Monday, August 31, 2015

Care and Handling of Game Birds from Field to Table

Ashley Goudey, Nutrition, Food Safety & Health Agent

Opening day of any wild game season is exciting for hunters and their families.  Dove season is the start of this excitement in my home which carries throughout the hunting season.  Before the season starts, I think it is a good idea to keep everyone reminded of how to keep their wild game as safe as possible from the field to the table. 

Dove hunting with your buddies is not only fun but can also be nutritious!  A 3 ½ oz. portion (before cooking) of game bird meat has about 150 calories and provides half the average daily adult protein requirement.  Wild game birds, if handled improperly may become contaminated with bacteria or gastric juices.  Remember the following tips during hunting, storage, and food preparation to reduce your risk of food-borne illness.

·         Be prepared for the hunt!
o   Bring a sharp hunting knife, a whetstone or steel, light rope or nylon cord, plastic bags, clean cloths or paper towels, and a cooler filled with ice.
o   Abide by all game regulations for hunting, transporting, and storage of wild game.

·         Field care and transport
o   Wear latex gloves while cleaning wild game.
o   Do NOT harvest and eat sick or abnormal birds.
o   Wipe out the cavity with a clean cloth or paper towel, do not use grass or snow, this may contaminate the bird.
o   Do not cross contaminate.  Wash hands, knife, and cutting board with hot soapy water and wash thoroughly.
o   Store birds in a plastic bag on ice to keep them clean and cold.  Keep birds under 40°F. If cooler is not available, put the birds in the back seat in the shade. 
o   Do not transport birds in the trunk of a vehicle, this does not allow heat to escape from the birds.

·         Safe Processing
o   For immediate use, birds should be stored in the refrigerator at 40°F or less and used within 3 days.  For long-term storage, the whole cleaned carcass may be frozen at 0°F or lower.  Freezing the meat while it is fresh and in top condition will enhance the quality of the meat. 
o   Freeze game meat using moisture/vapor-proof wrap such as heavily waxed freezer wrap, laminated freezer wrap, or freezer-weight polyethylene bags.  Wrap tightly, pressing out as much air as possible.  Label the packages with the date and content. Be sure to use the packages within a year.

·         Safe Preparation
o   After freezing, thaw the birds in the refrigerator or microwave.  If microwaving, be sure to cook immediately after thawing.
o   Fully cook game birds to an internal temperature of at least 165°F.
o   Game birds may be prepared like chicken.
Remember to have fun and stay safe this hunting season!

For more detailed information about caring for wild game, visit the KSRE publication link that is the source for this information:

Friday, August 28, 2015


 Jenae Ryan, Horticulture Agent

Last year when I interviewed for the Post Rock Extension District Horticulture Agent Position, I was currently in grad school at Purdue and drove back to stay with my grandparents for the night before the interview. When I went to leave the next morning, my grandpa had cut a peony blossom from their flower bed and placed it in my car. I had a partially-full bottle of water from the day before that I used as a makeshift vase while I drove to Beloit and did the interview. Little did I know the good luck that peony would bring me! Since then I have had a soft spot for peonies.

            I have always thought peonies were a pretty flower, but paid little attention to their care until I received some peony roots from K-State’s Horticulture Research Center last fall that they were no longer using in their research trials.

            The best time to plant peonies is in the fall. Dig the hole deep enough so that you can put a little dirt back in to form a cone for the roots to sit on, but far enough down that the whole root will be covered by at most 1 inch of soil. The pinkish buds on the root need to be facing up.

Existing peonies often look a little bedraggled by this time of year and gardeners may want to cut them back. That will not be a problem with this perennial. Peonies are essentially dormant by September 1, even though leaves may still be green. Cut leaves off close to the ground and compost or discard.

Unless your peonies were plagued by peony leaf blotch, commonly known as peony measles, this summer, like mine were. This disease, caused by the fungus Cladosporium paeoniae, is not usually a problem in our area, but was this year due to the wet spring we had. Peony measles can also be a problem if overhead or sprinkler irrigation is used on the peonies. The disease causes reddish spots on the leaves, and in severe cases (like mine!), it can rot away the buds and prevent flower bloom. I only had a handful of blooms before the disease knocked out the remaining buds.

If your peonies also suffered from the “measles” this year, it is important that you cut off the plant down to the ground. Discard or burn the plant matter. Do not add it to the compost pile, where the fungus can overwinter.

If peony measles have been a problem in your garden regularly in the past, you might consider planting a resistant variety, using fungicide when the plants are small, and thinning the plants or providing more space between plants to get better air flow. Good airflow and drip irrigation will help to keep the leaves dry and prevent the fungus from having its ideal environment.

For more information on dividing existing peony plants, whether to relocate them in your own garden or share some with friends, check out the video by Kansas Healthy Yards and Communities:

Clemson University Extension has a great publication with more detailed information on peony care:

Check out the Prairie Bloom Perennial Flowers list for recommended peony varieties:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Watch out for slow moving implements on the road.

