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 Humboldt, KS on Friday, November 9, 2018. 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 the Humboldt Public Library, 916 Bridge Street from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and includes lunch. The cost to attend is $10.
“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 email@example.com.
A desirable soil is the most important aspect of a garden. Time spent fertilizing, watering and tending to plants is necessary, but this time is almost a waste if the soil you’re working with is not in good condition. Fall is an excellent time to step back and analyze how well your garden performed during the summer, and to make improvements to the soil.
Soil is formed when rock is broken down by climate and vegetation over a period of time. Soil is nothing more than weathered rock fragments and decaying remains of plants and animals.
Most soils have three distinct layers – surface, subsoil and bottom. The surface layer is a coarse layer containing more organic matter than the other soil layers and the layer that people pay the greatest attention to. This layer is the most fertile and has the greatest concentration of plant roots. Plants obtain much of their nutrients and water from the surface soil.
The subsoil layer is finer and firmer than the surface soil and serves as support for the surface layer. The subsoil layer is a storage space for water and nutrients for plants, a temperature regulator of the soil and supplies air for the roots of plants. The bottom layer is decomposed rock. It is not hard like rock, but may show the form or structure of the original rocks.
Soil texture refers to the proportional amount of sand, silt and clay in a soil. Texture and soil structure affect the moisture holding capacity of soil, permeability, capacity to hold and furnish nutrients, tillage operations and erosion.
Our soils in the southeastern part of Kansas have a high clay content to it. The clay in the soil is what makes the soil stick to your shoes when the soil is wet. Many refer to our soil as “gumbo.”
One way to address a heavy clay soil and to improve the soil texture is to add organic matter. Organic matter includes such items as manure, leaves, and grass clippings that have been composted. Earthworms, insects, bacteria and fungi use the organic matter as food, breaking it down into humus. Through this process, materials are made available for use by growing plants. In a heavy clay soil, the organic matter allows water to move more freely and loosens the tight clay, which makes the soil easier to work.
Organic material can be directly applied to gardens and flowerbeds this time of year and allowed to compost directly in the soil. Add two to four inches of organic material and till into the soil. If the soil is dry, apply water to begin the decomposition process. After about two weeks you can repeat the process with another application of organic material. The organic material will decompose over the winter and soil will be ready for spring planting.
Sand is sometimes suggested as an amendment material for clay soils. However, there is a good reason to be cautious about using sand. For sand to be effective at breaking up a clay soil, sand grains must touch one another so there is pore space between grains that can hold air and water. If the grains don’t touch, the clay fills in the void between sand particles leaving no room for pores. This is the same principle used to make concrete and the result is somewhat the same.
Before doing any amendments to the soil, I recommend doing a soil test. Soil testing can be done through the Extension office for $12. For more information on how to take a soil sample, please give me a call.
K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Medicare Annual Open Enrollment, What Should You Do?
Medicare Part D (prescription) annual open enrollment is around the corner.
This nationwide enrollment period runs from October 15 thru December 7.
In the state of Kansas, ten companies provide Medicare Part D totaling 26 different plans to choose from in 2019. Monthly premiums range from $16.20 to $99.50 a month. The deductible upper limit is $415 but ranges from $0-$415.
If you are a Medicare beneficiary enrolled in a Part D prescription plan, you may have already received your Annual Notice of Change for your plan in the mail. The notice will include information regarding any changes to your current plan such as monthly premium, deductible, and coverage of your medications. These notices may not include everything you need to know such as a change in medication formulary or change of in-network pharmacies. Carefully review them. If you do nothing, you will continue in your current plan.
Each year insurance companies providing Part D plans make adjustments regarding monthly premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance and copayments.
Often people are happy with their current plan and can afford the increases, but there may be an opportunity to save money. For many years, probably since 2006 when Part D plans started, Humana Walmart RX has been the lowest premium plan.
It is great for those who do not take any prescription medications but enrolled to have coverage and avoid a penalty in the future.
Two new plans are being offered in 2019 with even lower premiums than Humana. The difference is $90, something beneficiaries may not know if they don’t evaluate all the plans each year.
Having a plan comparison completed will let you know what to expect financially for the upcoming year and make sure your 4 C’s are covered.
The 4 C’s to review in coverage are:
Cost. How much have you spent on premiums, deductibles, and copayments this year? How will these amounts change next year?
Coverage. Does your plan cover all of the medications you believe you will need next year? Do you want to get your health care and drug coverage through one single plan? If so, you should review your Medicare Advantage options.
