Monday, July 31, 2017

Montana Strong

For my Extension Minute, I just wanted to talk about how proud I am to be from Montana and even though our state is so large, we band together and make Montana seem like one really close neighborhood. For this extension minute, I’m referring to the help gathered from all over the state and neighboring states for the Lodgepole Complex fire in Eastern Montana. Currently the fire is 93% contained and has burned over 270,000 acres. With a severe drought and temperatures around 100 degrees, firefighting is not easy. The destruction of the fire includes houses, livestock, and miles of fence line. Imagine losing your home and livelihood simultaneously in the quick sweep of a fire.
Photo by Preston Keihl
Almost immediately, donation stations were set up for firefighters, volunteers, and for those who lost land and livestock in the fire. This is what makes me proud to be from this great state of Montana. Youth organizations, nonprofit organizations, and big companies all come together to support our brothers and sisters in agriculture. CHS nutrition donated over 100 tons of feed for livestock, the local Conservation Districts and 4-H clubs went to work organizing donation drop off points. Stockman Bank offered to match up to $10,000 in donations collected in their branches. These are just a few examples of groups who have come together to help in this scary time of drought and fire in Eastern Montana. If you are interested in helping too, the Northern Ag Network has compiled a list of ways to donate located on their website.
I’m so glad I live in such a big state with people with such big hearts. It brings me so much pride to be a part of the agriculture community.

Please contact MSU Extension – Toole County if you have any questions on how to donate or other ideas on how to help out these farmers and ranchers in our great state.

Kim Suta Woodring
Toole County Extension

Thursday, July 27, 2017

What does it take to make the Marias Fair happen?

Kari Lewis, MSU Extension - Glacier county

This week, I started thinking about just how many people it takes to make the Marias Fair happen, and I wanted to share some numbers with you to illustrate just how much of a family-based, community oriented event the local fair is.  As I started putting this together, even I was a bit surprised at just how many folks contribute to our fair!

We had 186 kids from Glacier, Toole, Liberty, and Pondera counties exhibit 1,569 projects which included everything from shooting sports to livestock to cooking, sewing, photography, leathercraft, welding, and more.

We had 15 barn superintendents from three committees that oversaw our livestock, small animal, and horse shows.  We had 15 volunteers that helped weigh-in and process our market animals in under three hours. 

There were 145 steers, hogs, and lambs exhibited in the market shows.  On the breeding side, we had 8 yearling heifers, 9 cow/calf pairs, 2 yearling ewes, and three ewes with lambs at side.  There were 7 dogs, 44 dairy goat entries, 7 meat goats, 19 horses, 27 cages of poultry, 20 cages of rabbits, and 2 cats exhibited at the Marias Fair.  There were 20 volunteers that helped with the hog, beef, or lamb shows.  We had nearly a dozen volunteers help with the Dog, Cat, Rabbit, and Poultry Shows.  At the horse show, we had 14 volunteers that helped evaluate horsemanship, assisted in the ring, and announced the show.

In the 4-H food booth, we had nine food booth day chairs that kept the food booth running and
 oversaw the 257 youth and parent volunteers that worked in the food booth throughout the fair.  The food booth’s profits are returned to our 4-H youth as premium money, rewarding them for their blue and red ribbons they receive during the fair, and also provide us with a means to thank our volunteers and judges.

There were 25 judges that interview judged 185 kids over a five-hour period on Wednesday.  These judges had committed six to eight weeks in advance, and shared their afternoon with the kids, despite many also having harvest, haying, irrigating, and work commitments during the fair.  We had 50 plus parents and leaders that helped with interview judging, setting up, and taking down county displays.

On the public presentation side, there were three judges that evaluated nearly 25 speeches, demonstrations, and cowboy poetry talks over two days.  For the Friday 4-H livestock judging contest, we had six group leaders, two parents that assisted with check-in, two reasons takers, and one official judge that helped with the contest.

For Saturday’s Round Robin showmanship competition, we had 5 volunteer judges and 5 ring stewards.  At the livestock sale, we had 15 volunteers helping line up animals and three auctioneers, four ringmen, and four clerks that assisted in selling 145 head of livestock in just under three hours. Come Sunday, we had four guys that hauled the lambs, hogs, and beef to the processor.

In addition, we had numerous in – kind donations such as tens of cases of water from four sponsors, the use of livestock scales, squeeze chutes, and loading alleys, and multiple deliveries of water from the Shelby Fire Department to cool the showrings prior to the horse and livestock shows.

There were 90 plus sponsors of 4-H fair awards from multiple counties that recognized our kids’ efforts and accomplishments.  Lastly, we had four administrative assistants that put in a tremendous amount of time and effort both leading up to the fair and at the fair to make things run smoothly.

