Category Archives: K-State Extension

Low-Cost Tree and Shrub Seedlings Now Available

Krista Harding
District Extension Agent, Horticulture
Southwind Extension District
111 S. Butler
Erie, KS 66733
Office: 620-244-3826
Cell: 620-496-8786

The Kansas Forest Service is offering low-cost conservation tree and shrub seedlings for purchase again this year. These seedlings are to be used in conservation plantings, such as home/livestock windbreaks, living snow fences, Christmas tree plantations, firewood lots, habitats for game birds and wildlife, barriers to reduce noise pollution, blocking ugly views, marking property lines and creating habitat for songbirds.

These plants are 1 or 2 years old, and their sizes vary from 5 to 18 inches, depending on species. Most of the trees are bare-root seedlings, however some are available as container-grown seedlings such as Ponderosa pine and Southwestern white pine. Some of the deciduous trees that are available include: bald cypress, black walnut, bur oak, cottonwood, hackberry, redbud, and sycamore. Shrubs available include American plum, chokecherry, lilac, and sand hill plum. This is not a complete listing of available trees and not all trees are recommended for this area.

The Kansas Forest Service also offers tree “bundles” for purchase. The Quail Bundle offers a variety of shrubs designed to attract quail, including American plum, fragrant sumac, golden current and chokecherry. It was created in cooperation with Quail Forever to provide excellent food and habitat for upland bird species in eastern Kansas.

New this year, a pollinator bundle is being offered. Designed to improve the habitat for a diverse array of pollinating insects, it primarily focuses on native bees, honey bees, butterflies and moths. This bundle is composed of seven species of shrubs and small trees – American plum, chokecherry, golden currant, false indigo, elderberry, buttonbush and eastern redbud.

Not certain what you would like to order? Then stop by the Extension office and pick up a brochure that has color pictures of various trees and shrubs at maturity. Orders for conservation trees are accepted now through the first full week of May, with shipments beginning in March. However, I recommend that you order early to ensure availability of trees. Order forms and price sheets are available at the Southwind District Extension Office in Erie, Iola Fort Scott, and Yates Center or can be mailed or e-mailed.

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District. She may be reached at or 620-244-3826.

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Ranchers/Farmers: Think Outside the Box

The Range Beef Cow Symposium was held in Scottsbluff, Nebraska during the week of November eighteenth.
You may be wondering what this has to do with ranching in Southeast, Kansas, but the answer is more than you would think.
Western ranchers face many of the same production problems we have in this area. Cattle prices have been depressed, the weather has been uncooperative, and good labor is in short supply.
If anything, the environment is even harsher out west. Ranches are measured in 640-acre sections, rather than in acres because carrying capacities are so low.  Water can be in short supply, and mother nature deals out long, cold, and snowy winters.  These factors make it imperative that western ranchers think outside the box for strategies that work well for them.
With a little brainstorming, we can do the same on your farm or ranch. What labor and natural resources do you have? What are you willing to learn how do differently? Have you considered multi-species grazing, or crossbreeding your cows? What about leasing cows out to a younger producer to help them get started in the business?  What consideration have you given to alternative forage crops like teff grass or cover crop mixes? Have you thought about growing stocker calves during the spring and early summer, when there may be excess grass growth on your farm?  When was the last time you purchased extra fertilizer, or seeded legumes like clover into your pastures?
One of the best things about farming and ranching is that your options are nearly limitless.
Once you determine what your long term goals are, I can help you with strategies to achieve them.
Call me, Christopher Petty, Southwind District Extension Agent for Livestock Production and Forage Management at 620-223-3720 or e-mail me at I’d be happy to visit with you about your options for success.
Christopher Petty, M.S.
Extension Agent
Livestock Production and Forage Management
K-State Research and Extension
Southwind Extension District
210 S. National
Fort Scott, KS 66701
(620) 223-3720 Work
(620)224-6031 Cell

Succession planning important in rural communities

Carla Nemecek is Southwind District Director and agent.


Submitted by Carla Nemecek, Southwind Extension District Director

Kansas rural business owners, farm and ranch families continuously look at best options for feasibility and profitability– they attend educational meetings, try out new practices, assess any risks involved and talk with their neighbor or consultant. They make numerous decisions from day to day that will affect the operation both now and in the future. The holiday season is a good time to initiate those conversations with family and close friends.

