Monday, March 30, 2015

Five Rules for Constructive Conflict

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

Love is saying “I feel differently” instead of “you’re wrong”.

Conflict happens. It happens at work, at home, and everywhere in between. Conflict is a natural experience for humans because we approach day-to-day situations from many unique perspectives and with a variety of skills and talents.
When conflict takes place things may seem to collide, clash, and become incompatible. Negative emotions threaten take over. And sometimes, there just doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Healthy conflict management is challenging; however, it is true that practice helps make perfect. Taking time to evaluate how you approach conflict can improve relationships, attitudes, and your ability to be a positive role model for others. How you work through conflict will determine whether you approach sustainability and positive progress or detour toward stress and situations that spiral out of control.
Strong Families: Tips for Healthy Conflict Management, a resource from The National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families, describes five rules for constructive conflict. Remember, verbal, emotional or physical abuse is ever part of healthy conflict management.

1)    Don’t Send Destructive Messages
In the heat of the moment, destructive conflict can creep into disagreements. Always remember that these types of destructive messages will only make things worse, never better:
·         Criticism involves attacking someone to portray yourself as being right and the other person as being wrong, often using statements such as, “You always” or “You never.” Statements with these phrases are rarely accurate and should be avoided.
·         Defensiveness happens when you see yourself as the victim who’s being attacked. You may think “The problem isn’t me, it’s you!” Defensiveness may include making excuses, denying responsibility, and sarcasm. Although these reactions might be normal, defensiveness will keep you from being able to deal with the issue at hand because you are not open to suggestions or trying to understand the other person’s perspective.
·         Contempt involves attacking and intentionally putting others down through name calling (such as saying fat, stupid, ugly, or lazy) or body language (such as sneering, eye rolling, curling upper lip, or rude gestures). Contempt is the most toxic and destructive way to try and deal with conflict.
·         Stonewalling is the “whatever” moment in the relationship when one individual stops caring and checks out by refusing to communicate.

2. Soften Your Startup
If you have something important that you want to talk about, don’t start the conversation by immediately attacking your partner. Use a soft startup to help the other person feel less defensive and more willing to talk. If you feel too angry to discuss something calmly, don’t discuss it at all until you’ve calmed down. Here are some ways to soften your start-up:
·         Complain, don’t blame. No matter how wrong you feel your partner is, don’t approach them with criticisms. Try saying “Honey, it’s frustrating when we forget to take the trash out on time. How can we remember to get it out in the future?” instead of “I can’t believe you forgot to take the trash out again! You are so forgetful!”
·         Make statements that start with “I” instead of “You.” Start your sentences with “I” so you don’t put your friend into a defensive position. Say, “I don’t feel like you are listening right now” instead of “You’re not listening to me.”

3. Soothe Yourself and Your Partner
You don’t have to get angry about your differences. You can calm yourself and your partner by using time-outs, speaking in a soft voice, speaking non-defensively, smiling, using appropriate humor, relaxing, or thinking positively about your partner and your situation.

4. Compromise
You don’t always have to have things your way. Take other people’s preferences and opinions seriously, resist the urge to be defensive, and respectfully listen to others. Compromise is a two-way street; it is reasonable to expect your friend to consider your opinion and preferences as well.

5. Accept and Forgive
Individuals in healthy relationships accept differences and forgive each other when appropriate. Understand that no matter how many similarities you both share, you will have some differences of opinion and choosing to be forgiving can strengthen your family and relationship. However, if you or your partner has a pattern of saying hurtful things during an argument and expecting to be forgiven after, this may indicate a more serious issue.
·         Article Content – Strong Families: Tips for Healthy Conflict Management by The National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families,

·         Photo – by Ed Yourdon,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Staff at Post Rock District — Osborne Office

New Staff at Post Rock District — Osborne Office

Nora Rhoades – District Extension Agent since January 2014 – has transitioned her home office to Osborne, effective immediately. As a Family and Youth Development Agent, Nora provides educational resources, services and programs focused on building strong families through healthy relationships, positive caregiving and resource management. She can be reached at

In February, Kim Naber began serving the Post Rock District as a local 4-H Program Coordinator. She is responsible for coordinating and managing the comprehensive 4-H youth development program in Osborne County. Kansas 4-H helps prepare our youth for school, work and life through experiences focused on ‘learning by doing’ and ‘leading by example’. Kim can be reached at

The Post Rock District of K-State Research and Extension serves Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, and Smith Counties. Our energetic staff provides education you can trust to help people, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills and build a better future.

