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All Eyes on Potatoes

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country October 6, 2018

Most people like potatoes because they are fairly inexpensive and can be used in many ways on your menu. Have you made potato soup, garlic mashed potatoes, oven-roasted potatoes or baked fries?

Potatoes sometimes have the reputation of being “fattening.” Actually, some of the toppings that you add to a potato may add a lot of calories. If you like higher-calorie toppings such as bacon, sour cream and cheese, add a smaller amount to trim the calories.

A medium-sized red potato (about 3 inches in diameter) with skin has 150 calories, 0.3 grams (g) fat, 4 g protein, 34 g carbohydrate, 3.6 g fiber and 38 milligrams sodium.

Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C, and they provide many other vitamins and minerals. Potassium helps maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Bake them.
Here’s how to make a baked potato with a tender, flaky texture. Start with a “baking potato” such as a brown-skinned Russet:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Rinse the potatoes under cold running water and scrub with a vegetable brush.
  • Dry with a paper towel.
  • Remove any bruises with the tip of a knife.
  • Poke with a fork or knife four or five times (to allow the steam to escape during baking and avoid a mess in your oven).
  • For crisp skin, rub the outside lightly with vegetable oil and salt lightly.
  • Bake about 45 minutes.
  • Note: Alternatively, you can bake potatoes at 350°F for 60 minutes.

Top them creatively with these ideas:

  • Leftover chili with kidney beans
  • Leftover broccoli-cheese soup
  • Shredded roast chicken, beef or pork mixed with barbecue sauce
  • Plain Greek yogurt sprinkled with chives
  • Salsa and finely shredded cheddar cheese

Question: My potatoes always seem to spoil or sprout before I use them. I had them in a cabinet under my kitchen sink. Where should I store them?

Warm temperature and moisture can cause potatoes to spoil more quickly. For longer storage, store potatoes in a cool, dark, dry spot away from heat sources such as your stove or dishwasher.

Keep them in a paper bag or a bag with small holes to allow for air circulation. Always buy the amount of perishable food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables that you can use in a reasonable time.

As you plan your menus, use your perishable foods first. For a variety of potato recipes, visit https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and type “potato recipes” in the search bar.  For longer storage, you can freeze, dry or can many types of fresh produce. See https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and click on “Food Preservation” for more information.

Excerpted from FoodWise Newsletter, Issue #321. For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.


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Homework Help

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 9-29-2018

Did you know that in the early 20th century, homework was considered a positive exercise that could strengthen the mind, which then was thought to be a muscle?

In the 1960s, homework was blamed for taking up time that families wanted for social, outdoor and creative activities for their children. In the 1980s and 1990s, homework was considered the answer to mediocre education and, later, the need to raise academic standards.

That history is interesting, but it won’t help your child learn his or her spelling words, memorize multiplication tables or figure out how algebra will help him or her in real life. We hope these tips will.

  • Casually time how long your child actually takes to do the work. The rule of thumb for early grades is to multiply about 10 minutes per day times your child’s grade, on average. If your first-grader is working more than 10 minutes a night, every night, or your fifth-grader is spending more than 50 minutes each night on homework, you likely need to talk to the teacher.
  • Get to know your child’s teachers. Attend school conferences and read everything your child brings home, including the handbook. Learn what the teacher expects and is looking for in your child’s work. Ask questions and learn how to check on your child’s work.
  • Design a homework-friendly space in your home. This area needs good lighting, school supplies, and limited traffic and noise.
  • Schedule a regular time for homework. Right after school? After a snack? Before free time? Observe what works best for your family and stick to the plan as closely as possible so it becomes a healthy homework habit.
  • Write your own lists, read your own books, do your own banking. If your children see that you, too, are working and thinking at the table, they will be more likely to stick with their homework. Adults can help best by asking good-quality questions, reading directions and helping students realize that they will be able to do the work with thought and practice. However, don’t do their homework for them. Children need to do their own homework.
  • Help your child with time and project management skills. A quick review of the backpack will help determine if this will be a short or long homework night. Start with the hard homework and end with the fun or easier homework, when energy levels are depleted.

Although the debate about homework continues today, much of the research points to its value when used appropriately. Homework should be purposeful, and at a proper level and amount for the student. Parents should not have to act as enforcers but rather be available to listen, ask guiding questions and encourage their students.

For more tips on school kids (kindergarten through sixth grade), check out the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s Parenting Post newsletters at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/cff/parenting-posts-archive.

Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, can be contacted at 252-9030 or


2019 Master Gardener Core Course

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 9-22-2018

First, I would like to introduce Katie Osborne who is interning in our office this fall semester through the Jamestown High School intern program. Katie is a senior at Jamestown High School. Her interest in Ag comes from living on a farm and having parents who work in the industry. Katie hopes to go to NDSU to earn a bachelors’ degree in Ag business. She is active in a local 4-H club, Key club at the high school and plays basketball in the winter. Katie’s hobbies include 4-H activities, playing golf, and helping on the farm. Our office is excited for Katie’s help and for her to learn about Extension. Some of her projects have include coming along on home and farm visits, learning weed identification, attending committee meetings with me and is writing the newspaper article that will be published in three weeks.  

Finally, I wanted to promote the Master Gardener Core Course which is an in-depth horticulture training that consists of 10 sessions that are four hours long each. Those wanting to complete the Master Gardener Core Course can either choose to become a Certified Master Gardener or take the course through the Pro-Hort option. The Certified Master Gardener option requires completing 48 hours of volunteer work within two years of taking the core course. To maintain a Master Gardener certificate, volunteers complete 20 hours of volunteer work and 10 hours of continuing education each year. The Pro-Hort option is available for those who are only interested in taking the core course but do not wish to be a Certified Master Gardener.

The Master Gardener Core Course is scheduled to be on Friday afternoons from January 18th through March 29th (no class on March 15th). There is an option to take the course either online or in person. Applications for the Master Gardener Core Course opens on Oct. 1st and end on Oct. 29th. More information can be found on the NDSU Master Gardener website at: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/mastergardener. For questions, please feel free to contact the Extension office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail me at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu

Katie Osborne

                                  Katie Osborne

 

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Let’s Harvest Apples for Good Health

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 9-15-2018

Apples often are used as the symbol for health for good reason. Eating more apples as part of an overall healthful diet may help lower our risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and even asthma, according to some studies. Apples are a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

In the United States, we often have many types of apples to choose from in grocery stores. Apples are “on-the-go” snacks with less than 100 calories per medium apple. Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork and click on “Learn More …,” then “Apples” for more information about selecting, preparing and preserving apples. Check out all the other fruit and vegetable links, too.

Try these tips:

Add apples to your recipes. Rinse apples under cool, running water. Slice into prepared oatmeal, over lettuce salads or blend into smoothies. Grate some apple into your favorite muffins or quick breads.

Bake apples as a quick dessert (with fewer calories than apple pie). Remove the core to create a “well” in each medium-sized apple. For each apple, mix 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon rolled oats, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Pack mixture into the apple “well” and add 2 to 3 tsp. of butter or margarine to the top of the stuffed apple. Place apples in baking dish. Add a small amount of hot water in an 8- by 8-inch baking dish (1 cup for four apples). Cover the top of pan with aluminum foil and bake at 375°F for 40 to 50 minutes (until apples are tender).

Make homemade applesauce. Select full-flavored apples. Wash apples, peel if desired, core and slice. To each quart of apple slices, add a cup of water; cook until tender. Mash or puree (in blender) and add ½ cup sugar, if desired, for each quart of hot puree, stirring until dissolved. Cool and package in freezer containers or bags. Seal and freeze. For easy stacking, freeze the bags of applesauce on a tray.

Freeze apple slices. Select firm, crisp, full-flavored apples. Wash, peel and core. Slice medium apples into twelfths and large sizes into sixteenths. To prevent apples from darkening during preparation, dissolve ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid (found in the canning section of grocery stores) in 3 tablespoons water. Sprinkle over the fruit. Place treated slices in a single layer in a steamer basket; steam 1½ to two minutes, depending on thickness of the slices. Cool in ice cold water; drain. Pack apples into freezer bags or containers. Press fruit down and leave about ½ inch at the top to allow for expansion during freezing. Seal and freeze.

• See “Freezing Fruits” (FN182) at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/food-preservation/freezing for more information.

Dry apples or make fruit leather for snacks. See “Drying Fruits” (FN1587) and “Making Fruit Leathers” (FN1586) at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/food-preservation/drying for free directions.

Excerpted from FoodWise Newsletter, Issue #320. For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.


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Proper Food Canning is Vital

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 9-8-2018

Don’t let food poisoning spoil your next meal.

Botulism is one of the deadliest forms of food poisoning. It’s often caused by eating food that hasn’t been processed properly, especially home-canned food. Although commercial canners are extremely cautious about their canning procedures, they’ve occasionally had to recall foods because of a safety risk.

Just a teaspoon of pure botulism poison could kill millions of people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even just a taste of contaminated food can make a person sick.

Symptoms include blurred or double vision, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, stomachache and diarrhea. The symptoms usually start to appear 18 to 36 hours after eating food containing the toxin.

Botulism is treatable if the victim receives prompt medical care. Without treatment, the illness causes paralysis that starts with the head and moves to the arms and legs and can cause death, the CDC says.

We’re in the heart of home canning season, so using up-to-date equipment and research-tested methods is critical.

Vegetables and meats are low-acid foods, which means that they do not contain enough acid naturally to prevent bacteria from surviving and growing. The bacteria can produce a deadly toxin in an airtight environment, such as a sealed jar, unless the food is acidic or has been heated under pressure for a specified time.

Boiling food will not kill the bacteria, so to can low-acid foods, such as vegetables and meat safely, you need to use a pressure canner and standard canning jars with new two-piece lids. Foods such as salsa, which is a mix of acid and low-acid ingredients, need to be acidified properly with lemon juice or vinegar using a tested formula and processed according to current recommendations.

Unfortunately, you can’t tell whether a canned food has been contaminated with botulism. It generally doesn’t taste or look unusual, although the cans may provide a clue that the food is contaminated.

Throw away any cans that are swollen or bulging or jars with bulging lids. Don’t taste food from swollen containers or food that is foamy or smells bad. Get rid of recalled canned products without opening the cans.

However, even properly processed canned foods won’t last forever. Cans and metal lids on glass jars can rust. The acid in foods such as tomatoes and fruit juices can cause cans to corrode. Light may cause food in glass jars to change color and lose nutrients. Temperatures above 100 F can cause food to spoil.

Here are some tips for storing canned foods:

* Store them in a cool, clean, dry place where temperatures are below 85 degrees. Temperatures in the 60- to 70-degree range are ideal.

* Store commercially canned low-acid foods (such as green beans and peas) in a cupboard for up to five years, but for best quality, use them within a year.

* Use high-acid foods (such as commercially canned tomato-based products) within 12 to 18 months. Foods stored longer will be safe to eat if they show no signs of spoilage and the cans don’t appear to be damaged, but the food’s color, flavor and nutritive value may have deteriorated.

For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 252-9030 or

 

 

Palmer Amaranth Found in ND

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 9-1-2018

As we move into fall, it becomes easy to see where weed escapes in fields happened for the year. We have several tough to control weeds in North Dakota including kochia, waterhemp, lambsquarters and common ragweed to just name a few. But now we have a new weed to add to the list in North Dakota: Palmer amaranth.

Palmer amaranth is a very aggressive weed and is difficult to control with herbicide, unlike any other weed we have in North Dakota. It can grow up to 2 to 3 inches per day reaching up to 6 to 8 feet tall and can produce up to 1 million seeds per plant. It was just confirmed by a laboratory test to be found in McIntosh County in a row-crop field. Luckily, the farmer is diligent about scouting his fields, was able to find the plants and pulled the plants before they went to seed. It is thought the seed for the Palmer amaranth plants come into North Dakota by migratory birds. It is a good reminder that anything that can move seed can potentially move Palmer amaranth to other areas of North Dakota including but not limited to water, equipment, feed, seed or wind. Because of this, scouting fields and knowing how to identify Palmer amaranth is extremely important. It is not a matter of if Palmer amaranth will spread but a matter of when.

Palmer amaranth is in the pigweed family and looks very similar to redroot pigweed and waterhemp. One key identifying characteristic of Palmer amaranth are the long petioles or the stems that attach the leaves to the stem. The petioles are quite a bit longer then leaf itself. The seed heads can also help with identification. Palmer amaranth has a long, snaky seed that can grow up to 2 feet long. If anyone has questions about Palmer amaranth identification, they can contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail Alicia at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.

 Palmer leaf

 

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It’s Zucchini Season!

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 8-27-2018

At this time of the summer, gardens and farmers markets are filled with fresh vegetables for us to enjoy in different ways. Your neighbors might leave some zucchini at your front door or sneak some into your vehicle. Many people have bumper crops of summer squash, such as zucchini, crookneck and straight-neck types.

One-half cup of summer squash has just 10 calories. Summer squash has vitamins C and A, potassium and other vitamins and minerals. These are some ways to use zucchini on your menu.

Grill it.

• Rinse, then slice zucchini into ½-inch-thick pieces.

• Place in a bowl, then add a small amount of canola oil or olive oil. Mix.

• Sprinkle with your favorite seasonings, such as garlic powder, pepper or Italian seasoning.

• Grill zucchini over medium-low heat for three to four minutes per side.

• Use a perforated grilling pan (so the zucchini doesn’t fall through the grate).

• Alternate method: Slice zucchini lengthwise, brush with oil and cook over the grates.

Make noodles.

• Rinse but do not peel two small zucchini.

• Make zucchini noodles by slicing into thin strips with a knife or vegetable peeler. Discard seeds.

• Heat oil in a skillet. Use 1 tablespoon oil for 2 cups of zucchini noodles.

• Saute’ for one minute.

• Add ¼ cup of water and cook for about five minutes.

Note: Special equipment such as a “vegetable spiralizer” is available. A vegetable spiralizer allows you to make noodles out of zucchini.

Use it in baking.

• Use grated zucchini in baked goods, such as bread and muffins.

Extend foods.

• Add grated zucchini to meat loaf or meatballs to keep the recipe moist. Use about 1 cup of grated zucchini per pound of ground meat.

Eat the squash blossoms.

• Zucchini blossoms can be added to soup, salads, quesadillas and many other foods. If you eat the blossoms, they won’t form more zucchini!

Preserve it.

• Freeze zucchini by slicing or grating; blanch in boiling water for one minute if grated or three minutes if sliced; allow to dry, then package in freezer containers.

• Label with contents and date. Use it in baking.

• See www.ag.ndsu.edu/food for more information.

Foodwise Tip of the Month:

From apples to zucchini, are your fruits and vegetables spoiling before you have a chance to eat them? Try preserving them. Our website (www.ag.ndsu.edu/food) has free information about freezing, drying, pickling and canning foods safely. Click on “Food Preservation” to view all the resources. Your local office of NDSU Extension/Stutsman County can provide more information.

Excerpted from “https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.” For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

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Stay Active All Year Round

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 8-18-2018

In this part of the country, staying active is easier during the summer months, when we can be outdoors and engage in enjoyable activities such as golfing, gardening or walking.

However, as fall approaches, you need to consider ways to continue or increase your physical activity and exercise.

Research has shown that exercise and physical activity can help people stay healthy and independent, and prevent some of the chronic conditions associated with aging. Despite the growing list of benefits of exercise for people of all ages, adults in the U.S. tend to become less active as they age.

Whatever your motivations for staying active may be, figuring out what to do and where to start can be challenging, especially if you are inactive. The North Dakota State University Extension Service has several resources on its Aging Well website (www.ag.ndsu.edu/aging) to help you stay healthy in the second half of your life.

Another useful website to visit is Go4Life (www.nia.nih.gov/Go4Life), a national exercise and physical activity campaign for people 50 and older from the National Institute on Aging. It’s part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The goal of Go4Life is to encourage adults to incorporate exercise and physical activity into their everyday lives. The core of the program is an interactive website, which offers exercises, success stories and free materials to motivate the growing numbers of baby boomers and their parents to get ready, start exercising and keep going to improve their health and achieve a better quality of life.

Be sure to check out of the Go4Life Month Toolkit (https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/go4life-month-toolkit) to get inspired to move more. Each week will be devoted to one type of exercise. You’ll see suggestions for building on your current level of activities. For example:

  • Week one: Endurance - Try adding 500 steps per day or five minutes on a treadmill.
  • Week two: Strength - Try lifting weights while watching TV or adding eight more repetitions to your routine.
  • Week three: Balance - Sign up for a tai chi class or learn how good balance can help prevent falls.
  • Week four: Flexibility - Hold your current stretches a minute longer or add a yoga class to your schedule.

In addition to exercise activity ideas, the Go4Life Toolkit includes tip sheets, worksheets, weekly exercise and physical activity plans, and videos. Consider motivating others to join you in Go4Life Month activities.

For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Extension agent, at 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

Wilson Farm Field Day

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 8-11-2018

A couple weeks ago, Jeremy and Sarah Wilson welcomed people to their farm to learn about using cover crops in corn and soybeans. It was a great field day with about 40 people who attended. Sarah and Jeremy let us walk their fields and explained how they have integrated cover crops into their farming system. Hal Weiser from NRCS talked about water infiltration rates, Keith Berns from Green Cover Seed talked about different cover crop options and I talked about a study from the Carrington Research Extension Center (CREC) about using rye in soybeans. The authors of the study are Mike Ostlie, Steve Zwinger, Jasper Teboh, Greg Endres and Ezra Aberle. The following information is from their study summary and explains what was talked about:

Variety selection: With rye, like any other crop, variety matters. Many times an available rye variety may not be known. A VNS (variety not stated) variety can still provide some of the key benefits to your system. The more biomass produced, the better the weed control (which is also good for grazing). At the CREC, the varieties Hancock and ND Dylan have provided high levels of kochia suppression (up to 70% under heavy kochia pressure). Variety maturity may be another consideration if the goal is to harvest the rye (ie hay) prior to planting. Make sure the selected variety is hardy for north climates.

Weed suppression: Rye provides selective weed suppression, much like herbicides. The full spectrum of suppressed weeds is not yet known. At the CREC, we’ve seen high levels of suppression of kochia, green and yellow foxtail, and common lambsquarters. Rye has little or no effect on several legume or mint species. This is why soybeans do well with rye. Soybeans, dry beans, field peas, black medic, and lanceleaf sage have been observed growing with rye with no apparent adverse effects. Typically, rye does not prevent weed emergence. There may be less weeds present, but the biggest effect is that rye stunts weeds. Once rye reaches anthesis, the weed suppression disappears and the weeds will begin to grow as normal.

Planting date: Rye has a wide range of possible planting dates. Optimum time of planting for biomass production is going to be mid-to late September, but can be extended into the fall until near soil freeze-up. This provides the opportunity to seed rye after corn harvest. The disadvantage of planting late is that there is less biomass and the rye is less vigorous and matures later. Higher seeding rates would be recommended for late plantings.

Seeding rate: If weed suppression is a high priority then higher seeding rates and stand uniformity are needed. Because of this, aerial seeding is not the best seeding method for weed management. We typically use 60 lb (~1 bu/a) seeding rate for weed control.  

Termination method: Rye can be terminated several ways. Glyphosate has shown to be one of the more reliable options for termination. Use a minimum of 1 lb ae/a of glyphosate to prevent escapes.

Termination timing: This question is the most difficult to answer as it varies by year. Some years, we’ve seen rye and soybeans co-exist together up until rye anthesis, when the soybeans are likely planted and emerged. In other years, that same treatment has resulted in complete soybean failure in test plots. The driving factor in that difference in response is soil moisture. Weed suppression disappears within 1 week without rye growth or stubble. On the other hand, rye plus a single glyphosate application at anthesis can provide season-long weed control some years due to a living mulch effect. Keep in mind that the more advanced the growth stage of rye, the more moisture is used. Early maturing varieties tend to accumulate biomass earlier in the season. Terminating rye two weeks prior to soybean planting is generally a safe practice, even more so when paired with early soybean planting dates.

