Soil Testing: A Tool to Combat High Fertilizer Prices

Chad Guthrie
District Extension Agent, Crop production and Forage Management
Southwind District
210 S. National
Fort Scott, Kansas 66701
Office: 620-223-3720
Cell: 308-991-8415

Fertilizer prices have reached new highs as we move into 2022, and they show no signs of coming back down for this growing season. Many farmers wonder if they’ll be able to properly fertilize their crops, or if they’ll have to settle for lighter rates, and consequently, lighter yields come harvest. While there is no slam dunk way to raise a healthy crop without the use of chemical fertilizers, farmers can take small steps now to possibly lower the amount of fertilizer they apply come spring. One easy, and affordable, step every farmer can take is to have soil tests done for their field prior to spring planting.

Many farmers guess what the nutrient levels are in their soils. Sometimes the assumption is made that most of their fields will have similar nutrient levels, and one soil test is enough to make fertility decisions across their entire operation. The fact of the matter is, that each field is different, and each field should have its very own fertility plan.

The problems that can arise from treating an entire operation as one field can range from over-fertilizing, and wasting money, to under fertilizing, and missing out on the added yield potential of a field. With rising grain prices, farmers are not going to want to miss out on any yield potential from their fields.

Taking soil samples is very simple. Each of our Extension offices have soil probes and sampling bags that farmers can check out to take proper samples. I recommend taking multiple probes from each field, mixing those subsamples together in a clean bucket, and then filling one of our sampling bags from the congregated sample. For large fields, I recommend splitting the field into sections, no bigger than 40 acres, and using the same method to pull samples from each of those sections. More information on taking proper samples can be found on the KSU soil testing lab website, or by contacting your local extension office.

Once you have gathered soil samples from your fields, you can bring them into our extension offices and we can take care of the rest. Tests run around $15 to cover shipping and lab fees, and results are typically received 10-15 days after the lab receives the samples. Each test result will have recommendations made by the KSU soil testing lab, and adjustments can be made by the extension office to fit our area.

Spending the money now to get testing done may seem like an unnecessary, added expense to rising input prices, but knowing exactly what each field needs to raise a quality crop can either save money by removing excess fertilizer, or equate to added yield and higher profits at harvest time.



Rygmyr Retires From USB

A press release from Union State Bank


Residents and customers are asked to please join Union State Bank as they wish Sheila Rygmyr all the best as she retires from Union State Bank.

Sheila has worked at USB since October of 2003.

She has done nearly everything on the deposit operations side and served most recently as the New Accounts Representative in Fort Scott.

Union State Bank will hold a reception honoring Sheila on Wednesday, January 26, from 12:30 to 2:30 pm at the Fort Scott Union State Bank, 1009 S. Clark location.

Refreshments will be served.

St. Mary’s School Dinner and Auction March 1

St. Mary’s Annual Gala is coming up! Buy your tickets starting on March 1st
Reserve your tickets by contacting:
St. Mary’s School (620) 223-6060
Katie Casper (620) 224-6585
Chrystal Cowan (620) 224-6578

Internet Service Available for Low Income Residents

New broadband program available to help with internet costs

TOPEKA – The Emergency Broadband Benefit, a federal program that helped almost 9 million low income Americans afford internet service in 2021, ended on December 31. The Kansas Corporation Commission wants Kansans to know that a new $14.2 billion federal program, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), is available to fill the gap.

With higher income maximums, the ACP could help even more families afford internet access for work, school, and health care.  Current Emergency Broadband Benefit participants have until March 1 to contact their internet provider and switch over to the new plan with no interruption of service.

The ACP program provides:

  • A monthly service discount of up to $30 per month for broadband.
  • Up to $75 per month discount for households on qualifying Tribal lands.
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider if the household contributes more than $10 but less than $50 toward the purchase price.

Eligibility is determined based on income or participation in certain assistance programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FHPA), Medicaid, SSI, Lifeline, free or reduced school lunches or receipt of a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.

To qualify based on income, participants must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. That is a higher ceiling than the 135% maximum allowed on the Emergency Broadband Program making the program accessible to more families. For example, the maximum income for a family of four on the ACP program is $53,000 per year, compared to a maximum of $35,775 on the Emergency Broadband Program.

More information on the ACP program, including provider listings and applications are available on the KCC’s website at

Access to COVID Testing

KDHE Takes Steps to Improve Access to and Speed of COVID-19 Testing
~ Actions are being taken to address the rapid increase in demand for COVID-19 testing due to Omicron variant ~

TOPEKA – Over the past month, the highly infectious and transmittable Omicron variant of COVID-19 has significantly increased case rates and demand for testing in the United States and Kansas. KDHE continues monitoring the spread and impact of Omicron since the first case was confirmed in Kansas in mid-December 2021.

As of January 16, 2022, the daily case rate has been more than 7,800 daily COVID-19 cases, that is a significant increase from about 1,200 cases per day in early December 2021.

Over the same period of time, KDHE saw testing rates increase. This increase in demand for COVID-19 tests has led to longer wait times, delays in turnaround of test results, and decrease in availability of rapid over-the-counter antigen tests.

