Category Archives: K-State Extension

Credit Report vs Score

Joy Miller

K-State Research and Extension Southwind District

Family Consumer Science

620-223-3720 or

Many people use the terms “credit report” and “credit score” interchangeably, but they are not the same. Your credit report is a detailed account of your credit history, while your credit score is a three-digit number signifying your credit-worthiness. You are entitled to three free credit reports per year, but you generally have to pay to view your score. Although a credit score is a useful piece of information, it is ultimately calculated using the information in your credit report. Therefore, paying for a credit score is typically unnecessary, but ensuring the accuracy of the underlying data in the report is crucial.

What is a credit report? Your credit report is a collection of all of your credit activities within the past 7-10 years. It includes your payment history for your credit cards and other loans such as auto loans and mortgages; public records related to your finances such as bankruptcies, tax liens, and court judgements; and a record of everybody who has looked at your report within the past two years. You can request one free credit report every year at from each of the three main credit agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Companies use the information in your credit report to calculate credit scores.

What is a credit score? Your credit score is calculated using the information in your credit report. Financial institutions use your credit score to decide whether to offer you a loan or credit card. Your credit score also determines the interest rates and credit limits that financial institutions offer to you.  Although many people believe they have one credit score, in fact everybody has several credit scores–different companies calculate your credit score in different ways. Your scores change constantly based on your financial activities. Regardless of the agency, your score will consist of five main components: payment history, amount of current debt, length of credit history, amount of new credit, and types of credit used. Companies use each of these components to calculate a three-digit score, ranging from a low around 300 to a high around 900, which again varies across different types of scores. In the United States, the most widely used credit score is the FICO score. Your credit score is not available for free through

How can I improve my score? You can improve your score by paying your bills on time, using less of your available credit balance, not opening multiple credit accounts over a short period of time, keeping older credit cards open, and using different types of credit responsibly.

It is important to check your credit report regularly to make sure it is accurate and up-to-date. K-State Research and Extension Check Your Credit email program is free and registration is easy, visit under Upcoming Events.

Cold Stress on Cows

A cow’s body conditions affects cold stress.

According to Mary Drewnoski, University of Nebraska Beef Systems Specialist, cold stress increases a cow’s energy requirement and can pull down her body condition. We think many cow/calf producers will experience this issue this winter. While we don’t know what mother, nature has in store for us this year, it is good to think ahead and have a plan. A good start is to evaluate body condition score (BCS) now, and if cows are not at a 5 to 5.5 body condition score, then taking steps to improve body condition score before cold weather hits can help reduce the impacts of cold weather on the cows. Your local extension agricultural agent can assist you determining the body condition score of your cattle if needed.

The threshold at which cattle have to start using energy to maintain their body temperature is called the lower critical temperature (LCT). Cows in good condition which have a heavy winter coat that is dry, do not need to use extra energy to maintain body temperature until the wind chill index is below 19°F.

Having cows in good body condition is a risk management strategy and affects the lower critical temperature. A thin cow with a body condition score of 4 and a dry winter coat has a lower critical temperature of 27°F versus the 19°F of a cow in body condition score 5. Getting cows into good condition early in the winter can be useful for managing risk of bad weather, in that they have condition they can lose, but also because cows with higher body condition score will lose less than those with lower body condition. Additionally, a practical management strategy may be to consider putting thin cows in a group with your first calf heifers as both have higher energy requirements in the winter, which can allow for strategic supplementation of extra feed.

It is also important to understand that a wet hair coat is a completely different ball game. A wet coat increases the lower critical temperature of a cow in good condition to 53°F. Thus, anytime a cow’s coat is wet in the winter they will be using more energy to maintain body temperature. Therefore, in winters with more precipitation, especially freezing rain, we often see much greater decreases in body condition score.

By providing wind protection, you can decrease energy needs by removing wind as a negative factor. If cows have protection from wind, the ambient temperature can be used to determine energy needs. Providing wind protection in the winter can be huge for reducing supplementation needs due to cold wind chills.