For more information, contact Alicia at the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or .      

Wilson Farm tour

 

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Enjoy Some Garden-fresh Veggies!

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 8-4-2018

Have you tried any vegetables from a garden or farmers market this month? Invite kids or grandkids to help you select, harvest and/or prepare them. Try these interesting ways to enjoy early season lettuce, radishes and green beans.

Lettuce is very low in calories at about five calories per cup because it is very high in water. It provides vitamins C and A, potassium and some fiber. Be sure to rinse lettuce thoroughly under cool, running water and allow to drain on paper towels or in a strainer.

  • Set up a “make-your-own-salad” buffet. Start with bowls of fresh lettuce and a variety of toppings, such as chopped apples, sliced strawberries, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, sliced hard-cooked eggs, canned black beans (drained and rinsed), chopped ham and/or turkey, a couple of choices of salad dressing and any other toppings that you like.
  • Use a large lettuce leaf to make a sandwich wrap. Spread egg salad or tuna salad on a large lettuce leaf, wrap it and enjoy! If desired, add some chopped fruit or nuts to your wrap.
  • Sauté pieces of lettuce in a stir-fry or add shredded lettuce to your favorite soup.

Radishes add a zesty flavor, color and crunch to your menus. One medium-sized radish has only one calorie and provides some vitamin C. Radishes often are served cold on relish trays or sliced on salads. Try roasting radishes with these easy steps and discover their sweeter taste.

• Preheat oven to 450°F.

• Rinse radishes in cool, running water.

• Cut off both ends of the radishes, then slice in half and place in a bowl.

• Add a small amount of your favorite cooking oil (such as canola, sunflower or olive oil) to the bowl. You will need about 1 tablespoon per 2 cups of sliced radishes. Mix to coat the radishes lightly in oil.

• Spread the radishes on a cookie sheet, cut side down.

• Roast for about 10 minutes.

• Sprinkle lightly with salt if desired and serve immediately.

Green beans, or “string beans,” are low in calories at about 40 calories per cup. They provide vitamins A, C and B, fiber and other nutrients. Green beans can be steamed, grilled, roasted or sautéed. Here’s how to make sautéed green beans with garlic:

• Trim the ends from the beans and rinse in cool water. Cut to desired size to make 4 cups of beans.

• If desired, chop 1 clove of garlic.

• To sauté, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or your favorite oil) in a fry pan over medium-high heat.

• Add green beans and cook while stirring for about five minutes.

• Add chopped garlic, if desired.

• Add ½ cup of water and cover the pan. Allow to steam for two minutes or until tender and bright green.

• Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese or red pepper flakes before serving, if desired.

Foodwise Tip of the Month:

Be sure to check the grocery store flier for sales on fruits and vegetables. A wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables are in season. Try some avocados, blackberries, blueberries, cucumbers, corn, green beans, kale, mangos, peaches, radishes, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes and many others. We can’t grow all these foods in the Midwest, but they will be available at their best price and quality in many stores.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.” For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email .

 

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Set a Back-to-school Budget

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 7-28-2018

The start of the new school year is just around the corner. Whether you have one child or several children, this time of year can put a dent in your bank account.

With a little extra planning, you can save yourself some money with the following tips:

  • Set a back-to-school budget - Determine how much you can spend and stick to your budget.
  • Start shopping early - Taking the time to comparison shop can help you save. Many stores already are starting to have back-to-school sales. If you shop early, you have a chance of beating the crowds and having a much more relaxing shopping experience.
  • Shop sales - This time of year, most retail stores offer back-to-school specials. School supplies, clothing and shoes typically are on sale. Take advantage of these sales to get the biggest bang for your buck.
  • See what you already have - Just because a new school year is about to start doesn’t mean everything has to be new. If your child’s clothing or shoes still fit and are in good shape, buying many new items does not make sense. Chances are, your child will outgrow the clothes and shoes during the upcoming year and you will need to purchase more down the road. The same applies to backpacks, which can be the most expensive school supply you have to buy. How is last year’s backpack? If your child can reuse it, you will save money.
  • Don’t buy unnecessary items - Stick to the school supply list. Buying extra items may make your child or children happy, but if items are not on the list, the children likely will not use them. Also, the 15-cent notebooks are just as good as those that cost much more just because of a cute cover.
  • Check second-hand-stores - Athletics can be a major expense for youth; equipment costs a lot of money. Many second-hand sporting goods stores offer well-maintained equipment for a fraction of the price of new gear.
  • Stock up now - School supplies are very inexpensive this time of year. Stock up on items your child or children may run out of during the school year (pencils, crayons, markers, etc.).

Taking a little time to plan can make a big difference. For more resources on setting financial goals and creating a budget, visit the NDSU Extension Personal and Family Finance webpage at www.ag.ndsu.edu/money or contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 252-9030 or

 

Soybean Aphids

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 7-21-2018

Soybean aphids are starting to be detected at low numbers in southeast North Dakota. Scouting to determine if soybean aphids are at economic threshold is important to avoid unnecessary insecticide applications for several reasons. The economic threshold is 250 aphids per plant with 80% incidence and an increasing population. There is a temptation to make earlier insecticide applications as “cheap insurance” but often times this results in the need for a second insecticide application, adding to the input costs. Early insecticide applications kill beneficial insects that serve as natural enemies against soybean aphids and allows for soybean aphids to re-establish and/or allow secondary pests such as spider mites to move in.

Insecticide resistance is also another major concern when multiple insecticide applications are used repeatedly from the same group. Minnesota has confirmed pyrethroid resistant aphids to a 4X rate of bifenthrin and 10-20X rates of lambda-cyhalothrin. There are also reports from northeastern North Dakota with reduce pyrethroid effectiveness. To slow insecticide resistance, follow these recommendations:

  • Do not use reduced insecticide rates
  • Use appropriate spray pressure and spray nozzle to treat aphids
  • Do not skimp on water. Spray at least 15-20 GPA in ground applications and 2-5 GPA in air applications
  • Insecticide applications applied during windy conditions, a temperature inversion or very hot weather could reduce control
  • Scout fields 3-5 days after application to check insecticide performance
  • Do not retreat a field with the same insecticide group for consecutive applications

Insecticide premixes or tank mixes of insecticides usually are not recommended from a resistance management standpoint because they usually contain a reduced rate of at least one insecticide. However, tank mixes might need to be used in situations where a second insecticide application is needed. Any potential tank mixes should be tested for mixing compatibility with a jar test before applying. Always read and follow the pesticide label. For more information, contact the Extension office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail Alicia at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.    

 

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Take the Summer Food Safety Quiz

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 7-14-2018

When the weather warms, people like to enjoy the outdoors by cooking and eating outside. Bacteria grow quickly at warm temperatures, so we need to take precautions to keep food safe.

Try these questions to see what you know about summer food safety. The answers are at the end of the article.

1.  Cross-contamination occurs when one food can make another food unsafe because of the transfer of bacteria from one food to another. Circle the example(s) where cross-contamination can happen.

a. Storing a package of cookies and a container of lemonade mix in the same picnic basket.

b.  Storing a package of raw meat on top of beverage cans in a cooler filled with ice.

c.  Using one cutting board to cut up pieces of chicken and a separate cutting board to cut up watermelon.

2.  The temperature is 92°F, and you have placed a bowl of potato salad on a picnic table. How long will the food stay safe at this temperature?

a.  30 minutes

b.  60 minutes

c.  120 minutes

Note: To help ensure safety, serve the salad bowl nested in ice.

3.  True or False:

You should not partly cook meat at home and then finish cooking the meat at a picnic site later that day.

4.  To what internal temperature should you cook chicken, as measured with a food thermometer?

a.  145°F

b.  155°F

c.  165°F

d.  175°F

5.  True or False:

Always use a clean plate or tray (not the plate or tray that held the raw meat) when retrieving food from a grill.

6.  To what internal temperature should you cook burgers (ground beef) as measured with a food thermometer?

a.  150°F

b.  160°F

c.  170°F

d.  180°F

7.  True or False:

You always should marinate foods in the refrigerator – never on the kitchen counter or outdoors.

Answers: 1. b; 2. b; 3. True; 4. c; 5. True; 6. b; 7. True

How did you do?

Six or seven correct: You’re a food safety pro! Four or five correct: Good job but review the rules before your next picnic. Three or fewer correct: You can do better. Please check out the food safety resources on our website.

Foodwise Tip of the Month:

Do not partially cook meat in a microwave oven or oven and then refrigerate for cooking or grilling later. That is not safe. Bacteria will not be destroyed during the first partial cooking or the second. To spend less time cooking, use smaller and thinner cuts of meat.

  • Flatten chicken breasts to bout ½-inch thickness by placing the chicken between two layers of plastic wrap or in a zip-top plastic bag with the marinade of choice. Then use a rolling pin or meat pounder to flatten.
  • Make smaller and thinner burger patties, and put them on smaller “slider” buns.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.” For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email

 

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Homegrown Greens Provide More Variety

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 7-13-2018

Do you ever tire of iceberg lettuce?

If you do, growing your own leafy greens might be the answer. Leafy greens include lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, kale and spinach.

Growing your own leafy greens can be economical and fun. Plus many varieties are available for planting.

Certain leafy greens, such as kale and Swiss chard, need lots of space to grow, but others can be grown in small spaces or even containers.

You can harvest individual leaves or the whole plant. Harvesting the “baby” leaves will allow you to enjoy multiple pickings during the season. Baby leaves also will be the most tender.

Dark green leafy vegetables provide a variety of nutrients and fiber. For example, 1 cup of raw spinach has 7 calories, 0 grams (g) fat, 1 g protein, 1 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber and 24 milligrams sodium.

Green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins A (from the carotenoid natural pigments), C and K, and the B vitamin folate. Leafy greens also contain calcium and iron.

Leafy greens have many uses. For example, arugula is sprinkled on top of fresh pizza in Italy. Spinach often is used in salads and cooked dishes. Kale, historically used as a garnish, is increasingly used as a main entree or baked into chips.

Leaf lettuce is one of the specialty crops that can be grown in North Dakota. Visit the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s Field to Fork website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork for more information about growing and using a variety of specialty crops, including leaf lettuce. And for more information on leafy green varieties, fun facts and recipes, check out the North Dakota State University publication “From Garden to Table: Leafy Greens!” at www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/from-garden-to-table-leafy-greens/h1754.pdf.

Christina Rittenbach is the Family & Community Wellness Extension agent with North Dakota State University Extension in Stutsman County. She can be reached at 252-9030 or



What Can be Learned from Participating in 4-H

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 6-30-2018

4-H is a fun, learn-by-doing educational program for youth ages 5-18 and is NDSU Extension’s youth development program. The past two weeks I have spent my time working with the 4-H program at Extension Youth Conference in Fargo and at the Stutsman County Fair. The time has been busy, fun and rewarding. If you are wondering what youth might learn by participating in 4-H, here are just some of the things I observed over the past two weeks:

-          A 4-H teenager participating in a formal interview for the first time as part of the process to become a State 4-H Ambassador. The interview skills they learned through this process will make them prepared when interviewing for a future internship or job. The process to become a State 4-H Ambassador involves an application, formal interview, preparing speeches and teamwork to solve a problem as a group.

-          I watched the State 4-H Ambassadors plan and organize the workshops and speakers for Extension Youth Conference. They learned planning and organizational skills through this process. The experience the State 4-H Ambassadors gain through this opportunity develops their leadership skills. 

-          4-H delegates at Extension Youth Conference participating in a large service learning project where they cleaned up garbage in downtown Fargo and learned how Fargo revived their downtown. I heard several delegates say they learned new ideas of how a town can update their downtown and that they will bring those ideas home with them.

-          The teamwork it takes to plan, design and build the 4-H club booths at the fair. If you haven’t seen the hard work the 4-H kids put into their club booths this year, I encourage you to walk through the static building at the fair.

-          The nervous 4-Her waiting to explain their static project to the judge and then the relief and smile on their face after the interview went better than expected. Through the process of preparing exhibits for the fair, a 4-Her learns life skills such as sewing, welding, baking, drawing, or woodworking just to name a few. There are several different project areas 4-Hers can choose from.

-          The hard work 4-Hers put in by working with their animals before the fair and the teamwork of bringing their animal to the fair. It’s great to see 4-H families helping each other when in the barn even though they are competitors in the show ring.  

-          The excitement on the 4-Hers face when they are announced as the Livestock Round Robin Showmanship Champion. You can see the hours the 4-Her spent practicing showing the different livestock animals paid off. 

-          The comradery during 4-H family potluck. The 4-H family potluck is a time when the 4-H families relax and reflect with each other on the memories that have been made at the 2018 Stutsman County Fair.

As I reflect back on the last two weeks, I think about how hard working our 4-Hers are and how lucky I am to have the opportunity to work with them. When I see a youth’s eyes light up because they learned something new or accomplished something they have been working hard for, it makes the time spent with the 4-H program rewarding. For more information about 4-H, check out the Stutsman County 4-H webpage at www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension/4h-and-youth or contact the Extension office at 701-252-9030. 



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Keeping Kids Safe Outdoors

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 6-16-2018

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, neighbor, friend or relative, you need to think about the ages of the children who will visit and how to keep them safe around your home, farm, garage, machinery and grounds as we move into outdoor season.

Young children ages 5 and younger require constant supervision. Curious children of all ages can suffer serious, preventable injury and even death.

Safekids Worldwide™ (www.safekids.org) offers some great tips and reminders for a whole list of common things that children are seen for in the emergency room every day. For example, 64,000 children are seen at the ER annually due to accidental poisoning. How do you secure all of the chemicals in your home and buildings?

The number one killer of children 1 to 4 years old is drownings. This can include the rainwater that collects in a big bucket behind the garage, as well as the slough or the bathtub. Do you have water hazards that need your attention?

This excellent safety resource also breaks down risk categories by age.

Infants are new to the family. To keep from forgetting your precious baby in a hot car, try these tips: Put your cellphone, purse or other important belongings in the back seat. When you stop the car and retrieve your stuff, you will see the baby! Keeping your phone in the back also will keep you from distracted driving.

Children 1 to 4 years old love playgrounds. Safe playgrounds are well maintained and have separate, shorter equipment for children 5 years and younger. Check to see that ample soft-surface materials are under the equipment and the playground has no dangerous, rusted or broken pieces every time you play.

Adults have to help children learn to negotiate traffic wherever they live. Busy farmyards easily can be as dangerous as a city street when children are present. Talk to your children about having a “safe spot” to wait when vehicles and equipment are starting and moving. That way, the driver can see and count all of the children in one place.

Encourage drivers to walk all the way around the vehicle before getting in to start the engine. Toys and pets behind a vehicle may tempt children to run behind the car to rescue whatever they see back there.

Adult supervision is always key! Check out the www.safekids.org website today. By being aware of your children’s current ages and stages of development, along with having good safety practices, you can spend a long, warm, safe summer outdoors.

Christina Rittenbach is a NDSU Extension agent in Stutsman County and can be reached at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu



Needle Cast Disease in Spruce Trees

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 6-9-2018

I receive several calls asking about what is wrong with older spruce trees. One of the most common spruce tree diseases here is needle cast. Two needle cast diseases occur in North Dakota: Rhizosphaera needle cast and Stigmina needle cast. Similarities and differences between the two diseases exist. Symptoms of both needle cast diseases look similar to each other. The classic symptoms of needle cast include brownish purple discoloration and eventual death of older needles, while current-year needles show no symptoms. A key characteristic of needle cast are rows of very small black dots (fungal fruiting bodies) that displace the normally white stomata along the length of the underside of needles. Rhizosphaera needle cast primarily infects Colorado blue spruce, while Stigmina needle cast affects both blue spruce and Black Hills spruce. A lab test is the only way to determine the difference between the two different needle cast diseases.    

Proper diagnosis of needle cast is recommended before treatment is initiated, since other non-disease factors can cause similar symptoms. Other pests and environmental problems can cause browning and death of older needles, including normal needle death that occurs simply as a function of needle age or shading. Identifying the fungal fruiting bodies in the stomata should be identified before treating a tree with fungicide.

Needle cast disease is treatable. Within a few years after treatment, an infested spruce tree can start to produce healthy new needle growth again. Left untreated, a severe case of needle cast can lead to continual thinning and decline of the tree. Needle cast diseases can be effectively controlled with fungicides containing chlorothalonil (Bravo is one example). Fungicide should be applied to the whole tree to prevent the disease from spreading to the new needle growth.

Treatment for Rhizosphaera needle cast is two properly-timed applications of chlorothalonil per year for at least two consecutive years, and sometimes three years, is required for control. The first application should occur when the new needles are half elongated (50% elongation relative to previous years’ needle length). A general rule of thumb is typically around Memorial Day. Now is a good time to be applying the first fungicide application. The second application should occur two to three weeks after the first application. Timing of treatment for Stigmina needle cast is similar, except preliminary data suggest that the trees should be treated indefinitely, with at least two properly timed fungicide applications per year.

NDSU Extension has two publications with more information about needle cast: Diagnosing Spruce Disorders in North Dakota (F1818) and Two Needle Diseases of Spruce in North Dakota (F1680). They can be found online or by contacting the Extension office. For more information about needle cast or other questions, please contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail Alicia at .    

Needlecast



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Summer Meals Feeds Good Nutrition to Our Kids for Free

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 6-2-2018

With summer right around the corner, it’s time to think about keeping children healthy while school is out. The USDA Summer Food Service Program helps provide free nutritious meals to children in low-income areas so they are better fueled with healthy food to learn and grow.

Children need healthy food all year long. During the school year, many children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Program. When school lets out many of these children are at risk of hunger. Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process.

Research shows a lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again. The Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children get the nutritious meals they need.

FREE summer meals are being offered to all children 18 and younger; there is no enrollment, no cost.  Youth may come and eat at the Jamestown summer feeding site located at Washington Elementary, 700 4th Avenue NW.

Breakfast is served from 8:00 am – 9:00 am and lunch is served from 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm. Jamestown Summer Meals will be offered Monday through Friday – June 4th through July 27th, please use the north doors to enter the building.

What do you know about the Summer Meal Programs?

With so much information out there, sometimes things can get confusing. Let’s clear up some of the common misconceptions families have about Summer Meals.

Myth: Summer Meal Programs are only for young children.

Fact: Anyone 18 and under can receive meals through USDA’s Summer Meal Programs. Teens face the same risks of food insecurity in the summer, so make sure your teens are taking advantage of free Summer Meals too!

Myth: To get a meal, I have to sign my children up at the site ahead of time.

Fact: The Jamestown Summer Meal site is an “open site,” which means it is open to the community and do not require that children sign up in advance. Children and teens must simply show up at the site to get their meal. Remember, the meal has be to eaten at the site!

Myth: I have to submit income information, legal status, or other personal information about my family, in order for my child to be welcomed to a Summer Meal site.

Fact: “Open Summer Meal sites” are open to the community. Parents are not required to give any personal information about their children to site operators in order for the child to receive a free meal.

Bring your kids for lunch to Washington School, call (701) 952-3210 about the Jamestown Summer Meals.

Source: USDA: Summer Food Service Program. For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



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Growing Grapes in North Dakota

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 5-26-2018

Have you ever thought of growing your own grapes?

Grapes can be used to make jam, jelly, juice, vinegar, wine, raisins, grape seed extracts or grape seed oil.

Historically, the cold winters and short growing season have made grape growing limited in North Dakota. However, resources are available if you are interested in growing grapes.

Keep the following tips in mind as you plan your home vineyard:

  • Site selection is very important in the success of a home vineyard. The ideal planting site provides full sunshine, is on a southern hillside, has sandy loam soil and is near a large body of water.
  • Protection from the strong winds is another important aspect for growing grapes.
  • Select cultivars that ripen early. You’ll also need a cultivar that is hardy enough to survive the winter without protection. Somerset are the hardiest seedless grape for North Dakota. Somerset are a rose-colored fruit and are good for making raisins. King of the North is a sweet, blue Concord-type grape used for juices, jams and wines. Swenson Red and King of the North are good cultivars for fresh eating grapes.
  • Harvest grapes in late September to early October when the sugar content is at its highest.

