Upcoming Facilitation Training

The Extension Master Community Facilitator program helps equip Kansans to assist local communities with community vitalization and develop efforts. Volunteers trained in the art of facilitation are skilled at hosting effective meeting, have the ability to assist with strategic planning, and lead conversations related to identify critical issues.

If you like organizing, engaging people, and feel there is a better way; then becoming an Extension Master Facilitator Volunteer may be for you. There is a comprehensive training program coming to Stockton, KS in September. To learn more about the experience and identify how to register, visit http://www.postrock.k-state.edu/. You can also contact Nora Rhoades or Ashley Svaty at your local Post Rock District Office with questions.

By:  Nora Rhoades

Farm Stress

Ag producers’ stress management is the focus of two September workshops in Dodge City and Manhattan.

Stress levels continue to climb in agriculture: Several years of low commodity prices, slipping farmland values and potential trade disruptions take a toll not only on balance sheets but farmers’ well being.

To help farmers, family members and others manage stress, K-State Research and Extension is hosting two one-day workshops.

North Dakota State University extension specialist Sean Brotherson will present “Managing Stress and Pursuing Wellness in Times of Tight Margins” on Thursday, September 20, at the Western State Bank Expo Center, 11333 US-283, in Dodge City. Lunch will be provided.

The next day, Friday, September 21, Brotherson will present the workshop in Manhattan at Kansas Farm Bureau, 2627 KFB Plaza. Lunch will be provided.

“You don’t have to be a farmer to benefit from this workshop,” said Debra Bolton, K-State human ecology extension specialist based in Garden City. “All are welcome, including farm family members, businesses, and anyone who wants to learn about managing stress.”

Each workshop day begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. The cost of the workshop is $20, which covers meals and materials.

To register online go to https://kstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8H7DrdrHNhHWaNL. Contact Nora Rhoades at your local Post Rock District Office with questions.

By:  Nora Rhoades

Stay Strong, Stay Healthy coming to Downs!

Have you been wanting to make your health a priority?  Now is a great time to do just that!  Registration is now open for the upcoming older adult strength training program Stay Strong, Stay Healthy. Strength training is especially important in older adults and can improve balance, strength, flexibility, and quality of life. We will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning September 21st- November 21st from 2-3pm. The session will be held at the Zion Lutheran Church in Downs. Cost for this program is $20, but there are financial scholarships available.  Registration is required, and you can do so by visiting our offices in Osborne or Beloit or by calling (785) 346-2521.  Feel free to contact Ashley, the instructor at asvaty@ksu.edu with any questions about the program.

By:  Ashley Svaty

Grant Writing Workshop

Individuals and community groups can learn more about writing successful grant proposals at a workshop planned in Beloit on October 23rd.  The workshop is presented by Nancy Daniels, a community vitality specialist with K-State Research and Extension and the author of many grant proposals.  The training will be at NCK Technical College from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and includes lunch.  The cost to attend is $25.

For information and how to register for the event click here.

By: Aliesa Woods

Planting Trees in Fall

The fall season can be an excellent time to plant trees. During the spring, soils are cold and may be so wet that low oxygen levels inhibit root growth. The warm and moist soils associated with fall encourage root growth. Fall root growth means the tree becomes established well before a spring-planted tree and is better able to withstand summer stresses. However, certain trees do not produce significant root growth during the fall and are better planted in the spring. These include beech, birch, redbud, magnolia, tulip poplar, willow oak, scarlet oak, black oak, willows, and dogwood.

Fall-planted trees require some special care. Remember, that roots are actively growing even though the top is dormant. Make sure the soil stays moist but not soggy. This may require watering not only in the fall but also during the winter months if we experience warm spells that dry the soil. Mulch also is helpful because it minimizes moisture loss and slows the cooling of the soil so root growth continues as long as possible. Evergreens should be moved earlier in the fall than deciduous plants. They need at least six weeks before the ground freezes for the roots to become established

By: Cassie Homan

Pre-Cut Melon and Salmonella

Posted in September You Asked It!

This summer, pre-cut melons were recalled due to Salmonella contamination. This included pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon, and a fruit salad mix sold in grocery stores in nine states. While Salmonella is usually connected to meat, poultry, or eggs, it may seem unusual for melons. But, melons are not like many other fruits.

Most fruits are considered high acid, or low in acidity with a pH averaging between 3.0 and 4.0. Melons have a pH between 5.0 and 7.0. This makes them a low acid food. Salmonella thrives in a pH range of 4.1-9.0. So melons can support the growth of Salmonella. It can also grow in a temperature range of 43-115°F. Therefore, in this recall, if temperature abuse occurred at any point, Salmonella would grow.

Good handling practices are your best defense. Always scrub and wash melons before cutting them open. Store cut fruit in the refrigerator. Keep it separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs. Use clean utensils to serve fresh melons. Wash your hands before and after handling melons or other produce. When buying pre-cut melons or other fresh produce, be sure they are cold and refrigerate promptly.

Sources:

www.cdc.gov/salmonella/adelaide-06-18/index.html

https://food.unl.edu/salmonella

www.fightbac.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ConsumerFact_Sheet.pdf

By:  Ashley Svaty

Fall Webworms

Fall webworm feeds on almost all fruit, shade, and ornamental trees except conifers. This insect is present more often on trees that are not surrounded by other trees. The larvae begin by constructing small webs near the ends of branches. The insect will gradually increase the size of the web as the need for food increases.

Mature caterpillars are yellowish with black and brown markings, and have many tufts of long hair. As larvae mature, they crawl down the tree and spend the winter as pupa in the leaf litter under the tree.

High populations of fall webworm can completely defoliate host plants but do not kill them. However, on pecan trees, nut production and quality can be reduced if webworms are not controlled. On ornamental plants, control is optional.

Pruning and destroying the infested portions of branches is a common control practice while webs are still small. A stick or pole with a nail inserted crosswise can be used to snag individual webs. Twisting the pole after insertion will cause the web to wrap around the pole where it can be removed and destroyed. Instead of a nail inserted crosswise, some people use a toilet brush attached to the end of a pole. Insecticides can also be used for control but a commercial quality, high-pressure sprayer is needed to penetrate the webs. Numerous products can be used for control including spinosad (Conserve; Fertilome Borer, Bagworm, Leafminer and Tent Caterpillar Spray; Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew), cyfluthrin (Tempo, Bayer Vegetable & Garden Insect Spray) and permethrin (numerous trade names). We normally consider fall webworm damage to be purely aesthetic, and control is not needed to protect the health of the tree.

By: Cassie Homan