Future sustainability of our local communities also depends on whether the family owned business has planned for succession. The average age of U.S. producers continues to rise and families will need to explore options for the transitional feasibility of current and future operators. Succession planning is a step-by-step process where families work together to develop a plan to incorporate the next owner and pass on knowledge and resources that will sustain the operation.

It can be challenging and difficult to begin developing a succession plan and find guidance moving forward. This is where a succession planning facilitator plays a key role.

The facilitator can help the family identify strengths, barriers and opportunities as they pass the farm business on to the next generation. They guide family members to resources and individuals who can help them find the information they need to develop an effective succession plan with help from facilitators and mediators from Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services, a program administered by K-State Research and Extension.

A facilitated meeting is described as guiding participants through shared discussions about important issues. Facilitators help families set an agenda and guide the process for planning their succession. The facilitator works to enable all voices to be heard within a respectful environment. While the facilitator remains neutral with the content of the discussion, they help everyone keep track of the substantive issues and options raised by the family as they chart their path forward.

Trained facilitators have experience working with Kansas farm and ranch families. They offer guidance and support as families cultivate options for creating a succession plan. Facilitation services can be requested by calling Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services at 800-321-3276.

Families may also visit the succession planning website and navigate through a variety of resources, such as “Transition Planning: 12 Steps to Keep the Family Farming” and more topic-focused areas such as estate planning or “FamilyTALK.” The website is available at Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services.

Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services is administered by K-State Research and Extension. The program supports Kansas producers in resolving a variety of agricultural-related concerns and maintains confidentiality during the process. Information and guidance on any ag-related issue will be provided at no cost through our toll-free hotline, 1-800-321-3276 FREE or visit our website at Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services.

Carla Nemecek
Southwind Extension District
Director & Agent
1 North Washington, Iola, KS 66749

Fall Landscape Clean-Up

Krista Harding
District Extension Agent, Horticulture
Southwind Extension District
111 S. Butler
Erie, KS 66733
Office: 620-244-3826
Cell: 620-496-8786


It is that time of year again – time to rake leaves and clean-up the landscape. Leaves have been rapidly falling from deciduous trees the past few days. The manual labor that comes with raking, bagging or burning leaves is good exercise and great way to get out of the house to enjoy the fall weather, but it isn’t the only choice you have.

Although a scattering of leaves won’t harm the lawn, the excessive cover prevents sunlight from reaching turfgrass plants. Turf left in this state for an extended period will be unable to make carbohydrates needed to carry it through the winter.

There are options for dealing with the fallen leaves other than bagging them up. Composting is a great way to handle the refuse. Vegetable gardens and flower beds thrive with the use of compost. The process is relatively simple. To begin, use a lawnmower with bagging attachment to collect leaves. Directly apply a 2-3 inch layer of leaves onto garden and till it in the ground. Repeat this process every couple of weeks until you run out of leaves or soil becomes too wet.

If you do not compost, you can mow leaves with a mulching mower and let shredded leaves filter into the turf canopy. This method will be most effective if you do it often enough that leaf litter doesn’t become too thick.

You may be wondering if this practice will be detrimental to the lawn in the long run. The answer is no. Research at Michigan State University in which they used a mulching mower to shred up to about one pound of leaves per square yard of lawn for five consecutive years, found no long-term effects of the shredded leaves on turf quality, thatch thickness, or soil test results.

Fall is also the recommended time to clean up the flower beds in the landscape by clear-cutting dead stems to help control insect and disease problems. However, with herbaceous perennials that have been pest free, you might want to consider leaving some to provide structure, form, and color to the winter landscape. For example, ornamental grasses can be attractive even during winter months. But those nearby structures should be cut to the ground because they can be a fire hazard. Perennials with evergreen or semi-evergreen foliage can provide color. Of course, some perennials are naturally messy after dormancy and should be cut back in the fall.

Irises are known for a couple of common problems: iris leaf spot and iris borer. Though both cause problems in the spring, now would be the time to start control measures. Dead and infected iris leaves and other garden debris should be removed from the iris bed this fall. By doing this it will significantly reduce iris problems next spring.

Garden chrysanthemums can be cut the plants back to 2 to 3 inches high. Some gardeners prefer to leave the top growth so that it provides some protection from fluctuating soil temperatures during the winter months. If you choose to cut the tops off, apply a layer of mulch over the top of the mums after the ground has frozen. Mums should not completely dry out during the winter. It may be necessary to water occasionally if sufficient rain or snow has not fallen.

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District.  She may be reached at or 620-244-3826.