It is not advisable to change rations daily, but for extended cold or wet periods, consider feeding more of the same ration, if cattle can eat more of the typical ration. If not, then providing an energy supplement is a good idea. When feeding lower quality hay, dormant range or corn stalks, additional feed will be needed. One option is to change to feeding a higher quality hay source, if available. Free choice really high-quality hay can work down to temperatures of -15°F for cows in good body condition with dry hair or 19°F with good body condition and wet hair. Only by forage testing can you determine actual nutritional value, see your extension office for more information about forage testing.

If cows are grazing, then supplementation with a high energy feed may be desirable. While corn can be used to provide more energy, it comes with risk. Feeding more than 2 to 3 pounds per animal per day can decrease forage digestion, and upset stomachs, especially if the forage is lower in protein. This means that one could make up the difference of about 15°F between the lower critical temperature of the cow and the wind chill index temperature. For a cow in body condition score of 5 with a dry coat, corn supplementation would cover the increased energy requirement down to 5°F, or for a cow with a wet hair coat only to about 38°F. If using corn, it should be fed daily, starting with a low amount, and slowly increased over time.

Distillers grains are another option. Distillers is a good source of energy, it has more energy than corn, and because it is high in protein, it does not cause as much of a substitution effect (will not decrease intake of the forage much) Limitations on the amount of distillers that could be fed would be more based on budgetary concerns than digestive effects.

When wind chill temperatures are extremely cold or the cow has a wet hair coat, a lot of supplement would be needed to make up the greater energy needs and maintain body condition. For instance, if the wind chill was -10°F and the cows had a wet hair coat, 8.6 pounds of dry distillers would be needed to account for the increased energy requirement. However, feeding these levels is likely impractical. A better approach would be to provide a smaller amount of supplemental feed and to continue to feed the extra feed after the weather has moderated to allow cows to regain energy lost during the storm.

It is also important to remember that milking cows have a much greater energy requirement than pregnant cows, not yet milking. Given this, the combination of cold stress and lactation can pull down body condition score very quickly. Thus, if lactating (milking) cows are also subjected to cold stress, increasing their energy intake prior to observing noticeable loss of body condition is advisable. For questions on body condition scoring, lower critical temperature, or supplemental feeding, contact your local extension office.

Information and Resources Available from K-State Extension

Carla Nemecek is Southwind District Director and agent.

Kansas State University provides you with research-based information through many avenues. Locally, your contact is the Southwind Extension District in Erie, Ft. Scott, Yates Center and Iola. Hundreds of publications and fact sheets, written by K-State researchers and specialists, are available through the university’s Publications Library, Another alternative is to research the information provided on the Southwind website,  In 2020, we are working toward making more information and resources available to you in a digital format – but that initiative is a work in progress!


Not all of our services can be found on the internet. One of the most utilized resources is soil testing. K-State Research & Extension can test soil for $12 per sample or $10 apiece for two or more. Soil testing is recommended for gardeners, farmers, testing for lawn & turf problems, or pasture management. Feed and forage testing is also offered. The only way to know for certain the quality of the feed is to get a lab analysis of it, to take a forage test. A forage test may run from $12-24 per sample, depending on what you want the sample tested for. Other tests that are available include Radon Test Kits ($6) and Water Quality Testing resources.


Have you ever wondered what that unidentified pest or plant lurking around your home may be, or even how you can get rid of it? The Extension Office has expertise and resources available to identify pests that are common to our area and in Kansas. This includes home and crop insects, weeds, and various plants. We can also provide information on how to remove or control the pest, depending on your situation.


One of our “best kept secret” products that we offer for sale are odor neutralizers.  Ecosorb ($28) is used in numerous homes, farm and industrial/commercial applications. Most of our clients seek this product to control the odor from fuel spills, mold smell, or skunk sprays.  Neutroleum Alpha ($35) is a concentrated product utilized in a similar fashion to control strong odors. Because it is a concentrate, it can be used in a larger area.