Convenience. To what extent will your plan restrict access to certain medications you need, such as through prior authorization or quantity limits? Can you use the plan at the pharmacy of your choice? Can you get your prescriptions through the mail if you prefer to?
Customer service. Is your plan responsive when you have a question? Does it have a high-quality rating as displayed in the Medicare Plan Finder?
The Southwind Extension District provides free, unbiased, confidential assistance by a Certified SHICK Counselor to help you compare all 26 plans, providing you an estimate of your prescription costs for the upcoming year.
Last year 50% of the beneficiaries I assisted who were new to Medicare or enrolled in a new plan saved over $440,000 dollars.
It is also an opportunity if you have questions about how Medicare works, advantage plans (Part C), or supplement insurance plans.
Those new to Medicare or have questions about Medicare coverage may call the Extension office to discuss Medicare any time during the year. I can also assist you in understanding how Medicare does or does not work with employer insurance or Marketplace health insurance plans.
Evaluation of income and resources are also available to determine eligibility financial assistance programs such as Extra Help and Medicare Savings Program.
For an appointment, call me at 620-223-3720 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. In person appointments will be scheduled at our Extension offices located in Erie, Iola, Fort Scott, and Yates Center.
Gov. Colyer proclaims National 4-H Week in Kansas, inspiring kids ‘to do’
The event concludes with 48 Hours of Community Service on Oct. 13-14
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer signed a proclamation on Monday recognizing Oct. 7-13 as National 4-H Week in Kansas, clearing the way for a week-long celebration of America’s largest youth development organization.
4-H reaches nearly 75,000 young people across Kansas. Colyer’s proclamation notes that National 4-H Week “highlights the remarkable 4-H youth in Kansas who work each day to make a positive impact on those around them.”
The Kansas 4-H program is delivered through K-State Research and Extension and its network of local extension offices. Amy Sollock, the southwest area 4-H youth development specialist, notes that the organization empowers youth with skills to lead in their life and career.
“4-H was founded on the belief that when kids are empowered to pursue their passions and chart their own course, their unique skills grow and take shape, helping them to become true leaders in their lives, careers, and communities,” she said.
In addition to the youth members, there are nearly 11,000 people who volunteer their time to Kansas 4-H by creating the life experiences that “Inspire Kids to Do” for their communities, which is the theme for National 4-H Week.
“4-H Youth Development has been a part of Kansas communities since 1905,” said Wade Weber, the state program leader for Kansas 4-H. “Today more than ever, 4-H provides a unique opportunity for youth to discover their passions, build their skills, and grow confidence with the support of caring adults and dynamic partnerships with local and K-State based resources.
He adds: “4-H youth build essential life skills like problem-solving, teamwork, communication, and decision making that enable them to become tomorrow’s leaders by doing leadership today.”
National 4-H Week in Kansas wraps up Oct. 13-14 with the fifth annual 48 Hours of 4-H community service event taking place across the state. 4-Hers and volunteers plan community service events sometime during that weekend to symbolize the organization’s commitment to ‘doing.’
“Kansas 4-Hers are active in their community year-round, but 48 Hours of 4-H is an opportunity to highlight the 4-H members and volunteers who are ‘doing’ all across Kansas,” Sollock said. “In 4-H, kids roll up their sleeves and do with their hands. Their experiences grow the confidence they need for life and career. 4-Hers do with a purpose, lead by example and empower their peers to do the same.”
More information about 48 Hours of 4-H is available online. On social media, look for the hashtag, #484H.
For more information about National 4-H Week, visit 4-H.org. To join Kansas 4-H and the movement to Inspire Kids to Do, visit Kansas4-H.org.
The poultry project is designed to help you learn about chickens and other poultry. You will acquire an understanding of scientific poultry management and marketing practices. You will gain business experience and insight into the values and principles of purchasing, marketing, record keeping and exhibiting poultry.
There is 4-H Curriculum that can be purchased for anyone interested in the Poultry project. Here is a breakdown of what youth can learn at different ages/stages:
Learn poultry breeds and body parts
Learn how to care for and handle your birds
Practice showmanship techniques
Learn how eggs are formed
Select and judge broilers
Make an egg candler
Learn about pecking orders
Ages 14 and Older:
Lead younger members in egg experiments
Learn how to process chickens for food
Learn about biotechnology and poultry careers
In addition to the curriculum, youth are also offered the opportunity to attend project meetings held by volunteers. Each year, youth are able to demonstrate the hard work that has been spent by participating locally at the county fair, area spring shows, and depending on age and placing, the Kansas State Fair.