See www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/hortcrop/h1761.pdf for a North Dakota State University Extension Service publication about growing grapes.

Grapes contain many nutrients and may provide health benefits. A 1-cup serving of grapes provides approximately 60 calories, 16 grams (g) carbohydrate, and less than 1 g of protein, fat and fiber.

Grapes, grape juice and wine all contain antioxidants. Research has shown these antioxidants may be beneficial in reducing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clots and heart disease. Further research is needed to verify these findings.

Red or black grapes will have a higher antioxidant content than green grapes.

Grapes are one of the specialty crops that can be grown in North Dakota. Visit NDSU Extension’s Field to Fork website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork for more information about growing and using a variety of specialty crops, including grapes. You can also contact the Stutsman County Extension office for more information at 701-252-9030.



 

Weed Germination Timing Influences Control Options

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 5-19-2018

Germination timing of weeds influences weed control options as well as critical timing for scouting. The following information comes from an article in the NDSU Crop and Pest Report written by Tom Peters, NDSU Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist. The NDSU Crop and Pest Report comes out weekly during the growing season on Thursdays and can be viewed online at www.ag.ndsu.edu/cpr or received by e-mail by subscribing to it on the website. It is a great resource and I would encourage those interested in receiving agronomy information to subscribe.   

Weed management would be a straight forward task if all weeds germinated and emerged at the same time and weeds probably would not be an annual challenge if we could take this approach. Instead, weeds germinate at various times, allowing them to escape control, produce seed and contribute to seed banks that may persist for multiple years.

Weed emergence can be predicted by tracking air or soil temperature and by calculating accumulated growing degree days (GDDs) using base temperature (Tbase = 48 F) staring on January 1 of each year. Accumulated GDDs suggest weeds germinate in clusters including early-emerging, middle-emerging and late-emerging species. The earliest emergers including kochia, common lambsquarters, and common and giant ragweed emerge at <150 GDD. Research indicates kochia will emerge with as few as 5 accumulated GDD. Middle-emerging species include foxtail species, Venice mallow and common sunflower and emerge at between 150 and 300 GDD. Late emerging-weeds include redroot pigweed and waterhemp and emerge at > 300 GDDs.

Knowing when weeds begin to emerge can direct scouting activities and improve overall weed management strategies. For example, early emergers, especially those with short emergence duration, can be managed after most seedlings have emerged using postemergence herbicides or with tillage prior to planting. In comparison, middle and late emergers may need to be controlled with preemergence or postemergence herbicides. Some weeds like lambsquarters, redroot pigweed or waterhemp have extended emergence patterns and may require multiple control strategies including layer application of soil-residual herbicides. NDSU research indicates cultural practices, such as use nurse crops appear to delay emergence and suppress development of certain middle and late emerging weeds.

The emergence sequence of different weeds is consistent from year to year although the initial emergence date for weeds varies from year to year. Weeds emerge over a prolonged time period, so weeds from earlier clusters may still be emerging when a later cluster begin to emerge. Modeling temperature is a reasonable way to predict weed emergence. However, emergence is influenced by several other factors than air temperature, including cloud cover, soil type and moisture, and crop residue.

For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail Alicia at .

Weed emergence



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May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 5-12-2018

Did you know that bones can become so weak that a sneeze can lead to a break? Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become brittle. It can occur in men and women.

We can’t feel our bones weakening, so we need to eat a healthful diet and get weight-bearing exercise (such as walking, hiking, jogging, dancing) to keep our bones strong. Building strong bones begins in childhood. Maintaining our bone strength continues throughout our life.

May, Osteoporosis Awareness Month, is a good time to renew our commitment to protecting our bones.

Bone Builders

Calcium and vitamin D are the main bone-building nutrients. Other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, potassium and magnesium also help build strong bones. Eat a variety of foods every day to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Where Do I Get Calcium and Vitamin D?

Nutrition labels show the percent of the Daily Value of calcium provided by a serving of the food.  Some nutrition labels also show how much vitamin D is present.

Calcium is found in:

Yogurt, Milk, Cheese, Collard greens, Broccoli, Kale, Figs, and Calcium-fortified juices, breads and cereals, soy milk, almond milk, tofu

Vitamin D is found in:

Fatty fish such as salmon, Vitamin D-fortified milk, some brands of yogurt*, some types of 100 percent juice*, and some types of cereal*

* Read the label on foods to learn whether the food has vitamin D added.

Note: Vitamin D can be made when our skin is exposed to sunlight; during winter months, we may be lacking in vitamin D. According to some research, 10 minutes of sun exposure provides 10,000 International Units of vitamin D. (But, remember to wear sunscreen to protect yourself from skin cancer!)

Question: I heard that we can grow gardens that are “good for our eyes.” I know that carrots are eye-healthy. What other vegetables are good for our eyes?

Yes, carrots are good for maintaining our night vision. Leafy greens such as kale, collard greens and spinach, are among the most eye-healthy foods. Orange bell peppers, corn and peas also provide food for our eyes. May also is Healthy Vision Month, so take steps to care for your eyes. Enjoy a variety of colorful vegetables for good overall health and especially eye health.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.” For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



Spring Planting

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 4-27-2018

It seems spring has finally come! What seems to be a late spring has people wondering about spring planting. Although it may seem late, maybe this cold weather isn’t so unusual for North Dakota. I am writing this article on Wednesday, April 25th. On this date last year, the high temperature for the day was 32°F with a low temperature of 28°F and bare soil temperature was 35°F at the Jamestown NDAWN station. There also were chances of snow in the forecast and there did end up being a snow/ice event on April 26th, 2017 but it mainly affected areas east of Jamestown to Fargo. So, maybe the weather this year isn’t so bad after all. Like my grandma always said, “The farmer is the eternal optimist.” Anyway, here are some of the general planting recommendations for North Dakota:

Wheat

Wheat is a cool season grass and germinates at a soil temperature of 35°F. The optimal planting timing for wheat if you are between I-94 and HWY 13 is the third week of April and if you are between I-94 and HWY 2 the optimal planting timing is the 4th week of April. The last recommended planting date if you are between I-94 and HWY 13 is the third week of May and if you are between I-94 and HWY 2 is the fourth week of May. After June 1st, planting wheat it is not recommended unless it will be used for grazing. The estimated yield loss for planting wheat past the optimal plant date is 1% per day. However, this is not always the case as weather is never the same year to year. Wheat develops the highest yield potential when it develops under cooler temperatures, especially during vegetative and early reproductive states. Seeding rates should be increased by 1% for each day planting is delayed up to a maximum of 1.6 million seeds per acre. The desired plant population for spring wheat is 1.3 to 1.4 million plants per acre. The general formula for calculating wheat seeding rate is: 

Seeding rate (lbs. per acre) = (desired stand in plants per acre) / (1 – expected stand loss)

                                                                                      (seeds per lb.) x (% germination)

Corn

The recommended planting time for corn is the first two weeks of May. However, corn is a warm season grass and germinates at a soil temperature of 50°F. It also needs 125 growing degree-days (GDDs) before it emerges from the soil (this is more predictive if soil temperature is used in calculating GDDs rather than air temperature). Be cautious of planting corn into cold soils, despite what the calendar says. Corn that takes longer to emerge in cold soils has a greater risk of seedling diseases and variability in emergence dates that can result in an uneven stand. Late emerged corn plants have a yield penalty as they are never able to catch up to the earlier emerged corn plants. Another issue caused by cold soils is imbibitional chilling injury, which is occurs when the corn seed takes up water cooler than 50°F, which causes cell membranes to rupture. As you get towards the end of May, it may be time to consider switching to an earlier maturating variety. Plant populations of 24,000 to 32,000 plants per acre are recommended in our area for non-irrigated corn.    

Soybeans

Soybeans are a warm season broadleaf that germinate when the soil temperature reaches 54°F. It is recommended to start planting soybeans as soon as the soil temperatures are consistently at 50°F and air temperatures are favorable. In some years, this can be as early as the first half of May. There are advantages to earlier seed soybeans because it allows the use of full-season varieties and quicker canopy closure. However, soybeans are susceptible to cold air temperatures and cold soils thus planting too early can result in reduced seed germination, increased risk of seedling diseases and stand reductions. Soybeans can be planted with earlier maturing varieties as late as early June. The desired soybean stand is approximately 150,000 soybean plants per acre regardless of row spacing.          

A couple other things to keep in mind is as the spring progresses there might be changes in your planting plan, whether that is switching to an earlier maturating variety or maybe to another crop all together. If this happens, be sure to be in good communication with your seed retailer so they can help you the best they can. Also, keep in touch with your crop insurance agent about planting decisions if planting does becomes late. The final planting dates for full crop insurance coverage are May 31st for wheat, May 25th for corn and June 10th for soybeans. For most insurance, the guarantee is reduced by 1% per day beyond the final planting date up to a certain date.  

For more information, contact Alicia at the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or .



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Enjoy Fruits and Vegetables in Season

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun County 4-21-2018

Check out the delicious fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season in the spring. "In season" means they are at their best quality and price.

In many grocery stores, you will find fresh asparagus, strawberries, and sweet onions (such as Vidalia), among many others, in the spring.

Asparagus

Choose asparagus that is a rich green. Asparagus should have compact tips and smooth spears.

Store refrigerated and use within a few days. Rinse the asparagus spears under running water and trim ends.

Prepare asparagus by roasting, grilling and many other methods.

  • To roast: Preheat an oven to 425°F. Rinse asparagus under running water and trim the ends. Place the asparagus in an oven-safe dish and drizzle with your favorite cooking oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and/or your favorite seasonings. Bake until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  • To grill: Preheat the grill. Follow the preparation directions for roasting. Place the asparagus on the grill or in a grill basket. Grill about three minutes or to the tenderness you like.

Strawberries

Choose fruit that is deep red, with dark green caps and a nice aroma. Strawberries should be plump.

Store in your refrigerator in the crisper drawer.  Just before eating, place strawberries in a colander and rinse under cool, running water. Do not soak strawberries. Spread them on paper towels or leave them in the colander to remove extra water.

Remove the green cap and stem using a paring knife or strawberry huller. Slice, dice or serve whole.

If you have extra strawberries, place the clean, whole berries on a cookie sheet with some space. Freeze until firm, then place them in freezer bags labeled with the date you froze them.

Sweet Onions (Vidalia)

Choose firm onions with little scent. Avoid onions with cuts, bruises or blemishes.

To reduce chances of crying when preparing onions, refrigerate them for 30 minutes before preparation.

To remove the onion smell, rub your hands with lemon juice or salt. Cut off the top/stem of the onion. Remove the papery layers, then dice or slice as you wish.

Try grilling onions:

  • Cut each large onion into about eight wedges. Place them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Place pats of butter on the onion (about 1 teaspoon per wedge). Sprinkle with garlic salt or seasoning salt. Wrap well so the aluminum foil seams are tight. Place another layer of aluminum foil under the onion packet, and place the packet and foil sheet on a preheated grill for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Want to view a video about preparing onions? Visit www.onions-usa.org to learn more.

Avoid wasting fresh fruits and vegetables by storing them correctly, using them within a few days or freezing them. Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and click on "Food Preservation" for information about freezing extra fruits and vegetables.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.” For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



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Student Loan Repayment Options Available

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 4-14-2018

Though the weather does not indicate it, college graduations are coming up, and one thing no one likes to talk about is student loan repayment.

As a new graduate heading out into the world, school loans can seem a bit overwhelming. College graduates with federal student loan debt have many options available to them.

The two main types of repayment options are traditional and income-driven.

Traditional Repayment Plans

Under the standard repayment plan, the borrower pays a fixed amount every month for 10 years.

The graduated repayment plan allows for lower payments at first and then the payments increase (usually every two years). The borrower also will pay off the loan in 10 years with this option.

With the extended repayment plan, payments can be fixed or graduated, but the repayment time is 25 years. To choose this repayment plan, borrowers must have an outstanding balance of $30,000 or more.

Income-driven Repayment Plans

Income-driven repayment plans set the monthly payment at an amount that is intended to be affordable based on the graduate’s income and family size. Here is a brief description of these plans:

Income based repayment (IBR) plan - The monthly payment generally is 15 percent of the borrower’s discretionary income. For those who are not new borrowers (borrowed on or prior to July 1, 2014). The payment generally is 10 percent of discretionary income for new borrowers (those who borrowed on or after July 1, 2014). The loan balance remaining after 20 years for new borrowers and 25 years for the not-new borrowers will be forgiven. The borrower will have to pay income tax on the amount forgiven.

  • Income contingent repayment (ICR) plan - The monthly payments are calculated as the lesser of 20 percent of the borrower’s discretionary income or what would be paid on a fixed payment plan over 12 years. The loan balance remaining after 25 years will be forgiven, but the borrower will pay income tax on the amount forgiven.

Pay as you earn (PAYE) - This plan caps payments at 10 percent of discretionary income. This plan is only for those who were borrowers after Oct. 1, 2007, and not have received a disbursement of a direct loan since Oct. 1, 2011. The remaining loan balance is forgiven after 20 years. The borrower will pay income tax on the amount forgiven.

 Revised pay as you earn (REPAYE) - This plan is similar to the PAYE plan, but it is open to borrowers who have had loans at any time.

  • Income sensitive plan - This is only for Federal Family Education Loan Program loans, so new graduates who only have Direct Loans will not qualify for this plan.

To see what plan or plans you are eligible for or to calculate what your monthly payments would be under each of these repayment plans, visit www.studentloans.gov. After logging in, you can use the Repayment Estimator Tool to enter your income and family size. The tool will calculate payments under each of these plans.

For more detailed information about each of these repayment plans, visit www.studentaid.gov.



Plan Your Herbicide Program

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 4-7-2018

Before spring planting, it is a good time to be thinking about what your herbicide program will be for this year. Start by reviewing what was done last year. What herbicides did you use last year? What are your most problematic weeds? How effective were the herbicides used last year on the problematic weeds? Do you suspect that some of your weeds have resistance issues?

  After answering these questions, start thinking about what herbicide sites-of-action you would like to use in which fields. It is most important to rotate herbicide sites-of-action within the same growing season. For example, use a different herbicide site-of-action between PRE and POST herbicide applications. Then also try to rotate herbicide sites-of-action from one growing season to the next. As more herbicide resistant weeds develop, we lose effective herbicide sites-of-action. With no new herbicide sites-of-action in the development pipeline, we need to be good stewards of the herbicide sites-of-action we currently have.

Let’s look at a scenario where the difficult to control weeds in a field are kochia and waterhemp that are both resistant to glyphosate (site-of-action group 9) and ALS herbicides (site-of-action group 2). Here is a table to illustrate the effective herbicide sites-of-action we have available to use in corn and soybeans. The table includes the herbicide site-of-action group number and an example of a herbicide trade name within that group. The herbicide trade names are only listed as a reference. There are several herbicide trade name products with same active ingredient. For a complete list of herbicide products and active ingredients, please reference the ND Herbicide Compendium pages (120-127) in the ND Weed Guide (W-253).   

Crop

PRE application

POST application

Soybeans

5 –  metribuzin

14 – Spartan, Sharpen, Valor

15 – Zidua

4 – dicamba (Xtend soybeans only)

10 – Liberty (Liberty Link soybeans only)

14 – Flexstar, Cobra

Corn

5 – atrazine

14 – Spartan, Sharpen, Valor

15 – Zidua

27 – Balance Flexx

4 – dicamba

5 – atrazine

10 – Liberty (Liberty Link corn only)

27 – Laudis, Capreno

This table shows that we rely heavily on just a few herbicide sites-of-action. One herbicide site-of-action we have started to over use are the group 14 or PPO inhibitor herbicides. They have been effective on kochia and waterhemp which is why they get used so much. However, there are reports of suspected PPO inhibitor resistant waterhemp populations in North Dakota and PPO inhibitor resistant waterhemp has been confirmed in Minnesota.

Soil persistence of residual herbicides should also be considered when deciding on which herbicides to use. Depending on the soil persistence of a herbicide, it could affect the crop rotation options for the following year. The ND Weed Control guide lists crop rotation restriction on page 104 – 105.

Finally, don’t forget other weed resistance management methods that can be incorporated with a herbicide program. Some include: having a diversified crop rotation; scout fields to evaluate herbicide effectiveness; control weeds in field perimeters, drown out and non-crop areas; clean tillage and harvest equipment to reduce seed spread; practice zero tolerance to eliminate seed production by hand weeding, cultivation/tillage or mowing weed escapes; and utilizing cover crops. For more information, contact Alicia at the NDSU Extension Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.



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How Much Do You Know About Eggs?

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 3-31-2018

Learn why eggs are an "egg-ceptional" addition to our diet.  Try this quiz.

True or false: Eggs with white shells and brown shells have the same nutritional value.

True. The color of the eggshells depends on the breed of the chicken.

Eggs are a good source of high-quality ________________, which your body needs to maintain muscle.

The protein in eggs is of high quality and contains all the essential amino acids (protein building blocks).

After cooking, what should the internal temperature of “mixed egg dishes” (such as egg casseroles) be? _____ degrees F.

Cook egg-containing casseroles to 160⁰F. Use a food thermometer to check doneness.

Egg yolks are a source of this “sunshine vitamin”: Vitamin ____.

Vitamin D is naturally present in egg yolks. Vitamin D works with calcium to maintain strong bones, and it has several other jobs in our body.

True or false: Healthy people usually can eat one egg a day without affecting their blood cholesterol level.

True, but check with your doctor or dietitian if you are on a special diet for a health condition.

Incredible Eggs

Eggs are “egg-ceptional” additions to our diet, whether we scramble, hard-cook or poach them. They have about 70 calories and 13 vitamins and minerals. We need to handle eggs safely in our kitchen because some eggs contain salmonella, a type of bacteria. Be sure to cook and store eggs properly.

Here’s how to keep eggs safe:

  • Open the carton and check eggs at the grocery store. Be sure you don’t buy cracked eggs.
  • Store eggs in their carton in the main part of your refrigerator, not in the door. With proper refrigeration, raw eggs in their shells remain high in quality for about three weeks after you purchase them.

Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm. Be sure scrambled eggs are not runny.

  • Use refrigerated hard-cooked eggs within one week. Use refrigerated leftover egg casseroles within four days.

Question: Are Eggs Good For Your Eyes? I read something that says eggs are good for my eyes. Is that right?

Yes, egg yolks contain a natural pigment (colorant) called lutein, which is important in keeping our eyes healthy. Get enough lutein in your diet by eating foods such as eggs, corn and dark, leafy greens (such as spinach). Having plenty of lutein in your diet may lower your risk of macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.” For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



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Importance of Touch to Babies

By Christina Rittenbach

Publisned in the Sun Country 3-24-2018

Research during the past several years tells us that babies cannot be spoiled by being held.

Infants are armed only with sounds to get our attention, so crying when they want to eat, or need a pat on the back, a clean diaper or some good company makes perfect sense.

When we answer their calls quickly and attend to their needs lovingly, babies learn to trust their caregivers and their world. When infants need care, we handle them, we touch them, we hold them close.

Brain research continues to uncover more reasons we need to pay attention to the important role touch plays in child development, plus all of the other benefits of touch to babies, children and even adults.

Once the importance of touch was documented, hospitals began to screen and train trusted volunteers to hold and rock newborns. Another form of touch used in hospitals is kangaroo care, practiced when parents holds their premature newborn skin to skin to help the infant conserve and use all of his or her tiny preemie power to develop and gain weight.

The benefits of this type of skin-to-skin holding originally adopted for the first 6 months of life for children born prematurely has since been deemed beneficial for full-term infants for the first three months of life as well.

Science, for comparison, often looks to children who do not receive holding or nurturing as infants and young babies. These are children raised in difficult situations or orphanages.

These children have much higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and unusual levels of hormones that regulate social behaviors. For some children, social relationships and emotional regulation can be difficult, even years later. Researchers are trying to determine if the issue orphaned children often suffer most from is lack of touch rather than not having a parent.

