Category Archives: K-State Extension

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.

4-H Club Fees Implemented

Kansas State University’s 4-H Youth Development Department Head and State Program Leader Wade Weber can be reached at 201 Umberger Hall Manhattan, KS 66506, or phone: 785-532-5800, or

The Kansas 4-H organization experienced budget cuts in the last few years, according to officials, and began a process to keep the youth organization going and growing.

Kansas 4-H implemented a “4-H Program Fee” effective October 2017. This is new since the 4-H organization has traditionally been free for participants.

“Many states have already implemented this type of fee – including Missouri and Oklahoma,” Carla Nemecek, K-State Southwind District Director and Agent said.

The organization gathered input on how to stabilize funding and grow the 4-H program, according to Wade Weber, Kansas State University’s 4-H Youth Development Department Head and State Program Leader.

“We hosted discussions as well as conducted a survey to gain feedback on program impact within K-State Research and Extension,” Weber said. “A task force of eight extension agents was formed to review all information and develop recommendations on how to move forward.”

The task force worked to provide a  means to ensure a steady funding stream to grow the 4-H program, Weber said.

The task force members were Candis Meerpohl from Shawnee County, Monica Thayer from the River Valley District, Michelle Beran from Midway District, Melinda Daily from the Sunflower District, Allen Baker from Wichita County, Nancy Honig from Stevens County, Jodi Besthorn from Sedgwick County
and Brian Swisher from the Wildcat District, according to links provided.

A recommendation from this task force was to implement an annual  4-H program fee of $15 per member, beginning October 2, 2017.

“Funds from the 4-H Program fee are placed in a restricted funds account available for use only by the Kansas 4-H Youth Development Department,” according to Weber.

“Funds generated will strengthen our program priorities of volunteer development, project support, and program enhancement,” Weber said.

“K-State Research and Extension had to face several budget cuts over the past couple of years, and this would seem to be an option to help fund Kansas 4-H on a State level.” Carla Nemecek, Southwind District director, and an agent said. ” The Southwind District will not receive any financial benefit, as 100 percent of the program fee is directed to the State 4-H Program.”

Carla Nemecek is Southwind District Director and agent.

Southwind District encompasses Allen, Bourbon and Neosho Counties.

“Some counties were fortunate to have found donors who are offsetting the cost, but we do not know how long those donations will last,” Nemecek said.

“As a 4-H parent and Director for the Southwind District, I am sympathetic to those who are upset about the fee,” Nemecek said. “Kansas 4-H has always been free for anyone to join, so this is taking us down a path we have never been.”

A provision has been made for those for whom it would be a hardship to pay the $15 per child program fee, she said.

“There is a waiver process for those families or individuals who are not able to pay the fee,” Nemecek said.

Message from Weber on benefits for local 4-H programs:

In January Dr. John Floros, Kansas State’s College of Agriculture Dean presented highlights of 4-H Youth Development efforts in the last 12 months to a joint meeting of state senators and representatives.

Also in January, Dr. Floros, Dr. Greg Hadley, Associate Director of Extension and Applied Research and Weber conducted meetings with local leaders to tell of the progress made.

These findings are what they reported, according to Weber:

“Examples of National and State 4-H Funding Efforts Benefitting Local 4-H Programs:

• Kansas 4-H Foundation Expansion Grant – 2017 marked the conclusion of a five-year effort to expand 4-H youth and volunteer participation in 14 extension units. This effort resulted in an increase of 458 4-H volunteers. Evaluation data has been collected from the units and a framework for growing 4-H will be created based on the learning experiences of those involved and will be shared with local units for implementation.

• National 4-H Council Ag Innovators Experience– 2018 will feature 4-H teen leaders in the Cottonwood District reaching area youth with the “Monarchs on the Move Challenge.”

• National 4-H Council Youth Futures: College Within Reach Grant–The focus of this grant is on providing mentoring partnerships to underserved youth in Seward (2017) and Riley (2018) counties.  Program results in reaching new audiences will be shared statewide for local unit implementation.  

• National 4-H Council Science Matters Grant – Johnson County (2018) is currently collaborating with Bayer to inspire young people to become tomorrow’s science leaders. Program results will be shared statewide for local unit implementation.  

Kansas 4-H Youth Development Program Fee Prioritization Survey

• When: Conducted October 19 – November 15, 2017 by the K-State Office of Planning and Analysis                                 

• Who: 612 Respondents statewide: 67% were volunteers or parents               

• What: Received input within the following program priorities:

1)    Project support and enhancements (i.e. principles of engaged learning, communicate and connect learning opportunities, updating/refreshing existing project materials)

2) Volunteer Development (training materials and support for volunteers; tools for recruitment, growth, evaluation and accountability)

3) Program enhancements benefiting community clubs (including but not limited to updating and refreshing tools for use with youth and volunteer audiences)

4) Foundational Supports (accessibility to all Kansas youth, campus/community partnerships and improved marketing at statewide events, and promotional materials that can be used by local units)

Fast Enrollment Stats 2016-17

•74,837 Kansas 4-H Youth Impact: This includes all delivery modes and has had duplications removed.

• 17,796 4-H Community based Club Enrollment: This includes Cloverbuds (ages 5-6) who are enrolled through a Community Club. 

Dean Floros and Dr. Hadley provided the ability for the 4-H Youth Development program to hire a statewide volunteer development specialist while facing increasing budget challenges.  This act affirmed the strategic support from administration to assist the 4-H youth development program in growing and modernizing.

Starting on Feb. 5,  Shane Potter, New Volunteer Specialist, is tasked with refining the volunteer development process to ensure safe learning environments for youth and grow local 4-H volunteer capacity beyond the 6,000 existing adult 4-H volunteers statewide.”


Shane Potter is Kansas State University’s Volunteer Development Specialist. He started Feb. 5.

Here are links provided for more information: