Monday, December 28, 2015

New Year, New You… New Garden?

Jenae Ryan, Horticulture Agent

As we prepare for the New Year, many people are planning their New Year’s Resolution(s). Many of those resolutions usually focus on improving our health and well-being. One of the ways to accomplish this is by eating healthier by including more fruits and vegetables in our diet. Unfortunately, many New Year’s resolutions are broken or forgotten within the first couple months of the year. How about setting a goal or resolution you can look forward to and benefit from for many months?

If you or your children are trying to eat healthier, one of the best motivators can be to grow your own food. Selecting which crops to grow, tending them throughout the year, and reaping the fruits of their labor can encourage children (and adults!) to be more willing to try new produce. Have you considered planting a garden? If you already have a garden, would you try new types of fruit or vegetables if you could get your family to eat them?
Winter is actually a great time to start planning your garden. If you have not had a garden before, use this time to identify an area around your home you could till up to create a garden space. Mark the area and plan out your garden. Depending on which types of vegetables you want to grow, the row spacings can be different. Draw out a map for your planned crops. Keep this in your records for future years to help plan with crop rotation. You can start searching for places to buy seed or transplants, whether it’s your local garden center or a seed catalog.
If you cannot dig up your own lawn, see if there is a community garden close to you. Community gardens have several small plots where community members can have space plant a garden and enjoy the benefits of each other’s company and gardening expertise.
You could also consider container gardening if you do not have lawn space for a garden or live in a rental home. You can purchase planting pots or you can recycle items (like buckets or empty cattle mineral tubs) to use for planting. Just be sure that the containers have drainage holes for excess water to run out, or you are able to drill holes if needed. While not all crops will grow well in containers, most vegetables have a few varieties that have been bred specifically to thrive in a container. Herbs are also easy to grow in containers, and many can be grown indoors on a windowsill or well-lit room. You are not limited to flowers when it comes to containers!

Please contact me or visit your local Post Rock District Extension office for more information on planning a garden and selecting vegetable varieties for our area. I wish you all a Happy New Year and good luck with your future garden!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Calling All 4-H Alumni, Volunteers, Agents and Friends

Aliesa Woods, District Extension Agent

The Kansas 4-H Foundation has partnered with the Kansas Leadership Center to offer a FREE Kansas Leadership Center Training. This training is a $300 per person value that Kansas companies hold in high regard. The training also includes access to a 360 Personal Leadership Assessment, the KLC Leadership Portal and Web Chats for each individual.

The free trainings provide:

·         An individual opportunity to learn leadership as an activity and behavior, not an elected position. This concept requires ongoing learning and practice.

·         Insight into your role as a 4-H leader in helping youth realize that leadership is a behavior, and anyone can lead, anytime, anywhere.

Dates include:

January 15                Kansas Leadership Center               Wichita
February 19               Kansas Leadership Center              Wichita
March 5                    Fort Hays State University              Hays
April 15                     Garden City Fairgrounds                 Garden City
May 20                     Kansas Leadership Center               Wichita
October 14                Kansas Leadership Center               Wichita
November 20            Rock Springs 4-H Center                 Rock Springs

The Kansas Leadership Center, established in 2008, has not worked in youth programming. They are now working with the Kansas 4-H Youth Council to pilot the curriculum to a youth audience. This leadership curriculum is offered to students at Kansas universities like K-State, Emporia State, Wichita State, etc. We’re hoping that in the years to come we can give our 4-H’ers a head start on their collegiate career!

How to Register:
·         Go to
·         Lunch and training are free.
·         Open to 4-H Alumni, Extension Staff, 4-H volunteers or perspective volunteers

If you have questions about this event please contact the Kansas 4-H Foundation staff Rhonda Atkinson or Morgan Peelen Biles, or contact them at 785-532-5881.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Evaluating your Leasing Arrangements