This time of the year, we sell quite a few Farm and Family Account Books ($4.50 – $8.50). If you haven’t made the transition to computerized record keeping, this resource allows for an accurate accounting of your finances in a form that makes completing taxes easier.


Extension publications are very accessible to the public, and most are free if you pick them up in the Extension Office. The Kansas Garden Guide is a new publication that is available for only $6. If you are looking for resources on planning a garden, seeding & planting, or details about a specific crop, this publication is a must-have.  Extension offers many, many publications on home gardening so please stop by if you are looking for something specific.


Area farmers and ranchers often utilize the Kansas Performance Tests for various crops to determine which varieties will grow best in this area of the state. Next month, the 2020 Hybrid Reports for Corn, Soybeans, and Grain Sorghum will become available in the Extension Office. This is in addition to the Wheat Seed Book that is always available in late summer after wheat has been harvested and data collected.


The 2020 Chemical Weed Control Guide will be published in January and provides suggestions for chemical weed control in several major crops. It offers recommendations, and guidelines for crop specific chemicals.


If you are involved in a club or organization that requests presentations, the Southwind District offers a “Speakers Bureau” brochure, which contains the public speaking topics offered by the Extension Agents. Let us help you with your educational topics during your meetings. We try to mail this to civic and social organizations on an annual basis, but you are also welcome to pick up a copy in any of our four offices.


As a consumer, you have many options for finding the answers to your questions. By choosing to use the Extension Service, you can be sure you are getting research-based, unbiased information. We encourage you to use the Southwind Extension District Offices in Erie, Ft. Scott, Yates Center and Iola to help answer your questions. Or you can find us on the web,

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

New Wave Broadband Given Award by Extension Office

New Wave Appreciation Award, from left Taylor Crawford, Andi Garrett, Jennifer Terrell, Harry Lee, Kevin Lee, Jason Lee and David Lee.
Southwind Extension District 4-H Agent Jennifer Terrell presents New Wave Broadband with the 2019 Extension Appreciation Award.
New Wave was instrumental in assisting the Southwind District implement a new online system for 4-H entries and results for the Allen and Bourbon County Fairs. 4-H families utilized an online entry system in 2019, and results were available in real-time thanks to the cooperation of New Wave. Online results allow families near and far to see what 4-H members achieve with their projects.
The K-State Research and Extension Appreciation Award was authorized by the Extension administrative staff in 1977. Its purpose is to honor a person, business or organization who has made outstanding contributions to extension programs in a county or district.
The Southwind District Extension Board and Agents want to express their sincere gratitude to the New Wave Broadband for their support for Extension in Allen and Bourbon Counties and look forward for partnerships yet to come.

New Year’s Resolutions, How to Develop Fitness Goals into Good Ones

K-State Research and Extension Southwind District Agent Joy Miller


620-223-3720 or



Just rattle off how many pounds you want to lose, what pant size you want to wear, how much weight you want to squat, or the date you need to look photo-ready and you are on your way. That is how most people set goals. Typical resolutions and goals often lead to feeling lost, confused, overwhelmed, and crushed by ‘should’. Continue reading for tips on how to create your 2020 blue print to build the skills you need to reach your goal this year.

When someone is asked about their fitness goals, most people start with the outcome(s) they want: lose 20 pounds, six pack abs, binge less often, bench press a certain amount of weight. Outcome goals describe how we want things to be at the end of the process. There is nothing wrong with starting with the end in mind but we may not have control on how things turn out.

Set a behavior goal to focus on the things you do have control over. They represent your commitment to practice a particular set of actions or tasks every day, as consistently and regularly as possible. Examples: Lose weight (outcome), eat until satisfied instead of stuffed at each meal (behavior). Squat more weight (outcome), squat 3 times a week at various intensities (behavior). Want a better relationship with a partner (outcome), have a date night once a week (behavior).

Both outcome and behavior goals are trackable. Behavior goals are usually more effective because they give you something to do and track each day.

