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Nourish Your Muscles, Find Accurate Health Info this January

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Jamestown Sun 12-30-20

As the time for New Year’s resolutions is upon us, many people may be thinking of ways to get healthier in the new year. Nourish Your Body and Mind virtual program series, offered by NDSU Extension in Stutsman County, can help you achieve your goals. In January, the program will feature two topics: Nourish Your Muscles and Nourish Your Body and Mind with Accurate Health Information.

As we age or remain inactive, we may experience some muscle loss, as well as the ability to do tasks we once were able to do.

We can delay, and even prevent, this loss by understanding proper nutrition and exercise for our muscles. In this self-paced program, you can learn about how to use nutrition and exercise to fuel your muscles. Protein, carbohydrates, water, and minerals all play an important role in growing and maintaining muscle mass.

And while nutrition and health information is available from a wide variety of sources, it can be difficult at times to know who and what to trust. With Nourish Your Body and Mind, you can also learn how to discern reliable information from that which may not be accurate.

When you register for either program, you will receive a link to the program site on the launch date. There you can access loads of helpful information, such as a video presentation, handouts, publications, featured recipes, and more. You can review the information at your own time and pace and save the link to access again later.

The registration link can be found on the NDSU Extension-Stutsman County website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension.

If you’d like, you can also register for past months’ programs, as well. To receive the program information in alternative formats, you may contact the Stutsman County Extension office at (701) 252-9030.

For more information on this program, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

Updated NDSU Soybean Plan Population and Row Spacing Recommendations

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Jamestown Sun 12-26-20

North Dakota State University has a long tradition of recommending the establishment of a soybean population of 150,000 plants per acre across row spacings. This recommendation continues to exist across the state to optimize soybean seed yield.

NDSU has conducted numerous field trials during recent years to examine the impact of planting rates and row spacings on soybean production. With the large amount of data available from across the state, the opportunity existed to re-evaluate the current recommendation and provide a more precise soybean planting rate and row spacing recommendations.

Data generated by NDSU soybean planting rate and row spacing field trials was conducted from 2008 through 2019. A total of 390 data points (observations) comprise the database. Planting rates in the data set ranged from 80,000 to 220,000 pure live seeds (PLS). Row spacings in the data set ranged from 7- to 30-inches wide. Seed yield was normalized for each trial by comparing the treatment average to the overall trial mean. The treatment average within each individual trial was divided by the trial mean and multiplied by 100 to get the relative yield in percent (the trial mean was set at 100%). With all yield data on the same scale (relative percent), data were evaluated across trials.

The compiled data set concluded the following:

  • Across North Dakota and row spacings, the planting rate of about 170,000 PLS per acre optimized soybean seed yield, while optimum yield occurred with 180,000 and about 140,000 PLS per acre in eastern and western North Dakota, respectively.
  • In eastern trials, 8% of planted PLS per acre did not develop into viable soybean plants. Assuming 8% of PLS does not result in established plants across North Dakota, and using 170,000 PLS per acre, about 155,000 plants per acre would be expected to maximize yield.
  • Across North Dakota or by regions, narrow rows (less than 15 inches) consistently provided greatest soybean yield.
  • In eastern North Dakota, the combination of narrow rows (12 to 14 inches) and planting rates of about 170,000 PLS per acre provided optimum yield. If planting in wide rows (24 to 30 inches), planting rates to reach the optimum yield were about 190,000 PLS per acre.
  • In western North Dakota, the combination of narrow rows (7 to 10 inches) and planting rates of about 150,000 PLS per acre provided optimum yield.

A new publication, “Soybean Response to Planting Rates and Row spacing in North Dakota (A1961)”, was published this spring that explains the compiled data set in more detail. A copy can be found online or if you would like a hard copy, please contact the Stutsman County Extension office. For more information, contact Alicia Harstad at the Stutsman County Extension office at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu or 701-252-9030.

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Emotional Wellness

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Jamestown Sun 12-23-20

Emotional wellness is a good topic for this month as we continue to battle the pandemic and live with less sunlight and more wintery weather.

This has been a difficult year for most people. The list of how difficult it’s been for each person depends on many individual circumstances.

The list can be very long for some and much shorter for others. Emotional wellness dictates a person’s outlook on life and reflects overall satisfaction and happiness.

Try the tips to make this a meaningful time while coping with the challenges.

Clearly, we all need to talk about our feelings, so make your home a safe place to talk about all feelings. Provide paper and markers (or crayons) for children to “draw out” their emotions. Encourage conversation and journaling for a few minutes each day as you finish dinner at the family table.

Spend time really listening without interruption and then reflect back what you heard. You do not need to supply a solution. Use employee assistance programs, counselors or faith-based resources for troubling situations.