Sandra Wick, Crops Agent
Now that most of the fall crops are out of the field and in the bin or sold at the elevator, tenants and landlords may be wondering about re-examining their farmland leasing arrangements.  Whether your leasing arrangements include cropland, pasture or both, this can be a very challenging component of your farming enterprise.  With the downward trend of the commodity markets, this may be the time to re-negotiate the components of your leasing arrangements, whether it be a crop share or a cash rental arrangement.
It is estimated that approximately 50% of Kansas farmland and pastureland is rented and is a growing prominence with many producers.  Different types of leases have been developed to meet the needs of the modern Kansas farmer and rancher.  It is important that both parties, to a farm or ranch lease, understand the details of their lease agreement and the laws that affect their lease.  Leases can be written or oral, however, a written lease is strongly encouraged as it will help and make sure the rights of all parties involved are clearly defined and understood.
Leases can be annual or multi-year with advantages and disadvantages of both.  Multi-year leasing arrangements will allow the tenant and landlord to plan accordingly especially with costly machinery investments.
A very important principle for all leases is good communication between the landowner and the tenant, during the good years and especially during the bad years.   By keeping both parties informed of changes in market conditions, production practices, or future plans like selling the land or passing it to heirs, the opportunity for conflict is greatly reduced.   Leasing is a business relationship between two parties and if both are satisfied with the outcome of the leasing arrangement, then there is stability.
The Post Rock Extension District is again conducting a leasing arrangements survey in each of our 5 counties including Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne and Smith.  We are expecting the compiled data to be completed approximately the middle of January.  If you would like a copy of the compiled results, either stop by, call or email us at any of the Post Rock Extension District Offices.

K-State Research and Extension has many excellent tools and resources available on the website under the “farm management” tab including land leasing and land values.   The “KSU Lease spreadsheet” tool can be used to help tenants and landlords determine an equitable leasing arrangement.

For more information on “Farmland Leasing Arrangements”, stop by or call any office of the Post Rock Extension District in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.

Make Healthier Holiday Choices

Ashley Goudey, Nutrition, Food Safety & Health Agent has developed 10 tips for a heathier holiday.  By making small changes, you can make this holiday season light up with healthier meals and active days.

1.Create Myplate makeovers         
Makeover your favorite holiday dishes.  Use My Recipe on SuperTracker to improve holiday recipes and get healthier results. Go to

2.Enjoy all the food groups at your celebration
Prepare whole-grain crackers with hummus as an appetizer; add unsalted nuts and black beans to a green –leaf salad; use low-fat milk instead of heavy cream in your casseroles. Share healthier options during your holiday meal.

3. Make sure your protein is lean
Turkey; roast beef; fresh ham; beans; and some types of fish, such as cod or flounder, are lean protein choices. When serving meats, trim away any fat before cooking. Go easy on the sauces and gravies-they can be high in saturated fat and sodium.

4. Cheers to good health
Quench your thirst with low-calorie options. Drink water with lemon or lime slices.  Offer seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.

5.Bake healthier
Use recipes with unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Try cutting the amount of sugar listed in the recipes in half.  Use spices to add flavor such as cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg instead of salt.

6. Tweak the sweet
For dessert, try baked apples with cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar instead of apple pie.  Invite your guests to make their own parfait with colorful sliced fruit and low-fat yogurt.

7.Be the life of the party
Laugh, mingle, dance, and play games.  Focus on fun and enjoy the company of others.

8.Make exercise a part of the fun
Make being active part of your holiday tradition.  Have fun walking and talking with family and friends after a holiday meal.

9.Enjoy leftovers
Create delicious new meals with your leftovers.  Add turkey to soups or salads.  Use extra veggies in omelets, sandwiches, or stews.  The possibilities are endless!

10.Give to others
Spend time providing foods or preparing meals for those who may need a little help.  Give food to a local food bank or volunteer to serve meals at a shelter during the holiday season.

For more helpful advice and other “10 tips” Factsheets, visit

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Plan Now For Health Insurance Open Enrollment!

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

If you haven’t already, it’s time to review your health insurance options, as annual open enrollment in the Kansas Health Insurance Marketplace ( for 2016 coverage begins Nov. 1. Many employers and some public programs, such as Medicare, also use the fall as a time for annual enrollment or the renewal of health insurance plans. 

Marketplace enrollment continues through Jan. 31, 2016. The last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start Jan. 1, 2016, is Dec. 15. The last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start Feb. 1, 2016, is Jan. 15. If you wait to enroll by Jan. 31, that coverage will take effect March 1, 2016.

While there are a few exceptions, the Affordable Care Act requires that you are insured for at least nine months out of every year, or you will have to pay a penalty at tax time for being uninsured.

