Category Archives: K-State Extension

A Mark in Time for K-State Extension

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


With the addition of Woodson County to the Southwind District, July 1, 2018, marks an important mark in time for K-State Research and Extension. The extension districting model has been in place in Kansas since 1994 when Lincoln and Mitchell Counties formed the Post Rock District, and currently contains 50 counties in 17 Districts across the State.

Increased efficiency and effectiveness were major forces when the 1991 Kansas Legislature passed the Extension District Act. The merger of county extension councils can result in increased efficiency of resources and greater effectiveness of personnel through specialization, resulting in higher quality educational programming for Kansas citizens.

Locally, the Southwind District was formed in 2010 with Allen and Neosho Counties, Bourbon County was added in 2011, and Woodson County joined our family this week. Prior to districting, all extension units operated within their own counties, most commonly with two agents in each office to represent agriculture and family & consumer sciences with shared responsibility for 4-H.

In our Southwind district model, each local office houses two agents, but job responsibilities are more focused for better specialization and agents travel throughout the district to meet the needs of local residents.

In my opinion, the district model creates an environment of teamwork and synergy that we never had as an isolated county office. Extension staff is supervised and report to the District Board, which consists of four residents from each county who are elected in the general election of odd-numbered years.

Woodson County representatives were appointed by the County Commissioners for their first term.

As District Director, I am responsible for working with our finance committee to complete the annual budget, working with the personnel committee to set goals and conduct performance reviews, and the marketing committee promotes the district through various media avenues.

We remain strongly connected to Kansas State University as it relates to funding, staffing, personnel, educational requirements, and the organizational structure of extension councils and districts. An operational agreement and memorandum of understanding were developed with the district and Kansas State University.

With the addition of Woodson County, there is a new level of energy and excitement across our staff and offices. We have high expectations for expanded opportunities for all of our programs, and we look forward to including Woodson County for years to come.

If you haven’t already, please find more information about Southwind District on our website, or our Facebook page: Southwind Extension District. Folks are welcome to contact me anytime or 620-365-2242.

Woodson County Joins K-State Southwind District

Kansas State University Southwind Extension District Agents hosted an Open House in Yates Center on Thursday, June 28 as Woodson County joins Allen, Bourbon and Neosho Counties in the Extension District.

Agents pictured include Joy Miller, Krista Harding, Carla Nemecek, Christopher Petty, Jennifer Terrell, Dale Lanham, Barbara Stockebrand and Kathy McEwan.

K-State Offers Kids Cooking Classes in Ft. Scott and Bronson June 26-28

K-State Extension will offer cooking classes this week for area children 2nd through 5th grade.
During each class, all students will prepare and then consume the different dishes.
Ft. Scott Cooking Classes

Summer Cooking Classes by K-State Research and Extension will begin on June 26 and continue through June 28 at the First United Methodist Church basement, in Fort Scott. The classes will include students that have completed 2nd-5th graders and are full with 24 enrolled students. The classes will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m.

Bronson Cooking Classes
The Bronson cooking classes will begin on June 26 and continue through June 28 at the Bronson Community Center.  Classes will be from 2-4: 30 p.m.

For more information

 contact Terri Kretzmeier at

No Plant Question is Too Challenging

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District.

Nineteen years – that’s how long I have been a K-State Extension agent and it has been a very good career for me! I thoroughly enjoy visiting with people and helping whenever I can.

When I began as an agent, I was amazed by the fact that not everyone knew what the Extension service was. I always heard the phrase “Extension is the best-kept secret” and I thought to myself….I’m going to change that!

Unfortunately, nineteen years later, I still frequently visit with folks that have absolutely no idea of the services the Extension office can provide. So many services in fact, it’s too numerous to list. But one of those that I want to draw your attention to is our horticulture services.

Anyone that has a lawn or landscape can benefit from the local Extension office. The weeds you try to keep from growing in your lawn, or the tree that has holes in the trunk, or the spots on your tomato leaves are all areas the Extension office can help you.

We offer you that one-on-one personal service that you cannot get from Google.

From the Extension office, you can obtain information on trees, turf, flowers, insects, gardens, soils and other related topics specific to Kansas. The key point here is – specific to KANSAS.

It is so easy to just turn to the internet to find information. However, many times the information you find is from another state and it is not relevant to our area. Or worse, it is inaccurate.

The Extension office can assist you with any specific plant or insect problem you may encounter – free of charge. Home visits are also available.

There are never any dumb questions when you call the Extension office. My job is to help the public with whatever question or issue they may have and to try to educate them. I may not always have the answer they are looking for immediately, but 99% of the time I can find an answer. We also have access to K-State specialists and laboratory diagnostic services.

This summer, there are three demonstration gardens in the Southwind District for people to view and take notes of plant performance.

Pepper plants are being trialed at the Elm Creek Community Garden in Iola, tomato plants at the Cherry Street Youth Center and squash at the community garden in Fort Scott. The plots are labeled so feel free to stop by and take a look.

I am most excited about the tomato trials at Cherry Street. This is a great learning opportunity for the youth! They are working under the direction of Denise Hastings who is an Extension Master Gardener. The youth will record data and make careful observations of the varieties. At the end of the season, results will be reported to K-State and combined with other data from other trials across the state. All of this data will be used to help update the list of K-State recommended vegetable cultivars.

During the growing season, I am in the Erie office Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; Iola on Tuesday and Fort Scott on Thursday.

However, you can always reach me by e-mailing or call 620-244-3826.

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

Open House for Woodson County Extension

Carla Nemecek is Southwind District Director and agent.

Please join the Southwind Extension District next Thursday, July 28 as we host an Open House to welcome Woodson County to Southwind Family.


Effective July 1, 2018, Woodson County Extension will join the Southwind Extension District. We will celebrate this important merger with refreshments and fellowship on Thursday, July 28 at a come-and-go reception in the Yates Center Office, 211 W. Butler from 2pm-6pm.


Staff and board members will be present at the Extension Office to answer your questions about the District and explain what K-State Research & Extension can do to better serve the residents of Woodson County.


Currently, the Extension programs in Neosho, Bourbon, Allen and Woodson Counties consists of 4 Office Professionals and 8 Agents with specialized expertise in 4-H & Youth Development, Food & Nutrition, Adult Development & Aging, Financial Management, Horticulture, Community Leadership, Livestock Production, and Forage Management.


For more information, please contact Carla Nemecek, Southwind District Director at 620-365-2242.

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.