Thursday, February 26, 2015

Job Opportunity in Smith Center Office

Post Rock Extension District, Smith Center Office, is now accepting applications for a full time Office Professional. For an application and complete job description stop by the office located in the Smith County Courthouse or call 785-282-6823. Applications will be accepted until March 20th. K-State Research & Extension, Post Rock District is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Hazardous Occupations Training

Neil Cates, Livestock Production Agent

It is hard to believe it is time to start enrolling in Hazardous Occupations Training again. Farm safety is nothing to take lightly. According to Kansas Farm Bureau, in 2014 there were 7 fatal and 5 non-fatal agriculture related incidents reported in Kansas. On a positive note, working on a farm is one of the most rewarding jobs a youth can have. It teaches responsibility, respect, instills a hard work ethic, and allows youth to be a part of the largest industry in Kansas.

All 14 to 15-year olds are required to complete H.O.T. before they are allowed to perform “hazardous” farm work for anyone other than their parents or legal guardians. So what is the definition of “hazardous”? Operating a tractor over 20 horsepower. This law only applies to this age group, once he or she is 16 it is no longer a requirement. Not every job on a farm requires certification, but mowing with a small mower, cleaning chicken houses, and pulling weeds are probably not jobs kids have in mind when they consider working for a farmer. What used to be called Tractor Safety is now Hazardous Occupations Training (HOT). The purpose is to provide safety education to youth who will be working on farms. It is a safety course, not a tractor operation course, and is required by a federal law under OSHA. Fines of up to $10,000 can be imposed on employers not complying with this law. This is an agricultural exemption to child labor laws because of the tradition of young people doing seasonal work on farms. OSHA allows this age group to work in this “Hazardous Occupation” but requires the safety course first. Even with training these youth cannot apply chemicals or anhydrous ammonia, use chain saws, or work with breeding livestock. To get a certificate three requirements must be met. First attend the formal training, second pass a written test (multiple choice and True/ False), and third spend their first 14 hours on equipment under the supervision of a parent or employer. Again this is a safety course, not an operation course. Students need supervised instruction on equipment they will be using. This year the class will meet twice, the evening of Monday, March 9th and all day Saturday, March 21. Attendance is required at both. Location for the training will be at Carrico Implement in Beloit. The first evening is the pre-test and a safety presentation by Kansas Farm Bureau. The all-day session involves classroom lessons, guest speakers, and equipment demonstrations. The class is open to anyone fourteen and older. Thirteen-year olds may take the course if they turn 14 before the course is offered next year, but the certificate will not be issued until their fourteenth birthday. The only cost is for the textbook which can be purchased at the extension office for $10.00. Preregistration and return of required forms are requested by February 27th. When returning forms, let the office know if you are interested in carpooling. This is an excellent opportunity for our area youth. I look forward to another great class!

Monday, February 23, 2015

How are you doing with your 2015 financial goals?

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

Tools to Reach Your Financial Goals

What is your financial goal for 2015? Are you planning to purchase a car or house, build an emergency fund, save up for retirement, or pursue higher education?

To help you stay on track toward achieving your financial goals here are some helpful online tools and resources. If you are interested in accessing more research-based, practical resources to enhance your financial well-being please contact your local Post Rock Extension District Office.

Start Small. Think Big. Tips to Help You Save Money

The last week in February is America Saves Week. America Saves is a campaign managed by the non-profit Consumer Federation of America. The campaign is focused on helping individuals and families reach financial goals through increasing savings, reducing debt, and building wealth over time.

Having a financial goal is a great place to start, yet those with a plan of action are twice as likely to save successfully! Check out these tips from America Saves ( and develop a savings plan that works for your lifestyle.

· Save your loose change. Putting aside fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund.

· Never purchase expensive items on impulse. Think over each expensive purchase for at least 24 hours. Acting on this principle will mean you have far fewer regrets about impulse purchases, and far more money for emergency savings.

· Are you looking for an effective way to establish a budget? Beginning on the first day of a new month, get a receipt for everything you purchase. Stack and review receipts at the end of the month, and you will clearly be able to see where your money is going.

· Take advantage of discounts and/or incentive programs provided through your employer. For example, if the company you work for offers discounted rates for computers, fitness center memberships, etc., take advantage!

· One way to establish a savings discipline is to “save” an amount equal to whatever is spent on nonessential indulgences. Put a matching amount in a cookie jar for expenditures for alcohol, designer coffee, snacks, etc. If you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the $4 super almond low-fat latte.

· Take the amount the item costs and divide it into your hourly wage. If it’s a $50 pair of shoes and you make $10 an hour, ask yourself, are those shoes really worth five long hours of work? It helps keep things in perspective.

· Aim for short-term savings goals, such as setting aside $20 a week or month rather than long term savings goals, such as $200 over a year. People save more successfully when they keep the short-term goal in sight.

Personal Health and Finance Quiz Can Guide Goal-Setting

Rutgers Cooperative Extension has a free online self-assessment tool called the Personal Health and Finance Quiz. The quiz is free of charge and available to take online:

Individual performance of ten daily health behaviors and ten daily financial behaviors is measured by a person’s responses throughout the quiz. Upon completion, participants receive a score for each section of the quiz (i.e., a Health Score and a Finance Score), a Total Score, and links to additional online resources for improved health and financial management.

