Thursday, June 25, 2015

Are you “at the end of your rope?” – Upcoming Team Leadership Training!

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

Are you “at the end of your rope?”  Don’t be alarmed, since this question is designed to help you strengthen your leadership team by improving skills in team building initiatives and rope challenges.  Do you want to incorporate team work into your organization, your next staff training or your next meeting or conference, and do you want to do it right?

Dr. Jim Cain will be coming to Hays, Kansas, August 28-29 at the KSU Agricultural Research Center to present his dynamic leadership training.  This training is designed not only for teens, but also adults.  Jim Cain is the author of 14 team and community building books, including “Teamwork and Team Play,” “Find Something to Do”, plus many more.  Jim is a creative force with more than six dozen team building activities and props.  Dr. Cain has traveled and trained in 49 states and 38 countries sharing his knowledge on team work and leadership, creative problem solving, trust building, goal setting, and improving communication skills in groups.  These are the foundation of team building and challenge initiatives. 

Program Details:  Friday, August 28 and Saturday, August 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.  Attend both days or it is possible to attend only one day.   The location is the K-State Ag Research Center, 1232 240th Avenue, Hays, KS 67601.

:  This workshop is targeted for youth 7th grade and older and their adult sponsors

  Helps build your team through facilitation training.  It is designed for you to make it and take it home.  This means participants will be making tools and props to take home.  We anticipate that many 4-H clubs and schools will send “officer teams”.  It is also open to individual participants. 

  The registration fee includes the facilitation training by Jim Cain, featuring a different book of the day for both Friday and Saturday, lunch and snacks.  Friday’s book will feature “Find Something to Do,” and Saturday’s book is “Rope Games.”  Participants will receive a copy of the book for each day. For KSRE staff members, 4-H members and 4-H volunteers the cost is $40.00 for one day and $75 for both days.  For non-Extension related participants, the cost is $55 for one day, and $105 for both days.  In addition, we will offer a team fee for 4-H clubs and school groups made up of four youths and one sponsor.  The team will receive one book per group.  The cost for the team for one day is $150 with additional students costing $35.00 each. 

This event is sponsored by the Northwest 4-H Advisory, K-State Research and Extension, with financial support from the Dane Hansen Foundation, Logan, KS.  Registration is due on or before August 17th.  If you wish to find out more about this program, please contact Susan Schlichting,, 785-628-9430 or contact Robyn Deines,, 785-798-3921.

Registration Form:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

12 Steps to Keep the Family Farming

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

Did you know the Kansas producer’s average age is 58? This indicates there will be a major transfer of farm ownership throughout the next twenty years. Throughout the Post Rock District, we understand the value agriculture-related businesses bring to our communities. The ability for a business to transition into the next generation impacts the family of ownership, the employees, and those that rely on the business’s services.

While the long-term objective of “passing the business on to the next generation” is easy to dream about, accomplishing the goal requires lots of planning, preparation, and communication.

K-State Research and Extension suggests working through twelve steps to increase the possibility of a successful transition. Each step is briefly outlined below. However, there is a publication available that explores each step in greater detail. You can access the publication at

STEP 1: What Matters Most — Identify the core values that lay the foundation for all of the planning to follow.

STEP 2: Wants, Needs, Hopes, and Fears — It is often difficult to discuss the wants, needs, hopes, and fears associated with transitioning a business and “way-of-life” with family members. Yet, taking the time to understand each individual’s desires and concerns will ensure better decisions are made as you continue to plan.

STEP 3: Establish Vision/Mission Statements, Objectives, and Goals — Many times, business partners have differing ideas about how to use the same resources. Identifying a common vision will lead toward a mission for the business and your transition planning. This will help formulate long-term objectives and shape short-term, attainable goals.

STEP 4: Human Resource Evaluation — It is important to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals involved in day-to-day business operations as well as the transition process. People must be in positions in which they can thrive and contribute to the operation’s success.

STEP 5: Who is in charge? — Having a clear understanding of what is expected and how decisions are made is an essential part of transitioning a business. In order to successfully transition to the next generation, decision-making authority needs to transition over time as well.