Take short breaks in your work and school day. Working from home can be more stressful than going to the office or school. Stick notes with fun break ideas around your home for each other to find.

Even a household task such as 10 minutes of pet care or folding the laundry can help refocus your mind.

Do something to change the routine, refresh your life and make yourself smile. Shake it up! Act a little silly. Walk sideways today. Try out a different chair, coffee cup, computer mouse, hair style. Take the stairs, drive or walk a different route. Spend 10 minutes a day on a hobby you enjoy.

Use your smartphone to virtually take the extended family or friends on your after-dinner walk, share your best family dance moves or try a few yoga poses together. Savor the moves and the laughs. 

Pay attention to sleep needs and habits. Review the tips on this handy guide: www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/kidsfamily/snooze-news-the-importanceof- healthy-sleep-habits

 

List three things you are grateful for every day for four solid weeks. Write them in your planner. Say them out loud for even more impact. Gratitude changes your brain and can improve your physical health. Share them with your family to model a grateful heart. Hold positive conversations about all you do have in your lives.

See tip cards from the National Institutes of Health to help your family think about their emotional wellness at www.nih.gov/health-information/emotionalwellness-toolkit#.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 36. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

Christmas Tree Selection

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Jamestown Sun 12-12-20

Several years ago I wrote an article about how to select a Christmas tree. I thought this year was a good time to dust off that article to share some of my family’s experience of selecting a Christmas tree. 2020 has been challenging in many ways but I hope as we go into the holiday season, we also remember there is still lots to be thankful for.

Tis’ the season for holidays! For many of us, this means it’s time to put up the Christmas tree. In my family when we were growing up, we always had to have a real Christmas tree. Every year we used to take a trip up to my Grandma’s farm and cut down a tree ourselves. And yes, there were years we felt like the Griswold’s. One of those years was when my older sister was in high school. She insisted that she would be the one to cut the Christmas tree down that year and convinced my brother to go with her. Let me tell you what, when she is determined to finish a task, there is no stopping her. If fact, not even a snow storm could stop her. So, even though her and my brother got stuck in the snow and spent hours digging the pick-up out, they did manage to come home with a Christmas tree. However, I not am sure if it was the frustration from getting stuck or if they just didn’t have the patience to look at the top of tree before they cut it down, but the tree they picked was the skimpiest tree we have ever had! To date, we still call it our “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”.

The moral of this story is there are ways to avoid getting the “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”. If the tree you are cutting down is so tall that you can’t clearly see what the top seven feet look like, you are probably better off leaving the tree and buying one (I can’t say for sure, but I think this problem played a factor in my sibling’s bad choice in a tree). Eventually, our family had to start buying trees too since the trees at my Grandma’s place started to get too big for us to cut down. When selecting a tree at a store, try to avoid places that have had trees sitting out for a long time. The fresher you can buy a tree, the longer it will last and hold its needles. Also, avoid trees that drop a bunch of needles just by you touching the tree. This is a sign that the tree is already drying out.

Once, you have found your perfect tree, make sure to take proper care of the tree to avoid making your Christmas tree a fire hazard. Cut the bottom 1 to 2 inches off before placing the tree into a tree stand. A tree will have an easier time absorbing water through a fresh cut rather than an older cut that may have had time to “heal”. Make sure to water the tree well daily. Dry Christmas trees not only make a mess by dropping needles, but they also can create a fire risk. Stand the tree in a place that is at least three feet away from any heat source. Check Christmas lights before putting them on the tree for any loose or exposed wires, broken bulbs, or loose light sockets that could create sparks. Also, be aware of how many light strands you plug into each other to avoid overloading the circuit. You should not have more than three strands plugged into each other at one time. Before you leave your home or go to bed, remember to unplug the lights on the tree.

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

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Manage Stress for Better Health

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Jamestown Sun 11-25-20

People have different ideas of the definition of stress. This is probably because stress is different for all of us. People will perceive the same stressor in number of ways and, therefore, react to it differently. An event can be overwhelming to one person, yet exciting to another.

NDSU Extension – Stutsman County is offering a virtual wellness program called Nourish Your Body and Mind. The second installment, which launches on November 30, focuses specifically on how individuals can manage stress and why it is so important to do so.

Stress has become a pervasive challenge in our society and can have a profound impact on our quality of life and health. Stress-related disorders include problems such as stomach ailments, tension headaches, high blood pressure, and addiction, among others. Stress can also disrupt sleep, impair relationships, and compromise productivity. Research has also associated stress with a weak immune system.

Making changes early to reduce stress is easier and more helpful. Recovering from the effects of stress takes longer if we wait until we are overwhelmed to try reducing the stress. We can’t eliminate or stop stress, but we can manage it. Making healthy lifestyle choices is a good start:

  • Nutrition – Healthy foods nourish our bodies and our minds. Limit stress-inducing foods such as caffeine, monosodium glutamate, sugar, and saturated fats.
  • Physical exercise – Incorporate physical activity into your daily life. It creates actual brain changes that promote emotional well-being.
  • Sleep – Prioritize your rest time. Most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Those who sign up for the virtual program will receive free access to a variety of educational content on managing stress for better health. This is a self-paced program, not a live class, and includes a video presentation, access to NDSU Extension publications on the topic, featured recipes, and additional resources to help you on your wellness journey.

To register, visit ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension, or visit our Facebook page (search for NDSU Extension-Stutsman County). If you are interested in this information, but do not have access to the technology to participate virtually, please contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030. You can also email Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, for more information on this topic or the virtual program at christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

 

Central Dakota Ag Day Gone Virtual

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Jamestown Sun 11-21-20

North Dakota State University Extension’s Central Dakota Ag Day program will be a virtual event this year. Beginning Nov. 19, participants will have an opportunity to view more than 35 online presentations related to crops, soils, livestock, precision agriculture, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, and agricultural economics and marketing.

The presenters also will be available for questions during live, topic-specific panel discussions that will occur throughout the day on Dec. 3. Featured speakers include Lee Briese of Centrol Crop Consulting, William Aderholdt of the Grand Farm Initiative and Lynn Paulson of Bell Bank in Fargo. More than 25 NDSU Extension specialists and agents also will share their expertise.

Central Dakota Ag Day has something for everyone. The program offers a wealth of information on a variety of topics relevant to crop and livestock producers. Registration can be completed now at www.ag.ndsu.edu/carringtonrec. Links to the presentations and Zoom speaker panel discussions will be emailed to the registrants.

The Central Dakota Ag Day program is organized by NDSU Extension agents in Foster, Eddy, Wells, Griggs, Sheridan and Stutsman counties, as well as staff from NDSU’s Carrington Research Extension Center. Sponsors of the program include the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, North Dakota Soybean Council, North Central Region SARE program and crop improvement associations in the six counties.

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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Dinner Parties Reinvented

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Jamestown Sun 11-11-20

Thanksgiving may be different in some households this year. The number of guests may be lower because people may not travel a long distance to gather. The menu may be a little different.

Regardless of what Thanksgiving 2020 brings, make it memorable. These ideas could be used for any distant gathering.

Gather in a new way.

If you do not gather a group, consider using technology, such as Zoom, Skype Room or a Facebook Live event if you are so inclined.

Plan your dinner.

Decide on a theme, date and time for the virtual gathering.

If desired, provide easy recipes for a common menu.

  • The large stuffed turkey might be a stuffed chicken this year, or even a Cornish game hen. See https://tinyurl.com/NDSUTurkey for food safety guidance.
  • An easy turkey casserole and pumpkin dessert recipes are featured in this newsletter.

Idea: Choose a dress theme for dinner. How about your favorite sports team’s colors?

Idea: Maybe everyone orders in their favorite restaurant food and enjoys it together. Delivered pizza works as a virtual family and friends meal, too.

If you gather in person, enjoy a potluck where each person or family brings a dish.

Consider a virtual “cooking demo.”

Provide the recipe ahead of time so people can gather the ingredients.

  • For example, have someone demonstrate how to make an easy appetizer or even a veggie tray that is arranged to look like a cartoon turkey.
  • See www.ag.ndsu.edu/food for many recipe ideas.

Provide some conversation starters.

These ideas will get you started:

  • What is your favorite memory of a Thanksgiving meal?
  • What is your favorite Thanksgiving food and why?
  • If you could celebrate Thanksgiving with people from history, who would you invite?
  • What type of technology have you found most helpful in your life? What technology do you think we could do without?
  • Name one family ritual or holiday tradition you enjoy.
  • What were the most popular toys (or movies or TV shows) as a child?

See www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable for more conversation starters.

Have fun and make some new memories.

Create a nostalgic “hand turkey.” Yes grownups can do this too. Trace your hand, write one thing you are grateful for in each of the “feathers (your fingers). Color it and share a photo.

Question: My food budget is a little stretched. Do you have some tips for me?

See if any of these tips help you stretch your food dollar. See https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/food-preparation and check out the “Pinchin’ Pennies in the Kitchen” publications to learn more.