The Personal Health and Finance Quiz is part of Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW, a national extension program developed at Rutgers to motivate Americans to take action to simultaneously improve their health and personal finances. SSHW was built around a framework of 25 research-based behavior change strategies.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Opportunity

By Aliesa Woods, District Director

Post Rock Extension District #1 is taking applications for a Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Agent to be located in the Lincoln Office with additional offices in Beloit, Mankato, Osborne and Smith Center.

For more information, contact Stacey Warner at: 785-532-5790.
Applications are due March 11th. K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Visit the link for complete details:

Monday, February 9, 2015

How has the warm temperatures affected the wheat?

Sandra L. Wick, Agriculture Natural Resources Agent

Temperatures have been unusually warm throughout Kansas in late January and into February. This raises some questions about how wheat could be affected. Can warm temperatures at this time of year cause wheat to break dormancy and become more susceptible to cold temperatures that may come over the following days? At what temperatures do we start worrying about wheat breaking dormancy and being at risk of cold injury later?

To the first question, the answer is yes. According to Dr. Jim Shroyer, K-State Research and Extension Crop Production specialist emeritus, “Very warm temperatures can cause wheat to break dormancy at this time of year.” As to the second question, there are no hard and fast numbers to go by. “When day time highs get into the 50’s or warmer and lows are above freezing, most wheat varieties will green up and lose some of their winterhardiness,” says Shroyer. When this occurs, wheat can regain some level of winterhardiness if temperatures gradually get colder again.

The best case scenario is if there is just one or two days of unusually warm temperatures, then a gradual drop of 10-20 degrees over the following week. Most wheat varieties grown in Kansas can easily survive these conditions.

The worst case scenario is if daytime temperatures are very warm and nighttime temperatures remain above freezing for several days during the winter, then temperatures plunge into the low teens or below in just one day, as they did in late January of 1989. Some varieties may break dormancy under these conditions, and then be unable to withstand a sudden return to bitterly cold temperatures.

“Each time the wheat breaks dormancy in the winter, it loses a little of its winterhardiness once temperatures get cold again and the wheat re-hardens,” added Shroyer. Hardiness usually is greatest during early winter and is lost gradually as the season progresses. The more often these warm spells occur, the longer they last, and the more often wheat breaks dormancy, the less winterhardiness the wheat will have.

Winterhardiness levels start to decline later in the winter due to warm spells or just warmer temperatures. So as stated earlier, most winterkilling occurs during late winter, when warm spells cause the plants to loose hardiness and then are followed by cold fronts that cause the damage. There may be some winterkill already this winter in areas that have been dry, with little or no snow cover. Snow provides excellent protection because it insulates the plants from extreme cold and keeps them from responding to warm spells. Having the wheat green up and lose some of its winterhardiness could certainly contribute to some winter injury.

Still, the biggest risk will be where temperatures go suddenly from extremely warm to extremely cold, the soils are dry and with little or no protective cover, soils are fluffy, and the wheat is weakened by drought, insect damage, or diseases.

Just remember, the critical plant part is the growing point, which is protected partially by being about 1 inch below the soil surface during winter. The entire plant is killed by injury to the growing point, which turns from a white, turgid appearance to a brown, wilted appearance after it is frozen. Leaves often stay green during mild winters, but freezing or “burning” of leaves by cold has little effect on the yield.

For more information on winter hardiness or winter injury potential in wheat contact me at 785-282-6823 or or visit the Post Rock Extension District website ( or contact your local Post Rock Extension District Offices in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Walk Tall – Walk Strong – WALK KANSAS!

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

Sign up today for the 8-week healthy lifestyle challenge. Walk Kansas 2015 is March 15th – May 9th!

Walk Kansas is a team-based program that can help you and others lead a healthier life by being more active, making better nutrition choices, and learning positive ways to deal with stress.

How will Walk Kansas motivate you? Teams of six people, one serving as a captain, work toward a common goal. Most teams strive to walk at least 150 minutes per person each week, which collectively is enough to walk 423 miles over eight weeks. While no team actually walks across Kansas, 423 miles is the equivalent of the distance across the state. Teams that want a greater challenge can strive to walk the equivalent of across the state and back, 846 miles, or around the perimeter of Kansas, 1,200 miles.

Walking is not the only activity that counts. Any physical activity completed at moderate intensity or higher and done for at least 10 consecutive minutes can be counted. Moderate intensity means you can barely talk but you can’t sing. Team members log minutes of activity each day and report that number to the team captain each week. Each Monday, captains submit a team report to their local Post Rock District Office. Then, a state-wide website converts the time walked into miles. You’ll be able to visualize how your team’s efforts are “walking across Kansas” online at

Newsletters are distributed weekly and include tips for more active living, nutrition advice, recipes, stress management ideas, and healthy living on a budget. You will receive support and encouragement from team members and K-State Research and Extension.

Walk Tall, Walk Strong, Walk Kansas! This year the Walk Kansas theme will help participants focus on posture, strength training, and activities that promote cardiovascular health. To participate on a team in the Post Rock District you can access a registration packet and complete details at any office. The registration deadline is March 6th, so get your team members contacted and start the registration process today!

Contact Information for Post Rock District Offices

Beloit Office: 115 S. Hersey Beloit, KS 67420 ● (785) 738-3597

Lincoln Office: 216 E. Lincoln P.O. Box 8 Lincoln, KS 67455 ● (785) 524-4432

Mankato Office: 307 N. Commercial Mankato, KS 66956 ● (785) 378-3174

Osborne Office: 113 N. 1st Street Osborne, KS 67473 ● (785) 346-2521

Smith Center Office: 218 S. Grant P.O. Box 287 Smith Center, KS 66967 ● (785) 282-6823