Category Archives: K-State Extension

Minimize Food Waste

Kathy S. McEwan Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Foods & Nutrition, SNAP-Ed Coordinator Southwind Extension District – Iola Office P.O. Box 845, Iola KS 66749 620-365-2242

Training focuses on addressing food issues in local communities

The Kansas State University Pollution Prevention Institute has formed a partnership with the Kansas Alliance for Wellness to present three upcoming workshops on minimizing food waste and keeping unused food out of local landfills.

The workshops will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations:

June 14 – Salina Public Library.

June 21 – Iola courthouse.

June 28 – Oakley, Buffalo Bill Cultural Center.

There is no cost to attend and lunch will be provided, but interested persons are encouraged to register in advance at

The workshops are being held to address the fact that 40 percent of food produced in the United States goes uneaten, while one in eight Americans struggle to put enough food on the table.

The workshops follow a train-the-trainer approach, allowing participants to learn more about what they can do to address food issues in their community. Organizers say the training will follow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s hierarchy of food recovery, which includes donating food to food-insecure populations as one of its top solutions.

The workshop also will include training on strategic communications, including advocacy, marketing and messaging, which can be used to conduct public campaigns aimed at food system policies.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service provided funding for these workshops.

For more information, or if you need accommodations to attend the Iola workshop, contact Kathy McEwan, Southwind Extension District, at or 620-365-2242.

Bagworms Have Emerged!

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

Bagworms are a yearly pest in our area and can cause considerable damage. Most homeowners typically don’t get too concerned about bagworm control until they see large bags present on plants. By then it is too late and the damage is already done! I actually found newly hatched bagworms on my Bald Cypress trees over the weekend.

Bagworms overwinter as eggs deposited in the female bags. From mid-May through mid-June, larvae hatch from the eggs and exit from the bottom opening of the old bag. Larvae begin constructing their miniature silk-lined bags immediately. Only after the bags have been completed do the larvae begin actual feeding activities. And as the larvae grow, so do their bags. By mid-to late August when feeding activities are complete, larvae firmly anchor their bags to the twigs and branches on which they were feeding.

Bagworms are most commonly found on eastern red cedar and junipers. However, bagworms can attack arborvitae, spruce and pine. Broadleaf trees, shrubs and ornamentals can also serve as a host to bagworms. After bagworms have defoliated a host plant, they are capable of migrating in search of additional food sources. They may attack the same species from which they came or a completely different species.

The damage caused by bagworm feeding can be minimal to severe. As larvae enter their later development stages, they require greater amounts of food. Sometimes in what seems to be just overnight, bagworms can completely defoliate a tree. Several successive years of heavy foliar feeding can result in the death a tree, especially with conifers.

There are two ways to control bagworms – cultural and chemical. Cultural practice is used by those who do not want to utilize insecticidal sprays to control bagworms. Instead, bagworms are eliminated by handpicking individual bags from plants. This is best done in the winter months when bags stand out against a trees background color. Keep in mind that a single missed bag could result in a thousand new bagworm larvae. Of course handpicking becomes impractical when a host is literally covered with bags or it is too tall to make handpicking possible.

Chemical control is most effective when larvae are in their early developmental stages. Generally, bagworm larvae will begin emerging from the overwintering bag by mid-to late May. Hatching does not happen overnight. Instead, hatching can continue for 4 to 5 weeks. Controls applied in late summer are often a waste of time and expense because the larvae are large, tough and may have stopped feeding. Now is the time to find the correct insecticide and get the sprayers out and ready for the job ahead.

For more information on bagworm control, please contact me at one of our three Southwind Extension District office locations.

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.

Spring Weather Causes Pastures and Ponds Turn Green

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 or online

Spring weather has finally arrived. As spring temperatures rise, farm pastures begin to green up. I am happy to help you become more productive, by visiting you on your farm or ranch and reviewing your management options. We can discuss pasture fertility, grazing strategies, weed control options and livestock management.

As our pastures green up, unfortunately, our farm ponds do too. This is caused by high nutrient loads which create favorable environments for pond weeds and algae growth. While some pond weeds and algae are necessary for a healthy pond ecosystem, excess weeds and algae problems can rob your ponds of the necessary oxygen to sustain fish life. Maintaining a healthy pond is a balancing act. If over fifty percent of your pond is weedy or algae filled, it’s time to begin an action plan. Unfortunately, there are no quick fix solutions to pond weeds problems. However, starting early in the year and creating a long-term weed or algae control strategy is your best option.

I’d be happy to assist you, free of charge, with your pond or pasture concerns. Contact me at the Southwind Extension District of K-State Research and Extension at (620)223-3720 or by e-mail at to schedule a visit.

How To Keep the Family Farm in the Family

Carla Nemecek is Southwind District Director and agent.

Succession planning is offered through Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services

Facilitated meetings can identify strengths, barriers, and opportunities.

Submitted by: Carla Nemecek, Southwind Extension District Director & Agent

Kansas 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 future sustainability of the farm or ranch also depends on whether the family 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.

Farm and ranch families may be uncertain of how to begin developing a succession plan and need 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 of 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 or visit their website at Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services.