Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Home Management is a Family Affair

Nora Rhoades- Family and Youth Development Agent

           Families constantly juggle work, school, activities... the list goes on and on. Staying focused on home management can be challenging when you’re pulled in many directions, yet sustaining some level of organization, structure and routine is an essential part of ensuring satisfaction in all aspects of life. Successful home management takes place when every family member contributes to the overall health, happiness and well-being of the family’s needs. Taking care of your home and family’s needs is a team effort.
            Develop a system to share the responsibilities of home management. It is unfair to expect one person to restore and maintain order. When youth and adults help with housework and other family responsibilities, they learn to carry out tasks, accept responsibility and help others. They develop a sense of “can do”, which builds self-confidence.
Start with a positive attitude. Cleaning is a chore, but taking a positive approach will encourage family members to become involved. Find out what jobs the children and adults think need to be done. Rather than saying “clean bedroom”, describe tasks specifically (“make bed”, “pick up toys”, “put dirty clothes in hamper”, “sort mail”, etc...).
            Decide who will do what. What are each person’s daily and weekly responsibilities? Take into consideration people’s likes and dislikes. Steer away from assigning a task to someone simply because he/she does it better than the others. Remember, practice makes perfect for others.
Teach necessary skills. It is important to help others develop the skills necessary to complete a task. Demonstrate how to do each task, and make sure he/she knows how to operate equipment safely. Work side-by-side, observe and make corrections as necessary. Don’t forget to provide positive encouragement generously!
            Agree on acceptable standards and work quality. Everyone has different ideas about what constitutes a “clean” room and “completed” task. There are often many safe ways to reach the same end goal. Be specific when determining responsibilities so that everyone understands expectations. Allow all children and adults to have input.
Set fair and reasonable deadlines. Deadlines should be age-appropriate and agreed upon by all parties involved. Younger children may not understand a firm deadline such as day and time. It may be helpful to use the “when/then” technique. For example, say, “When the toys are picked up, then you may go outside and play.”
Determine rewards and consequences. Before a problem occurs, discuss and agree upon rewards for a job well done and consequences for not meeting expectations. One objective of involving the whole family in housework is to learn and practice the responsibilities of self- and home care. Remember, the ultimate goal is to work as a team to satisfy your family’s needs, health, happiness and overall well-being.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Leasing Arrangements

   Now that the fall crops are out of the field and in the bin or sold at the elevator, tenants and landlords may be wondering about re-examining their farmland leasing arrangements. Whether your leasing arrangements include cropland, pasture or both, this can be a very challenging component of your farming enterprise. With the downward trend of the commodity markets, this may be the time to re-negotiate the components of your leasing arrangements, whether it be a crop share or a cash rental arrangement.
   It is estimated that approximately 50% of Kansas farmland and pastureland is rented and is a
growing prominence with many producers. Different types of leases have been developed to meet the needs of the modern Kansas farmer and rancher. It is important that both parties, to a farm or ranch lease, understand the details of their lease agreement and the laws that affect their lease. Leases can be written or oral, however, a written lease is strongly encouraged as it will help and make sure the rights of all parties involved are clearly defined and understood.
   Leases can be annual or multi-year with advantages and disadvantages of both. Multi-year leasing arrangements will allow the tenant and landlord to plan accordingly especially with costly machinery investments.
   A very important principle for all leases is good communication between the landowner and the tenant, during the good years and especially during the bad years. By keeping both parties informed of changes in market conditions, production practices, or future plans like selling the land or passing it to heirs, the opportunity for conflict is greatly reduced. Leasing is a business relationship between two parties and if both are satisfied with the outcome of the leasing arrangement, then there is stability.
The Post Rock Extension District is again conducting a leasing arrangements survey in each of our 5 counties including Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne and Smith. We are expecting the compiled data to be completed approximately the middle of January, 2017. If you would like a copy of the compiled results, either stop by, call or email us at any of the Post Rock Extension District Offices.
   K-State Research and Extension has many excellent tools and resources available at the website under the “TOOLS” tab along the top of the page and then scroll down to the bottom to “Land leasing and purchasing” and you will find the KSU-Lease and the KSU-Flexrent spreadsheets FREE to download. The tools can be used to help tenants and landlords determine equitable leasing arrangements.
   For more information on “Farmland Leasing Arrangements”, stop by or call me at any office of the Post Rock Extension District in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.