STEP 6: Where do we stand financially? — Without a clear and detailed picture of the business’s current financial condition and its future capability, it is very challenging to develop a feasible transition strategy that will support all individuals, families, and generations involved.

STEP 7: Do we have what we need? — Developing an inventory of resources (land, machinery, buildings, financial resources, community services, people, etc...) available to the operation will help identify how the vision, mission, objectives, and goals can be achieved. This also helps identify areas where more resources are needed.

STEP 8: SWOT Analysis of Internal/External Factors — Management strategies can be determined when strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are clearly identified and understood.

STEP 9: Evaluating Financial Feasibility — Completing a financial projection helps place the business goals you have set on a financial roadmap that is achievable.

STEP 10: Developing a Business Plan — A business plan incorporates everything that has been evaluated, discussed, and planned out in the previous steps. A business plan is an effective way to communicate current and future practices to family members and external partners (such as lenders and employees).

STEP 11: Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, and Business Entity Buffet — Working through the process of estate planning, retirement planning, and choosing an appropriate business structure will help protect assets and liabilities. There are a number of choices to consider. It is important to research your options and make the most effective decisions for your family and business.

STEP 12: Putting the Plan into Action — Transitions will happen one way or another. Developing a timeline can help hold all parties accountable and ensure that the transition process is aligned with your family and business interests in mind.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Upcoming Home Alone Workshop For Older Youth

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

Home Alone Workshops will be held in Smith Center and Lincoln for all youth ages 10 years and older. The hands-on workshops will focus on preparing youth for the responsibilities and expectations of the teenage years.
The Home Alone Workshops, hosted by the Post Rock Extension District, will take place from 9:00am to 3:00pm on Tuesday, June 30th in Smith Center and Wednesday, July 1st in Lincoln.
Each Home Alone Workshop will provide pre-teens and teens an opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills like time management, teamwork, and effective communication. Local experts will provide interactive training on basic safety and emergency preparedness beneficial for youth who stay home alone without adult supervision or babysit younger children.
Participants will also learn to prepare quick and easy nutritious snacks and meals, bust boredom without technology, and better understand how to manage parent and adult expectations with positive character.
Interested youth must register by June 19th, and there is a $10.00 participation fee. A registration form can be accessed from or at your local Post Rock District Office.
Registration form:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wheat Flag Smut

Sandra Wick, Crop Production Agent

Wheat harvest is right around the corner and I wanted to alert producers of a disease that has recently shown up in wheat fields around the state that hasn’t been detected in Kansas since the 1920’s and 30’s.
During the week of May 6, wheat flag smut was detected in a field demonstration plot in Rooks County and confirmed by laboratory tests.  Since that initial detection, additional survey teams from USDA, KSU and the KS Department of Agriculture, were sent out to scout fields for the disease across the state.  Those efforts found the disease present in fields in seven more counties all in western Kansas. No flag smut has been found in the eastern half of Kansas.
So what exactly is flag smut of wheat?   Flag smut is a fungus which is in the same broad grouping as mushrooms, and rust and bunt diseases of plants.  Other smut diseases found in Kansas include common corn smut, head and covered smut of sorghum and loose smut of wheat.  The flag smut spores can be seed-borne, blown by the wind for short distances or moved with machinery.  These fungal spores, produced near flowering of the wheat plant, have the possibility of surviving up to 4 years in the soil.  So the cycle begins when the young wheat seedlings are infected with the fungus in the fall of the year after germination occurs and the seedling is exposed in the soil.  No symptoms can be seen by the naked eye in this early stage.  In general, the risk of infection is greatest when winter wheat is planted into warm, moist soils.   As the plant breaks dormancy in the spring, so does the fungus inside the plant.  Symptoms generally don’t show up until after heading and the flowering stages of the wheat with symptoms such as twisted tillers and leaves with gray or black streaking running parallel with the veins.  Flag smut tends to stunt growth and reduce tillering, but generally has low impact on yield when compared with other wheat diseases, but it can reduce yields as much as 50% with favorable conditions.   After further studying of the disease, it might be that the environmental conditions last fall for infection were favorable.
So what are some management guidelines for flag smut?  Research has shown that the use of fungicide seed treatment, which is very economical, is highly effective in preventing the presence of flag smut and is a very important tool in the successful management of the disease.  There are many seed treatment fungicides labeled for control of flag smut and many of the widely marketed fungicides should provide excellent control of the disease.   Crop rotation with non-host crops such as soybeans, sorghum and corn also may reduce the risk of severe disease.  It also may be possible to reduce the risk of severe disease by avoiding early planting conditions that place seed into warm, moist soils, which are known to favor infection by the flag smut fungus. 
So why is wheat flag smut important? Well, the disease caused by this fungus is found in nearly every country around the world.  So several countries regulate the disease since flag smut spores are on the grain or the seed.  Kansas wheat is exported across the world and is financially linked to almost all aspects of the Kansas economy.  Therefore, flag smut is of importance and the disease is taken very seriously since exports of seed, grain and even hay can be affected.
There is no human or animal health concern or direct effect on grain quality related to flag smut of wheat.