Generally, you can only buy health insurance coverage during annual open enrollment periods. It is difficult to change coverage if you don’t experience a qualifying life event, so it’s best to take advantage of the open enrollment period. If you experience a qualifying life event (, such as losing job coverage, getting married or having a child, you can change your health insurance outside of the open enrollment period in a special enrollment period.

Specifications for enrollment in health insurance coverage, by type of coverage, include:

·         Insurance coverage through an employer: your employer determines the open enrollment dates. The dates vary from employer to employer. If you have a spouse, you will likely have two different open enrollment periods to keep track of each year. If you are not sure when your next job-based open enrollment period is, ask your employer.

·         Insurance from the marketplace: the marketplace open enrollment period is Nov. 1, 2015 through Jan. 31, 2016.

·         Insurance through Medicare: Medicare’s initial enrollment period is a seven-month window surrounding your 65th birthday, or for those under 65 and disabled, the seven months surrounding the 25th month of disability. Special enrollment periods for Medicare vary, and specific rules and timing can be found on the Medicare website ( If a beneficiary has missed the initial enrollment period and is not eligible for a special enrollment period, the Medicare general enrollment period runs Jan. 1 to March 31 each year, with coverage beginning July 1 of that year.

·         Insurance though KanCare: this is Kansas’ Medicaid program. Applications for KanCare can be submitted at any time.

Delays in enrollment and coverage, and penalties, may apply if the consumer does not enroll at the appropriate time. If obtaining insurance through the marketplace, log on to To learn more about how to enroll in the marketplace or KanCare, call the marketplace, available 24/7, at 800-318-2596. The Kansas Health Institute also has resources on its website (

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

On-farm research.....key to adoption!

Sandra Wick, Crop Production Agent

K-State’s Research and Extension’s mission is to provide the citizens of Kansas with technical information and education that can enhance the economic viability and quality of life in our communities.   One good way to do this is through well-planned and carefully-conducted demonstrations or “on-farm research” that serves as one of the most effective Extension education tools ever developed.  Although complete demonstrations require considerable time and effort, the payback comes when producers readily adapt practices they perceive to be appropriate under local conditions. This is known as “seeing is believing.”  Clients who observe demonstrations of the latest techniques or practices and then apply them to their own particular situations are our present and future Extension leaders.    Demonstrations should illustrate the application of appropriate technology, that is, technology that fits the local set of conditions. When this occurs, the maximum learning will result from the resources invested. 
The need for demonstrations was first recognized over a century ago by Seaman A. Knapp, an Extension pioneer. Knapp’s theory was that farmers would not change their methods as a result of observing farms operated at public expense, but that demonstrations conducted by farmers themselves on their own farms under ordinary farm conditions were the answer. In Knapp’s words, “What a man hears, he may doubt; what he sees, he may also doubt; but what he does, he cannot doubt.”  In 1903, Knapp proved his point through now famous demonstrations or on-farm research. The demonstration included a small farm in Texas that planted half in corn and half in cotton. The purpose was to illustrate the effects of using different seed varieties, fertilizers, methods of planting, and cultivation. The farmer made $700 more than might have been expected and the demonstration was a success.  Then the opportunity came to use demonstrations on a broad scale in the weevil-infested areas of Texas and two adjoining states. Knapp demonstrated improved cotton growing methods. With a $40,000 budget, he directed more than 20 federal agents who worked with some 7,000 farmers to establish demonstration plots. This marked the beginning of demonstrations in the Cooperative Extension Service. 
Post Rock Extension District is very fortunate to have many producers who are willing to put in the extra time and effort for on-farm research or demonstration test plots.  For this fall we are fortunate to have 5 wheat demonstration plots in five counties.  Thanks to Calvin and Josh Bohnert, Marty Fletchall, Lance Kendig (Solomon Rapids Seed), Mark Kuhlmann and Rosebrook Farms as cooperators of the “on-farm wheat research for K-State Research and Extension and for the Post Rock District!  Four of the wheat plots (Jewell, Lincoln, Osborne and Smith) include between 20-25 varieties, blends and population studies.  The fifth plot (Mitchell) is a KSU replicated plot that is designed and planted by the KSU NC Experiment Field staff.

“Knowledge for Life” continues to be our goal for K-State Research and Extension, so our educational programming provides research-based information from the university to the producers of our district.
Mark Kuhlmann, cooperator, and Don Wick drilling the wheat demonstration plot in Smith County.