Avoidance goals, you know the ones-stop drinking soda, absolutely no sugar, stop smoking. Avoid goals are nice and straightforward, seems logical they would push you away from something bad or something that threatens what you want to achieve. This type of goal is a lot of psychological work, taking up mental and emotional real estate and energy. All you think about is what you are not doing or shouldn’t do but really want to do.

Turn avoidance goals into approach goals. Approach goals pull you toward something desirable, focus on feeling good or about doing good for ourselves. Revisiting the stop drinking soda (avoid) an approach solution could be drink a glass of water with meals each day, the benefit may be headaches are gone.

Performance goals are similar to outcome goals and usually associated with external validation such as wanting to get good grades or win a competition. Performance goals can be fun for a while, pushing yourself to be your best. It can also be demotivating if they don’t work out. Just like outcome goals, performance goals are often limited by factors outside your control. Performance goals also put our happiness and satisfaction in the hands of someone or something else. This may be pleasing a coach or parent, beating a competitor, social media likes, etc.

Instead of setting performance goals, create mastery goals that emphasize the process of getting a little bit better each day at a particular skill. Mastery is gratifying because no matter what others think or do, you can still feel good about your own personal progression. Mastery goals involve words like ‘work on’, ‘build’, and ‘practice’.

To help with your health and fitness goals this year, visit for upcoming programs such as Stay Strong Stay Health and Walk Kansas. The Southwind District has other upcoming events and resources to help you work toward your goals of health, finance, and overall well-being.

Harvested grain fields can be used for winter feeding of cattle

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


The amount of grain left in the field for cattle to eat after harvest has been reduced considerably in recent years through modern farming improvements. However, weather conditions can result in significant ear drop or plant lodging. Before turning cattle out for grazing, scout fields to look for piles of grain on the ground and determine if there is over 8-10 bushels of grain on the ground. If so, management should be taken to remove these piles prior to turning out cattle on the residue. Be sure that cattle have had access to plenty of hay before turning them out into cornfields, to keep hungry cows from gorging in grain.

Any grain available, in the field after harvest, would have the highest protein content followed by the leaves. The cob has the lowest protein and energy value. The stalk and husks have similar crude protein content, but more energy is available from the husks than the stalks due to the lower lignin content. In general, leaves from milo sorghum residue have higher protein content than corn leaves. The stalks of corn and sorghum are similar in protein, but digestibility is somewhat higher in sorghum than corn.

To ensure adequate residue to protect soil remains on the field after grazing, we can use animal weight and grain yield to determine the amount of grazing available. Cattle will readily remove approximately 15% of the residue (leaves and husk), but can be forced to remove more if desired. The goal should be to leave at least ½ of the total amount of residue on the field.

If corn yield is 180 bu/acre, a rule of thumb is to divide by 3.5 to get grazing days for a 1200-pound cow. In this case, 180 bu/acre corn residue should provide approximately 51 days of grazing (180/3.5 = 51) for a 1200 lb cow. The harvest index is similar for both corn and grain sorghum, so an 85 bus/acre dryland sorghum divided by 3.5, would provide approximately 24 days of grazing (85/3.5 = 24). A lactating cow or a heavier cow will consume more dry matter and the days of grazing would be adjusted downward. And of course, a smaller animal could graze longer.

Cattle will selectively graze the crop residue, eating the highest quality portions first, grain then leaves and husks. Depending on the stocking rate, amount of grain available, and nutrient demands of the cows, no energy or protein supplementation may be needed early in the grazing period for dry cows with a body condition score of 5 or more. Contact your local extension office for more information about body Condition Scoring. Southwind Extension District Agent Christopher Petty is available for farm visits to explain this process using your cow herd. Weathering and trampling will decrease quality over time and this loss is greater with moisture and high humidity.

Cattle will cause soil compaction in paths leading to and around a water source. These compacted areas will only be surface compaction in the top 2-inches of soil. These compacted areas can be remedied by shallow tillage or spreading manure on the trafficked area if no-till is used. Results on soil compaction from grazing have shown mixed results. A study near Bushland, TX found surface compaction in a no-till system reduced crop yield after several years of grazing. While grazing studies from Nebraska found no increase in compaction and increased crop yield. Studies from western Kansas found compaction to only occur in the top two inches when grazing occurred on wet soils and shallow tillage removed any compaction. Compaction will be less on frozen, dry, sandy soils. It is best to remove cattle from the field to a nearby perennial pasture if the field stays wet and not frozen. Also, the farmer should be open to using light tillage should compaction occur.