KDHE is actively working to increase testing availability for all Kansans. Outlined below are a few of the steps KDHE has and continues to take to reduce wait times, improve turnaround times, and increase the number of mass testing sites in Kansas:

  • Coordinating with health departments to increase staff at existing sites across the state. The following locations are now open from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Saturday:
    • Johnson County – Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS
    • Johnson County – Church of the Resurrection, 13720 Roe Ave., Leawood, KS
  • Adding new testing sites to reduce wait times. KDHE is currently working to add 13 new testing sites, beginning with the following locations:
    • Johnson County – Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Rd., Shawnee, KS, opening January 19.
    • Johnson County – Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood Dr., Roeland Park, KS, opening January 21.
    • Ellis County – Big Creek Crossing, 2918 Vine St., Hays, KS, opening January 21.
    • Crawford County – Countryside Christian Church, 1901 E 4th, Pittsburg, KS, opening January 21.
  • Identifying new partner labs to increase testing capacity and reduce test result turnaround times.
  • Sourcing indoor locations for mass testing sites to reduce closures due to weather.

Up to date information on testing locations and hours can be found at

KDHE is taking additional actions to expand testing access:

  • Community Testing Partners (CTPs): expanding the number and geographic footprint of partners (such as pharmacies, local health departments, and hospitals) to ensure broader availability of testing across the state.
  • Long Term Care Facilities (LTCFs): extending funding for PCR testing through March 2022 for Long Term Care Facilities to ensure they have screening and surveillance testing to protect the most vulnerable.
  • K-12 testing: prioritizing antigen testing kits for school districts, sourcing over 520,000 additional antigen test kits, and updating testing protocols to continue to keep Kansas schoolchildren safe.

Additionally, at-home COVID-19 rapid tests are now available for free at All households are eligible to order 4 free at-home tests, which will typically ship within 7-12 days. The first shipments of tests will begin in late January.

For Kansans with a health insurance plan, over-the-counter tests can be purchased at no cost or reimbursed through your health plan as of January 15. Check with your health plan for details and keep your receipt to submit a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement. For Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries, please check with your plan or state agency for information.

KDHE will continue to develop and pursue additional initiatives to increase testing capacity and shorten turnaround times to keep Kansans safe. In the meantime, KDHE continues to urge Kansans to use the following tools to protect against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant:

  • Get vaccinated and boosted. Vaccines remain the best tool to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. The authorized COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and death.
  • Wear a mask. Masks offer protection against all variants. It is recommended that people in Kansas wear a well-fitting mask in public indoor settings, where COVID-19 transmission remains high, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Social distance. People should avoid large gatherings and stay at least 6 feet from others when in public settings, especially if you are at higher risk of getting sick.
  • Stay home. If you have tested positive or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, such as a sore throat, cough, or fever, avoid spreading the virus by staying isolated. Consult a healthcare provider on your recommended course of treatment.

To find a free testing location in your community, or guidance about who should get tested, visit

To learn more about the vaccines, visit

Find and schedule a vaccination appointment at

The Obituary of James Gerteis

James “Jim” Edmund Gerties, age 77, of Fort Scott Kansas, passed away on January 13th, 2022.

Jim was born in Wichita Kansas on July 23, 1944, to Jeremiah and Florence Gerteis. He graduated from Wichita East High School (1962) and continued his education at Friends University in Wichita. He joined the Air Force, on October 11, 1966, serving in Germany as a radar technician, and was honorably discharged July 18, 1972.

Jim married Terry Renee Beasley on July 13, 1974. They were married for 47 loving years.

Jim owned and operated Advanced Electronics, fixing and installing household electronic appliances.

In 1989, Jim continued his career at Mercy Hospital in Ft. Scott as a Bio-Med Technician for more than 25 years. He was responsible for keeping all medical technology operating.

Jim enjoyed singing in the men’s barbershop quartet and helping those in need with his skills/talents.

Most importantly, Jim was an active member of the Church of Christ. His life’s mission was to fulfill Paul’s command in Ephesians 5:1-2: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” He shared his love with all and taught the gospel to those who would listen, opening his home to many.

Jim is survived by his wife Terry Renee Gerteis; daughters Maresa Ledford (David) of Columbia, Tennessee, and Rachel Dial (Tim) of Topeka; grandson Joseph Ledford and granddaughters Cana and Camille Ledford, and Cameryn and Carsyn Dial; brothers Robert (Ann) Gerteis and Charles Gerteis; nephews Steve and Mark Gerteis. Jim was a brother, father, uncle, and grandfather to many, not by blood, but by the rare love he had in his heart for others.

Funeral services will be held at 12:00 PM Friday, January 28 at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Burial will follow at The Fort Scott National Cemetery at 1:30.

Open visitation will be held before the service at 10:30.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to Care to Share and left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, PO Box 347, 201 S. Main St., Ft. Scott KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Senator Marshall to Hold Bourbon County Town Hall


U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D., will hold a public town hall at 5:30pm CT on Monday, January 24th, at Fort Scott Community College. The public is invited to attend the town hall to learn about federal legislative issues and ask questions of the Senator. The event is open to the press.

“I look forward to the opportunity to speak with Kansans and learn more about the issues and concerns impacting their lives,” said Senator Marshall. “I value the opportunity to hear directly from folks in Bourbon County so that I can take their stories and concerns with me when I return to Washington D.C.”

Event Details:

Time: 5:30pm CT

Date: Monday, January 24th

Location: Fort Scott Community College, Ellis Fine Arts Center, 2108 S Horton St., Fort Scott, KS

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