Children learn quickly that when someone engages with them, they matter and they can impact another person and their own environment. Those are powerful and important thoughts for such a young human. Other research on mechanosensory stimulation, also known simply as touch, shows that it stimulates growth and development in infants, improving mental and motor skills, and lessening regurgitation.

Scientists are studying how holding infants even can impact their genes. But you don’t need to wait for all the research on this one. Babies need holding, and often healthy adults are waiting for their turn to hold a baby.

For additional information on parenting young babies and children, check out the NDSU Extension Service’s Children, Families and Finances website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/cff or contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu



Spring Gardening Workshops

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 3-17-2018

Spring is hopefully, just around the corner. I don’t know about anyone else but I am sure ready for spring! The Extension office has several gardening workshops coming up to help you get ready for spring. Here are some of them to mark on your calendar:

-          Spring Fever Garden Forums – March 19th, 26th, April 2nd and 9th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Extension office. This is a series of workshops for gardeners across the state as it is conducted in a live webinar form. Participants can choose to attend in person at the Extension office or at home on their own computer. There will be an opportunity for participants to ask the presenters questions. Topics for each night are different and participants can choose to attend all of them or just the ones that fit their interests. Topics for this year include: March 19th – fruits and vegetables, March 26th – gardens, April 2nd – trees and April 9th – special topics. To register for the online link to watch the live webinar at home or more information about Spring Fever Garden Forums can be found at: www.ag.ndsu.edu/springfever.

-          Seed Library Opening – March 20th at 6:00 pm at Stutsman County Library (910 5th St SE, Jamestown). I will be giving a presentation on seed starting. The Stutsman County Seed Library will also be opening. The seed library consists of free seed packets with enough seed to plant a 12 foot row. There is a limit of five seed packets per visit. Jonny B’s Brickhouse will be catering pizza and this event is free. To pre-register, go to www.friendsofjrvl.org, click on registration, or call 701 252-2217.   

-          Spring Gardening Checklist – March 27th at 6:00 pm at the Alfred Dickey Library (105 33rd St SE, Jamestown). I will be giving the presentation “Spring Gardening Checklist” which will be about what garden planning can be done now and how to prepare a garden when spring comes. Jonny B’s Brickhouse will be catering pizza and the event is free. To pre-register go to www.friendsofjrvl.org, click on registration, or call 701 252-2217.

-          Produce Safety Training – April 5th at the North Dakota Farmers Union in Jamestown. This training is for fruit and vegetable growers to learn about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) produce safety rules, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Good Agricultural Practices audits, co-management of natural resources and food safety. This training is required for all producers who are not exempt from the FSMA regulations. The cost of the training is $25 and participants can register online at www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork.   

-          Stutsman County Master Gardener Gardening Morning – May 19th at Alpha Opportunities (1521 Business Loop E, Jamestown). The Stutsman County Master Gardeners are working hard to plan this event. There will be keynote speakers, vendor booths, kid’s crafts and a local 4-H club serving food as a fundraiser. This even is also free.      

For more information about upcoming gardening workshops, please contact the Extension office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail .  



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Put Your Best Fork Forward During March, National Nutrition Month

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 3-10-2018

Do you make every bite count? Try these tips to add more nutrition to your day.

Do you include a variety of vegetables on your plate?

Plan meals to include different vegetable groups throughout the week: Dark green, red and orange, beans and peas, and starchy vegetables. Stir chopped spinach into scrambled eggs or soup. Roast carrots for an easy side dish. Add black beans to a bagged salad for a quick meal.

Do you choose naturally sweet fruit for snacks and salads or include them in main dishes?

Top your morning toast or cereal with sliced or chopped fruit. Make your own flavored yogurt by mixing fresh or frozen fruit into plain yogurt.

Do you make half of your grains whole grains?

Check food labels on bread or cereal boxes to see if the first ingredient is whole grain, such as whole wheat or whole-grain oats. Cut your favorite snack mix with a whole grain, such as popcorn. If new to whole-grain pasta, try it with flavorful sauces to help you get used to the change.

Do you mix up your choices in the protein group?

Families spend the largest percentage of their food budget on meat, poultry and seafood, according to a recent report. Replace half (or all) of the meat in a recipe with beans or legumes for a healthful way to save money. Try lentils in burgers, white beans in lasagna or spaghetti, or black beans in burritos.

Do you choose low- and fat-free dairy items to get the most nutrition for your calories?

Make a dip for raw veggies or whole-grain crackers from low-fat plain yogurt and taco or ranch seasoning.

Put your best fork forward by choosing a variety of healthful foods this month and beyond. Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food for recipes and more tips.

"Planned-overs" Save Time and Money

Question: I always run out of time to prepare food after I get home from work. I grab take-out food too often for my budget. I have some time on Sunday afternoons to do some cooking, but I could use some ideas.

With a little planning, you can get more mileage out of your meal preparations with "planned-overs."

  • Make a beef roast and enjoy part of it with potatoes and carrots. Use the remaining meat for stir-fry, chili, or quesadillas. Or try shredding the beef and mixing it with barbecue sauce. Serve on whole-wheat buns.
  • Make a double batch of bowtie pasta and serve with spaghetti sauce for the first meal. Refrigerate the remaining pasta. On the next night, add mayonnaise, chopped vegetables, and canned tuna or planned-over roasted chicken to make a main-dish pasta salad.
  • Hard-cook several eggs. Peel and add chopped celery, onion and mayo to make egg salad sandwiches. Or slice some eggs on a chef's salad.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.” For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



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Get the Benefits of Green on St. Patrick’s Day

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 3-3-2018

We often wear or decorate with green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, so why not eat green foods as well?

Green foods get their color from a pigment called “chlorophyll”. Green fruits and vegetables (as well as all colors) contain phytochemicals, or plant chemicals. Phytochemicals have many health benefits including antioxidant effects and wound healing. The phytochemicals in green vegetables are known as indoles and isothiocyanates which, along with antioxidants can help your body fight against cancer-causing agents.

The lutein in some green foods is good for your eyes and helps prevent macular degeneration

as we age. In wound healing, it can slow the growth of some bad bacteria. Green leafy vegetables are good sources of riboflavin, beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron, vitamin K, folate, B vitamins, potassium, calcium and fiber.

If you’re serving for a party or your family, provide appetizing, bright-colored fruits or vegetables. To enhance the green of your vegetables, such as raw broccoli or green beans, blanch them before serving.

To blanch veggies, briefly dip them in boiling water, then quickly put them cold water to stop the cooking process if you are serving them raw. If you prefer cooked vegetables, blanching (boiling) or steaming are great ways to bring out color. However, cooking greens for longer periods of time can cause them to lose their bright color and take on an “olive green” appearance, which may be less appetizing.

To celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, try this healthy Green Pineapple-Mango Smoothie recipe from NDSU Extension.

Green Pineapple-Mango Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 8 ice cubes
  • 1 c. canned pineapple in juice, drained
  • 1 large mango, diced*
  • 2 c. fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ c. pineapple juice
  • ½ tsp. coconut extract, if desired

*If mangos are not available, substitute one banana cut into chunks or 1 cup mandarin oranges canned in juice, drained.

Directions

Place ingredients in blender in same order as written. Blend until smooth.

Makes 4 servings.

Per Serving: about 80 calories, 0 grams (g) of fat, 21 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein and 15 mg sodium



Let’s Keep Palmer Amaranth Out of North Dakota

By Alicia Harstad

This past August, I had the opportunity to attend a bus tour to Nebraska that was sponsored by the North Dakota Soybean Council to learn how Nebraska is managing resistant weeds. Nebraska has one weed that North Dakota does not have yet – Palmer amaranth. It is a weed we definitely do not want in North Dakota. Early identification will be important. Here are some of the characteristics about Palmer amaranth that make it one the most difficult weeds to control in the United States:

  • Biotypes of this weed are resistant to one or more of the following herbicide groups: ALS (2), glyphosate (9), PPO inhibitors (14) and HPPD inhibitor (27). There are very few herbicide options for control. One agronomist in Nebraska said, “I cannot kill Palmer amaranth with a herbicide.”   
  • One of the fastest weed growth rates known. It has been reported to grow more than two inches per day. That means by the time you notice Palmer amaranth weeds in your field and take the time to get the field sprayed, the weeds may already be too large to be control with a herbicide.  
  • Long emergence pattern throughout the whole growing season. This means season long weed control is a must.
  • Can exploit even slight canopy openings.
  • Produces 1 to 1.8 million seeds per plant. Let’s put that in prospective. Kochia, which we think of as a prolific seed producer, produces about 30,000 seeds per plant.
  • Plants can grow up to 6-8 feet tall with 5-6 inches stem girth.
  • Palmer amaranth has both male and female plants that cross pollinate. This increases the genetic diversity of the weed and the ability to develop resistance quicker.
  • Pulled plants can re-root and produce seed. All hand pulled weeds must be removed from the field and destroyed to reduce weed seed production.
  • Palmer amaranth has been reported to cause 78% yield loss in soybean and 91% yield loss in corn.    

Where do we think Palmer amaranth will come from? Anything that can move seed could be a potential source. A few examples might be custom combines, used equipment, water movement, birds, contaminated seed, hay or other livestock feed and manure. In Nebraska, there was even Palmer amaranth growing in pastures because cattle had carried Palmer amaranth seed to the pastures from the cover crops they were grazing in Palmer amaranth affected fields. I don’t think the question is if Palmer amaranth will end up in North Dakota but rather when.

Early identification of Palmer amaranth is important to make sure we catch it early before it gets a chance to spread. Palmer amaranth identification information can be found at www.ag.ndsu.edu/weeds. Palmer amaranth is a pigweed and looks similar to redroot pigweed and waterhemp. Redroot pigweed has hairs on the stem whereas waterhemp and Palmer amaranth do not. Palmer amaranth has very long petioles that are longer then the leaf whereas waterhemp petioles are shorter than the leaf. Finally, Palmer amaranth has brackets on the female seed heads whereas waterhemp and redroot pigweed do not.

Stutsman County will be having an agronomy meeting on Thursday, March 8th from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Stutsman County Extension office. I will be speaking in more detail about the weed management lessons learned from the Nebraska bus tour. Other topics will include, dicamba tolerance study by Greg Endres, Area Extension Agronomist from CREC, cost of crop production by Jory Hansen, Farm Business Management from CREC and Goss’s wilt and other corn disease information by Andrew Friskop, NDSU Extension Plant Pathology specialist. More information can be found at: www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension. For questions or more information, feel free to contact me at the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or by e-mail alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.



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Snacking for a Healthy Heart

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 2-17-2018

February, Heart Health Month, is a good reminder to care for your heart by reducing fat, bad cholesterol and sodium in your diet.

This is not always easy, especially with busy schedules making on-the-go snacks a necessity. This February, make simple snack swaps to keep your heart healthy and happy.

Craving crunch? Instead of reaching for potato chips, get a tasty crunch in a healthier way:

  • Crisp apple slices; carrot or celery sticks; roasted chickpeas; lightly salted or seasoned popcorn; low-salt pretzels

Want salty snacks? Ditch salty crackers or french fries for lower-sodium options:

  • Lightly salted nuts such as almonds or pistachios; multigrain crackers and cheese; rice cakes; cheesy popcorn; pita chips with hummus

Reaching for a can of pop? Substitute other refreshing beverages for sugary drinks:

  • Plain or sparkling water with fruit added; fat-free milk (add a splash of chocolate for a little sweetness); unsweetened tea or coffee; 100 percent orange or apple juice; low-sodium tomato or mixed-vegetable juice

Feeling extra hungry? Choose snacks that keep you full:

  • Whole-grain toast with a nut butter; low-fat cheese, such as aged cheddar or Swiss; fat-free yogurt or Greek yogurt with granola; fruit and veggie smoothie (try adding avocado or chia seeds); guacamole or avocado hummus with low-sodium crackers or veggies

Trying to satisfy your sweet tooth? Enjoy natural sweet alternatives:

  • Thin slice of angel food cake with strawberries; baked apple with cinnamon; frozen grapes or bananas (add a peanut butter or dark chocolate drizzle); Greek yogurt-covered strawberries or raisins; frozen fruit juice pops

Try making these simple switches to ensure that snack time is delicious and heart healthy.

Hungry for more tips? Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable to learn more about “The Family Table,” an initiative from the North Dakota State University Extension Service, so you can eat, connect and stay safe at the family table. Join the challenges and sign up for an electronic newsletter with recipes and tips. Follow the program on Facebook for more tips, meal plans and ideas for getting conversations going during family meals.

For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

Sources: Julie Garden Robinson, NDSU Extension food and nutrition specialist; Sallie Yakowicz, Program Assistant, NDSU Extension Service; and https://healthyforgood.heart.org/add-color/articles/healthy-snacking.



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Helping Yourself in Times of Stress

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 2-10-2018

As winter moves forward and families review and plan their farming efforts for the coming year, many farmers, agricultural professionals and family members are facing increased stresses linked with uncertain market conditions. The hours they must spend in checking on market prospects, reviewing financial needs, and making farming decisions can be long, stressful and tiring.

The emotional and physical needs of those who are undergoing stress from conditions in agriculture are sometimes forgotten during planning efforts. Individual farmers and ranchers may not consider their own needs or they may feel too occupied with other responsibilities to handle personal or family needs. Farmers sometimes try to be invulnerable to fatigue, stress, frustration and depression. Perhaps the demand on their energies is so great they think they can muddle through. However, farmers need help, encouragement and assistance in times of higher stress levels.

Farmers, their family members and other agricultural workers need to take care of themselves to have the emotional and physical resources to deal with stresses.

Here are a few tips to consider for addressing emotional and physical well-being:

  • Get sufficient sleep.
  • Eat well-balanced meals as much as possible. Avoid junk food or unhealthy snacks.
  • Set up and maintain a structured routine if possible.
  • Learn to say no without feeling guilty during times of demand. Conserve your energy for where it is most needed.  
  • Take time for breaks to rest and renew your energy (5-10 minutes every hour).
  • Get up, stretch, walk, or exercise briefly.   
  • Realize when a situation or problem requires help from others. Be willing to engage some support.
  • Delegate tasks to others or call for additional support if needed.
  • Be aware of your energy limits and stop when these limits have been reached.
  • Prioritize your time and attention. Planning five minutes now can save frustration later.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths and seek help for areas you need to grow.  
  • Communicate with people who understand your tasks and challenges.
  • Practice optimism and humor. Laughter is a great source of stress relief.  

Farmers and other professionals or their family members can use help from people not directly involved in agriculture. Family members or community members, including mental health workers, can provide needed support to farmers, ranchers and others in agriculture so they can do planning for the year ahead and negotiate any tasks that need to be accomplished. For critical tasks to get done in a time of stress, the load must be shared. Farmers, ranchers and their families need to know that others are willing to stand with them and extend a hand of support or a listening ear.

For more details about dealing with stress and other information, visit the NDSU Extension Web site at: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/cff/resources-for-emotional-and-mental-health or contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030.



There’s an App for That!

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 2-3-2018

Apps are great tools that can help us work more efficiently. NDSU Extension has several apps that can be downloaded to a smartphone or tablet for easy access to NDSU Extension information. Here are some of the NDSU Extension apps that are available:

  • NDSU Pest Management app – The information in the ND weed control guide, ND fungicide guide and ND insecticide guide are all put together into one app. This app includes pictures of pests to help with identification, recommended rates of pesticides as well as supplement information from the pesticide guides. 
  • NDSU Grazing Calculator – This app can help you determine stocking rates, forage production and carrying capacity of a pasture. The publication “Determining Carrying Capacity and Stocking Rates for Range and Pasture in North Dakota” (R1810) explains the equations that are used in this app.
  • NDSU NDAWN Potato Blight app – Weather data from NDAWN is utilized to determine when conditions for late blight and early blight may develop in individual fields. This app also determines when temperature inversion conditions develop in individual fields. Alerts can be sent to the user when late blight, early blight and/or temperature inversion conditions develop. Current NDAWN weather data can also be easily viewed in this app. This app is useful for potato growers, pesticide applicators or anyone who wants to know the current NDAWN weather information.
  • NDSU Canola Doctor – This app has pictures and information about common canola insects and diseases. It also has a Sclerotinia risk map and calculator.    
  • ND Crop N Calculator – The North Dakota nitrogen recommendations for all crops have been updated to be based on plant requirements and economics instead of yield goal. This app has a nitrogen calculator for corn, spring wheat, durum wheat and sunflowers that is based on the new nitrogen fertilizer recommendation formulas.   
  • ND Corn K Calculator – Potassium recommendations for corn have also been recently updated. Clay soil type greatly influences the availability of potassium. This calculator takes into account smectite-to-illite ratio (as indicated on a ND map) as well as economics to determine the recommended potassium rate for corn.
  • Gypsum Requirements – Do you want to know how much gypsum to apply to a sodic soil? This app helps calculate the needed gypsum rate based on the purity of the gypsum, soil bulk density, soil depth, CEC, current sodium level of the soil and target sodium level of the soil.  

To download any of these apps, simply search for the app name in the app store of your choice. For more information, contact the Extension office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail Alicia at .



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Canned Food “Can” Save Time and Money

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 1-27-2018

When you are deciding what to make for dinner or another meal, do you open your cupboards and check what's there?

Canned food, along with other cupboard staples such as beans, rice and pasta, makes cooking a breeze any season of the year. For example, you can make chili with canned tomatoes and beans and serve with chilled canned peaches for a quick meal.

Many people do not meet the daily goal for fruits and vegetables, and canned foods can help with that goal. A recent study showed that children who ate more canned fruits and vegetables were more likely to meet their daily nutrition goals. They consumed the vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein they needed for growth.

Here are some reasons to keep canned food in your pantry.

Enjoy good nutrition all year round.

Canned fruits and vegetables are processed at their peak freshness, so they are nutritious additions to the diet. Choose canned foods wisely:

  • To decrease sugar, choose canned fruit in 100 percent juice.
  • To decrease salt, choose canned soups, vegetables and other foods with less sodium. Compare nutrition labels. If you drain and rinse canned beans, you can reduce the sodium content by about 40 percent.

Keep ready-to-eat foods on hand.

Canned food lasts a longer time than fresh fruits and vegetables, so you may waste less food.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, use canned vegetables and meats within five years of purchase and canned fruit within 18 months of purchase.
  • Write the date of purchase on the cans and store them in a dry, cool space (below 85°F). Be sure to rotate your stock so you use the oldest food first.
  • You can safely use cans with small dents. Don't use bulging, rusted, leaking or deeply dented cans. Discard any cans with sharp dents in the seam.

Make budget-friendly meals fast.

Canned food often is less expensive than fresh foods. Much of the prep work has been done for you. The vegetables and fruits are already chopped and ready to use in your recipes.

Stock up on canned food your family will use when it's on sale to save additional dollars.

Did you know? Canned, fresh, frozen and dried fruits and vegetables all count toward the daily goal. We all should aim to fill half of our plate with colorful fruits and vegetables. Compare the costs of different forms of fruits and vegetables.

Question: I accidentally left canned food in my car and the cans froze. Can I still use the food?

It depends. Thaw the frozen canned food in the refrigerator. If you notice any off colors or odors after you open the thawed cans of food, discard the food.

Do not taste it! Discard any cans that appear swollen or bulging; dispose of the damaged cans where no one, including animals, can get them. If the cans are okay after thawing, store them in the refrigerator, use them soon and heat vegetables thoroughly.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.” For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



Family Farm Wealth – More Than Just Money

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 1-13-2018

Is your family farm worth more than just money? Majority of farm families wouldn’t hesitate to answer this question yes. When starting to plan for succession, don’t start with conversations about money. Start with the values behind the family. What is important to you? What do you value? What do you want for the future of your farm or ranch?

According to Johnne Syverson, a family business consultant, “We view family wealth as more than financial. There are actually four components to family wealth.”

Those components are human, intellectual, social and financial capital. They make up the whole view of family wealth. Syverson says human capital involves who we are, where we come from and the talents of the family. Intellectual capital includes work and life experiences, formal and informal education, spiritual beliefs and practices and work ethic. Social capital consists of a person’s contribution back to the community. Finally, financial capital consists of assets, such as real estate, machinery, livestock and buildings.

If we consider only the financial value of our family business without including the human value and input, along with the wisdom and knowledge needed to operate the business, the financial value disappears.

The wealth in your family farm or ranch lies in the value of the people and the legacy they have left and will leave for the next generation. It lies in the wisdom and knowledge passed along to the next generation. It lies in the honor the next generation pays to past generations for the hard work and care they put into the family business.

Start your next family conversation about succession planning with a discussion about the values of your successful farm or ranch. Then you can build and pass on a financially successful family business. Not sure how to get that conversation started? Attend the Design Your Succession Plan workshop in Jamestown on the evenings of January 18th and 25th. Participants should plan to attend both nights as different material is covered each night. Pre-registration is required. For more information and a registration form go to www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension or call the Extension office at 701-252-9030.



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Try These Tips to Say Healthy and Save Money in 2018

by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 1-6-2018

As we start a new year, many of us set goals. We might want to strengthen our muscles and heart with a more healthful diet and more physical activity. We might want to lose some weight. Maybe we want to save more money for the long term. These are some ideas to consider.

Plan Your Meals a Week (or More) at a Time

Eating at home more often can save money and provide more healthful options for you and your family. Plan your menus so you are ready to assemble meals.

  • Map out your meals at least a week at a time. Write them on a calendar, note pad, or whatever way works for you.
  • Use the sales fliers to help you plan your meals based on seasonal produce and sales on protein foods.
  • Balance your plate with a variety of foods.
    • Fill half of your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables
    • Fill one-fourth of your plate with protein-rich foods (meat, fish, poultry, cooked beans or lentils, etc.)
    • Fill one-fourth of your plate with grains (especially whole grains)
    • Add a serving of dairy or other calcium-rich food to complete your meal.
    • Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and click on "meal preparation" for more meal-planning tips and hundreds of recipes.

Save Money on Food

Use money-saving strategies at the grocery store. Sometimes coupons are available as peel-off stickers on the packages, on receipts or in bins at the store entry. However, buy foods that you and your family will eat.

  • Shop with a grocery list and stick with your list. Keep a running list on your refrigerator, phone or place that is handy for you.
  • Look for coupons in sales ads at the grocery store, in newspaper inserts or online. Be sure to check if your grocery store accepts all forms of coupons to avoid disappointment at the cash register.
  • Watch your mailbox for coupon packets.
  • Swap coupons with a friend.
  • Combine coupons with sale items when possible to maximize your savings.
  • Keep your coupons organized in a way that works for you. Some people use a three-ring binder, an accordion-style organizer or a recipe box.

Work Physical Activity Into Your Day

Physical activity helps keep your heart, muscles and brain healthy. Aim to fit in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week with these tips.

  • Make appointments to exercise on your calendar.
  • Do at least ten minutes of activity at a time, such as walking during a break at work.
  • Mix up your physical activity. Explore the options in your community for physical activity. Maybe you have a walking club, exercise classes, or dance classes available. Have fun exercising!
  • Make TV time active time. Try walking in place or getting an exercise DVD to follow.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.” For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



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Baby Boomers Can Set Realistic Goals for the New Year and Beyond

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 12-30-2017

The New Year is here and millions of people have decided which resolution goals they will attempt to achieve this year.

While many people set new goals, only a few actually achieve them. The North Dakota State University Extension Service has resources on its Aging Well website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/aging to help you set and reach goals so you can live your best life as you age.

For baby boomers, consider making meaningful resolutions that you are most likely to keep. To do that, set long-range resolutions for your second act of life. By focusing on goals that really matter to you in the context of your entire future, rather than a single year, you are more likely to achieve your goals.

Here are some common baby boomers’ New Year’s resolutions and some tips to keep them:

  • Be more active – This is a critically important lifestyle habit that can impact your future health and quality of life. The key is to find an activity or two that you enjoy and start getting active. Make exercise a routine part of your day and week.
  • Eat more healthfully – Losing weight can be even more difficult as you get older because your metabolism slows. Instead of dieting, focus on healthful eating. Learn more about healthful cooking and start adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your daily meals.
  • Travel more often – Baby boomers often dream about the time when they can travel to desired destinations. Now is the time to seek information about making travel more affordable. Travel agents and online travel sites can assist in finding deals and budget-friendly vacations.
  • Assess retirement savings – Being financially well is important as you age so you can maintain a desired standard of living and meet future needs. Plan ahead for these needs by budgeting for increasing health care costs, including out-of-pocket costs, and in-home and long-term care.
  • Volunteer for a cause – Local charitable organizations always are looking for willing volunteers. Check out the many ways to volunteer in your community that match your interests, skills or abilities. The emotional benefits of volunteering are worth it.
  • Reflect on your second act – Take the time to engage in focused introspection to reflect on how the past year has gone and how you envision your future. A good starting point is to assess activities and relationships that are no longer productive or useful and steadily shed them from your life. Then focus on incremental improvements to what remains.

Baby boomers can benefit more from New Year’s resolutions by taking a long-range approach and remembering these simple tips. For more information on this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030.



 

Agriculture Women of the Year Award

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 12-23-2017

I have the great opportunity to be a committee member on the Jamestown Area Chamber Ag and Energy Committee. This past August we organized a Women in Ag event where we took a bus tour to the Dakota Sun Gardens and Winery near Carrington. It was a fun event for women in all roles of agriculture to network and learn from each other. We wanted to celebrate the many roles women have in agriculture whether they farm/ranch themselves, run added value businesses branched off the farm/ranch, educate the general public about agriculture or work in one of the several agriculture related careers such as insurance, equipment manufacturing, agronomy, feed supply, banking, sales, government agencies, marketing and many more.

Following the bus tour event, the Jamestown Area Chamber Ag and Energy Committee decided to start an Agriculture Women of the Year award. We wanted to formally recognize women in our area for all the hard work they do in agriculture. This award is based on the individual’s involvement in Ag, on the farm/ranch, in their communities, with youth and with local, regional and national Ag organizations. The candidate should live within 75 miles of Jamestown and be notified of their nomination. Three finalists, with their families, will be recognized at the Annual Farmers Appreciation Banquet which is on February 9th at the Jamestown Quality Inn. The deadline to nominate someone is December 31st and nomination forms should be sent to Jamestown Area Chamber office. Nomination forms can be found on the Jamestown Chamber website at www.jamestownchamber.com or by calling the Jamestown Chamber at 701-252-4830.

For more information about the Agriculture Women of Year Award or any other questions, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail Alicia at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.



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Gifts for Healthy Eating

by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 12-16-2017

Home-made food, cooking ingredients and kitchen tools are sure to please almost everyone on your list. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few practical gift ideas to get you started.

Fruit & Vegetable Basket: Give a colorful selection of fruits and vegetables, keeping them at optimum quality by assembling the basket shortly before giving it. Many grocery stores will help put one together for you. Here are a few items you could include: green and red grapes; apples; oranges; grapefruits; lemons;  limes; bananas; kiwi; strawberries; tomatoes; peppers (red, orange, green and yellow); broccoli; zucchini and onions.

According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, most people need 3.5 to 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day. Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables every day helps maintain good health, protect against the effects of aging and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Healthy Snack Jar: Select a clear, covered container and fill it with packages of healthy snacks such as: little boxes of raisins; non-fat snack bars; trail mix; 100-calorie packs of various crackers; dried fruit; baked chips and pretzels. These snacks are low in fat and sugar but may provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. The see-through container makes it easy to tell when it’s time to refill.

“Gift Certificate” for Food from Your Kitchen: Give a home-made “gift certificate” for fresh, healthy treats from your kitchen. You might promise to cook a complete meal for six people or to bake one fresh loaf of bread per month for the next year.

Kitchen Tools: Here are some kitchen items that allow more cooking in less time.

Easy-To-Handle Gadgets: If someone on your gift list has weak hands or hands that are affected by arthritis, give them an assortment of large rubber-handled, easy-to-use kitchen tools, including: a vegetable peeler; grater; scissors; garlic press; can opener and ice cream scoop.

Spoonula: A heat-resistant, spoon-shaped spatula can take on many jobs of both a mixing spoon and a spatula. Look for a larger-sized one with a firm, flexible head. It should be strong enough to mix heavy batters yet flexible enough to conform to the contours of the mixing bowl.



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Are You Overindulging Your Children?

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 12-9-2017

The holiday season is upon us, and you may soon find yourself opening large credit card bills, tripping over piles of toys, or maybe even spending money that you really were not expecting to spend. If this is the case, you may want to look up the word “overindulge.”

The book “How Much is Too Much, Raising Likeable, Responsible, Respectful Children - From Toddlers to Teens - in an Age of Overindulgence” covers overindulgence from birth through adult development into our 90’s.

The book contains information on how overindulgence can be damaging to children, deciding when you are overindulging and how to stop, establishing firm rules, structure and instilling responsibility and independence in your children. It also covers what to do if the overindulgence is coming from other family and friends, and how grandparents can help. If digging into a whole book is not what you are looking for, you are in luck.

A free, one-hour video presentation, “Parenting in the Age of Overindulgence” with a printable certificate of completion and handouts, is available from University of Minnesota Extension. The presentation helps adults apply “the test of 4” to determine if a situation is harmfully overindulgent to a child, family or the environment. You can find Parenting in the Age of Overindulgence at http://www.extension.umn.edu/family/live-healthy-live-well/healthy-children/overindulgence/online-course-for-parents/.

If you learn best in a class setting and want to work on your own family situation, contact your local Parent Resource Center (https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pen) or the Stutsman County office of the  North Dakota State University Extension Service  to attend a one-session class called,  “Overdone - Practicing Wellness in Busy Families.”

This 90-minute class is the perfect opportunity to look at your schedule, your family and what you really value. Participants use learning tasks to determine if they should make adjustments to some of their scheduled activities in order to make more time for family activities.

For 8 weeks after the class, participants will receive emails containing a short podcast, helpful tips and a family worksheet for wellness in eight different areas: environmental, financial, social, intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual, work and/or school.  

If you resolve, intend or simply decide to make a change in the way your family handles the “I wants”, check out these resources. Then please call grandma.

For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or the Region 6 Parent Resource Center at 701-845-8528.



Design Your Succession Plan Workshop Helps with Family Communication

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 12-2-2017

To make your farm/ranch succession plan successful, communication is a key. You and your family most likely will need to talk, discuss, reflect, debate and then talk some more. Starting the conversation can be one of the most difficult parts of farm/ranch succession planning but is also one of the most important. 

Here are a few tips for good family communication:

  • Start early. This will give you time to discuss, reflect, debate and revisit issues. You can gather needed information and make informed decisions together.
  • Be good listeners. Allow everyone an opportunity to express thoughts, feelings, needs and wants. The more we know and understand, the better the decisions will be in the end.
  • Respect each other, even if you don’t agree.
  • Make it safe. If everyone feels safe, you and your family can discuss anything. When we don’t fear being attacked or humiliated, we will be more open and honest.
  • Remember who is on your succession planning team. Not everyone included in the discussions will need to be part of the ultimate decisions. But do not keep your succession or estate plan a secret because that will lead to family conflict.

Do not jump directly to the decision-making stage because moving forward will be easier once everyone has started talking and has a shared pool of knowledge. Conversations do not need to begin and end in the same setting; they are fact-finding missions and can be picked up at any time as you find more facts.

When you’re ready to have the conversation, start at the beginning. Begin with information sharing and gathering. This will be the easiest conversation to get everyone involved!

Want to learn more about how to start the farm/ranch succession conversation and the planning process? Consider attending one of the NDSU Extension Design Your Succession Plan workshops. This program will provide tools and resources for North Dakota producers who want to begin the succession planning process.

Participants will have an opportunity to open the lines of communication with family to create a shared vision for the family business. They will also learn about choosing and working with professionals such as attorneys, accountants, lenders, insurance agents and tax experts to construct a plan and documents that put the family's vision into action.

The program will prepare you to envision, communicate, plan, write and shape the legacy of your family farm or ranch business, as well as save hundreds of dollars by completing these crucial planning steps before visiting with professionals.

The Design Your Succession Plan program is being offered locally in Jamestown as a two day workshop on Thursday, January 18th and 25th at the Stutsman County Extension office. A light supper served at 5:00 pm and the program will run from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm each night. Registration is required. More information and registration forms go to www.ag.ndsu.edu/succession or call the Extension office at 701-252-9030.



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Don’t Stress Out During the Holidays

by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 11-25-2017

Holidays are a great time to gather family and friends. Holidays can be stressful times, too, as people try to squeeze in lots of extra activities in the same amount of time.

Maybe you wonder how to find time to make special foods. You also might wonder how to afford holiday foods and/or gifts. Consider these tips to manage the stress and enjoy the upcoming holiday season.

Plan Ahead

Do some of the preparation ahead of time.

  • Make meals in a slow cooker. Slow cookers simmer soups, chili, stew and other foods while you do other things.
  • Prepare freezer meals, which are ready to thaw and pop in your oven or slow cooker on days when you are too busy to cook.
  • Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and type "slow cooker" or "freezer meals" in the search box for recipe ideas.

Simplify Your Plans

If you usually make ten kinds of special holiday foods, ask your family what their top five special foods are. Start some new, easier holiday traditions.

  • Have a potluck at your next event to spread the food preparation tasks.
  • Have a "theme" party, such as healthy appetizers, baked potatoes with all the toppings, or a homemade pizza party.

Stretch Your Budget

Gifts become a major expense during the holiday season. The following gifts do not cost a lot of money.

  • If you like to cook, make "food mixes" such as soups, beverages, and bread mixes. See www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and type "gift mixes in a jar" in the search box.
  • If you like to sew or knit, make a homemade gift such as mitten or scarves.
  • Give the gift of time, such as free baby-sitting for busy parents, shoveling snow or help with household tasks.

Get Some Exercise

Bundle up and enjoy outdoor activities in the winter. Exercise is a great stress reliever. Wear layers of clothing, including a hat, scarf, and mittens to stay warm.

  • Have fun sledding or building a snowman.
  • If the weather is just too cold to be outside, visit a mall, a school gym, or other place in your community that allows you to exercise inside. Turn on some music and exercise (or dance!), or use an exercise DVD or online exercise videos at home.

Get Enough Sleep

Stress can lead to sleep loss, and losing sleep can increase your chances of getting sick. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Children need more sleep.

  • Try to go to sleep at the same time every night.
  • Read or relax before you go to sleep. Avoid using phones, computers, or other devices.
  • Avoid caffeine before bed.
  • Keep the room dark and not too warm.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.” For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



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Beans: the Magical Fruit

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 11-18-2017

The more beans you eat, the more you can improve your health.

Dry beans are a popular crop to grow in North Dakota. In fact, North Dakota farmers lead the nation in growing all dry beans. Most of North Dakota’s dry bean acres are in navy and pinto beans. Dry beans are related to green beans, which are grown in home gardens. Dry beans are the dried seeds found inside the pod.

Eating beans can provide many health benefits due to their rich nutrient profile. Beans can be categorized in the vegetable group or the protein group in the USDA’s food groups. These nutrient powerhouses are high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B. Eating a serving of beans can help you feel full longer and can slow the rise of blood sugar levels. Regularly eating beans may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease and colorectal cancer, and help with weight management. Remember to drink more water when increasing fiber in your diet.

Bean varieties commonly grown in this area include black, pink, cranberry, dark red kidney, navy, pinto, light red kidney, small red and great northern. Beans can be purchased dried, then soaked in water and cooked, or purchased as canned goods. They often are used in soups, stews, salads, casseroles, dips, desserts, side dishes and bean flour.

Dry beans are one of the specialty crops that can be grown in North Dakota. Visit the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s Field to Fork website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork/ for more information about growing and using a variety of specialty crops, including dry beans.

If you don’t care much for beans, try hiding them in desserts! Here’s a sweet bean recipe to try.

Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 c. peanut butter chips
1/4 c. dark chocolate chunks
Crushed peanuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat an 8- by 8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Put black beans in a strainer and rinse thoroughly, then place in food processor with oil and process until smooth/creamy. Add eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peanut butter, baking powder and salt; process until smooth. Add half the amount of peanut butter chips and pulse the food processor to mix in the chips. Repeat with the remaining chips, along with the chocolate chunks. Put the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Top with chopped peanuts if desired. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. You can test the center by inserting a toothpick. If the brownies are done, the toothpick will come out clean. Let brownies cool for 10 minutes, then cut into 2-inch squares.

Makes 16 servings. Each serving has 130 calories, 6 grams (g) fat, 4 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 115 milligrams sodium.



Livestock Workshop - November 29th

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 11-11-2017

Livestock producers have faced several difficult production decisions this year. The Stutsman County Extension office will be hosting a Livestock Production Workshop on Wednesday, November 29th at the Woodworth Fire Hall.

Lunch, sponsored by the ND Corn Council, will be served from noon to 1:00 pm. The workshop will start at 1:00 pm and conclude about 4:30 pm.

Topics of the meeting will include:

  •       Stretching Hay Supplies by Karl Hoppe, NDSU Extension Livestock Area Specialist
  •        Manure Management by Mary Berg, NDSU Extension Livestock Environmental Management Area Specialist
  •        Silage Sampling Program by Penny Nester, Kidder County Extension Agent
  •        Pasture Management and Stocking Rates by Kevin Sedivec, NDSU Extension Rangeland Management Specialist
  •        Nitrate Testing by Alicia Harstad, Stutsman County Extension Agent 

For more details about this meeting or other upcoming Stutsman County Extension events, please check out our website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension, call the office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail Alicia at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.



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Let Thanksgiving Inspire More Family Meals

by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 11-4-2017

Sharing a meal can promote a healthful diet and a chance to connect and build relationships.

During Thanksgiving, many families gather friends and relatives to enjoy time together, usually with a roasted turkey as the centerpiece. As we talk and pass bowls of family-favorite salads and side dishes, we make many memories.

However, during the routine days, family mealtimes may get pushed aside because of busy work schedules and after-school activities for children. Let Thanksgiving be the inspiration to eat together more often, whether with family or friends.

Enjoy big benefits of family meals

Sharing meals helps a family create healthy, happy kids. According to researchers, eating together more often has many benefits among children:

  • Lowers sweetened beverage consumption
  • Improves grades in school
  • Improves food choices, such as more fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy
  • Helps with weight management
  • Allows children to practice communication skills
  • Decreases the risk of mental health issues, such as depression
  • Decreases risky behaviors, such as smoking and alcohol use when the children become teenagers

Aim for at least three to four shared meals per week.

Remember that family meals do not have to be a fancy Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, a family meal with at least some members of the family eating together can take place almost anywhere, from a restaurant to a table at a sporting event.

  • Be sure to turn off the TV, cellphones and other electronic devices
  • Make family mealtimes a priority. List them on your calendar with other important dates.
  • Make mealtimes positive, fun experiences. Share stories, tell about the funniest thing that happened to you that day, try new foods and laugh out loud.

Singles, couples also benefit from shared meals.

Maybe you live alone or your children are grown. Eating together is a source of enjoyment, regardless of your household size. 

Sharing a meal can promote a healthful diet and a chance to connect and build relationships.

Try a new recipe and invite friends over for dinner, or have a weekly potluck meal.

FoodWi$e Tip of the Month

Enjoy leftover Thanksgiving turkey in many ways on your menu. Turkey is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. How about some Turkey Tostadas, Turkey Pot Pie, Turkey Salad with Orange Vinaigrette, Turkey Chili, White Chili with Turkey, Corn and Beans or Apple Turkey Pita Pockets?

These easy-to-make recipes are available on the NDSU Extension website (www.ag.ndsu.edu/food). In the search box, type the name of the recipe or simply type “turkey” for lots of healthful options.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.”  For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Family Nutrition Program (FNP) Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Avenue SE, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



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Make Time for Breakfast

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 10-28-2017

You’ve probably heard time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and fuels your body for the entire day. After your body has been fasting overnight, breakfast provides the energy your body and brain need to start the day off right.

Mornings can be busy when you’re trying to get ready for work, getting the kids ready for school and making sure everybody gets breakfast. So take just a few minutes to make sure you fit breakfast into your hectic schedule because it will make a big difference in your day.

Researchers from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that eating breakfast improves memory function, test grades and school attendance.  Eating breakfast also will enhance your mood, reducing tiredness and irritability, as well as improve your concentration and help you maintain a healthy weight. 

Eating a healthful breakfast can lead to healthier food choices at other meals as well. Breakfast curbs your hunger, prevents binge eating later in the day and stabilizes your blood sugar. A fiber-rich breakfast will help you fill up and keep you full longer.

A healthful breakfast also will help you make sure you are meeting all of your daily nutrient requirements. Breakfast should be packed with energy and provide 25 to 35 percent of your daily calorie needs. Many breakfast foods are good sources of nutrients such as calcium, iron, protein and fiber.

A healthful breakfast might consist of whole grains, low-fat protein, low-fat dairy, fruits and even vegetables. Try some of these simple and delicious breakfast ideas for your busy mornings:

  • Whole-wheat toast with avocado and an egg
  • Omelet with peppers, tomatoes and onions
  • Yogurt with fruit and granola
  • Oatmeal with nuts and seeds
  • Egg bake
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Mini egg frittatas
  • Black bean breakfast burrito

For some great recipe ideas, check out the North Dakota State University Extension Service Food and Nutrition website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food. You can also contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030.



Income Tax Management for Ag Producers

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 10-21-2017

As of today, October 21st, there are only 71 days or 10 weeks left of 2017. I thought about doing a countdown to Christmas but felt talking about Christmas before Halloween might be wrong. However, I am sure we all know someone who has already started the countdown to Christmas. I know I have one family member who watches the movie “Elf” all year long without shame. So, why do I bring a countdown to the end of 2017 up? Because as we enter the end of 2017, it is time to start preparing for income tax decisions.

NDSU Extension and the IRS are offering an Income Tax Management for Ag Producers workshop for both producers and tax preparers on November 14th from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm through interactive video sites at nine different locations throughout the state. Jamestown will be one of those host sites at the Law Enforcement Center (205 6th St. SE, Jamestown). The other host locations are Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Langdon, Minot and Wahpeton.

There will be updates regarding federal income taxes. The IRS will speak on new legislation, Affordable Care updates, preventing identity theft and data breaches, and estimated payment tips for the taxpayer and practitioner. Deferral of income and replacement periods for livestock sold due to drought will be explained. Defined benefit plans as a tool for tax management upon retirement will be discussed. Exports will explain why transition from a C Corp to a S Corp might be right for your company and how to make the transition. Lastly, there will be an overview of how to manage taxable farm income.

Presenters for the workshop include Judy Gilbertson, AgCountry in Jamestown, Alan Gregerson, IRS, Jess Nehl, Eide Bailly LLP in Bismarck, Kelda Rerick, Haga Kommer in Bismarck, and Brent Roeder, Eide Bailly LLP in Fargo. There will be four question and answer periods with the panel of experts. All participants at each location will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Pre-registration is required. The cost for the program is $20. The program is approved for three IRS continued education provider credits.

For registration or more information, please call the Extension office at 701-252-9030.



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Questions and Answers… Snacks

by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 10-14-2017

Fall is a busy time with school activities in full swing; the kids arrive home from school and are ready for a snack. Remember to think of snacks as mini-meals that help provide nutrients and energy you need to grow, play and learn.

How Much Should My Kids Get for an After School Snack?

Growing kids need a couple of small snacks in addition to balanced meals to fuel their growth and development. Try to keep snacks in the 100- to 200-calorie range and time them so they aren’t close to the main meal.

Most children (and adults) do not consume enough fruits, vegetables or whole grains. For example, a banana, apple, carrot sticks with hummus, celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, or a few whole-grain crackers with salsa are excellent snacks that help fill nutrition gaps.

Choosing Healthy Snack Bars

There are many different snack bars to choose from. How do I pick one that is a healthful choice for a snack?

Sometimes snack bars are more like "candy bars." Be a label reader to get the most nutrition for your money. Remember the ingredients are listed from "most" to "least" on the ingredient statement. Look for whole grains, dried fruit and nuts (unless you have a nut allergy) as the first ingredients.

Compare products and choose snack bars with less added sugar, less saturated fat and more fiber. Most nutrition experts recommend a bar with less than 200 calories, 6 (or more) grams of protein and at least 2 grams of fiber.

New Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin

My family enjoys pumpkin-flavored foods, but I keep making pumpkin pie and pumpkin bars. I know those recipes are high in calories. Do you have any new ways to enjoy pumpkin?

Pumpkin is very nutritious. It is high in fiber and vitamin A (for healthy skin and eyes). Here are several ways to add pumpkin to your diet:

  • Try canned pumpkin in place of part of the fat (butter or oil) in recipes such as banana bread.
  • Replace part of the fat in brownie or muffin recipes with canned pumpkin.
  • Try making a savory pumpkin soup.
  • Mix pureed pumpkin in your next batch of chili for a fun fall flavor.
  • Create a pumpkin parfait by using canned pumpkin, vanilla yogurt, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of walnuts or chocolate chips.
  • Mix up your Saturday morning breakfast routine by making pumpkin pancakes or waffles.

Don't Toss Out the Pumpkin Seeds

Did you know that pumpkin seeds make nutritious snacks? They are rich in fiber and in minerals, such as magnesium. Here's how to roast them:

  • Remove the pulp from a pumpkin, rinse the seeds and blot them with a paper towel.
  • Toss the seeds in a bowl with a small amount of salad oil, such as canola or sunflower oil.
  • Bake at 300°F until light brown and crunchy (40 to 50 minutes), stirring occasionally. If you like, you can salt them lightly or add spices of choice, such as garlic powder or onion powder.

Note: Be aware that nuts and seeds can be choking hazards for children under age 5.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.”  For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Family Nutrition Program (FNP) Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Avenue SE, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



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Don’t Let Your Halloween Spending Terrify You This Year!

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 10-7-2017

Did you know Halloween is one of the highest grossing holidays in the United States? Between costumes, treats, decorations and parties; consumers can spend close to $100 per person on the holiday according to the National Retail Association.

Ways to Save

Costumes: When you think of Halloween, the first thing that comes to mind for many is what costume they will wear. This can be a huge expense when planning for the holiday. Some ways to find some less expensive alternatives may be to check thrift stores. If you are crafty, you could make your own.

Use last year’s costumes. Have you ever noticed that children’s costumes are sized for a two-year age range? Reuse for a few years and save. Or, if you have more than one child do the hand-me-down system. If you don’t have the option of sibling hand-me-downs, talk to your friends who are parents and set up a costume swap. One more savings tip is to skip the pet costume. Sure they are cute, but is this really a good use of money?

Waiting until the last minute can save you 30% to 40% on costumes. You are taking the risk that the size and costume you want will be available until then, but if you don’t care it can really save you some money. If you have a little extra money at the end of the month, buy next year’s costume. Stores try to clear out inventory quickly so they can start putting out Thanksgiving and Christmas inventory so you will see some great clearance prices.

Decorations: It may seem anti-Halloween, but are Halloween decorations really necessary? Trick-or-treaters are after one thing, TREATS! They really don’t care if your house is decorated as long as you are putting something yummy in their buckets. If you decide to decorate, use items you have on hand. Make a scarecrow out of old clothes or ghosts out of white garbage bags, use your imagination.

Candy: The price of candy is going up, and it may seem unavoidable to spend a lot on candy if you have a lot of children in your neighborhood. Did you know chocolate is more expensive than other candies? Compare prices on types of candy. Consider buying in bulk especially if you give out a lot of candy each year.

You don’t need to buy the candies with Halloween themed wrapping. You can probably buy the same item for less if it is just in its regular wrapper. Buy candy from dollar stores for added savings.

 Party: If you are planning on having a Halloween party for either kids or adults, consider having a potluck. Give your guests a food type and tell them to be creative. This can save a ton of money by not having to provide all of the food.

For more information on this topic, you can visit the North Dakota State University Extension Service Personal & Family Finance website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/money/ or contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030.



National 4-H Week

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 9-30-2017

October 1st – 7th is National 4-H week. It is a great time to learn more about 4-H, support 4-H or consider joining 4-H!

Stutsman County 4-H’ers will be hosting a homemade lesfse and baked goods fundraiser at Tractor Supply Company (2319 10th Ave SW, Jamestown) on Sunday, October 8th from 1 to 4 pm. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to support awards for county 4-H contests such as project expo, communication arts, consumer choice judging and clothing review. It also would be a good opportunity to ask current 4-Hers questions if you are thinking about joining a club.  

4-H is a fun, learn-by-doing educational program for young people ages 5-18. It is the youth development program of the North Dakota State University Extension Service and is available in every county in North Dakota. 4-H is a great way for youth to develop communication skills, meet new friends, learn to work with others, work within a community, and so much more!

The purpose of 4-H membership is to give youth an opportunity to learn through hands-on, learn-by doing techniques. 4-H members learn about leadership, community service, and an endless variety of projects areas.  A few of the project areas include: horticulture, rockets, animal science, quilting, baking, welding, 4-H science, woodworking, outdoor skills, crop production, fiber arts, shooting sports, drawing and painting and many more. Our vision for North Dakota is for 4-H members to become positive and productive citizens to meet the needs of a diverse and changing society. In fact, research has shown that youth who participate in 4-H are four times more likely to make contributions to their communities, are two times more likely to be civically active, are two times more likely to make healthier choices and are two times more likely to participate in science, engineering and computer technology programs during out-of-school time.

4-H members can be involved in many different activities and events on local and state levels. Some events include: the county fair, communication arts, consumer choice judging, project expo, clothing review, livestock judging, hippology, archery matches and many more. Parental involvement is important to a 4-H member's success. Support from parents keep youth interested, enthusiastic and active in the 4-H program. The 4-H program is very flexible, meaning that what you put into it is what you will get out of it. 4-H clubs normally meet about once a month. The 4-H meeting is balanced between business, educational programs and recreation. 4-H meetings normally last about 1 to 1 ½ hours, with the time fairly equally divided among the three parts.

For more information about 4-H, check out the Stutsman County 4-H webpage at www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension/4h-and-youth or contact the Extension office at 701-252-9030. 



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Eat a Rainbow of Colorful Fruits and Vegetables

by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 9-23-2017

Did you know that one simple dietary change can save lives and medical costs? The change: Add more colorful fruits and vegetables to your plate.

According to the American Heart Association, this change could save nearly 40,000 lives and $7.6 billion in medical costs every year in the U.S. Choose from the rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables, including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple/blue and white ones.

Fill Half Your Plate with Fruits and Vegetables

We all should try to fill half of our plates with fruits and vegetables. Aim for four to five servings per day (that's about 4 to 5 cups). Try these ideas to add more fruits and vegetables throughout your day.

Breakfast

  • Top your cereal with bananas or fresh or dried berries.
  • Make a smoothie with frozen, canned or fresh fruits. Add yogurt or juice and blend.
  • Make some pumpkin bread or muffins to enjoy.
  • Add chopped veggies (peppers, onions, spinach) to your omelet or scrambled eggs.

Lunch

  • Pack a whole piece of fruit (apple, orange, plum, pear, etc.) to enjoy with your lunch. Rinse it in water at home before you leave.
  • Have vegetable soup for lunch. If you make it at home, store it in a thermos to keep it warm.
  • Add veggies, such as spinach, cucumber slices or tomato slices, to your sandwich.

Snacks

  • Keep a bowl of fresh, whole fruit on your counter so the fruit is easy to grab.
  • Have cut-up fruit such as cantaloupe or watermelon in containers in your fridge where they are easy to see.
  • Keep some dried fruit such as raisins or dried cranberries in a plastic bag for quick snacks.
  • Try freezing red or green grapes as a sweet treat.

Dinner

  • Have steamed vegetables as a side dish.
  • Add extra veggies to soups or casseroles. Add shredded carrots to chili. Try adding some frozen veggies such as peas during the last few minutes of cooking brown rice.
  • Enjoy fresh or canned fruit as your dessert. Try sprinkling apple slices with cinnamon to enhance their natural sweetness.

 

Make Fruits and Vegetables Affordable

Question: I feel like I can't afford lots of fruits and vegetables for my family, even though they like them. Do you have any tips for me?

Remember that any form of fruits and vegetables "counts" toward the daily goal. Compare the prices from fresh, canned and frozen. If you buy canned items, choose fruit canned in 100 percent fruit juice and vegetables with "low sodium" or "no salt added" on the label.

Check your grocery store circular for items "on sale." Plan your fruit and vegetable menu items based on the sales fliers.

Buy "in season." Apples, pears, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and winter squash are among the fruits and vegetables in season in the fall.

If you find yourself throwing away spoiled fresh fruits or vegetables, be sure to buy what you will use within a short amount of time. Some fruit and veggies, such as berries and leafy greens, spoil quickly. Others, such as carrots and apples, can last more than a week if stored properly.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.”  For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Family Nutrition Program (FNP) Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Avenue SE, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

 

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Take Steps to Stay on Your Feet

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 9-16-2017

Did you know that one of every four people 65 and older falls each year? Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for people 65-plus.

In North Dakota, 559 fall-related deaths occurred among adults 65 and older from 2009 through 2014, with an average of 93 deaths per year.

Falls threaten older adults’ safety and independence, and generate enormous economic and personal costs. However, falling is not an inevitable result of aging. Because falls are largely preventable, taking action today is important to reduce your risk of a fall. Here are six easy steps to help you to reduce falls:

  1. Find a good balance and exercise program that builds balance, strength and flexibility.
  2. Talk to your health-care provider and ask for an assessment of your risk of falling.
  3. Review your medications with your pharmacist or doctor. Make sure side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling.
  4. Get your vision checked annually and update your eyeglasses as needed.
  5. Keep your home safe. Increase lighting, remove tripping hazards, install grab bars and make stairs safe.
  6. Assess your footwear for safety. Look for supportive shoes, a good fit, a sole that grips, and a heel that is stable and grips.

A common myth is that muscle strength and flexibility cannot be regained. While we do lose muscle as we age, and have more problems that result in balance deficits, older people have a great capacity to increase muscle strength and balance, health experts say.

 It is never too late to start an exercise program. Even if you've been physically inactive up to this point in your life, beginning now will help you in maintaining independence, including protection from falls.

For more information about this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu or visit NDSU Extension’s Aging Well website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/aging/



Soybean Cyst Nematode Testing Program

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 9-9-2017

NDSU Extension and the ND Soybean Council will be again coordinating the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) testing program. There will be SCN soil testing bags available at the Extension office on a first come first serve basis. Producers can test up to three fields with the pre-marked soil testing bags. Results of the soil tests will be sent directly to the producer and the laboratory fees are covered by North Dakota Soybean Council checkoff dollars. NDSU does not have access to any personal information, just the reported egg levels and geospatial data which is used to generate a map of detected SCN levels in the state. Below is the map generated from the 2013-2016 SCN surveys. It should be noted that very low levels (50-200) could be false positives and the green triangle in Ward County was not confirmed. 

 SCN Map 2017

SCN is the most destructive soybean disease in the United States. It is a very small, microscopic worm-like nematode that penetrates soybean roots, robbing the plant of nutrients and water. SCN can even reduce nodulation which is vital for nitrogen fixation of the plant, resulting in the soybean plant producing fewer pods and reducing yield.

Above ground symptoms of SCN are very variable and are difficult to distinguish between other production issues. The symptoms can vary from no symptoms to yellowing and stunting to plant death. In cases where no above ground symptoms were visible, as much as a 15-30% yield loss has been reported. Therefore, it is important to sample fields for SCN to monitor its presence. If SCN is detected when the population is still low, there are management options available to help keep the population low. However, if SCN is not detected early and the SCN population becomes very high, it can become nearly impossible to grow soybeans in that field ever again.

The best time to sample for SCN is this time of year either right before or right after soybean harvest because the SCN population is highest at the end of the season. Sample in areas of the field where SCN is most likely to establish first such as the field entrance, along fence lines, areas that have been flooded and areas where the soybean yield has been low.

SCN and soil fertility soil samples should be taken as separate soil samples. To take a SCN sample, take 10 to 20 soil cores in the root zone about 6 to 8 inches deep in a zig-zag pattern across the sample area. Place the soil cores in a container and mix. Place about one pint of soil into the soil testing bag and label the bag with a permanent marker. Since SCN are living organisms, it is important to store SCN soil samples away from sunlight and in a cool area until they can be sent into a lab. SCN soil samples should be sent into the lab immediately following sampling. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail Alicia at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.



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Mix Up Your Breakfast Menu

by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 9-2-2017

Do you eat breakfast on most days? If you do, you might notice that when you miss breakfast, you feel less energetic. Maybe concentrating on what you are doing gets difficult around midmorning. You might feel the need to rush to the cupboard or vending machine for a snack about 10 a.m.

Some research has linked eating breakfast to helping people manage the total amount of food (and calories) they eat. Sometimes, breakfast skippers eat more later in the day.

Researchers at Cornell University asked people on a national weight registry what they commonly ate for breakfast. They found that people who are at a healthy weight commonly tended to eat fruits and vegetables (51 percent), dairy (41 percent), cold cereal (33 percent), bread (32 percent), eggs (31 percent) or hot cereal (29 percent).

Making breakfast at home is much less expensive, and usually more healthful, than stopping on your way to work at a drive-through window. You can find recipes on our website, www.ag.ndsu.edu/food (click on "recipes," then "breakfast").

Mix up your breakfast menu now and then with these tasty ideas:

  • Try making scrambled eggs in a mug.
  • How about a waffle sandwich with nut butter? Toast frozen waffles and add your favorite filling.
  • Have a smoothie with milk and fruit. For a protein boost, add some nonfat dry milk.
  • Have a minute? Assemble a breakfast burrito with flour or corn tortilla, shredded cheese and your favorite salsa. Place in the microwave for about 20 seconds or until cheese melts. If you prefer, add a scrambled egg to boost the protein.
  • Make an apple sandwich. Hollow out an apple and fill with your favorite nut butter, grab a cup of milk and off you go!
  • Make homemade oatmeal in your microwave oven. The recipe is on the box. Add some dried fruit and nuts for flavor and crunch.
  • Make your favorite muffins and freeze individually in small freezer bags. Try muffin recipes with fruit to add nutrition.
  • Try making fruit and yogurt parfaits. Sprinkle with crunch cereal right before serving.
  • For a heartier breakfast, make some pancakes. To save time, mix the dry ingredients for pancakes in the evening. Add the wet ingredients (eggs, buttermilk) in the morning.

Question: I like to have yogurt for breakfast, so I buy many containers when it is on sale. How long can I keep yogurt in my refrigerator?

Most yogurt packages have a "sell by" date on the container. The "sell by" date is the last date that yogurt can be sold from grocery store shelves. The yogurt will be safe to eat longer than the date on the package. As long as the yogurt has been refrigerated at 40°F or below, it should be safe to eat for up to 10 days beyond the date.

Yogurt often will separate into a liquid and a solid, but you can stir it to mix it. If you notice any signs of mold or an unusual "clumpy" texture, then discard it. You can also freeze yogurt for about two months at 0°F, but the texture might change.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.”  For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Family Nutrition Program (FNP) Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Avenue SE, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



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Extending Support for Farmers, Ranchers in Times of Stress

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 8-26-2017

Many farmers, agricultural professionals and family members are facing increased stresses linked with uncertain market conditions. The hours they must spend in checking on market prospects, reviewing financial needs, and making farming decisions can be long, stressful and tiring.

The emotional and physical needs of those who are undergoing stress from conditions in agriculture are sometimes forgotten during planning efforts. Individual farmers and ranchers may not consider their own needs or they may feel too occupied with other responsibilities to handle personal or family needs.

Farmers, their family members and other agricultural workers need to take care of themselves to have the emotional and physical resources to deal with stresses.