Really, this is only the tip of the iceberg, as each 4-H youth has project leaders, club leaders, parents, aunts, uncles, and friends supporting them and encouraging them in their journey.  Thank you to each and every person that makes 4-H and the Marias Fair possible, we couldn’t do it without you.  Thank you for choosing to invest in today’s youth, to make tomorrow better.  

If you want to know where all the good folks have gone, stop by your county fair, and I promise you’ll be encouraged at the youth and adult partnerships in action!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Understanding Grief and Loss

Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension

My family and I recently began the journey of moving on after the death of a close family member.  While we didn’t know this little one of ours long, our grief surrounding his death has been overwhelming at times.  This week I wanted to touch on a couple of things that I found enlightening and which have helped me understand my own grief better, which can be found in an M.S.U. MontGuide titled, “Understanding Grief and Loss Following Death.”
The grief reaction individuals experience is unique and personal, as I have discovered.  There is a broad range of feelings and behaviors commonly experienced after the death of a loved one.  Individual reactions vary in intensity, duration and processing of grief symptoms, depending on whom or what was lost.  These reactions can be emotional and could include sadness, anger, anxiety, numbness and shock among other emotions.  Grief can also be translated into physical reactions including fatigue, crying, and disrupted sleep.  As we have experienced, any of these, especially the crying can come on at any time.

Men and women often experience the grieving process differently, as we are socialized differently in our society.  Although this is changing, the idea that “men don’t cry,” still exists.  Men have a tendency to want to solve the problem and become more active in work and leisure activities when grieving.  They are less likely to reach out and talk to others and express their grief openly.  They are more likely to share their sorrows and fears with their wives and not friends.  They are more likely to take action than express grief.  Many of these things expressed I have experienced, as I have talked openly with my wife and have had the opportunity to throw myself into my work, especially during the recent Marias Fair.
Women are more likely to be expressive in their grief and accept the support of others.  In addition to their spouse, women tend to have more outlets and support as they go through grief.  They are more likely to reach out to others.  Women are more likely to attend grief support groups than men and often have fewer health consequences after losing a spouse than do men. 

Knowing that there are some differences in how men and women grieve may assist a family as the members work through the grieving process.  Perhaps men and women can learn from each other that expressing emotion, seeking support from others, and taking action to return to routines are all helpful in the grieving process.

I know that we have had many people express their condolences and offer to help us through this difficult time.  My family and I are deeply appreciative of this.  For our friends and family, understanding that grief is expressed through a variety of behaviors is useful.  Be patient and let the grieving person know that others care and are there to support him or her. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Marias Fair 4-H Market Animal Sale

Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension
It is almost Marias Fair fun time!  Thank you for your support of the Marias Fair 4-H Market Animal Sale in past years.  The 2017 Fair will be July 19-23.  Today, I wanted to tell you specifically about the 4-H Market Animal Sale which will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 22, 2017.

The Marias Fair will be working with Christiaens Meats and Hanna’s Hi-Line Processing in 2017 for the processing of livestock carcasses.  All 4-H market cattle will be harvested and processed at Christiaens Meats in Valier.  They will be processed over a period of several weeks.  Christiaens Meats can be contacted at 279-3624.  4-H market swine and market lambs will be harvested and processed at Hanna’s Hi-Line Processing in Shelby.  Hanna’s Hi-Line Processing can be reached on their cell phone at 406-890-3635.
All kill and processing fees will be the responsibility of the buyers as you make arrangements with your processors.  This amount will be included at the time you pay for your packaged meat.  Kill fees for cattle are $75, swine are $45 and lambs are $95.  The lamb fee includes the processing fee as well as the kill fee. 
“Buyback” animals will be handled in the same manner as previous years.  This is when a buyer wishes to donate the animal they purchased at the sale to a 4-H entity.  The sale flyer always includes a list of the Marias Fair Committees and county 4-H councils that animals can be donated to.  The youth selling the animal receives the entire amount of the purchase price.  The committee then resells the meat and receives the market price for the animal. 

The 4-H Livestock Committee is thanking buyers from the past few years with tickets to the 4-H Food Booth.  These are worth a special and a drink, and can be redeemed at any time during the fair.  The Food Booth serves a great lunch and dinner Wednesday noon through Sunday night.  Profits from the Food Booth are returned to the fair exhibitors as premium money.
The 4-H Livestock Committee appreciates your support of the Marias Fair and of the 4-H youth.  If there are questions or concerns regarding the 4-H Market Animal Sale, please contact Jesse Fulbright at 759-5625 or Kari Lewis at 873-2239.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Might You Be Alarmed By This Mite?

Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension

I had the opportunity to look at some raspberries recently that had a spider mite infestation.  Spider mites are somewhat of a generalist in terms of what they feed on so I wanted to give a bit of information on them and possible ways of combating their infestations. 
Spider mites are common pest problems on many plants around yards and gardens.  Injury is caused as they feed, bruising the cells with their small, whiplike mouthparts and ingesting the sap.  Damaged areas typically appear marked with many small, light flecks, giving the plant a somewhat speckled appearance.

Dry conditions greatly favor all spider mites, an important reason why they are so important in the more arid areas of the country.  They feed more under dry conditions, as the lower humidity allows them to evaporate excess water they excrete.  At the same time, most of their natural enemies require more humid conditions and are stressed by arid conditions.  Furthermore, plants stressed by drought can produce changes in their chemistry that make them more nutritious to spider mites.
One reason that spider mites become problems in yards and gardens is the use of insecticides that destroy their natural enemies. For example, carbaryl (Sevin) devastates most spider mite natural enemies and can greatly contribute to spider mite outbreaks.  Other chemicals can aggravate some spider mite problems, despite being advertised frequently as effective for mite control.  Soil applications of the systemic insecticide imidacloprid have also contributed to some spider mite outbreaks.

Various insects and predatory mites feed on spider mites and provide a high level of natural control.  One group of small, dark-colored lady beetles known as the “spider mite destroyers” are specialized predators of spider mites.  Minute pirate bugs, big-eyed bugs and predatory thrips can be important natural enemies.
Adequate watering of plants during dry conditions can limit the importance of drought stress on spider mite outbreaks.  Periodic hosing of plants with a forceful jet of water can physically remove and kill many mites, as well as remove the dust that collects on foliage and interferes with mite predators.  Disruption of the webbing also may delay egg laying until new webbing is produced.  Sometimes, small changes where mite-susceptible plants are located or how they are watered can greatly influence their susceptibility to spider mite damage.

Chemical control of spider mites generally involves pesticides that are specifically developed for spider mite control, called miticides.  Few insecticides are effective for spider mites and many even aggravate problems.  Furthermore, strains of spider mites resistant to pesticides frequently develop, making control difficult.  As most miticides do not affect eggs, a repeat application at an approximately 10- to 14-day interval is usually needed for control.  Best bets for chemical control seem to center around horticultural oils.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Keeping All Your Fingers with Fireworks

Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension

Happy 4th of July!  I looked forward to this day as a youth, watching various fireworks displays.  Today, I hope to give you some tips about being safe with fireworks tonight.  Much of this information comes from Extension resources around the country. 
First and foremost, research fireworks regulations.  Towns and cities may have additional regulations that go beyond state regulations, so do your homework and stay informed.

Fireworks can cause injuries.  Despite being a widely enjoyed pastime— especially around the 4th of July — fireworks cause thousands of serious injuries each year.  Firecrackers and sparklers cause most of the reported injuries, together accounting for nearly 40%.  Reloadable shells, commonly known as mortars, contribute another nine percent.  Bottle rockets, roman candles, multiple tubes, fountains, and unspecified categories cause the balance of related injuries.  The most common injuries are to the hands and head, with over half of those being burns.
While no age group is immune, 35% of fireworks-related injuries are suffered by children under the age of 14 — nine percent of whom are under 4 years old.  Fifteen to 18 year-olds represent another 12%.  Twenty-five to 44 year old adults account for 34% of injuries, contradicting the belief that people get smarter and more careful with age.

Keep safety your priority.  If the statistics don’t prompt you to change your mind, and you’ve determined you can put on a satisfying and lawful display, there are some important safety tips you should know:
Don’t combine alcohol and fireworks. Hold off on imbibing until after you finish the show.

Never allow children to play with fireworks.

Carefully read the cautionary labels and directions on the package before igniting.
Wear safety glasses.  It only takes a second to put them on, and they will help ensure you will be able to see great fireworks displays for many years to come.

Only light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.  Make sure others watching are a safe distance away from the launch area.  Choose a clear area outdoors away from trees, buildings and cars.
Never relight a “dud” firework that doesn’t go off as it should the first time.  Wait 20 minutes and soak it in a bucket of water, which should be kept close-by along with a charged hose just in case.  The after the show, dispose of any spent fireworks by wetting them down and putting them into a metal trash can until you can dispose of them.  Place the can away from any buildings or combustible materials.

For more information on firework safety, National Council on Fireworks Safety is another great resource.