Neil Cates, Livestock Agent

Fall is just around the corner.  Haying, silage chopping, field work and spraying are currently in motion with wheat planting and fall harvest quickly approaching.   This means there is an increased presence of farm machinery on the roads. 
As a driver, one should be aware of the increased amount of farm implement traffic on the roads.  Be patient when following slow moving implements.  A farmer understands that your trip is being delayed, so he or she will pull off of the road at the first available safe location to allow you to pass.  Don’t assume that the farmer can immediately move aside to let you pass.  Road shoulders may be soft, wet or steep, and this can cause a farm vehicle to tip.
Some farm equipment may be wider than the lane of travel.  If you approach a piece of wide farm equipment traveling in the opposite direction and you cannot pass safely, stop.  Then pull off the road to a location that will allow the equipment to pass you.
Don’t assume the farmer knows you’re there.  Most operators of farm equipment will regularly check to see if there’s traffic behind them.  However, the driver must spend most of the time looking ahead to keep the equipment safely on the road and watch for oncoming traffic.  Do not assume that the driver knows where your vehicle is.  When approaching a slow moving implement, slow down to their speed before passing.  Do not assume that a farm vehicle that pulls to the right side of the road is going to turn right or is letting you pass.  Due to the size of some farm implements, the farmer must execute wide left-hand turns.  If you are unsure, check the operator’s hand signals and check the left side of the road for gates, driveways or any place a farm vehicle might turn.  Unfortunately, just because the implement is equipped with turn signals, does not mean they will be used.
Be cautious around the dusk hours.  With the sun going down earlier and earlier as we progress into fall, more implements will be traveling during this period of low visibility.  Be on the look-out of flashing amber lights and reflectors.
Be aware of and patient with farm equipment on the road to ensure a safe trip for you and farmers this fall.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

4-H Members Showcase Knowledge and Skills at Fairs

By: Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent

Raising great kids is a challenging task, but it’s easier when you have a team of people behind you. The Post Rock District’s 4-H Youth Development Program does just that. Throughout the Post Rock District there are 18 4-H clubs representing different local communities in Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne and Smith Counties. The clubs consist of groups of families that work together to share knowledge and interests to help kids learn practical skills and important values.

Every summer, each county has a fair that provides an opportunity for 4-H members, families, and clubs to test knowledge, showcase skills, give back to the community, and celebrate a year of memories. During the July and August fairs throughout the Post Rock District, 4-H members participated in a wide variety of activities that ranged from modeling clothing purchased on a budget to fitting a steer for the show ring and from testing a self-constructed robot to enhancing one’s photography skill set.

Kansas 4-H offers over 30 projects for kids to engage in based on personal interests. Project engagement is a year-long adventure that involves learning with one’s 4-H club, in school, at community events, and at home with family. The fair is an opportunity to highlight skills mastered during the year and to gain feedback from judges that can enhance future learning.

At many county fairs, 4-H members participate in consultation judging. This means each member exhibits their project to a judge during a face-to-face conversation. Throughout the conversation, the judge examines the project work while the member shares his or her goals, lessons learned, and new skills practiced. Members also articulate how the project aligns with their budget, career plans, and personal interests. The ribbons awarded after judging represent how a member’s exhibit compares to specific standards and expectations of the project.

4-H is focused on helping youth learn by doing and lead by example. The fair is an action-packed event where the public actively sees these positive traits on display. Congratulations to all 4-H members for an outstanding year of learning and community involvement, and thank you to all of the volunteers that helped make the Post Rock District’s county fairs a wonderful learning experience for our youth.

To learn more about 4-H in the Post Rock District visit

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Register for Prepare Kansas – Online Disaster Prep Challenge

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent


  • For individuals, classrooms, families, and workplaces
  • Online and self-paced
  • Receive helpful information and resources to increase your knowledge
  • Complete weekly hands-on tasks to prepare for emergencies
  • Challenge takes place throughout September

Register now for the 2015 Prepare Kansas online challenge and learn how to plan ahead for the most common emergencies we experience in Kansas – temperature extremes including drought, tornadoes, floods, and fire.

A little work now can make recovering less difficult. The program is broken down into a few activities to do each week, which makes it easier than if you’re trying to do many activities from a long list. Working on each activity gives families an opportunity to not only work together on becoming better prepared, but it can spark conversations about preparedness in general and the best ways to handle future emergencies.

This year tasks include creating an emergency supply kit, outfitting a grab-and-go bag for each family member, developing a family communication plan, and practicing a family fire drill.

Prepare Kansas is a FREE online preparedness challenge from K-State Research and Extension. The program focuses on a few activities every week during September.

Register for Prepare Kansas at Contact Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent, at or any Post Rock District Office for more information.