattle Antimicrobials


JUST LIKE GROWING CHILDREN, THE WHEAT CROP HAS CERTAIN NUTRIENT NEEDS AS WELL. Yellow spots in the field may be linked to the developing crop’s need for nitrogen, which could be for a myriad of reasons, including insufficient fertilizer, application problems, leaching from heavy rains and more. For a lot more on this topic, check out an article on What are the Causes of Yellow Wheat from the Agronomy eUpdate. BTW, as of Sunday, April 5, the Kansas wheat crop was rated 3% very poor, 10% poor, 38% fair, 41% good and 8% excellent, according to the USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service. It still has a ways to go until the harvest this summer. Let’s hope for great weather.


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 8, 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

IT’S SO GOOD TO DRIVE THROUGH A COMMUNITY and see thriving businesses, whether a store that’s taken an innovative approach or a restaurant that serves great food AND has figured out a way to market it. Running your own business, however, leaves little time to communicate with your peers in other communities who have similar challenges or successes, or ways to learn about technology or legislation that may affect your business. To support small businesses in communities across Kansas, First Friday e-Calls are available the first Friday of the month. It’s professional development information without leaving your business and the only cost is the time it takes to participate. Previous First Friday e-Calls are archived, and topics run the gamut from “Funding Options for Small Businesses” to “Effective Use of Social Media for Rural Organizations”; “Cyber Security Threat to Small Business”; “Innovative Rural Business Models”; “Business Valuation and Business Transition Planning” and many more. Take a look at the website or send an email to to learn more or to be added to the notification list about upcoming e-Calls.

THINK OF ALL OF THE WAYS OUR LIVES HAVE BECOME CONVENIENT, the drive-throughs, the remote controls, and now the grocery delivery! But is that convenience always a good thing? A decline in physical activity is especially a problem for older adults, less than 20% of whom engage in adequate physical activity. That loss of muscle mass can sneak up on us and post-menopausal women can lose 1%-2% of their bone mass annually. To help get us back to where we should be, many K-State Research and Extension offices offer the Stay Strong, Stay Healthy program. Participants meet for one-hour sessions, twice a week for eight weeks. Activities include warm-up exercises, strengthening exercises with or without weights, and cool-down stretches. Class members are encouraged to do the exercises on their own once more per week. Benefits? A potential to restore bone density and reduce the risk of fractures, plus a decrease in arthritis pain, weight maintenance, and a reduction in the risk of diabetes, heart disease and depression.

DO YOU DREAD GETTING THOSE LATE SUMMER ELECTRIC BILLS as much as I do? Thank goodness for electricity and air conditioners, but some days they can barely keep up with our heat and humidity. Air conditioners use about 5% of all electricity produced in the United States, costing homeowners more than $29 billion a year. Save on cooling costs by installing a programmable thermostat and replacing your home’s air filter. Take a look at more tips to beat the heat or listen in.

Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening

ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO THIS TIME OF YEAR is to spend time on my patio with my flowers, something good to read and yes, the bees, flitting from flower to flower as though they’re trying to decide which classmate to ask to the prom. As a child I was afraid of bees, but that was when I was ignorant about the crucial role they play in our lives. Nearly 75% of the world’s food crops depend on honey bees and other pollinators. But bee populations have been declining and there is evidence to suggest that humans’ inappropriate use of pesticides may be part of the problem. For a closer look, including great photos, check out Pesticides and Bees. So yes, I’m happy to share my space with the bees. Certain other crawly creatures not so much, but I’m really trying to stick with the idea, can’t we all just get along?

SORGHUM (AKA MILO) IS ONE OF KANSAS’ MOST IMPORTANT CROPS, partly for its drought-resistant ways. It’s a key ingredient in livestock rations and increasingly food products, not to mention other uses. But some insects, such as chinch bugs and sugarcane aphids among others, also love sorghum and can take more than their share from a farmer’s yield (and the bottom line). For a whole lot of practical, research-based information on how to control the pesky bugs, take a look at Sorghum Insect Management. And for a radio interview on sugarcane aphids in sorghum, plus other ag related topics listen to Agriculture Today .

IF YOU EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES of farming in southwest Kansas, there’s a spot (or many spots) for you at the K-State Southwest Research-Extension Center Fall Field Day on Thursday, Aug. 22 in Garden City. It’s a place to come learn what scientists have found, including what’s working well and what isn’t in this part of the state, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions of researchers and your fellow producers. And this is one of those days where you tour the fields and see for yourself what the researchers are working on. Topics range from weed control, summer annual forages, irrigation efficiency, Bt corn refuges, beneficial insects, and several on control of the weed, kochia, that can cut crop yields by more than half. Industry exhibitors will be on site and did I mention, there’s lunch?!

For more resources and activities, check with the K-State Research and Extension office in your area. Check out our other blogs and subscribe to our weekly emails here: