Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Keep Calm & Walk On!

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

504 individuals participated on teams in the Post Rock District throughout the 2015 Walk Kansas challenge. Walk Kansas began March 15th and lasted eight weeks, ending on May 9th. Teams focused on achieving a minimum of 150 minutes/week of moderate intensity physical activity. The challenge also helped incorporate strength training exercises into one’s routine and increase daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Walk Kansas teams visualized their efforts of traveling across Kansas, by recording one mile for every 15 minutes of physical activity. Teams selected a challenge to strive for throughout the experience. Challenge #1 involved traveling 423 miles across the state; Challenge #2 involved traveling 846 miles across the state and back; and Challenge #3 involved traveling 1200 miles around the perimeter of Kansas.

We’re excited to highlight some district-wide results of this year’s challenge. The results demonstrate the participants’ commitment to make health and wellness a priority.

è The Post Rock District had 504 Walk Kansas participants, making up 84 teams.

è Throughout the Post Rock District, a total of 68,133 miles were traveled during the 8 week challenge.

è 66 teams successfully met the challenge they set a goal to achieve. Many of these teams achieved or came close to achieving a higher challenge (some food-for-thought as you plan your goals for next year)!

è 18 of the teams that did not meet the challenge they set a goal for accomplished the challenge one level below their goal. Example: Team “A” set a goal to accomplish Challenge 3. They traveled 1000 miles, which was 200 miles short of Challenge 3, but a successful accomplishment of Challenge 2.

è 94% of the Post Rock District’s teams successfully traveled a minimum of 423 miles. This minimum benchmark is comparable to each team member exercising 150 minutes each week. This accomplishment aligns with the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

The Post Rock District has a wealth of resources that can assist with incorporating health and wellness activities into your routine. Feel free to contact your local Post Rock District Office to be connected with resources that fit your needs. Some great online resources include:
è Walk Kansas Website:
è Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans:
è Walk Kansas Newsletters:

è MyPlate Guidelines:

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sitting Is the New Smoking

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

Health experts describe prolonged sitting as “the new smoking,” comparing the ill effects of inactivity to the side effects of smoking. Even if you get 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity most days of the week, health risks increase if you sit for long periods each day. Prolonged sitting is linked specifically to increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. It can also cause back and shoulder pain and is linked to poor circulation.

When you sit, the processes in your body that break down fats and sugars seem to stall. When you stand or move, muscle activity triggers these processes back into action. Any kind of regular movement throughout the day can make a difference.

How can you move a little every hour?

  • Stand and move during every television commercial.
  • Make it inconvenient to sit. Move the printer, trash can, coffee pot, etc. away from your desk. 
  • Dress and prepare for activity. Wear comfortable shoes or bring walking shoes to work.
  • Add activity to your routine. Stand every time you talk on the phone or text. 
  • Use an inactivity alert or app on your computer, phone, activity tracker, or watch. 
  • Use a standing desk or treadmill desk. 
  • Choose active sitting. Trade out your desk chair for an unstable surface, such as an exercise ball or wobble stool. This will help you use core and lower body muscles while sitting.
  • Plan to move. Incorporate standing and walking breaks during meetings and conferences and hold walking meetings.
Create a Standing Workstation

While sit/stand desks are available in a range of prices, you can determine if a standing workstation is a good fit for you without spending much at all. With a standing workstation of any kind, pay attention to ergonomics. The height should be at or slightly below your elbow height. Here are several low- or no-cost options to elevate your workspace in an office, craft room, or for any task where you sit.
  • A sturdy box. It doesn’t get much easier than this. The key is finding the right ergonomics. 
  • Convert a bookcase shelf into a home office work surface. This is another no-cost solution and it doesn’t take up any extra space.
  • Sawhorse standing desk. Use two sawhorses and some sort of tabletop board or counter. 
  • A more permanent solution is to pair a premade desktop with simple shelving brackets. You will need to attach the brackets to wall studs to support the weight. 
The content for this blog article is from the 2015 Walk Kansas Newsletter, Week #4. For more tips and exercises that can help improve your movement checkout all of the 2015 Walk Kansas Newsletters at

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Top Ten Perks of Working in Extension

Kathy Lupfer-Nielsen Celebrating 38 years
Kathy Lupfer-Nielsen, Family Consumer Sciences Agent

As I’ve been getting ready to retire these past couple of months, I’ve been cleaning out files and piles and remembering past programs I’ve done across the district. I’m trying to throw materials away…but it’s difficult throwing away pieces of my past. Never fear though I’m sure I’ll take a few boxes of goodies home to sort through again in another few years.