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Uniontown 4-H Club News by Marley Sutton

Uniontown 4-H members attend church at First Missionary Baptist Church in Uniontown in celebration of National 4-H Week. From L to R: Calvin Walker, Austin Maycumber, Tucker Sutton, Will Maycumber, Mackinlee Bloesser, member guest, Hailey Shadden, Kendyl Bloesser, Marley Sutton, McKinley Sutton, Seth Shadden
Submitted by Marley Sutton, Uniontown 4-H Club Reporter
The Uniontown 4-H club has been busy this past month. The first week of October was National 4-H week. Club members promoted 4-H by making and hanging posters at West Bourbon Elementary in Uniontown. Members also wore 4-H shirts to school that week to promote the youth organization.


On October 13th Uniontown 4-H attended church together at First Missionary Baptist church in Uniontown. Following the service, the club held their monthly meeting at Uniontown City Hall. Everyone enjoyed a pizza party in celebration of National 4-H week before the meeting.
The newly elected club officers attended the Southwind District 4-H officer training in Moran on October 27th. The new officers are: Bareigh Farrell (President), Seth Shadden (Vice President), Kendyl Bloesser (Secretary), Hailey Shadden (Treasurer), Marley Sutton (Reporter), Ausin Maycumber (Historian), MacKinlee Bloesser (Parliamentarian), McKinley Sutton (Recreation Leader), Will Maycumber (Song Leader), and Bareigh Farrell, MacKinlee Bloesser, and Austin Maycumber (4-H Council Representatives).


Southwind Judging Team Wins American Royal

From left to right: Brody Nemecek, Clay Brillhart, Jillian Keller, Haydon Schaaf, Carla Nemecek (coach)


The Southwind Extension District 4-H Livestock Judging Team of Jillian Keller (Piqua), Brody Nemecek (Iola), Haydon Schaaf (Uniontown), and Clay Brillhart (Fort Scott) participated at the American Royal Livestock Show last week in Kansas City, MO.

By a large margin of 30 points, Southwind District was named Champion 4-H Team. They were selected as the only team to represent Kansas 4-H because they were the State Champion 4-H Livestock Judging Team in August 2019.

With 19 different state teams and 70 youth in the contest, this group continues to work hard to earn national recognition.

In addition to being the High Team Overall, they were also 1st in Reasons, 3rd in Sheep/Goats, 2nd in Swine and 2nd in Cattle.

Individual results include: Jillian Keller – 2nd High Individual Overall, 1st in Cattle, 9th in Swine and 10th in Reasons;

Haydon Schaaf – 4th Individual Overall, 3rd in Reasons, 7th in Sheep/Goats, 8th in Swine;

Brody Nemecek – 2nd in Swine and tied for 10th  Individual Overall;

Clay Brillhart, 4th in Sheep/Goats and 7th in Swine.

The team continues to be coached by Carla Nemecek, Southwind District Director.



Grant Writing Workshop Deadline Nov. 1

Deadline November 1st to register!
Join us for a
Grant Writing Workshop
co-hosted by
Southwind Extension District & the
Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce!
Friday, November 8, 2019
9:30am to 3pm
Only $10 including lunch
Click here to email Carla Nemecek to
reserve a spot & pay by check
(payable to Southwind Extension District).
Click here to register online by credit card.
Grants are a vital piece in your community’s
funding puzzle, and YOU can do it!
What you will learn:
-Sources of data for community needs.
-Where to find grants
-Elements of a significant grant proposal
-Practicing the grant elements
Presented by:
Nancy Daniels
Community Vitality Specialist
K-State Research & Extension
River Room Event Center
3 West Oak Street
Fort Scott, KS
To register or for more information:
Name: Carla Nemecek
Phone: 620.365.2242
There is a registration fee of $10 (includes lunch).
Make checks payable to
Southwind Extension District.
Registration Deadline: November 1, 2019
Click here for the Facebook event.

Basic Leadership in the Election Process


Carla Nemecek is Kansas State University Southwind District Director and agent.

As we approach election day, it is important to evaluate each candidate and make your own decision as to who will be an effective leader while representing the wants and needs of local constituents.


At the same time, just because you may not be running for a political office, doesn’t mean that your personal leadership skills could not be valuable to local organizations or service groups, and maybe this time of year sparks an interest is serving in your community.


The goal of the effective leader is to have leadership flexibility — and a good leader knows how to involve people by structuring their ideas toward task accomplishment. An effective leader must also be adept at assessing the situation and choosing the most appropriate leadership role.