Here are a few tips to consider for addressing emotional and physical well-being:

  • Get sufficient sleep.
  • Eat well-balanced meals as much as possible. Avoid junk food or unhealthy snacks.
  • Set up and maintain a structured routine if possible.
  • Learn to say no without feeling guilty during times of demand. Conserve your energy for where it is most needed.  
  • Take time for breaks to rest and renew your energy (5-10 minutes every hour).
  • Get up, stretch, walk, or exercise briefly.   
  • Realize when a situation or problem requires help from others. Be willing to engage some support.
  • Delegate tasks to others or call for additional support if needed.
  • Be aware of your energy limits and stop when these limits have been reached.
  • Communicate with people who understand your tasks and challenges.
  • Practice optimism and humor. Laughter is a great source of stress relief.  

The NDSU Extension Service has resources on its website designed to assist individuals, families and community professionals in managing stresses in agriculture at: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/cff/resources-for-emotional-and-mental-health

For more information about managing stress, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu
Source: Sean Brotherson, Extension family science specialist, NDSU Extension Service

 


Herbicide Considerations for Cover Crops

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 8-19-2017

Cover crops have become more popular lately and for good reason. They have soil health benefits, can act as a cultural control method for weeds and can be great option for livestock grazing or feed. They can be a good option this time of year following small grains harvest. However, before cover crops are planted, a plan of how those cover crops will be used should be determined to avoid problems.

First question that should be addressed is what is the goal of planting cover crops? Is the goal to utilize the cover crop as livestock feed by grazing or haying it? Or do you plan to harvest as grain? Or is the cover crop planted just strictly as a soil health benefit to utilize excess moisture and/or help prevent soil erosion? Or are you wanting to utilize the ground cover to help with early season weed suppression the next spring? Depending on how this question is answered will determine what some of the options are.

When deciding which cover crops to plant where, the previous herbicides used in the crop rotation should be a consideration. Long residual herbicides are a key component of a herbicide resistance management program but they also can damage cover crop establishment and growth because of herbicide carry-over issues.

If the cover crop goal is to either be grazed, hayed or harvested, the crop rotational restrictions of any herbicides used prior to planting the cover crop must be followed because the cover crop will ultimately end up in the food chain. The crop rotational restrictions are listed on the herbicide label. All herbicide labels must be followed as the label is the law and failure to follow herbicide labels is illegal.

If cover crops are being planted strictly for the soil health benefits or for weed suppression, then a producer has a little bit more flexibility since the cover crops will not be entering the food chain. However, any herbicide injury incurred to cover crops due to herbicide carryover issues is the assumed risk of the producer. As a general guideline, it is recommended to follow the crop rotation restrictions of a field crop in the same family of the desired cover crop. For example, use alfalfa crop rotation restrictions as a guideline for other legumes and pulse species, use canola crop rotation restrictions for other Cruciferae species (radishes and turnips) and use wheat, barley and oat crop rotation restrictions for other grass species. The crop rotation restrictions can be found on pages 100 to 104 in the North Dakota Weed Control Guide (NDSU publication W-253). The “Herbicide Residue and Fall Cover Crop Establishment” page in the North Dakota Weed Control guide (page 105) is also a good resource.

Finally, there also should be a good plan of how to terminate cover crops in the spring that are being utilized for early season weed suppression. If there is a not adequate termination of a cover crop, it can turn into a bad weed problem. For more information contact Alicia Harstad, Stutsman County Extension Agent, at 701-252-9030 or .



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Encourage Kids to Become Good Veggie Eaters

by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country  8-12-2017

Have you tried any vegetables from a garden or farmers market this month? There are a lot of great fresh vegetables available this time of year, but many kids usually avoid them.

Here are some strategies to help kids become good vegetable eaters, but be patient. Getting kids to try new foods, especially vegetables, may take ten or more tries.

  • Have your kid’s help you harvest the vegetables, or shop at a farmers market or grocery store.
  • At home, invite them to help you prepare the food. Let them help create and name the recipe, such as “Sally’s Super Salad.” Teach them how to tear lettuce.
  • Offer the food in different forms, such as raw and cooked, and cut into interesting shapes.
  • Try serving raw veggies with a dip such as salsa or hummus (chickpea dip).
  • Be sure to eat together with most members of the family present as often as you can. Make mealtimes fun. Family mealtimes encourage good nutrition.
  • Be sure your children see you eating (and enjoying) vegetables. Share the adventure of trying new vegetables together. How about trying some roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes? How about grilling some veggie kabobs?

 

Grill Fruits and Veggies This Summer

Grilling delicious and colorful fruit or vegetables is easy with these ideas. Watch the grilled food carefully because the temperature of grills can vary.

Cut vegetables into large, flat pieces of even thickness throughout each slice. You can cut them into smaller pieces after cooking.

Brush fruit and vegetables with oil to reduce sticking. Lay pieces in a single layer cookie sheet, brush with oil and season. Turn them over and repeat on the other side.

Use marinades or seasonings to add flavor. Be aware that sugar-based marinades cause the exterior of the vegetables to blacken.

Use dry and moist heat to cook vegetables. Grill until both sides have grill marks. Remove from grill and place in a bowl. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap to steam the vegetables for five to 10 minutes. This will finish the cooking without drying them.

Here's a handy chart for grilling some fruits and vegetables this summer.

Vegetable/Fruit

How to Prepare

Grilling Time

Asparagus

Snap off tough end of spears. Roll spears in oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5-10  Minutes; turn every few minutes until tender

Corn

Leave the stem and husk on. Pull back the husk, remove the "silk" and soak for 15 minutes in cold water. Carefully pull the husk back over the corn.

10-20 minutes; turn several times

Peppers

Cut off top and bottom. Remove core and seeds and cut in half from top to bottom. Brush with oil.

6-10 skin side down, then 3-4 minutes on the other side

Squash/Zucchini

Cut into 2 to 3 slices of even thickness. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt.

5-8 minutes per side

Apples, pears

Sprinkle wedges with cinnamon and brown sugar.

5 minutes per side

Bananas (whole)

Brush with oil

5 minutes per side (until golden)

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.”  For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Family Nutrition Program (FNP) Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Avenue SE, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.



Soybean Aphids

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 8-5-2017

Soybean aphids are moving into our area. Scouting to determine if soybean aphids are at economic threshold is important to avoid unnecessary insecticide applications for several reasons. The economic threshold is 250 aphids per plant with 80% incidence and an increasing population. There is a temptation to make earlier insecticide applications as “cheap insurance” but often times this results in the need for a second insecticide application, adding to the input costs. Early insecticide applications kill beneficial insects that serve as natural enemies against soybean aphids and allows for soybean aphids to re-establish and/or allow secondary pests such as spider mites to move in.

Insecticide resistance is also another major concern when multiple insecticide applications are used repeatedly from the same group. Minnesota has confirmed pyrethroid resistant aphids to a 4X rate of bifenthrin and 10-20X rates of lambda-cyhalothrin. There are also reports from northeastern North Dakota with reduce pyrethroid effectiveness. To slow insecticide resistance, follow these recommendations:

  • Do not use reduced insecticide rates
  • Use appropriate spray pressure and spray nozzle to treat aphids
  • Do not skimp on water. Spray at least 15-20 GPA in ground applications and 2-5 GPA in air applications
  • Insecticide applications applied during windy conditions, a temperature inversion or very hot weather could reduce control
  • Scout fields 3-5 days after application to check insecticide performance
  • Do not retreat a field with the same insecticide group for consecutive applications

Insecticide premixes or tank mixes of insecticides usually are not recommended from a resistance management standpoint because they usually contain a reduced rate of at least one insecticide. However, mixes might need to be used in situations where a second insecticide application is needed. Always read of follow the pesticide label and test any potential tank mixes for compatibility. For more information, contact the Extension office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail Alicia at .    



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Stutsman County Extension Offers Babysitting Clinic

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 7-29-2017

If you have a child, chances are at some point you’ve needed a babysitter. Parents need babysitters for many different reasons: to have a date night with their significant other, to go to work, or perhaps to run some errands. Unfortunately, many parents across the state are struggling with finding good-quality child care, and if you’re new to the area, it can be hard to know who to trust. To help fill this need and fill our community with trained babysitters, a babysitting clinic will be held in August to train area youth in babysitting and child care.

The NDSU Extension Service in Stutsman County is teaming up with Jamestown Area Ambulance to offer a Babysitting Clinic for youth ages 11 to 17. During this clinic, youth will be trained to have skills in infant and child care, safety, child development, and more in order to become effective, competent babysitters. They will also learn how to manage a babysitting business of their own. Jamestown Area Ambulance will be there to teach the participants First Aid and CPR. Youth who attend will be eligible to receive their certification in First Aid and CPR through the American Heart Association.

The babysitting clinic will be held on Friday, August 11 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Pre-registration is required to attend this event. There will be a cost of $15 to attend, which covers the certification fee and materials provided at the clinic.

For parents interested in signing up their son or daughter, please contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 252-9030 or email at christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu. Youth must be between the ages of 11 and 17 to participate. There is limited space, so please call or email to reserve your spot!

For more information on this event, or other events offered by the NDSU Extension Service in Stutsman County, visit our webpage at www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/stutsmancountyextension



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10 Tips for Smart Snacking

 by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 7-22-2017

Whether you are a child or an adult, most of us enjoy snacks. Well-chosen snacks can boost your nutrition and keep you energetic at home, work or school. Many nutrition experts recommend three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and two small snacks during the day. Visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more tips.

  1. Save time by slicing veggies. Store sliced vegetables in the refrigerator and serve with dips such as hummus or low-calorie dressing. Top half of a whole-wheat English muffin with spaghetti sauce, chopped vegetables and low-fat shredded mozzarella, and melt in the microwave.
  2. Mix it up. For older school-age kids, mix dried fruit, unsalted nuts and popcorn in a snack-sized bag for a quick trial mix. Blend plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt with 100 percent fruit juice and frozen peaches for a tasty smoothie.
  3. Grab a glass of milk. A cup of low-fat or fat-free milk or milk alternative (soy milk) is an easy way to drink a healthy snack. 
  4. Go for great whole grains. Enjoy whole-wheat breads, popcorn and whole grain cereals that are high in fiber and low in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium. Limit refined-grain products such as snack-bars, cakes and sweetened cereals. 
  5. Nibble on lean protein. Choose lean protein foods such as low-sodium deli meats or unsalted nuts. Wrap sliced, low-sodium deli turkey around an apple wedge. Store hard-cooked (boiled) eggs in the refrigerator for kids to enjoy any time. 
  6. Keep an eye on size.  Snacks shouldn't replace a meal, so look for ways to help your kids understand how much is enough. Store snack-sized bags in the cupboard and use them to control serving sizes. 
  7. Grab and go with whole fruit. Fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruits are options that need little preparation. Offer whole fruit and limit the amount of 100 percent juice (because it is higher in calories).
  8. Consider convenience. A single-serving container of low-fat or fat-free yogurt or individually wrapped string cheese can be just enough for a quick snack. 
  9. Swap out the sugar. Keep healthier foods handy. Avoid cookies, pastries or candies between meals. Have cut-up fruits and veggies ready to grab from the refrigerator. 
  10. Prepare homemade goodies. For homemade sweets, add dried fruits such as apricots or raisins and reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. Adjust recipes that include fats such as butter or shortening by using unsweetened applesauce or prune puree for half the amount of fat.

Foodwi$e Tip

Dried fruit and fruit leather are tasty snacks that you can make at home at a much lower cost. Although using a home food dehydrator is the easiest way to do this, you can also try using your oven to dry fruit. See www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/food-preservation/dry for details about drying fruits and vegetables, and making fruit leathers.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.”  For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Family Nutrition Program (FNP) Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Avenue SE, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 


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The Fruit with a Fiber Punch

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 7-15-2017

Do you know which fruit is a great source of fiber?

Most fruits are a good source of fiber, but raspberries top the list on fiber content. One cup of raspberries provides about 8 grams of fiber, which is about one-third of a person’s average daily fiber needs.

Fiber serves many purposes in a healthful diet. Fiber can help lower blood cholesterol, aid in weight loss, help control blood sugar levels and maintain regularity.

Remember to increase your fluid intake if you are adding more fiber to your diet. Be sure to increase fiber intake gradually during a period of a few weeks to avoid symptoms such as intestinal gas and abdominal bloating.

One cup of raspberries also provides about one-half of the recommended daily value for vitamin C. Plus, they’re a good source of disease-fighting natural antioxidants.

Raspberries are a popular fruit in North Dakota because they are fairly easy to grow in our climate. Two main types of raspberry plants are available: summer-bearing and ever-bearing. Planting a combination of the two types can extend your harvest.

Summer-bearers produce one crop per season in the summer months. Ever-bearers bear two crops, one in the summer and one in the fall. All varieties will begin to produce fruit during their second season.

Raspberries often are enjoyed in their fresh form. However, they also can be preserved by freezing or making jam, wine or sorbet. In addition, raspberry leaves can be used to make tea.

Store raspberries in the refrigerator for two to three days. Discard any bruised or moldy raspberries before refrigerating.

To extend the shelf life of raspberries, wait to rinse them under cool, running water until just before eating them.

Raspberries are one of the specialty crops that can be grown in North Dakota. Visit the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s Field to Fork website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork for more information about growing and using a variety of specialty crops, including raspberries.

For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 252-9030 or



Harvest or Hay?

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 7-8-2017

Dry conditions might have some wondering if they should harvest their small grains crop or hay it for livestock feed. Small grains can make good livestock feed, however, there are a few items that should be considered when haying small grains during dry conditions. The following recommendations are from Dr. Joel Ransom, NDSU Extension Cereal Crops Agronomist and Ryan Buetow, NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center Area Agronomist.

Before haying or grazing small grains, make sure you have sorted out the issues regarding crop insurance, and have the adjuster make a yield estimate. Yield can be estimated by measuring out number of spikes in a given area and number of kernels per spike. The general yield estimate formula for small grains seeded in seven inch rows are:

Wheat: grain yield (bu/acre) = (kernels per spike x spikes per 3 ft of row) x 0.0319

Barley: grain yield (bu/acre) = (kernels per spike x spikes per 3 ft of row) x 0.0389

Oats: grain yield (bu/acre) = (kernels per spike x spikes per 3 ft of row) x 0.0504

This formula can be adjusted for different row spacing. For six inch rows, multiply the grain yield estimate by 1.17; for seven and half inch rows, multiply the grain yield estimate by 0.93 and for 10 inch rows, multiply grain yield estimate by 0.58. Remember, this is an estimate and will be valid only if the remainder of the season is favorable for grain filling.

Drought stressed crops can accumulate nitrates to levels that may be toxic to livestock. Have a sample of your crop tested for nitrate levels. Nitrate levels above 1,000 ppm need special consideration when feeding. Follow published guidelines for feeding high nitrate hay and avoid using these hays for lactating or pregnant cows. Nitrate levels will not change much after it has been dried and bailed. Ensiling high nitrate materials, on the other hand, has the potential for reducing nitrate levels over time through the fermentation process. More information on nitrate poisoning can be found in the NDSU Extension Publication Nitrate Poisoning of Livestock (V839).

Nitrate levels can be tested at the NDSU Vet Diagnostic lab. Please follow instruction on the web site (www.vdl.ndsu.edu). Payment needs to be submitted with the sample. A gallon plastic bag full of representative plant material is needed for this test. The plant material can be dried or green.

The optimum time for haying small grains for both amount and quality is when they reach the milk stage. However, if plants are so severely stressed that they are losing leaves and are no longer growing, haying prior to the milk stage will result in a better outcome than waiting.

Weeds can also be a source of high nitrates. Some species accumulate nitrates more than others. Weed species such as kochia, lambsquarters, pigweeds, quackgrass, and Russian thistle have the potential to accumulate high nitrate levels. If there is a large patch of weeds, it may be wise to hay around the weed patch.

For more information, contact Alicia at the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.



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July is National Picnic Month

by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 7-1-2017

Summer is a fun time to move cooking and eating outdoors for memorable times with friends and family. Yes, mosquitoes, flies and ants can be annoying pests at picnics. However, the “bugs” we cannot see (bacteria) are more dangerous.

Try this quiz if you are ready to keep your family and friends safe from foodborne illness during hot summer months. “Perishable” means a food will “go bad” if it is kept out too long at room temperature. We need to keep perishable foods out of the temperature danger zone (40 to 140 F) to keep them safe.

1. Which of these foods are not perishable? (choose all that apply)

a. meat and fish; b. trail mix (nuts, dried fruit, cereal mixtures); c. hard-cooked eggs; d. cooked pasta; e. cooked rice; f. peanut butter sandwiches; g. peeled and cut fruits; h. peeled and cut vegetables

2. How long can perishable food be kept on a picnic table (without ice) when the temperature is 90 F?

a. 30 minutes; b. 60 minutes; c. 90 minutes; d. 120 minutes

3. Where should you keep your coolers before you serve food at your picnic?

a. in trunk of a vehicle; b. in the passenger section of a vehicle without air; c. on the picnic table; d. under a shady tree

4. Bring your food thermometer if you plan to cook at your picnic. To what minimum temperature should you cook each of the following foods, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture? (choose from these options: 145 F, 160 F, 165F)

a. chicken breasts; b. ground beef; c. fish; d. beef steak

Answers: 1. b and f; 2. b; 3. d; 4. a. 165 F, b. 160 F, c. 145 F, d. 145 F

Enjoy a variety of foods from the food groups at your picnic. Don’t forget to bring the bug spray, but keep it away from food. Always carefully extinguish campfires when you leave, too!

Food Wi$e tip of the month: Save your food!

Do you ever end up tossing out fresh fruits and vegetables before you have a chance to use them? Most fruits and vegetables freeze very well. Some vegetables need to be “blanched” (boiled in water for a short time) before freezing to maintain good color. Be sure to use freezer bags or containers. You can find free directions about freezing and other ways to preserve foods on the North Dakota State University Extension Service website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and clicking on “Food Preservation.”

Excerpted from http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletterpostings. For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and Family Nutrition Program education assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Ave. SE, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella. morehouse@ndsu.edu.



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Are You Having ‘The Talk’ About Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs?

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 6-24-17

The last couple of months have been filled with exciting events for high school-age students. Prom and graduation top the list for many as “rites of passage.”

This season of celebrations also is the time parents are thinking about how they will talk to their high school students about alcohol and other drugs.

Many parents have been using tools to teach their children to make healthy choices since they were toddlers. Parents know that having a good relationship with their children is like money in the bank; a reserve of good feelings will carry them through the rough times.

As a result, children know they always are able to talk to their parents about anything. Family dinnertime discussions are lively. The children also know how to identify and resist peer pressure through conversations and practice with each other and their parents.

One important note for parents: We do not raise children in a vacuum, and children find their way to potentially destructive substances such as alcohol, tobacco and other drugs for many reasons, even with positive parenting.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service recommends starting early when raising kids to resist alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Two resources to look at now, no matter the age of your child - birth to young adult - are Parents LEAD (Listen, Educate, Ask, Discuss) at www.Parentslead.org and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)  at www.samhsa.gov/talk-they-hear-you/parent-resources/five-conversation-goals.

Here are five strategies from SAMHSA to discourage underage drinking:

  • Show you disapprove of underage drinking. More than 80 percent of young people ages 10 to 18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision to drink or not drink.
  • Show you care about your child’s happiness and well-being. Try to reinforce why you don’t want your child to drink, not just because you say so, but because you want your child to be happy and safe.
  • Show you are a good source of information about alcohol. You don’t want your child to be learning about alcohol from friends, the internet or the media. You want to establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information.
  • Show you are paying attention and you will notice if your child drinks. You want to show you’re keeping an eye on
    • your child because young people are more likely to drink if they think no one will notice.
    • Build your child’s skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking. Even if your child doesn’t want to drink, peer pressure is a powerful thing. Build skills and practice them with your kids.

    Even though parents have raised their children to make healthy decisions, they still make a point of reiterating the faith they have in their children’s ability to follow the rules. They’re also helping their children practice how to say “no” in likely peer pressure situations in preparation for the upcoming graduation parties, prom and summer nights around the campfire.

