The question that I seem to get most often right now is why are my trees dying? Most of the time, the answer is the drought. Even though we have had some moisture recently, we are still in a severe drought. Driving around the county, you will even see old, big Red Cedars dying in the tree rows. That is because we have had two summers that were extremely hot and dry which baked the ground, and a very mild, dry winter in between. All of this moisture loss stressed the trees out, especially in windbreaks or where trees were ...
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House and Senate Agriculture Committees laid the groundwork this week for reducing the size of the federal food stamp program, approving farm bills that would shrink food aid and alter the way people qualify for it.
Pheasants Forever is hosting fifty-one informational meetings across Kansas for landowners and agricultural producers in advance of the USDA Farm Service Agency's Conservation Reserve Program general sign-up that runs May 20 through June 14. Led by Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists, landowners can learn how to increase their farm or ranch income while creating wildlife habitat in the process.
This week, I found a column from K-State's Mary Lou Peter about the rabbits that are out and about. They may be cute hopping around in a field, but when they get into your garden, their cuteness wears a little thin.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced today that farm payments, which had been temporarily suspended due to sequestration, are scheduled to resume today, May 8th. This includes payments for the 2011 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), the Noninsured Crop Assistance Program (NAP) and the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC).
This is finals week at Barton and many of the other colleges around the state. For instructors it's time to evaluate what students learned over the last semester. For students it's time for that one last push to maintain or raise their grades. While faculty see testing as a method to evaluate learning and adjust accordingly, students often see testing as a way to be tortured. Students focus on the grade while faculty focus on learning. In agriculture, as in most curriculums, it is a process of providing the building blocks that provide a foundation on which to ...
The dream of many young farm boys and girls is to ride on a tractor. For a youngster, the mammoth tractor epitomizes raw power, responsibility and coming of age.
In 1955, the National association of Conservation Districts began a national program to encourage Americans to focus on stewardship. Stewardship Week is officially celebrated from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in May. It is one of the world's largest conservation-related observances.
Do you have a small backyard? Do you wish you had the space for a garden, but don't want to sacrifice your entire yard to be able to grow your favorite vegetables? Well, an option for you is to garden is a small raised bed. When you garden in a raised bed system, one of the most important things to consider is the soil that you are going to use. One of the major reasons that smaller spaces have better production than larger gardens is that a person adds the soil mix or potting mix so it will have ...
There isn't much to say regarding the wheat crop right now but to wait so let's go in a different direction this week. First, the Crop Protection class at the college toured the area south of the college this past Wednesday travelling as far south as the Hudson area. Normally they can examine wheat, alfalfa, and newly emerged corn. Since the weather went south pretty quickly, the tour was a bit abbreviated. It's safe to assume they didn't find any corn emerged or even germinated. The alfalfa seemed to be doing alright and was recovering well ...
Pheasants Forever is helping to publicize a meeting for landowners interested in learning more about the potential listing of the lesser prairie-chicken (LPC) as a threatened or endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). This issue has been on the minds of western Kansas landowners for the last two years. A final decision is expected from USFWS in September of this year, but there is still plenty of uncertainty about what that ruling will mean for area producers. This uncertainty causes many concerns for land managers. In order to address some of those, Kansas Department of ...
When we think of eating a meal today, images of a person dashing toward the door while chomping down the last bite and yelling good-bye, is an all too common picture. But again, that is only part of the story.
They say that April showers bring May flowers. The question on everybody's mind right now is what do April ice storms bring? This year, for three weeks in a row, this region has experienced temperatures well below freezing with ice and snow adding to the problems. After two severe drought years the good news is we finally are receiving some moisture. The wheat fields may be growing slow, and look promising as of now, but how much more of Mother Nature's changing moods can it handle?