The poultry project is a great opportunity for youth to learn important life skills. For more information about this project, contact Jennifer K. Terrell, 4-H Youth Development for K-State Research and Extension – Southwind District at email@example.com or 620-244-3826.
Summer Droughts Have Lingering Effects for Cattle after Recent Rains
According to Bob Weaber, Kansas State University Extension Cow-calf Specialist, drought-stressed pasture issues linger after rain. For many producers in Kansas, the last couple of weeks have brought much-needed rain to our r rangeland and helped fill ponds on which we depend for watering livestock. Undoubtedly, the rain was welcomed by many and does much to relieve the short surface water supplies. The spring and summer of 2018 will be remembered by many cattle producers due to the hot and dry conditions that persisted. The lack of rain resulted in subpar forage production for both cool and warm season grasslands. As a result, cattle producers will face a wide range of lingering effects of the drought over the coming months and perhaps years.
The lingering effects of a drought can be broadly classified into cow nutritional effects, cow reproductive effects, calf performance effects and rangeland/forage effects. All will take time for recovery but in each case, careful management can hasten the progression of recovery.
In some cases, the reduced forage supply has resulted in cows losing substantial body condition after calving. If calves have not been weaned, consider weaning them to reduce nutritional demands of the lactating cows. Weaning calves will help extend feed resources in short supply and help stop the slide in body condition. Remember cows should be in BCS 5-6 at calving. The interval immediately following weaning of spring-born calves provides the best chance of correcting body condition in cows as inexpensively as possible. Spring-calving cows at this time are in their second or early third trimester and, without the demand of lactation, are at their lowest point of nutritional needs during the production cycle.
Each body condition score that needs to be replaced represents approximately 80 lb. of body weight. Getting cows to gain 2 lb. per day for 90 to 100 days is easy and can be done inexpensively. Seek out your local extension professional for assistance in developing a low-cost supplementation strategy. Two pounds per day gain for 90 days can improve flesh on a BCS 4 cow and account for the growth of the fetus. Neglecting recovery of BCS in the thinner cows will result in extended postpartum intervals and decreased lactation performance in 2019. Worse yet, if these cows don’t recover adequate condition by the 2019 breeding season, conception rates will suffer, and the 2018 drought effects will carry on into 2020. Correcting BCS in drought-affected cows should be a high priority.
The 2018 drought has resulted in reduced fertility or increased embryonic mortality in some cases. Several reports suggest the excessive heat in late June and early July many have stressed cows sufficiently to cause early embryonic losses. A timely preg check by your veterinarian can help uncover the effects of the drought on reproduction in your herd. Embryonic losses may have resulted in cows returning to estrus and settling late in the breeding season and shifting the expected calving distribution for 2019. Knowing that shift now may allow producers to adjust feed supplementation and labor needs for the coming calving season to more appropriately align with demands. The drought may result in a larger than typical number of open cows in your herd. The timely preg check can help find these open cows and assist in developing either a strategy for culling or shifting them to a fall calving system. If feed resources are extremely tight, culling opens can extend feed availability for the reproductive herd.
The substantial recent rains don’t alleviate the short supply of standing forage available for grazing in many areas or the short hay supply. Careful range management and rest following the recent rains can help the grass stands regenerate root resources preparing them for the next spring growing season. If producers have tillable crop acreage, winter annuals or cover crops can help take the burden off pastures. The recent rains should make for good planting and germination conditions. Hay prices are likely to remain high in many parts of Kansas so seeking alternative forage or energy sources for cows is worth exploring. Corn remains fairly inexpensive and can be used as an effective energy source for cows.
Cow-calf producers are encouraged to critically evaluate their cow herd and forage conditions over the next few weeks to devise strategies to mitigate the 2018 drought effects. The clock is ticking on the options available. Don’t let the recent rains and green up of pastures be an excuse for inaction.
Did you have unsightly bare spots in your lawn this year? If so, you may want to consider renovating your lawn. Renovating doesn’t have to be done by plowing under the current turf and starting from scratch. Instead, lawns can be thickened up by overseeding during September.
