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4-H Leadership Opportunities Teach Lifelong Skills

Lentz 4-HFor Wesley Kemp of Cavalier, attending the 2015 National 4-H Conference in Chevy Chase, Md., was a life-changing experience. During the civic engagement conference, delegates ages 15 to 19 from throughout the U.S., U.S. territories and Canada participate in round-table discussions to help address a challenge that a federal agency poses. Then the youth make presentations to the agency.

 Kemp's round-table group tackled how to inspire more youth to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and presented suggestions to NASA and the National Science Foundation.

The conference is one of several national and statewide leadership development opportunities available to North Dakota youth through 4-H, according to Rachelle Vettern, leadership and volunteer development specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service's Center for 4-H Youth Development. Others include national programs such as National 4-H Congress and Citizenship Washington Focus, and statewide programs such as the Extension Youth Conference and 4-H Ambassadors.

These experiences also can lead to other opportunities, as past National 4-H Conference attendee Billie Lentz of Rolla (pictured above) discovered in July when she attended the Global 4-H Network Summit in Ottawa, Canada. It encourages youth to network with industry leaders.

 "It was incredible to walk into a room with people of every background and know that the thread that connected us all was 4-H," she says. "4-H has taught me skills that will last me a lifetime, including interview skills, professionalism, persistence, hard work, leadership, how to improve from failure, how to step up to new challenges and how to make a difference."

Discover all that 4-H offers by learning about leadership development opportunities for youth and hearing more of Wesley and Billie's story.

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Transforming Lives Through Education

Six years ago, about the time Vawnita Best gave up a 15-year career involving extensive travel to stay at home to raise her then-2-year-old son and help her husband build their registered Angus herd, she was accepted into the NDSU Extension Service's Rural Leadership North Dakota program.

 "I was excited to find a leadership program structured for people with a passion for North Dakota, agriculture and community," the Watford City rancher says.

 The 18-month leadership development program helps participants think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, do strategic planning and manage conflict. They also learn about agricultural and rural policy, economic trends that could affect North Dakota, innovative ways to fund local and regional development projects, civic engagement, the value of coalitions and partnerships, and industry and community advocacy.

RLND is one of many examples of NDSU Extension's educational approach that provides North Dakota citizens with the information they need to make changes in their life and community. The concept is called transformational education.

"In transformational education, Extension staff make a conscious and continued effort to provide information in a way that will serve as a catalyst for individual and community change," says Lynette Flage, director of Extension's Center for Community Vitality. "It's really getting people to make that step to transform themselves."

Here are more ways Extension extends knowledge and changes lives through transformational education.

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September is Family Meals Month

Family TableEating together as a family has many benefits. Meals eaten as a family tend to be more healthful. They also give families an opportunity to communicate and strengthen relationships.

If you are looking to help your kids succeed in school, family mealtimes can help. Teens who eat together more often with their families do better in school, earning more A’s and B’s than their counterparts who do not eat together as often.

Meals eaten with family members usually include less fat, less pop and more fruits and vegetables. Family meals also tend to be higher in calcium, fiber and other essential nutrients.

Celebrate Family Meals Month by visiting NDSU Extension’s The Family Table for information on how to get your family eating together more often and to take the Family Table Challenge.

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NDSU Extension Service Develops Drought Resources

Drought ConditionsIn response to the drought conditions facing much of North Dakota, the NDSU Extension Service has developed multiple resources for farmers, ranchers, gardeners and homeowners. The NDSU Extension Service Drought website is the comprehensive resource for all things related to drought. It includes links to:

* The FeedList - bringing together buyers and sellers who have or need feedstuffs (hay, pasture, corn, etc.). The site also may be used to donate or receive donations.

* The most current Drought News.

* Weather conditions updated every five minutes through the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network.

* Lawns, gardens and trees resources for homeowners.

* Ways to help someone experiencing stress during tough times.

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Helping Communities Take Charge of Their Future

SET ProgramRural North Dakota communities often struggle to strengthen their economy.

To assist them, the NDSU Extension Service partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program on the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program. Through SET, communities work collaboratively on an economic development plan that builds on the region’s current and emerging economic strengths.

Community and business leaders in Logan, McIntosh and Emmons counties were the first to take advantage of SET. Their goals were to increase tourism, improve access to local foods and health care, and get more youth involved in leadership roles.

SET is one of several ways NDSU Extension helps create vital communities. Extension provides the research-based information and connections to experts and resources that allow communities to make informed decisions and build on opportunities to meet citizens’ needs now and in the future.

Visit the Center for Community Vitality for more information about NDSU Extension’s community vitality efforts.