Thanks to cooperators, Rosebrook Farms, in drilling the Lincoln County wheat demonstration plot. Thanks also to Carrico Implement, Beloit, for the use of the drill.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Improve Your Garden Soil Health This Fall

Jenae Ryan, Horticulture Agent

     While most people think of fall as the end of the garden season, now is actually a great time to start planning your garden for next year! Since this year’s successes and failures are still fresh in your mind, go ahead and plan your crop rotation, jot down your favorite varieties to try again, and any insect or disease problems you had. Now is also a good time to consider the health of your garden soil. Did you have issues with nutrient deficiencies, like yellowing or stunted plants? Do you know what your soil’s pH level is? Do you have a heavy clay soil, or poor soil drainage? Here are a few tasks for this fall to get your plants off on the right foot (or root!) next spring.

Soil Sampling Probe
Soil Testing

            Fall is a great time to test your soil. A soil test can test you a lot of things about how well your soil is doing. You may be surprised to find that you don’t need any additional fertilizer next year, or maybe you need a nitrogen-only fertilizer instead of a complete fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

            There are certain plants that can be affected by soil pH. Most vegetables prefer a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. The soil in the Post Rock District is typically higher, anywhere from 7.0-8.2 in the soil samples I have seen this year. A high soil pH can cause some plants to not grow as well as expected.
            When taking a soil sample, you can use a soil sampling probe borrowed from the Extension Office, or a shovel or spade. Sample at least 6-8 inches deep, and take multiple samples. Pictured below is an example of a grid pattern to use when taking soil samples across your garden or lawn.
An example of soil grid sampling across a garden area (Kansas Garden Guide).
The multiple samples should be combined in a bucket and mixed thoroughly. When bringing your sample in for testing, bring in a quart-size Ziploc bag filled about 2/3 full with the mixed soil. This soil will be transferred into the soil sample bags that are shipped to the K-State Soil Testing Lab. Fill out the soil test information sheet as completely as possible so the Extension Agent can provide recommendations based on the soil test results. There is a fee for postage to ship the samples to the lab and for the actual soil test. Contact your local Post Rock District Extension Office for more details!

Soil Amendments

            Fall is also a good time to add soil amendments. If a soil test shows that you have a low organic matter content, or you have had problems with poor soil drainage, consider adding organic matter such as compost, peat moss, old hay, straw, leaves, grass clippings, etc. This gives the organic matter time to decompose and release nutrients before you plant in the spring. Organic matter with high carbon content (such as wheat straw) requires a lot of nitrogen for the microorganisms that decompose it. This can cause nitrogen-deficiency in plants if you wait to work the straw in the soil in the spring. Tilling the soil in the fall can also reduce the residue on the soil surface, which can reduce overwintering habitat for some insects and diseases.
            If you have high pH issues, you can start adding sulfur at the rate recommended by your soil test in the fall. The sulfur will need to be applied in small amounts over a couple of years, so starting in the fall can get a jump start on lowering the pH.

            Post Rock Extension District of K-State Research and Extension serves Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, and Smith counties. Jenae may be contacted at or by calling Mankato (378-3174), Smith Center (282-6823), Beloit (738-3597), Lincoln (524-4432), or Osborne (346-2521).  Join us on Facebook at “Post Rock Extension.” Follow us on Twitter @KSRE_PostRock and Jenae’s horticulture account @PRDHort. Remember our website is