Nutrient removal from grazing – Another common concern about grazing residue is nutrient removal. Nutrient removal will vary by the type of animal, with a growing calf requiring more nitrogen than a mature dry cow. Dry cows will typically be used to graze residue, which will remove between 1 and 2 lbs of nitrogen per acre (depending on crop yield) and few other nutrients. Crop residue is low in phosphorus; thus, farmers will likely supply a free-choice mineral, resulting in an increase in the amount of phosphorus and calcium left in the field.

When used properly, harvested corn and milo fields can work effectively to decrease the amount of hay needed to feed hay throughout the winter months. Unfortunately, soybean stubble is of little to no value, and cannot be used in the same manner. For more information about grazing grain stubble, contact your local extension office.

Reflections on Changes in K-State Extension

Carla Nemecek is Southwind District Director and agent.

As we draw near to the end of a decade, I can’t help but to reflect on the changes our local Extension services have been through.  In 2010, the Southwind District was formed between Neosho and Allen Counties. Elected officials, extension board members, extension agents and countless community members had the foresight to see that this would be a viable option for meeting the challenges of changing rural communities. Only a year later, Bourbon County was added to the District. During this time, our programming presence grew and agents have embraced specialization.

Krista Harding went from being the Neosho County Ag Agent to focusing on Horticulture and expanding the Master Gardener program. Bourbon County was able to hire Christopher Petty to focus on Livestock & Forage Management and Joy Miller is always busy with Family Financial Management by offering SHICK counseling and marketplace consultations. Jennifer Murphy was hired to be a District-wide 4-H Agent which positioned the District to better embrace online 4-H enrollment and a new record keeping system. I am always grateful for her attention to the 4-H detail because that is certainly one piece of the extension system that can be time consuming and challenging! Kathy McEwan went from being a general FCS Allen in Allen County to focusing her programming efforts in Food & Nutrition. That shift also allowed us to expand the grant-funded SNAP education by hiring 3 nutrition educators who work across the district with families.

Just when we thought we had the District model figured out, Woodson County joined the Southwind District in 2018. Dale Lanham has the most staff tenure at 45 years in extension and a wealth of knowledge with regard to sheep and goat production that is respected throughout the state. Barbara Stockebrand has improved the lives of our aging population by teaching skills that embrace aging and help those folks continue to lead a meaningful life.

Prior to the Southwind District, Office Professionals did a little bit of everything to manage the local office. The District model allowed them to specialize their time and talents. Andrea Hilyard is in Yates Center and manages our website and communication efforts, which are becoming more and more important to our Extension footprint in Southeast Kansas. Pat Simpson uses her 4-H background and experiences in Fort Scott to serve as the 4-H program manager and develops our monthly 4-H Newsletter and keeps our volunteers monitored throughout the District. Kari Smith is the administrative office professional in Iola, and is our financial specialist who was deservingly awarded the 2018 K-State Research & Extension Office Professional of the Year. We expect to hire a new Office Professional in Erie who will manage our social media and marketing efforts. Finally, as District Director, I manage the overall program and coordinate our programming efforts to offer a balanced educational program that reaches new, traditional and underserved audiences.

The District-model has allowed our 4-H members to participate in state, national and even international contests as they participated on blended teams with youth from all four of our District counties. Our kids are already connecting with youth from across the area, and it only seems natural to allow those with a common interest to work together to accomplish big-time goals and secure their future as advocates for agriculture.