A leader who learns how to involve other people, listens to their ideas, and learns how structuring ideas will lead to a common goal has learned the advantages and the skills of being a flexible activator.

Rigid, passive, or unstructured leadership results in organiza­tional problems. The leader who knows when to involve, when to abdicate, and when to control is able to “read” a leadership situation and is able to meet its particular needs.

These are skills that so many of our elected officials often overlook as they are going through the campaign season.


With a focus on flexibility, those with excellent leadership skills can structure behavior to serve effectively in any organization — knowing when to control to get something quickly done, when to relieve tension, how to bargain, and how to avoid making a decision when it would be more profitable for the group to make it.


Strong leaders know how to change their leadership roles to fit the situation and personalities they are working with — and above all, knows how to involve the whole group in decision-making to create a productive, cooperating team.


Flexibility and the ability to be creative are skills that are often overlooked in a good leader.


Not everyone needs to be in charge of the group or be the person to call the meeting to order. In contrast, those with unique abilities to bring people together and work toward a common goal can be most effective in the right group. This group of talented individuals are best known for their informal leadership and can often be incredibly valuable to the organization.


Leadership is loosely defined as the process of people working together to achieve mutual purposes. You have the ability to be a leader, and it is simple – set a good example for your children and your community – vote on November 5th.

Submitted by
Carla Nemecek
Southwind Extension District
Director & Agent
1 North Washington, Iola, KS 66749

Urban Wildlife Damage Control

Christopher Petty.

Urban Wildlife Damage Control Workshop Set for October 30

Most wild animals mind their own business and never create problems for people. But sometimes animals do become a nuisance, destructive or menacing, especially when we encroach into their habitat.

Learn about wildlife damage control with Charlie Lee, K-State Extension Wildlife Specialist, on Wednesday, October 30, at 6:00 pm at the Chanute Auditorium Alliance room.

K-State Research and Extension – Southwind District is sponsoring this event, and it is free to attend.

Please call the Erie office to RSVP – 620-244-3826.

Learning To Write Successful Grant Proposals

Strengthening communities: Grant writing workshop planned for November 8

Do you know how that playground equipment at the park down the street was purchased? Or the new sign leading visitors to a local landmark? How about initial money for a festival? In any community, chances are that someone, or a group of individuals, wrote a grant proposal and received funding to help with the project.

Individuals and community groups can learn more about writing successful grant proposals at a workshop planned in Fort Scott, KS in November. 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 held November 8, 2019 at the River Room Event Center, 3 West Oak Street in Fort Scott, KS from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and includes lunch. The cost to attend is $10.

Deadline to register is Nov. 1.

“This workshop is for everyone, whether they’ve never written a proposal before and have no idea where to start, to those who have experience but are looking for ways to improve their approach,” Daniels said. “The magic that happens in a local community when people find out they don’t have to wait to get something done, that they can do it themselves, is incredible.”

Participants also learn from each other, Daniels said, adding that even experienced grant writers pick up tips and are reenergized after coming together with peers in their communities.  Participants are encouraged to bring their grants or grant ideas to share.

Workshop topics include:

  • Sources of data for community needs (where do you find the numbers to back up your request?);
  • Where to find grants;
  • The five common elements of a great grant proposal;
  • Practicing the grant writing elements.More information and registration is available by contacting Carla Nemecek at the Southwind Extension District Iola Office, 620-365-2242 or email

To view the event flier:

Grant workshop FlyerFS

Landscape Improvements Now Will Bring Big Dividends Next Spring

Krista Harding
District Extension Agent, Horticulture
Southwind Extension District
111 S. Butler
Erie, KS 66733
Office: 620-244-3826
Cell: 620-496-8786


Fall and spring are my favorite seasons. Finally, some cooler temperatures have arrived and it is actually feeling more like fall! I encourage you to get outside and enjoy the fall season. It is the perfect time to do some tasks around your landscape that will help next spring.

First, let’s talk lawn weeds. I know, they are probably the last thing on your mind since we are winding down the mowing season. Believe it or not, it is the ideal time to tackle those weeds. Not next spring when you fire the mower up again!

Cool season broadleaf weeds such as henbit, dandelions and chick weed all germinate in the cool moist periods of September and October. They overwinter as small plants, barely visible unless you get down close to the ground to look. Once warm weather arrives in the spring, the plants grow rapidly and flower.