I recently saw an article the top ten perks of aging and thought this would be a good title for a closing article as an extension agent. So here’s my top ten perks of working in Extension.

10) It provided me with an opportunity for a job right out of college. Maybe all of you knew what you wanted to do after spending your time in college, but not me. I went back home and worked in the local grocery store where I’d worked during high school and college summers. I quickly realized I didn’t want to live at home anymore and looking back maybe that’s probably why Mom encouraged me to apply for Extension…she wanted me out of the house.

9) This job in Lincoln County was a link to the Jetmore Presbyterian church. My Dad immediately remembered Hugh Berry who was a minister both in Lincoln as well at Jetmore. James Rhaesa was our pastor at Jetmore after he left the Lincoln church and helped us to build the new building there. Another church connection was Parker Smith who had preached at Jetmore while he was a student at Sterling College and then was pastor in Lincoln before I arrived. Good group of people to get to know when I first came to Lincoln County.

8) I went to work with a wonderful board…many of them 4-H parents, agricultural folk and EHU/ FCE people. I remember Bill Clark, Lois Rosebrook, Vern Lohmann and Keith Oetting, just to name a few.

7) Great mentor and coworker

What a blessing to start my career with Lillian Heinze-Reinert. I’m sure she wondered many times where KSU have located me. After all I didn’t graduate from there and there was lots that I learned on the job, mostly from her. At her funeral, her daughter Pat said Lillian had enjoyed me as her prodigy. But I laughed and said I was probably more her ‘project.’

6) Current co-workers, while I have great coworkers across the district, I’ll just expand upon Aliesa and Marci. Aliesa was one of my 4-Hers and I like to tease her about the quilted jumper her mother made for her to wear in her early 4-H Clothing Buymanship project. We also laugh at camp pictures of both of us…wonderful curly perms. I can’t forget Hannah’s comment upon first meeting Aliesa, “Wow Mom you could be her mother.” From the mouths of babes.

And Marci, while I’ve only worked with her for nine years, she has been a joy. She’s been my technology teacher/assistant, school food prep helper and we’ve enjoyed lots of laughing during the various projects we have worked on together.

5) Early board supporting me to let me take Leave without Pay for my IFYE trip to Mauritius, look that one up on the map folks. Life altering experience to learn more about the world living with a family on this small island. Then traveling onto India to visit the village where Merrill was in the Peace Corp and to Katmandu to visit my co-traveler’s friend who was in PC there.

4) Denmark Community and Church…early on, when I started dating Merrill, Ariel utilized my less that average musical skills to substitute for her playing the organ at church. All I can say is those Lutherans were very patient with me…I mean Presbyterians just do hymns not all that liturgy. Esther Nelson and I always had a joke going when I would be covering for Ariel as I had to practice the hymns…and I would call her and say, “trick or treat” it’s me playing again.

3) My family… I’m pretty sure I’ve never been the farm wife that Merrill might have envisioned. I did grow up on a farm in SW Kansas and could drive a stick shift (and that’s about my qualifications) …but I’ve helped some, mainly as the “go for” and the community volunteer for our family. Many times Merrill has helped load and unload work items, either at home, the office or the fair. And my three children are the very best blessing I’ve had by coming to Lincoln County…can’t say enough about how proud I am of all three of them…and I’ll spare you the details about my three grandchildren except, it’s great for them to visit and great to have someone else be responsible!!

2) Life Long Learning. The absolute best part of working for the Kansas Extension Service has been all the professional events and workshops that I’ve been able to participate in over the years. I especially appreciated the opportunity to complete a Masters in Adult Education from KSU in 1999. I have had so many mentors from across the state that have provided educational programs to help me do a better job as a FCS agent. And again I would be remiss in not giving a big shout out to my current coworkers in the district as well as the office professionals. Office professionals are my heroes, making sure all of the agents look good with all the events and workshops that we do. A word of advice for everyone working, get along with the office professionals and the janitors and you’ll always have folks in your corner.

1) Volunteers across the county and the district. No matter how important the Extension university administration thinks they are, I have lived to tell you Extension is nothing without the volunteers that helped me over the years, like the open class gals still working at the fair. Or the great 4-H volunteers who helped host IFYEs when they came to Lincoln County or when Kay Good and I were decorating for the 4-H Fashion Revue (that used to be on the fairgrounds) and the wind was blowing ninety mph. Or the time we all had to move the fashion show into the 4-H building one year because it was raining. Or the time Vicki Lebien and I did Native American fry bread at the LES special day. Or when Jeanne Crangle and I cooked aebleskivers at the LES in the gym with not the best electrical situation.