To start the overseeding process, mow the grass short (1-1.5 inches) and remove the clippings. This will make it easier to get good seed-soil contact and increase the amount of light that will reach the young seedlings. The success of overseeding is dependant on good seed-soil contact. Thatch can prevent the seed from reaching the soil and germinating. If the thatch layer is ¾ inch or more, use a sod cutter to remove it. A power rake can also be used to reduce a thatch layer.
Next, the soil should be prepared for the seed. Holes must be made into the soil for the seeds to fall into. A verticut machine can be used. It has solid vertical blades that can be set to cut furrows into the soil. Another option is to use a core aerator. This machine will punch holes into the soil and deposit the cores on the surface of the ground. Each hole will produce an excellent environment for seed germination and growth.
Fertilizer should then be applied at the rate suggested by a soil test or a starter fertilizer should be used at the rate suggested on the bag.
Seeding is the next step. For overseeding, use half the amount needed compared to seeding bare ground. For tall fescue, the normal rate for bare seeding is 6 to 8 pounds per 1000 square feet so the overseeding rate would be 3 to 4 pounds per 1000 square feet. You don’t necessarily have to overseed with the same variety you planted before. The quality of a lawn by can be raised by overseeding with a fescue with better characteristics. Many stores carry blends of several newer high-quality tall fescues.
Finally, water everything in and then keep the seedbed constantly moist to ensure rapid germination. Frequent light waterings are better than deeper, infrequent watering as the seedlings become established.
Fertilize with a high nitrogen fertilizer again 4 to 6 weeks after seeding to keep plants growing well and to build up food reserves.
On a side note, many homeowners often want to overseed bare spots under trees but have minimal luck. The turf will sprout as fall progresses and will get well established by winter. It continues to look good going into spring. However, the next summer it begins to die out again – despite any care it is given.
In many cases, this is due to too much shade or the type of turf planted isn’t a good fit for the location. Tall fescue is the only widely used lawn turf in Kansas that can survive some shade. All other cool and warm season turfs need more sunlight.
Instead of establishing grass under trees, consider underplanting the tree with shade tolerant ornamental plants. Examples include ground covers such as vinca minor vines, Boston ivy or liriope, or plants such as hostas or hardy ferns.
K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Kansas 4-H members ages nine and up are eligible to enter projects at the Kansas State Fair, but only eligible after first earning the top award in the project category at the county fair. That means 4-H entries at the Fair come with high praise, and also means seeing the various projects in 4-H Centennial Hall may inspire others to join 4-H and learn by doing, choosing a new 4-H project (if already involved in 4-H programs) or provide the nudge that’s needed to complete a hobby project or try something new.
Kansas 4-H offers more than 30 educational 4-H projects and seeing the completed projects under one roof is a testimony to experiential learning in 4-H.
The 2018 Kansas State Fair will open Sept. 7 and continue through Sept. 16. While attending the annual event is a tradition for many, seasoned as well as first-time fairgoers are encouraged to visit 4-H Centennial Hall to view 4-H projects that have earned the top awards at our local county fairs.
4-H Centennial Hall is located at the north end of the fairgrounds and will house the majority of the more than 11,000 4-H project exhibits during the fair. The Southwind Extension District will be well represented, with exhibits entered from Allen, Bourbon, Woodson and Neosho Counties.
The 4-H building is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., from Sept. 7-Sept. 15, and, on Sept. 16 (closing day) from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
“Find Your Fun” is the theme for the 2018 Kansas State Fair, so I certainly want to mention some of our most grassroots projects – the livestock. Southwind 4-H members will also be exhibiting horses, sheep, swine, meat goats and cattle at the South end of the Fairgrounds. Horse project members who previously qualified at the District Horse Show will compete the second weekend of the State Fair, while livestock exhibitors will show the first weekend as part of the Grand Drive. Youth enrolled in the Dog project will also compete the second weekend.
Information on daily schedules and admission can be found on the Kansas State Fair website, www.kansasstatefair.com
If you are looking for results from our local 4-H members, those can be found by clicking on the link at www.kansas4-h.org, or stop by the Southwind Extension District website, www.southwind.ksu.edu and we will direct you to those 4-H results that will be updated on a daily basis.
From the fun fried foods that can be found on the mid-way to the open and youth exhibits across the fairgrounds, there are opportunities for the young and old alike. I encourage you to put on your best walking shoes and make a trip to Hutchinson, KS September 7-16, 2018 and “Find Your Fun” at the 2018 Kansas State Fair!
With the year more than halfway over, now is a great time to check in and see if you are up to date on your preventive care appointments. These services can find health problems early, when treatment works best, and keep you from getting certain diseases.