Contact me (any Post Rock Extension District Office or if you have further questions on wheat flag smut or other questions in your fields. 

Join us on Facebook at “Post Rock Extension” along our website is and my twitter account is @PRDcrops.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Post Rock District Welcomes New Agent

Ashley Goudey has joined the staff of K-State Research and Extension – Post Rock District, as a nutrition, food safety and health agent. Goudey was previously employed by Central Plains Elementary School in Holyrood and Big Lakes Developmental Center in Manhattan.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and health from Kansas State University. Nutrition, food safety and health agents provide leadership in their communities by developing and delivering educational programming to support successful families and the systems that serve them in communities. Programming may include nutrition through the life cycle, nutrition of low-income audiences, food security, consumer and food handler food safety, physical activity promotion, and chronic disease prevention.
Extension agents are jointly employed in a partnership between K-State Research and Extension, headquartered on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, and the local Extension board. The role of K-State Research and Extension is to encourage the adoption of research-based information to improve the quality of life for Kansans. K-State Research and Extension is the short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service.
Ashley will be based out of the Lincoln Office and can be reached at 785-524-4432 or

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

26 Week Holiday Savings Plan

Nora Rhoades, Family & Yourth Development Agent
Christmas is coming! The week of June 7th marks 26 weeks before December 2015. Can you believe it? That may seem like a ways off, but the season will be here before we know it. It’s time to start saving for America’s biggest spending holiday of the year.
Financial planners recommend spending no more than 1.5% of your income on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other holidays that make December ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. Multiply your family’s annual take-home income by 1.5%. Will this amount of money be disposable and at your fingertips as the holiday shopping season approaches?
Take a moment to imagine what you expect the holiday season to consist of this year. Do you have a special someone wishing for an extravagant gift? Are you planning a vacation? How many parties will you be hosting? Does your holiday budget align with your monthly cash flow?
Lucky for all of us, we still have 26 weeks to deter the financial stressors that often accompany the holidays. Consider saving some money each week and contributing it toward December’s holiday budget. Planning ahead with a “26 Week Holiday Savings Plan” can help you stay out of the red this holiday season.
If you put 26 dollars away during the week of June 7th and increase your savings amount by one dollar each week going forward, you’ll have just over 1,000 dollars saved for holiday expenses. The final week of the plan, November 29th, involves saving 51 dollars. A weekly savings plan is more worthwhile than dipping into your retirement savings or maxing out credit cards to make ends meet.
Sometimes holiday traditions don’t align with our financial constraints. Many of us can easily recognize the gift giving and celebratory traditions we can’t afford, yet it becomes difficult to advocate for understanding when the holidays are in full swing. Now is the perfect time of year to discuss traditions with your family and friends. Strive to make decisions that focus on the reason for the season without steering away from your financial goals (like having a medical procedure, purchasing a car, building up an emergency fund, or paying college tuition).
After you decide how much you can afford to spend during the 2015 holiday season, it is time to get organized. Make a budget and itemized list of anticipated expenses. With these plans, you can take action throughout the next 26 weeks. You are less likely to fall into society’s spending traps when you have a guideline for your money, time to research potential purchases, and a list to check off as you accomplish your goals.

Take control of your holiday spending with a savings plan. Once you have your plan in place, you can get back to enjoying summer!