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NDSU Extension Offers Spring Fever Garden Forums

Spring Fever Garden Forums 2017For the fourth consecutive year, the NDSU Extension Service will host a series of forums to help families care for their gardens and landscapes. The Spring Fever Garden Forums will be held on Monday nights beginning on March 20 and going to April 10. Sessions run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. CDT.

“This is a great opportunity for gardeners to learn about trends and see the latest research from NDSU,” says Tom Kalb, NDSU Extension horticulturist.

Presentations on selecting trees and shrubs, caring for lawns in the spring, building raised beds, attracting butterflies, growing berries and landscaping shaded areas are made before a live audience in Fargo and delivered to more than 30 NDSU Extension Service sites across the state. Gardeners also have the option of viewing the live presentations on their home computer. 

Registration is available online or through your county office of the NDSU Extension Service.

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New Extension Program Encourages Family Meals

The Family TableEating together as a family has many benefits.

Meals eaten as a family tend to be more healthful. They also give families an opportunity to communicate and strengthen relationships. Plus, teens who eat with their family regularly are less likely to get involved in risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking and taking drugs.

On Jan. 1, 2017, the North Dakota State University Extension Service is launching “The Family Table: Eat, Savor, Connect,” a program to provide families with tips, meal plans, recipes and conversation starters to help make family meals happen. The team who developed this program includes Extension food and nutrition and family science specialists.

“The Family Table: Eat, Savor, Connect” website will provide information on monthly topics, such as meal planning, making mealtime fun, cooking basics, buying nutritious food on a limited budget, getting kids involved in meal preparation, and family fitness. The site also will have links to related events in counties throughout the state.

You’ll be able to sign up for an electronic newsletter with recipes and tips, and follow the program on Facebook for more tips, meal plans and ideas for getting conversations going during family meals.

Visit The Family Table website to learn more.

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NDSU Extension FCS Programs Target Prevention

FCS Prevention Programs WorkHealth and wellness are among the biggest challenges facing North Dakota, as well as the rest of the nation.

North Dakotans’ obesity rates doubled from 12 percent in 1990 to 25 percent in 2005 and rose to more than 27 percent in 2012 (the latest statistics available). More than one-third of North Dakotans have high cholesterol and 29 percent have high blood pressure. Also, more than 72 percent of North Dakotans do not eat fruits and vegetables at the levels health experts recommend, and nearly half don’t get enough physical activity.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service is working to reverse those trends with its family and consumer science (FCS) programs. Extension provides educational FCS programming in three areas - family economics, human development and family science, and nutrition, food safety and health - through Extension FCS agents in 32 counties across the state.

Statistics show Extension’s educational efforts such as the Family Nutrition Program (FNP) and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) are making a difference. These programs help low-resource families and youth make healthful food choices, increase their physical activity, get the most nutritious food for the money they spend on groceries and become savvier about food safety.

NDSU Extension's FCS programs are also making a difference in other areas. Read the full story on our Ag News site.

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Extension Agronomist Helps Ethiopian Farmers

North Dakota State University Extension Service agronomist Hans Kandel, traveled to Ethiopia for 2 1/2 weeks in July to share his technical skills and expertise with local farmers.

“Local farmers are hardworking but lack knowledge about some of the essential principles of farming, for instance the utilization of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, recycling of nutrients and proper plant distribution,” Kandel says.

He represented the NDSU Plant Sciences Department and NDSU Extension Service during his teaching assignment, which was part of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Farmer-to-Farmer (FTF) program that promotes economic growth, food security and agricultural development in East Africa. This is the first time CRS has been involved in the 28-year-old FTF program.

Kandel was able to help up to 140 producers in seven villages. Farmers received training from Kandel on how to utilize manure and compost, and how to use legume inoculation with appropriate bacteria to increase dry bean production and quality.

Kandel also trained 15 agricultural development workers, who will follow up with the farmers who participated in the local training sessions.

To read more about Kandel's work, visit our Ag News site.

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Consider Pros, Cons of Alternative Grain Storage

Grain PileGrain can be stored in many types of containers, but all storage options should keep the grain dry and provide adequate aeration to control grain temperature.

“Grain must be dry and cool (near the average outdoor temperature) when placed in alternative storage facilities because providing adequate, uniform airflow to dry grain or cool grain coming from a dryer is not feasible in these facilities,” says Ken Hellevang, an NDSU Extension Service agricultural engineer.

With harvest in full swing across North Dakota, many producers should look carefully at the advantages and disadvantages of the nontraditional storage methods they are considering.

Read the full grain storage article on our Ag News site.

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