K-State Research & Extension has changed over the last decade, and I anticipate the next decade will be full of new opportunities. Technology continues to drive our presence and opens new doors to the sharing of research-based information. It should not be a surprise to you in the next decade when you see the Extension Office utilizing social media outlets like YouTube and offering meetings in person and through virtual channels like Zoom. To be honest, technology is overwhelming to the Southwind District Staff that has over 245 years of professional experience! We are proud to have been serving our local communities for this amount of tenure, but it comes with challenges because we are also trying to serve new audiences and embrace non-traditional Extension users who want to receive information through electronic alternatives.

If you are looking for research-based information, the Southwind District will continue to be your local resource through K-State Research & Extension. The next 10 years will likely be just as exciting as the past 10, and we look forward to taking the ride with you! For more information, you can find the Southwind District at

Carla Nemecek

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


Regional Farmers’ Market Workshop Scheduled for February In Iola

MANHATTAN, Kan. —  The Kansas Department of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension will host six regional workshops in February 2020 to assist farmers’ market vendors and managers. Kansas farmers’ markets not only provide a fresh food source, but also stimulate the local economy. In 2019, 57 farmers’ markets were registered with KDA’s Central Registration of Farmers’ Markets.

“Farmers’ markets provide growers a wonderful opportunity to have real interaction with consumers, and a chance to tell their farm’s story,” said Londa Nwadike, consumer food safety specialist with K-State Research and Extension and the University of Missouri. “It’s also important for farmers to understand certain legal, safety and financial parameters before choosing to sell at a farmers’ market.”


Workshop topics will vary slightly by location. Main topics include:

  • Double Up Food Bucks Program and Accepting EBT
  • Food Safety and Regulations on Selling Meat, Eggs and Poultry
  • Kansas Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Certified Farmer Training
  • Marketing Tips
  • Produce Grower Panel


KDA’s weights and measures program will also offer free scale certification at the workshops for attendees.


Dates and locations for the Farmers’ Market events are as follows:

Saturday, Feb. 1 Iola: Allen Community College

Saturday, Feb. 8 — Wichita: Sedgwick County Extension Office

Friday, Feb. 21 — Olathe: KSU Olathe

Saturday, Feb. 22 — Hiawatha: Fisher Center

Friday, Feb. 28 — Beloit: Beloit First Christian Church

Saturday, Feb. 29 — Leoti: Wichita County Community Building


Registration for the February workshops is now open. The cost is $20 per participant to cover the cost of lunch. Lunch will only be guaranteed to those participants who register prior to the respective workshop date. Registration for the workshops can be found at or at local extension offices.

Onsite registration for the workshops will open at 8:30 a.m. and the workshops will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude by 3:00 p.m. The Wichita workshop will begin onsite registration at 8:15 a.m. and the workshop begins at 8:45 a.m., concluding at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Robin Blume, KDA’s education and events coordinator, at 785-564-6756 or The workshops are funded by the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, the Kansas Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and the Kansas Department of Agriculture.


KDA is committed to providing an environment that enhances and encourages economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy. The Kansas Ag Growth Strategy has identified training for small companies via workshops as a key growth outcome for the specialty crop sector. The farmers’ market workshops will provide education through partnerships to help make Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses more successful.


Uniontown 4-H Club November Report

Submitted by Marley Sutton

On Sunday, November 10th, numerous Uniontown 4-H Club members attended the Southwind 4-H District achievement banquet in Fort Scott.


The following members received their Member in Good Standing achievement pins:

Tucker Sutton, Jack Endicott, Seth Shadden, Hailey Shadden, Will Maycumber, Austin Maycumber, Mackinlee Bloesser, Marley Sutton, McKinley Sutton, Calvin Walker, Jewell Endicott, Kendyl Bloesser, Maddie Ard, and Bariegh Farrell.


The following members received Kansas Award Portfolio recognition:

 Kendyl Bloesser, Mackinlee Bloesser, Marley Sutton, McKinley Sutton, Austin Maycumber, Will Maycumber, Jewell Endicott, Maddie Ard, and Bariegh Farrell


The following members received an officer book award: Reporter- Marley Sutton and  Historian- Mackinlee Bloesser


Melanie Bloesser and Sara Sutton received leadership recognition.


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