More recently, like within the last ten years, the local Master Gardener volunteers, office staff and courthouse folks, helped Elsie and I “chisel” in the Courthouse Landscape (we should have added composted soil). And all who have helped with the yearly clean up over the years such as the third graders (and teachers) and Jr. High and High School students and staff that also help us out. Thanks for helping making the courthouse landscape project look nice. (By the way, community folks, we could use helpers and/or funding for plants when we need to replace rose bushes, etc.)

There were and still are several women that I considered my Lincoln County “moms” who would listen to me whine or commiserate about life…I remember with great fondness, Lucille Scott, Jeanne Spear as well as Gloria Cheney and many others who shared laughs and conversations.

Thanks to all for the wonderful opportunity of working for you here in Lincoln County.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sugarcane aphid: Potential new pest of Grain Sorghum

Sandra Wick, Crop Production Agent
Surgarcane Aphids

The aphid is likely to arrive this summer again in Kansas and very possibly much earlier this year with the potential of moving further into Kansas. Latest reports have the aphid overwintering on Johnsongrass as far north as Dallas. However, spring infestations are currently very light in Mexico and south Texas, says K-State Research & Extension Entomologist J.P. Michaud at the Agricultural Research Center, Hays.

Note that this aphid feeds all the way up to seed fill in the panicles, of sorghum plants, and can reduce yield significantly, even if it doesn't kill younger plants. "So we do want sorghum growers to be on the watch and report any suspect infestation, says J.P".

In 2013, large populations of sugarcane aphids developed on sorghum in southern U.S. states. They produced large amounts of honeydew, in some cases choking combines and caused lost grain in northeast Texas and Louisiana, where growers lost up to 50 percent of grain sorghum yield in infested fields during 2013.

This insect appears to have arrived on infested sugar cane planting material from Hawaii and changed its host from sugarcane to plants in the genus Sorghum—grain sorghum, forage sorghums, sorghum x sudan crosses and johnsongrass. This has happened before in South America and South Africa. Small colonies have also infested corn plants, but they do not appear to feed well on corn.

The aphid is a key pest of sorghum and sugarcane in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and South America. Although it was reported in Hawaii in 1896 and was first found in the continental United States on sugarcane in Florida in 1977. It was also observed on sugarcane in Louisiana in 1999 where these infestations broke out in the summer and declined by winter. Neither introduction resulted in permanent infestation by the pest, an indication that it was not, at that time, able to adapt to a more temperate environment. It is unable to produce sexual forms and eggs, so it will not overwinter in freezing temperatures.

Sugarcane aphids colonize the lower surfaces of lower leaves first and then advance to the upper leaves. The most damage occurs when the aphids colonize the grain sorghum head causing reductions in grain weight and harvesting problems due to heavy honeydew production. Thus, the sugarcane aphid can be more harmful to sorghum than the greenbug.

When conditions are favorable, small colonies can quickly grow to large colonies and produce large amounts of sticky honeydew.

Aphid feeding causes yellow to red or brown leaf discolorations on both sides. The honeydew may also support the growth of black, sooty mold fungus. Infestations of seedlings can kill young grain sorghum plants and later infestations can prevent grain from forming properly or filling completely.

Natural enemies of sugarcane aphids include lady beetles, syrphid fly larvae, green

lacewings, and parasitic wasps. There is variation among sorghum lines in tolerance of sugarcane aphid feeding and research is ongoing to find resistant cultivars.

However, when populations of sugarcane aphids are increasing rapidly, insecticides may be needed to prevent yield losses and honeydew buildup before harvest according to entomologists at Texas A & M. Sugarcane aphids are soft body insects that suck sap plant juices, can hinder plants growth and produce large amounts of honey dew. The sugarcane aphids that were seen in 2013 were pale in color, white to light yellow and are hairless as seen under a hand lens. The distinguishing feature of sugarcane aphids is their short, dark, paired, tailpipe-like structures, called cornicles, at the rear. Otherwise, only their tarsi (feet) are dark at high magnification. The green bug aphid can look very similar to the sugarcane aphid, but it has a distinctive darker green stripe down the back and the sugarcane aphids do NOT.
Green Bug Aphid

One management practice that K-State Research & Extension entomologists are suggesting is to consider planting grain sorghum earlier this year. If the sugarcane aphids were to build-up to damaging levels, the earlier planted sorghum might avoid needing an insecticide spray or one spray might control them versus normal to later planted sorghum might need to be sprayed twice.

They can reproduce rapidly with many generations during a growing season. As mentioned earlier it was detected late last summer in Kansas. Sorghum growers in Kansas need to be aware of this potential new pest to sorghum and be scouting their fields this summer.

Contact me if you have further questions on the sugarcane aphid or would like any insect identified in your fields.

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