Our offices are located in: Mankato 378-3174, Beloit 738-3597, Lincoln 524-4432, Osborne 346-2521, and Smith Center 282-6823. Like “Post Rock Extension” on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Our website is

· Horticulture Agent: Jenae Ryan,

· Livestock Agent: Neil Cates,

· Crop Production Agent: Sandra Wick,

· Adult Development and Aging Agent: Kathryn Lupfer Nielsen,

· Family and Youth Development Agent: Nora Rhoades,

District Director/4-H Youth Development Agent: Aliesa Woods,

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Abigayel Hendrich, Smith Center 4-H Program Coordinator

Who can participate | Youth ages 7-12
What | A fun-filled 4 day learning experience
Where | Rock Springs 4-H Camp
When | June 9-12, 2015

Give your child the opportunity of a lifetime at the Great NW 4-H Camp at Rock Springs. This camp is more than just a vacation. This is a place for your child to learn self-confidence, cooperating with others, and life beyond one’s own world. Attending summer camp is also a time for experiencing nature and the outdoors, learning important life skills, and making new friends.

“Through 4-H, I have been able to meet a lot of new people and make friends from all over Kansas.” exclaimed camp counselor, Katelyn, age 17.

While at Rock Springs, your child can participate in a wide variety of scheduled activities including horseback riding and hiking scenic trails, swimming in an Olympic-sized pool, canoeing, archery, basketball, volleyball, and Frisbee golf.

Youth will also participate in educational workshops led by Extension Professionals ranging from Outdoor Cookery to Craft Time. “Kaley loves the wide variety of crafts. Her favorite craft was making bracelets and decorating t-shirts.” stated 4-H mom, Monica.

The outcome of attending The Great NW Camp is for all these little life lessons to contribute in a positive and significant way that enhances the child's adjustment into their adult years.

To register, follow the links and download your local Extension Office’s Camp Brochure.

Questions? Contact your local Extension Office.

K-State Research and Extension | Post Rock Extension District

Beloit Office | 785.738.3597

Lincoln Office | 785.524.4432

Mankato Office | 785.378.3174

Osborne Office | 785.346.2521

Smith Center Office | 785.282.6823

Monday, March 23, 2015

Winter damage/kill showing up in wheat fields

Winter damage/kill  of wheat field in Lincoln County.

Sandra L. Wick, Crops Production Agent

With the recent warm weather and wheat green-up, it should be a little more apparent now where stands have suffered winter injury or damage or even winter kill depending on several factors. The factors include planting date, planting depth, moisture, soil conditions and somewhat with the variety. So with all these factors, you can see it is difficult to determine exactly what might have caused the damage. Actually, it is probably a combination of several factors and you can say a “perfect storm” occurred where many factors were involved.

So it might be very frustrating to look at your wheat lately, as “mother nature” has not been kind, especially with past temperatures and current moisture conditions. If you will remember we experienced a “winter blast” back in November that exposed the vulnerable wheat plants to extreme temperatures when the plants had not had sufficient time to build up a protection against the cold temperatures known as “hardening off.”

If damage has occurred to your wheat, just how much affect might this have on yield potential? Well, wheat is a resilient crop, so there is really no way to be precise about yield loss based on a certain level of damage from winter injury. However, you can examine different parts of the wheat plant to determine the condition. I have seen a lot of injured wheat that may have or is initially greening up, then going backwards. So the brown leaves do not necessarily indicate those plants are dead or will not survive. The only way to properly assess the condition of individual wheat plants is to examine the crown and to look for white stems and roots. If the crown appears white and crisp, and new roots are developing, the plant will probably survive depending on if we continue to receive moisture and it continues to grow and develop.

On the other hand, if you find the crown brown and shriveled, there is probably some winter damage.