Monday, October 12, 2015

Halloween Health Tips

Ashley Goudey, Nutrition, Food Safety & Health Agent

Making the best nutritional choices may be challenging around the holidays but even more at Halloween.  Take the upcoming holiday as an opportunity to teach your children about moderation.   There are many ways to keep your child happy this Halloween without allowing them to eat loads of candy. Discuss with your child that he/she can eat a small amount of candy (2-3 small pieces) the night of trick or treating and another set amount each following night.  Put the candy out of sight, your child is less likely to be reminded of the candy if it is not in plain sight. Think “out of sight, out of mind”.   
 Offer trick-or-treaters non-candy alternatives
Who said candy is the only choice to hand out on Halloween?  Choose non-candy alternatives such as fruit cups, pretzels, goldfish, graham crackers and trail mix.  The list of toy alternatives is even longer including bouncy balls, a jump rope, a plastic or foam flier, stickers, whistles, pencils, plastic rings or necklaces, crayons, and pocket sized games.  Your visitors will enjoy receiving something a little different from your house.  Offering non-candy alternatives gives little ones the opportunity to enjoy items much longer than a couple chews.
Eat supper before going out
Go trick or treating with your child and make sure they have had a snack or supper before heading out.  If your child is trick or treating on an empty stomach they may be tempted to start snacking before arriving home. Little ones may have the idea that they need to fill their bags with treats before calling it quits.  For this, choose a bag that is appropriate for the child’s size.  Bags as large as shopping bags or small trash bags should not be used as treat bags.
Stay in your neighborhood and look through food items as soon as you arrive home
            Staying close to home and only traveling a couple blocks to neighbors you know can limit the amount of goodies your child receives. If your child doesn’t come home with heaps of candy, they won’t be tempted to eat more than they should.  Look through food items and make sure that no packages have been opened in any way.  Items should be in original manufacturer wrapping.  If you have young children, assess the contents for choking hazards.  When in doubt, throw it out!
Be your child’s role model

            When parents set limits for the amount of candy that their child is allowed to eat, parents should also abide by those guidelines.  To avoid temptation of lingering items, buy at the last minute and get rid of any leftovers. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

North central crops shine at the Kansas State Fair!

Sandra L. Wick, Crop Production Agent
Emily and Kaden Roush, Lebanon, overall Grand Champion Soybean plant at the Kansas State Fair

Post Rock Extension District producers exhibit crops at the 2015 Kansas State Fair
     North Central Kansas was very well represented at the 2015 Kansas State Fair in the open class agricultural exhibits, September 11-20, in Hutchinson.  Eleven producers exhibited 60 entries of corn, honey, grain sorghum and soybeans.  The exhibits were entered on the first day of the fair and were displayed throughout the 10 day event. 
     Two producers received Grand Champion or first place on their corn, grain sorghum and soybean entries under each of the specific classes. 

     Those producers receiving Grand Champion or first place entries were:
Emily Roush – Grand Champion Soybean Plant (LG 3111) and 1st place Corn (LG 5618)
Kelly Roush – 1st Place Milo (Heartland Genetics 45C)
The following is a complete listing of the other open class agriculture entries and their placings: (Only the top 5 in each class were recognized and ranked unless otherwise stated.)

Theron Haresnape
Corn – Pioneer 1151 – 4th
Soybean Plant – Mycogen 5N385 – 4th

Steve Kuhlmann
Milo – Dekalb 44-20 – 2nd

Wyatt Rhoades
Milo – Pioneer 85G46 – 2nd
Corn – Pioneer 1498 – 3rd

Emily Roush
Corn – Longest Ear – 3rd
Milo – Heartland Genetics 45C – 4th

Kaden Roush
Corn – LG 5618 – 3rd
Milo – Heartland Genetics 45C – 3rd

Kelly Roush
Corn – LG 5618 – 2nd
Milo – Longest Head – Heartland Genetics 45C – 4th

Sue Roush
Soybean Plant – LG 3111 – 2nd
Corn – LG 5618 – 5th

Larry Wilson
Milo – Dekalb -37-07 – 4th

Tim Wilson
Milo – Longest Head – Dekalb 51-01 – 2nd
Milo – Dekalb 37-07 – 5th

*******Other exhibitors included Ross Ifland (Youth – Honey) and Brent Harzman, Downs, (soybean plants).

Friday, September 25, 2015

Help Yourself by Having a Fire Plan

By: Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent

Imagine this -- waking in the middle of the night to a blaring siren and the smell of smoke in the air. It happens more often than many realize.

In 2013, one house fire was reported every 85 seconds in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Almost 370,000 house fires occurred that year alone. The number is less than the 458,000 reported 20 years earlier, but the potential for devastation if it happens in your home is immense.

Candles, clothes dryers and other electrical appliances, fireworks, and lightning pose some of the greatest risks for fires in the home. The NFPA reports that roughly three out of five fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or the alarms are not working.

Do you have a plan to prevent and respond to fire emergencies? Consider the following tips for individuals and families:
  • Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home, even in an unfinished basement.
  • Make sure the alarms are on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep them away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. The NFPA recommends keeping them at least 10 feet from the stove. 
  • Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows and talk about it with everyone who lives in the home.
  • Know at least two ways to get out of every room, if possible.
  • Have an outside meeting place (tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone agrees to meet.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help.
  • If the alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Don’t go back inside for people or pets.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, the NFPA says, “get low and go” under the smoke on your way out.
  • Call the fire department from outside your home.