Fall control is ideal for these cool season broadleaf weeds. The weeds are storing food in their roots and will send a leaf applied herbicide to their roots as well. The herbicides will translocate to the roots and will kill the plants from the roots up. These plants are also small and easily controlled right now.

There are several products on the market that are effective on these fall germinating weeds. Herbicides such as 2,4-D or combination products that contain 2,4-D, MCCP and Dicamba, sold under the trade names of Trimec, Weed-B-Gon, or Weed-Out, can be used. A product called Weed Free Zone is also an option. It contains the three active ingredients mentioned above plus carfentrazone.

Newly planted lawns should not be treated with any herbicide until the new grass seedlings have been mowed two or three times depending on the product. Read and follow the label directions closely.

Next, let’s talk flower bulbs. Bulbs are a good addition to any landscape or garden because they offer a variety of bloom color, flowering time, plant height, and shape. Now is the time to get those bulbs in the ground!

Bulbs can be planted in a variety of locations including around house foundations, under deciduous shrubs and trees, along borders, in perennial beds, and rock gardens. You can also plant them in containers and even on steep slopes.

When planted along a foundation, bulbs will add color in the early spring if planted in a grouping of twelve or more bulbs. If you have evergreen shrubs planted along a foundation, they will provide a nice background for planting of bulbs. Bulbs will “pop” with color in contrast to the green of the shrubs.

A border of bulbs planted along the edge of the lawn will add a splash of color to the lawn area. Or consider planting low growing bulbs around the edge of a flower bed to add interest. You can add them directly into a perennial bed. The bulbs will bloom in March, April and May before perennials start to grow. Make sure to locate the bulbs so the dying foliage will not be noticed.

Both spring and summer bulbs can be planted in portable containers. The nice thing about container plantings is their versatility. For spring bulbs, once bloom is past, the container can be moved to a location out of sight while the foliage matures. Summer bulbs will add color all summer long to areas such as a patio or deck.

Keep in mind that planting bulbs of one variety or color in mass will have greater visual impact. This will provide uniform color and texture that is pleasing to the eye. With bulbs such as tulips or daffodils, plant at least twelve bulbs of one variety in a grouping. Smaller bulbs should be planted in groups of fifty to have visual impact.

Take action now to have a beautiful, weed-free, colorful lawn next spring!

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District. She may be reached at or 620-244-3826. Portal of Personalized Information

K-State Research and Extension Southwind District , Joy Miller 620-223-3720 or program is starting this fall to help Medicare beneficiaries manage personal Medicare benefits and service information. Registering with gives you access to your personalized information at any time. Registering lets you:

  • Check your Medicare information, such as your Medicare claims as soon as they are processed and important Medicare-related information specific to you.
  • Find your eligibility, entitlement, and preventive service information.
  • Check your health and prescription drug enrollment information.
  • View your Part B deductible information.
  • Manage your prescription drug list and other personal health information.
  • Print an official Medicare card.
  • Create an “On the Go Report” that allows you to print your health information to share with your healthcare providers.

Medicare uses the same information that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has on file for you (or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) if you get RRB benefits) to verify your information and set up your online account. To register online, you’ll:

  • Enter your Medicare number (as it appears on your red, white, and blue Medicare card).
  • Register with the same address that the SSA or RRB has on file for you. During Registration, you will be asked you to validate your address. This is an important step to protect your personal information, because Medicare may send you mail at this address that contains important personal account information.
  • Create a username and password that you can remember and use to sign into each time you visit.
  • Provide information to reset your username or password if you forget it in the future.

Medicare will mail you a confirmation letter and send a confirmation email if you provided one during registration.

The security provided by prevents others from illegally gathering data from or about you, keeping your personal information safe. Your account may only be accessed by signing in with your own username and personalized password. You or your appointed Authorized Representative are the only people who should have this information.

Remember, you play an important role in protecting your personal information (including your Social Security number) from unlawful access. Always log out of your account after you are finished with your session. Do not share your login information with anyone. Keep your username and password stored in a safe place.

Annual Medicare Open Enrollment is October 15th– December 7th, make an appointment with a Senior Health Insurance Counselor for Kansans (SHICK) for assistance in setting up your account when reviewing Part D prescription and Advantage Plan options for 2020. If you have questions or would like to make an appointment at one of the Southwind Extension District offices (Fort Scott, Erie, Iola, and Yates Center), contact me at 620-223-3720 or