Twenty four preventative services including exams, shots, lab tests, screenings, counseling, and education are available to help you take care of your own health.
You will need to talk with your doctor or health care provider to find out what tests or other services you may need and how often you need them.
A reminder that health care providers may suggest exams or tests that Medicare does not cover or you might have a deductible or copay. They may also recommend that you have tests more or less often than Medicare covers them.
If you have Medicare Part B, the following ten examinations and screenings are no cost to you.
A “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit. Thisis available only in the first 12 months you are on Part B. It includes a review of your medical history, certain screenings and shots, measurements of vital signs, a simple vision test, review of potential risk for depression, an offer to discuss advance directives and a written plan outlining which screenings, shots and other preventive services you need. This visit is covered one time.
Annual wellness visit. You’re eligible for this free exam if you’ve had Medicare Part B for longer than 12 months. The physician will review your medical history; update your list of providers and medications; measure your height, weight, blood pressure and other vital signs; and provide you with personalized health advice and treatment options.
Mammogram. An annual screening mammogram is free. If you require a diagnostic mammogram, you’ll pay a 20 percent copay and the Part B deductible will apply.
Colonoscopy. A screening colonoscopy once every 24 months is free if you’re at high risk for colorectal cancer. If you aren’t at high risk, Medicare covers this test once every 10 years.
Diabetes screening. You’re eligible for two free screenings each year if you have a history of high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, are obese or have a history of high blood sugar levels. The screenings will also be free if two or more of these issues apply to you: You are over 65, are overweight or have a family history of diabetes, or you had diabetes when you were pregnant.
Prostate cancer screening. An annual PSA test is free. A digital rectal exam will cost you 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount plus the doctor’s services related to the exam. The Part B deductible also applies.
Vaccines. Annual flu shots, vaccines to prevent pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia, and shots for hepatitis B (for those at high or medium risk) are covered free of charge.
Cardiovascular disease (behavioral therapy). As a Medicare recipient, you also get a free yearly visit with your primary care provider to help you lower your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Lung cancer screening. An annual test with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is free if you are between 55 and 77, don’t have any signs of lung cancer, are a smoker or have quit in the past 15 years, and you have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 “pack years” (meaning you smoked an average of one pack a day for 30 years).
Depression screening. A yearly screening is free if conducted in a primary care center where follow-up and referrals are available. Copays may apply for follow-up care.
For a full list of Medicare’s Preventative Services, visit Medicare.gov/publications to view or print “Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services”. You can also register at MyMedicare.gov to get direct access to your preventive health information. You can track your preventive services, get a 2-year calendar of the Medicare-covered tests and screenings you are eligible for, and print a report to take to your next doctor’s appointment.
For additional information, contact the Southwind Extension District, Fort Scott office 620-223-3720. Our website is http://www.southwind.ksu.edu or follow us on Facebook: Southwind Extension District.
This Friday’s Chamber of Commerce sponsored concert will feature the Workman Bluegrass band.
“The band has performed many times for us at the pavilion and is a continuing favorite with their lively renditions of bluegrass, folk and traditional gospel music,” Ralph Carlson, the event organizer said. “The concert starts at 7 pm. come early and bring your lawn chairs as seating is limited. In the event of rain, the band has opted to go indoors at The Common Grounds Coffee shop 1/2 block south of the Heritage Park Pavilion.”
Join the Southwind and Wildcat Extension Districts, The Natural Resources Conservation District, and the Neosho County Conservation District for a Fall Burning Demonstration.
This event, free to the public, will be held at 2:00 p.m. on September 11th, with a rain date scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on September 18.
Dr. K.C. Olson with Kansas State University will discuss the advantages of fall burning for serecia lespedeza weed control.
Additional experts from NRCS, KSRE, or KDWPT will discuss burn safety, protocol and burn equipment. Following the discussions, we will burn several acres of expired CRP ground, with the intent of reducing weed pressure. This pasture is slated to eventually be placed back into livestock production.
Directions to the Duff farm: From Erie, Kansas take 59 south approximately 3 1/2 miles to 100th Rd, and then west approximately 8 ½ miles to farm site. From Thayer, Kansas take 169 north approximately 1 ½ miles to 100th Rd, then east approximately 2 ½ miles to the farm. Signs will be posted.
For more information contact Christopher Petty with the Southwind District Extension Office at (620) 223-3720 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.