With September designated National Preparedness Month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, K-State Research and Extension is working with Kansans to be as prepared as possible for emergencies.

For resources to assist with disaster preparedness visit your local extension office in Beloit, Mankato, Lincoln, Osborne, and Smith Center. The Prepare Kansas blog,, is available any time of year for tips to help mitigate the effects of disasters for you, your family, and your workplace. You can also contact Nora Rhoades at or 785-346-2521.


Cattle producers should be aware of Anaplasmosis in our area

Neil Cates, Livestock Agent

Cattle producers should be aware of Anaplasmosis in our area:

There have been numerous cases of anaplasmosis in our area detected the past couple of weeks.  This disease, which appears most often in the fall months can be devastating if not treated properly and timely.   Anaplasmosis is of particular concern because it is relatively new to our area.  It was once thought of as more of a warm, tropical area disease but, has made its way north and west over the years.

Anaplasmosis is a parasitic organism that is transmitted through blood transfer by biting insects and ticks, and surgical instruments such as needles.  The death of the animal is due to the destruction of the red blood cells in the spleen of the host.  The anaplasmosis infection within the red blood cell causes the host to recognize these cells as “foreign” and therefore develops an immune response against them.  These cells are removed from circulation by the spleen causing severe anemia. 

Anaplasmosis affects almost exclusively adult cattle, not calves.   The most frequent observation is sudden death, even though it takes a few days from the time signs first appear until death occurs.  This makes it important to watch your herds closely.  Early symptoms include white skin that appears yellow and the whites of their eyes will also appear yellow.  One of the apparent signs is aggressiveness of the cow.  They can become very anxious and “chargy” once they reach the severe anemic stage. 

Treatment with a long-acting oxytetracycline (LA-200 type products) will usually stop further death losses within a week following treatment.  However, caution must be taken.  Exertion caused by taking cattle to or working them through the chute may be enough to kill more severely affected animals. 

Start checking your pastures more frequently to be on the look-out for this disease.  Random deaths of mature cows should raise red flags with you for this disease.   Most importantly, if you experience a death, or abnormal behavior or sickness in your cows, contact your local veterinarian.  The sooner you take action the better off you will be.  Work with your veterinarian for treatment and on preventative action for the future.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Flooding Can Happen Anywhere

By: Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent

Whether it’s the basement, the highway or the community, flooding can happen anywhere. Sometimes you can anticipate flooding as you’re watching the rain fall in sheets from the living room window. But what if you’re on the way home from work or picking up the children from school?

“We can’t be 100 percent prepared for every emergency, but we can take actions now that can get things back to normal more quickly when disasters do happen,” said Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent with the K-State Research and Extension Post Rock District.  

Flood in Manhattan, KS - May 4, 2015

Flash floods are the No. 1 cause of weather-related deaths in the United States, according to FEMA.

“Flooding is fresh on the minds of many people in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska,” said FEMA Region VII Administrator Beth Freeman in a Sept. 2 news release. “With so much flooding during the past few months, it’s a good time to consider the true risk. This month, this week, today, we hope everyone will take action to develop and practice a family emergency communication plan for hazards like flooding.”

This year, the FEMA preparedness month theme is “Don’t wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today.”

“It’s better to have a plan about how you and your family will handle situations ahead of time, rather than be caught in the disaster having never talked about what to do,” Rhoades explained. “Now is the best time to build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash and first aid supplies. Keep in mind, text messages and social media are sometimes better ways to communicate during an emergency when phone lines are tied up or not working.”

If flooding is occurring on the roads you are traveling, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

  • Turn around, don’t drown!
  • Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly with little warning.
Prepare Kansas, a K-State Research and Extension program, is designed to educate and help individuals and families prepare for all kinds of emergencies, including floods. The Prepare Kansas blog, is available any time of year for tips to help mitigate the effects of disasters for you, your family and your workplace.

For resources to assist with disaster preparedness visit your local extension office in Beloit, Mankato, Lincoln, Osborne, and Smith Center. You can also contact Nora Rhoades at or 785-346-2521.