    For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 252-9030 or .


Flag the Technology

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country - 6.17.2017

This year is the first year that dicamba tolerant soybeans will be able to be commercial grown in North Dakota. This means there potentially could be conventional, Round-Up Ready (glyphosate tolerant), Liberty Link (glufosinate tolerant) and Xtend (dicamba tolerant) soybeans all being grown in fields neighboring each other. In corn, we currently have conventional, Round-Up Ready and Liberty Link varieties available. With all these different herbicide traits available, it is important to use flags to mark what herbicide traits are in a field so that commercial applicators, crop scouts, neighboring farmers or farm employees can all have the peace of mind of knowing for sure what herbicides can be used in a field.

This concept was started in Arkansas in 2011 and the movement has been called “flag the technology”. Below is a picture from the University of Arkansas Extension publication FSA2162 which explains the flag the technology concept. A red flag marks a conventional field, a white flag marks a Round-up Ready field, a green flag marks a Liberty Link field and a black and white checker flag marks an Xtend field. Flags should be about 12 x 18 inch triangular shaped on a six-foot fiberglass pole for best visibility. Flags are available through your seed company or are available from a few vendors that can be found through a Google search. One such vendor is Parker Flags (www.parkerflags.com).

flag

For more information, contact Alicia at the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or .


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June is Dairy Month

by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country - 6.10.2017

School is out, so daytime milk breaks have ended for kids. Keep dairy on your menu this summer, but not just for kids. We all need calcium and vitamin D to keep our bones strong, and potassium and protein to keep our heart and muscles working properly.

Milk is a convenient "nutrition package" with nine essential nutrients. We should aim for three servings of dairy every day, according to the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are included in the dairy group, and the guidelines recommend consuming low-fat or fat-free milk.

Some recent research featured on the news suggests that higher-fat milk products may have a protective effect against heart disease and diabetes. As research is published, recommendations are updated, so stay tuned. For now, remember that all types of milk contain about the same amount of calcium and vitamin D.

How Much Calcium Do I Need?

Find your age, gender and daily calcium recommendations in milligrams (mg) on the chart.

Age

Male

Female

0-6 months

200 mg

200mg

7-12 months

260 mg

260 mg

1-3 years

700 mg

700 mg

4-8 years

1,000 mg

1,000 mg 

9-13 years

1,300 mg

1,300 mg

14-18 years

1,300 mg

1,300 mg

19-50 years

1,000 mg

1,000 mg

51-70 years

1,000 mg

1,200 mg

71+ years

1,200 mg

1,200 mg

Quick Tip: Calcium is listed as a percentage daily value on Nutrition Facts labels. To convert to milligrams, add a zero. For example, 1 cup of milk provides 30 percent of the daily value or 300 milligrams calcium. (This conversion only works with calcium.) See www.choosemyplate.gov/dairy-calcium-sources for more calcium options.

What if members of my family cannot drink milk due to allergies or lactose intolerance?

Someone who is allergic to milk cannot consume milk because he or she may have life-threatening reactions. Be sure to look for the milk allergen statement ("Contains milk") right under the ingredient list on Nutrition Facts labels. Calcium-fortified soy beverages and other fortified foods and beverages would be an option for those allergic to milk.

People with lactose intolerance do not have enough of an enzyme (natural chemical that breaks down the sugar). When they drink milk, they might get gas, diarrhea, and stomachaches. Some people with lactose intolerance can tolerate yogurt or cheese better than fluid milk, or they can have milk with meals. Lactose-free dairy products are another option.

Local Dairy Day Event

Check out Dairy Day at Dr. Dawn’s on Thursday, June 15th from 1:00-5:00 p.m. Baby calves, dairy-themed carnival games and prizes, dairy trivia, dairy treats, milking cow and more at Dr. Dawn’s Pet Shop located at 1202 12th Avenue SE, Jamestown.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.”  For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Family Nutrition Program (FNP) Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Avenue SE, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

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The ABCs of Successful Fathering

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country - 6.3.2017

“A father’s work is child’s play.” This observation actually captures a unique truth, the reality that the most important work a man will ever do is within the walls of his own home. How can fathers connect at home in the important work of fathering a child?

Father’s Day is just around the corner, and we will be celebrating the father and father figures in our lives. Here are a few building blocks to think about this Father’s Day that are the ABCs of successful fathering.

A is for Available. Being around is the first step to being available to your kids. To a child, love is spelled T-I-M-E. This may require some effort on the part of a father. Examine your work schedule. Come home a little earlier. Take more time together in the evenings. Children want parents to be available for time with them.

A is for Attentiveness. Attentiveness to your children means paying focused attention to their feelings and activities. Do you know your child’s favorite color? Do you know what activity your child would most like to do with you? Attentiveness is crucial to seeing and following a child’s invitations to be involved.

A is for Activities. According to recent research, the most significant way for fathers to connect with their children is through participating in shared activities. Men feel close to their children when they are doing things together that are fun, engaging, or focused on learning. The key is doing something together, not just talking, and this can range from reading to playing checkers to going fishing. Just do something—together.

B is for Big Moments. Be there in the Big Moments of your child’s life. Be there at birth, on birthdays, at school performances. If you want to be a big influence in your child’s life, be there for the big moments.

B is for Be Playful. Play together! Dads excel at this, the most under-rated but important aspect of parenting. It builds great relationships and fosters learning. Fathers can challenge a child’s abilities, provide opportunities for growth, and build bonds of connection through play.

B is for Be a Model. Fathers are role models, whether they want to be or not, and children learn by observing and imitating. Discuss personal values that you wish to instill in your children. Be a model of good behavior.

C is for Connection. Connection for fathers occurs through involvement in activities with children, talking, and providing support. Research shows connection is among the most important aspects of parenting.

C is for Coaching. A good coach will give counsel, and a father is a good coach. He will give time and listen. He will create teaching opportunities and share stories. He will introduce new skills. He will be gentle in discipline, firm in his guidance, and clear in his message of support.

The ABCs of successful fathering provide a foundation point for fathers as they seek to build healthy and caring relationships with the children they love. If you begin with the ABCs, you are laying the foundation for success.

For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 252-9030 or .

 

Gardening Morning – June 3rd

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country - 5.27.2017

The first annual Gardening Morning event will be held on June 3rd from 9 am to 1 pm at the Stutsman County Extension office (502 10th Ave SE, Jamestown). This event is being organized by the Stutsman County Master Gardeners.

Garden Morning will consist of keynote speakers, vendors, kid crafts and food will be served all morning. The keynote speakers include: Theresa Podoll will talk about growing garlic at 9:30 am, Kara Kramin will talk about hostas at 10:30 am and Gerry D’Amour will talk about pollinator gardens at 11:30 am. There are several vendors present that will be selling various gardening supplies and décor. Master Gardeners will be teaching kid crafts where kids will be able to make their very own garden decorations. So, bring the kids! The Prairie Pals 4-H club of Stutsman County and the Sew & Sow 4-H club of LaMoure County will be serving food throughout the whole event. They will be taking free-will donations to raise money for the Wildfire Relief Fund which supports farmers and ranchers in the southern plains that were effected by massive wildfires this spring.

Garden Morning will be a great event for gardeners to take in free seminars, browse vendor booths, entertainment for the kids and an opportunity to support the Wildfire Relief Fund. The event is free and there will be prizes given away that have been donated by the vendors. For more information, contact the Extension office at 701-252-9030, e-mail Alicia at or checkout our Facebook page or website (www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension).


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Power Up for Summer Fun with Summer Meals

by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country - 5.20.2017

Learning and good nutrition does not end when school lets out. The USDA Summer Food Service Program helps provide free nutritious meals to children in low-income areas so they are better fueled with healthy food to learn and grow.

Children need healthy food all year long. During the school year, many children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Program. When school lets out many of these children are at risk of hunger. Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process.

Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again and make children more prone to illness and other health issues. The Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children get the nutritious meals they need.

FREE summer meals are offered to all children 18 and younger; there is no enrollment, no cost.  Youth may come and eat at the Jamestown summer feeding site located at Washington Elementary, 700 4th Avenue NW.

Breakfast is served from 8:00 am – 9:00 am and lunch is served from 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm. Jamestown Summer Meals will be offered Monday through Friday – June 5th through July 28th, please use the north doors to enter the building.

Power Up for Summer Fun! Summer Meals Kickoff Event for Jamestown Summer Meals is scheduled for June 6th between 11:30 am to 12:30 pm at Washington Elementary.  This will be a great time for the Jamestown Community to learn about the importance and availability of Summer Meals to ensure we can reach as many children in need of healthy meals.

As part of my summer work and collaboration with the Summer Food Service Program feeding site, I will be holding several nutrition education events during the lunch hour to get kids and families excited about healthy eating and physical activity during the summer months.

The activities are designed to motivate kids and families to choose more fruits and vegetables, choose water instead of sugary drinks, get enough physical activity every day, and to limit screen time.

Source: USDA: Summer Food Service Program. For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Family Nutrition Program (FNP) Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Avenue SE, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.


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Preschoolers Can Help in the Kitchen

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country - 5.13.2017

Imagine never cooking your own food. Consider a world where you are served every meal at your table. Then, when you are finished eating, you get up and leave to do what your day requires of you.

This is the life many of our children experience, at least to age 3 or 4. Beyond that, most children can help some way in food preparation, serving and cleanup.

“The Family Table,” an initiative of The North Dakota State University Extension Service has resources at www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable to help you get your kids involved in family meals.

The expectations for young children might be to wash their hands and set some parts of the table. Or children might be required to carry the cold salad or ketchup to the table and, after the meal, carry their own dirty dishes to the sink or dishwasher. This is all under the watchful eye of the head chef, of course.

As parents, our job is to teach our children how to become respectful, self-sufficient adults and responsible citizens. The kitchen is the perfect place for these and many more lessons. Plus, we all have to eat, so why not make meal preparation a special time to talk, laugh, enjoy each other’s company and learn valuable lessons, too?

Young children likely want to be near their favorite adults, especially around mealtime. Three-year-olds who know how to tear paper will be great with the salad greens. They are also in love with stirring.

Perhaps healthful appetizers are your preschooler’s specialty. Your child can arrange and serve wheat crackers, cheese, fruit, cottage cheese, fresh vegetables and dips with pride.

Serving this type of appetizer helps keep all family members from digging into high-carbohydrate and high-calorie foods while they wait for the oven timer to sound. Healthful appetizers can become the first course in a nutritious meal.

Even young children can learn to share the jobs and tools required in cooking. They quickly realize that putting together a meal takes ingredients and time, and people have to work to make that happen. Kids who grow up in the kitchen will begin to see connections between their food and its origin, including the importance of taking care of the Earth and its resources. They also will learn math skills and experience science first hand, right there near the kitchen sink.

Preschoolers who have the opportunity to practice working in the kitchen will learn to appreciate those times when someone does serve them their dinner. It can be a “first course” in learning to be a needed family member and a respectful, self-sufficient, responsible citizen.

Eat, connect and savor at the family table (www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable).  Join the challenges and sign up for an electronic newsletter with recipes and tips. Follow the program on Facebook for more tips, meal plans and ideas for getting conversations going during family meals.

For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

Understand Dicamba Tolerant Soybean Labels Before Using

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country - 5.6.2017

Dicamba tolerant soybeans are going to be a new tool for farmers this growing season. It is exciting that we will have new technology to help control weeds. However, the herbicide label for new dicamba products is different than any other label we have seen. There are some important points to know if you plan on using the new dicamba tolerant soybean technology. The labels have several “DO NOT” statements that the applicator should be aware of. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  1. XtendiMax, from Monsanto, Engenia from BASF and FeXapan from DuPont are the only low volatile dicamaba products currently labeled for use Xtend soybeans (dicamba tolerant soybeans). Generic dicamba products CAN NOT be applied on Xtend soybeans.
  2. XtendiMax, Engenia, FeXapan are low volatile formulations of dicamba. Basically, the molecules are bigger and heavier then generic dicamba formulations. However, just because these products are low volatile formulations, this does not completely eliminate the vapor or particle drift potential.
  3. For the first time ever, the labels specify the labeled rate. This means the applicator must apply the application rate specified in the label – a lower rate would be considered off label.
  4. Another new part of these labels is there is a website extension of the label that states all approved tank-mix and nozzle combinations. An applicator must check the website no more than seven days prior to application to ensure the tank-mix and nozzle combination is still listed on the website. The website is being updated daily, thus applicators should check back often. For XtendiMax the website is: www.xtendimaxapplicationrequirements.com , for Engenia the website is www.engeniatankmix.com and for FeXapan the website is: fexapanapplicationrequirements.dupont.com.   
  5. Do not add AMS or UAN in the tank mix. Ammonium additives cause the new dicamba products to become very volatile. 
  6. Wind speed is specified on the label. If wind speed is less than 3 MPH or over 15 MPH the product cannot be applied. There is also specific language about buffer zones when sensitive areas or susceptible crops are downwind. It is very important to understand and read this portion of the label.
  7. Application volume, ground speed and boom height are also specified on the label. Minimum application volume is 10 gallons per acre, ground speed cannot exceed 15 MPH and boom height cannot be more than 24 inches above target.
  8. Sprayer cleanout is going to be extremely important. Soybeans without the dicamba tolerance gene are extremely sensitive to dicamba and very little dicamba left in the tank can cause injury. 
  9. The new dicamba product labels have temporary approval from the EPA. In a couple years, the EPA will re-evaluate the products to determine if the products should be continued to be labeled.
  10. Don’t forget about weed resistance management. Dicamba tolerant soybeans should be looked as a weed resistance tool rather than a cure. Over use of dicamba over time will cause weeds to become resistant. Even the labels have weed resistance management information written in them.

Again, reading and understanding the new dicamba product labels is going to be very important before applying them. If we want to keep dicamba tolerant soybeans a viable option, we need to know and understand the label to be good stewards of the products. For more information, contact Alicia at the Extension office at 701-252-9030 or alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.

 

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Three Tips to Healthier Spring and Summer Celebrations

 by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country - 4.29.2017

Celebrations often are exciting and memorable times filled with family, friends and food. Nourish your body every time you eat, whether you are celebrating a birthday, graduation, wedding shower, holiday or every day.  Try these three tips:

1. Incorporate at least three different food groups into celebration foods.

MyPlate, the current dietary guidelines for Americans, includes five food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, protein and dairy. When deciding on the menu, think how you can incorporate at least three of these food groups. Here are some ways to add nutrition and variety to your menu:

  • Make sandwiches with whole-grain breads or use whole-grain pasta in salads.
  • Include a colorful vegetable tray on the menu.
  • Try fruit parfaits instead of cake as a sweet treat.
  • Use lean or extra-lean beef and poultry in sandwiches and casseroles, or serve hummus (made from protein-rich chickpeas) as a tasty dip with pita chips.
  • Replace higher-fat sour cream with plain yogurt in dips.

2. Explore ingredient substitutions.

Trim calories and/or add fiber, vitamins and minerals with these more healthful swaps. See the NDSU Extension Service publication "Now Serving: Recipe Makeovers" for many ideas.

Ingredient

  Healthier Swap

1 cup sour cream

  1 cup nonfat yogurt

1 cup mayonnaise

  1 cup nonfat yogurt

1 cup all-purpose flour

  1/2 cup flour plus 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup oil

  1/4 cup oil plus 1/4 cup applesauce

3. Make food fun.

Get kids (and adults) involved in food preparation. Have a food activity, such as making "bugs on a log" (celery, nut butter and raisins). Or create a picture on your plate with healthful foods.

Question: My kids try to avoid vegetables, but I'm working on encouraging them to try some new vegetables. We have a community garden near us. When can we start planting?

Gardening with children is an excellent way to promote good health in many ways. Your children (and you) will get exercise as they weed and water the garden, and your family will have delicious vegetables to eat throughout the season.

The first couple weeks of May are a good time to plant leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, and potatoes. The last weeks in May are best for beans, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Lettuce will be the first "crop" you will harvest.

Through gardening, children learn many skills beyond nutrition and fitness. They learn about cooperation and working with others.

For more tips, see "Gardening with Children" at www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/hortcrop/fn1372.pdf

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.”  For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Family Nutrition Program (FNP) Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Avenue SE, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

CR news photo


Save for Emergencies

by Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country - 4.22.2017

Make a pledge to save money for emergencies.

A lot of Americans aren’t in the habit of saving. Only 54 percent say they have a savings plan with specific goals, 43 percent have a spending plan that allows them to save enough money to achieve the goals for which they are saving, and 66 percent have sufficient emergency funds.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service’s personal and family finance website (www.ag.ndsu.edu/money/) offers tips on how to set financial goals and save for them, and can help you get started. It’s an opportunity for you to assess your saving status.

An emergency savings fund is money that can be accessed easily in case of an emergency. A lot of experts suggest having enough money in an emergency fund to cover three to six months of expenses. However, just having something is better than nothing. Start with $500 to $1,000 in an account for unexpected expenses such as a car repair, doctor visit, dental expenses or broken appliance that needs to be replaced.

An emergency fund not only provides you with money to pay for unexpected expenses, but it also gives you peace of mind because you know you can afford these types of financial emergencies. Not having an emergency fund is one reason many individuals borrow too much money at high interest rates by charging expenses to a credit card or using an alternative borrowing method (payday loans, car title loans, pawn shops, etc.).

Make sure you can get to your money in case of an emergency; find a safe place to put your money. It should be some place that’s easily accessible and will not cost you extra if you need to make a withdrawal. For example, a savings account at a bank or credit union would be a better choice than a certificate of deposit (CD). CDs need to be held for a specific amount of time (months or years), and early withdrawals are subject to penalties.

Automate your savings. Have a certain amount of your check, perhaps $100 a month, put into a savings account instead of your checking account. If the money never is in an account to which you have daily access, you will be less likely to spend it. Or if you are expecting a tax refund in the next few months, split your refund and put some away for a rainy day.

For more information on this topic, you can contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

 LM news photo

Shaping Up for Spring

 by Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun County - 4.8.2017

During the spring, we may feel like refreshing our home by cleaning and organizing closets. Maybe we should do a diet and physical activity checkup to find out if our lifestyle needs to be refreshed.

Eating a healthful diet and being more active can help lower your risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. You can have fun and feel more energetic in the process!

Track Your Eating Habits

For a couple of days as a starting point, write down what and how much you eat and drink. Use a journal, log your intake on your calendar, or use an online tool such as SuperTracker at www.choosemyplate.gov. Don't forget to include beverages, sauces, spreads, and sides. It all counts.

Diet Checkup: Are you missing any food groups? Many people are short of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Adults should aim for 4½ cups of colorful fruits and vegetables each day.

Try These Tips to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables.

  • Plan some meals around a vegetable main dish, such as a stir-fry or soup.
  • Include a green salad with your dinner every night.
  • Make a fruit smoothie for breakfast or a snack.
  • Pack a clementine, banana, or grapes in your lunch.

Track Your Activity

For one week, write down the physical activities you do. Log each activity that you do for at least ten minutes at a time. Use SuperTracker, a phone app or a journal, or make a calendar.

Physical Activity Checkup: Are you getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days of the week?

Try These Tips to Stay Active.

  • Set some "exercise dates" and write your plans on a calendar. Check off the activity after you do it.
  • Plant a garden in your backyard or in a community garden. Raking, planting, pulling weeds and harvesting all count as physical activity.
  • Check out community classes. Does your community have a "fun walk" or "fun run"? Pull together a team and train together.
  • Take regular breaks from technology. Turn off the TV and computer, and put away phones and other devices. Go outside and enjoy a park or walking path.

For more tips to increase fruits, vegetables or other food groups and more ideas to be active, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

Foodwi$e Tip of the Month

Enjoy produce in season for best quality and best price.

Here are some of the fresh fruits and vegetables in season in the spring: asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, lettuce, mangos, onions, pineapple, rhubarb, snap peas, spinach, strawberries, and turnips.

Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletter-postings.”  For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Family Nutrition Program (FNP) Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 502 10th Avenue SE, Jamestown, ND. You can reach me at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

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