After the last blast of winter this week, we have had three extremely cold, hard freeze events in about two weeks. By the middle of next week at the latest the damage from this last freeze on the developing head should be apparent. Most of the attention has focused on wheat but where are we concerning our spring planted crops? Let's tackle the easy ones first.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $73 million to rehabilitate dams across the nation in an effort to protect public health and safety and evaluate the expansion of water supply in drought stricken areas. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing in approximately 150 projects and assessments in 23 states. "Millions of people depend on watersheds and dams for protection from floods and providing clean drinking water," Vilsack said. "By investing in this critical infrastructure, we are helping to ensure a safe, resilient environment for rural America."
Next week marks the 45th anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement. The first Earth Day celebration occurred April 22, 1970.
At this time of year, many gardeners are starting vegetables indoors, or preparing to buy small plants to transplant into their garden when the soil temperature is warm enough. To help with this process, it is sometimes a good idea to give the small plants a little extra fertilizer to help them get a good start. I found a column from the K-State Research and Extension's horticulture department that gives some good advice on transplant solutions and sidedressing to help you give your garden the best start possible.
The Kansas Flint Hills have served as a home and food source for stocker cattle since the mid-1800s, when cowboys drove longhorns up the Chisholm Trail from the southwestern United States to Kansas railways. Flash forward to today: research from Kansas State University on this staple resource could help ensure profitable years ahead for stocker producers.
K-State Research and Extension is offering 4-H Leadership Boot Camp on April 25 in Hoisington, available to all interested persons. Call 785-483-3157 to register. For more information about this, as well as more localized events, check with the local K-State Research and Extension office.
Last week's column explored in general terms what organic means to chemists and the scientific community and what it means to the "natural" foods community. This series of articles isn't intended to take sides but to provide information to help in making informed decisions. Now let's briefly attempt to get a handle on what exactly "organic" foods are. This involves several parts and it is important to note there are foodstuffs claiming to be organic and foodstuffs that have followed certain strict requirements and are certified as organic.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making available $332 million in financial and technical assistance through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). ACEP applications may be submitted at any time to NRCS however, applications for the current funding cycle must be submitted on or before May 15, 2015.
Pre-packaged, vacuum-packed, just add water.
Farming is a dangerous business. In fact, farming is one of the most dangerous jobs in the US. Every year, around one hundred youth are killed in farm work related activities. A lot of these deaths could have been prevented with better safety practices. Every year, Barton County, K-State Extension and Research provides a class in Hazardous Occupations Training to teach youth ages 13-18 about the Hazards of farm work, and how to create a safer working environment. Even though the class is offered for a larger age range, it is required for individuals 14-15 years old who will be ...
Before today's topic a brief update is in order. Temperatures the night of April 3 fell well below freezing ranging from the low 20s to around 30 over the area for several hours. Spotty freeze damage has been noted already in South Central Kansas and more will likely become evident over the next little while, especially under warm windy conditions. Leaf burn won't be a big deal but since wheat was jointing or jointed in much of the area, it will pay to keep an eye out for damage to the developing head inside the stem. Damage was ...
A Kansas State University animal health leader has been chosen to engage local, regional and national stakeholders in the development of strategic partnerships for the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, or NBAF.
Can you believe that April is already here? I swear I just put up my Christmas items a week ago! Well, April is going to be quite the busy month here for Extension! So this week, I thought I would remind you of several opportunities that will be taking place for the community.
Each day, farmers and ranchers pull on their boots, roll up their sleeves and go to work outside rural communities across Kansas. They perform a litany of chores – feeding and doctoring livestock, cultivating their crops, pulling maintenance on machinery, paying bills – you name it and farmers and ranchers do it.
It's Easter weekend and this past Thursday night saw some fairly severe weather in the area complete with power outages. Spring is really here, especially after the extremely warm temperatures this past week. Today is April 5, so area producers should have wrapped up side dressing the 2015 wheat crop and corn planters are being readied to begin planting shortly. Alfalfa is greening up and in some parts of the state, including some fields here, wheat producers are assessing winter survival. Since not a great deal is going on just yet, let's catch up on what is known.
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