Before you tear up a poor stand of wheat, be sure to calculate the input costs you have in the existing wheat crop along with the costs of establishing another crop in relation to the expected yields of either crop, and lastly, the current crop prices. As Dr. Jim Shroyer, K-State Research and Extension Emeritus professor, once quoted, “Sometimes 1/3 of a wheat field or stand can still raise an average crop if the right conditions occur.”

This is a “wait and see” game! It is important to have some patience; cut open lots of crowns and realize that there are a lot of unknowns yet for these plants where the crowns aren’t quite healthy nor are they dead. We still have a lot of wheat that will be especially sensitive if we get another event of warm temperatures followed by abrupt cold. The potential for winterkill is not over. Also keep in mind that we have a lot of differences among varieties in how they green up, that’s why early on, the condition of the crown probably tells us much more than differences in specific varieties.

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.

For more information on winter injury, damage or kill 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.

Lower leaves pulled back to expose crown and stems.  Brown and shriveled indicating damage or possibly winter kill.  Arrow pointing to the wheat seed to indicate shallow planting depth.  As you can see, planting depth was right at the crown area.
Lower leaves pulled back to show white stems and crown area. Slight injury with some discoloration.  But for the most part looking pretty good.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

2015 is the Year for 17-year Periodical Cicadas

Jenae Ryan, Horticulture Agent

When we think of cicadas, most commonly called locusts, we think of the droning buzzing noise they make. It’s an annual thing that we have learned to live with. What most people don’t realize is that there are some cicadas that only emerge once every 17 years! The last time this happened was 1998, so we are expecting them again on 2015!

Life History: In May and June of the emergence year, matured nymphs will emerge from the ground and climb onto trees, bushes and other upright structures. After securing a good foothold, a split will form at the head end of each nymph, and the adult will emerge. Female cicadas will use their ovipositors to insert eggs beneath the bark of twigs and branches on a wide variety of trees and shrubs. Eggs will hatch in seven to eight weeks, and the nymphs will drop to the ground, burrowing as deep as 24 inches into the ground until they find suitable roots upon which to feed. Although fully grown by seven to eight years later, the nymphs remain underground and continue feeding for an additional nine to 10 years.

Bodies of the newly emerged periodical cicadas will be soft and white in color. Within a few hours, the cuticle will harden and darken and the orange coloration appears. These cicadas will mate within a week of their emergence, and females will begin their egg-laying activities seven to 10 days after emergence. Eggs will hatch in seven to eight weeks, followed by the nymphs burrowing into the soil to begin their 17 year developmental cycle leading to their reappearance in the year 2015.

Male cicadas "sing" in order to attract females. The females are silent. During the 3-4 week period following the emergence of periodical cicadas, there will be a din of noise made by the male cicadas. Singing begins at dawn and increases in intensity as daytime temperatures rise. During evening hours, singing ceases.

Damage: Only slight plant damage occurs from the feeding activities of adult cicadas which utilize their mouthparts to pierce twigs for sap withdrawal. Rather, the major damage results from the egg laying activities of the females. Selecting twigs and branches up to 7/8 inch in diameter, females use their saw-like ovipositors to split the bark and splinter the sapwood to deposit 2 to 4 dozen eggs per site. This damage is severe enough that twigs will wither and die resulting in a symptom known as "flagging." An individual female can repeat this process until they have laid up to 600 eggs. Larger, established trees may show significant flagging, but they will withstand the damage. On the other hand, smaller trees may be severely injured or killed.

Recommendations: Small trees can be protected with nylon mesh or cheesecloth draped over the plant during the egg laying period. Start when the males start singing and continue until all singing stops. Be sure the mesh is no larger and 1/4 inch. Tie the mesh to the trunk so that the cicadas can come up into the tree from underneath.

If the above is impractical, consider chemical controls. Carbaryl (Sevin) and esfenvalerate (Asana) are labeled for periodical cicada control. Sevin should be applied every week.

Bob Bauernfeind, K-State Extension Entomologist, tracked the occurrence of the 17-year periodical cicada during the last emergence and will be doing so again this year. It will Be Interesting to see where they show up