  • Make a shopping list. This helps you stick to your budget.
  • Plan your meals. Planning helps put leftovers to good use.
  • Consider online shopping so you are not tempted by a lot of other foods in the grocery aisles.
  • Look for coupons, sales and store specials.
  • For added savings, sign up for the store discount program if available.
  • Don’t’ shop when you are hungry. That helps you stick to your shopping list.
  • Try store brands. They usually cost less.
  • Compare products for best deal.
  • Check the package dates. Buy the freshest food possible.
  • Store perishable food in the refrigerator right away to preserve freshness.
  • Freeze food in meal-size portions to prevent spoiling.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, Nourish newsletter, Issue 34. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

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Stutsman County Extension offering Nourish Your Immune System as part of a Virtual Program Series

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Jamestown Sun 11-4-20

Leading a healthful lifestyle is one way to decrease your chances of getting sick. As we are approaching cold and flu season during a pandemic, making healthy choices is more important than ever.

NDSU Extension-Stutsman County is putting on a virtual program series called Nourish Your Body and Mind. Each month, two virtual programs will be released on timely topics to help you make healthful choices. In November, the topics are Nourish Your Immune System and Managing Stress for Better Health.

To register, go to ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension, or visit our Facebook page (search for NDSU Extension-Stutsman County). Once you register, you will receive a link to the virtual program on the program’s launch date. As a part of this program, you will receive access to videos, healthy recipes, and a variety of other informational content on each topic. There is no cost to these programs. If you are interested in this information, but do not have access to the technology, please contact the Extension office at 701-252-9030.

While you wait for the first programs to launch, here are some tips to get you moving in the right direction.

Eat a Well-balanced and Healthful Diet

Some nutrients have specific roles in helping the immune system work properly. For example, vitamins A, D, E, C, B6 and B12, and folate, as well as the minerals zinc, iron, and selenium, have been shown to have an impact on immune health. Eat colorful fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean protein to include these nutrients in your diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids have an impact on inflammation and immune function. Omega03 fatty acids are found in salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel and sardines, as well as walnuts, flaxseed and canola and soybean oil.

Decreasing the amount of fatty foods in your diet and watching portion sizes are also important for immune health.

Get Plenty of Exercise and Rest

Moderate-intensity, regular exercise has been shown to improve immune function, reduce the risk for upper respiratory tract infections, and reduce the severity of inflammation-related diseases and the incidence of some cancers. Exercise also is an important component in counteracting the effects of aging on the immune system.

Moderate-intensity activities include walking fast, doing water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground, playing double tennis, or pushing a lawn mower.

Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense exercise most days of the week. Muscle-strengthening activities are also important to incorporate into your exercise routine. Strengthen your muscles at least two times per week by lifting weights, or doing heavy yardwork or yoga.

For more information on this topic, be sure to register for the Nourish Your Immune System virtual program at ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension or contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 701-252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

Online Manure Composting Workshop

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Jamestown Sun 10-23-20

COVID-19 has forced all of us to rethink how we work and try new things and NDSU Extension is no exception to this. COVID-19 has had NDSU Extension rethink how we deliver education. An example of this is the 2020 Manure Composting Workshop. Traditionally, this is a face-to-face workshop in August but this year it was adapted to be an online version.

North Dakota State University Extension, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Extension, hosted an online manure composting workshop. The video content for the workshop was posted online and there was a live follow-up online discussion webinar that was held on August 11.

Did you miss the workshop? Good news, the workshop contents and a recording of the online discussion are still available for people to access at any time. This workshop, sponsored by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, focused on the basics of turning raw manure into compost. Topics for the workshop included:

  • Site selection
  • Temperature management
  • Moisture management
  • Turning the compost
  • Spreader calibration demonstration
  • Sampling demonstration
  • Understanding analysis reports
  • Economics
  • Compost producer operation visits
  • Compost producer question-and-answer session

There is a lot of great information in the workshop materials. It can be accessed at: www.ag.ndsu.edu/lem/2020-manure-composting-workshop. 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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Handling Sibling Squabbles

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Jamestown Sun 10-14-20

Children may be spending a lot more time at home with their siblings than ever before. All of this togetherness can be positive for learning how to build on this important lifelong relationship.

Siblings have plenty of positive lessons, such as problem solving, becoming resilient, sharing and empathy, to practice, but the occasional (or constant) flare-up still may occur.

As with most relationships, building a good foundation is key. Children need to feel loved, wanted, capable and deeply connected to their parents or primary caregivers. This groundwork leads children to the skills and confidence they need to have other positive, loving relationships.

Spending individual time with each child may be more of a difficulty right now than ever before. Can you creatively carve out a segment of time to spend with each child each day? Think chores. Will one child help with dishes just to get some alone time at the kitchen sink with you? Can a younger sibling read the little ones to sleep so you have time to spend with an older child?

One tried and true method is to acknowledge your child’s emotions with feeling words. When a child races into the room to report angrily a sibling ate the last piece of cake, try:

  • “You sound angry” for young children, or for older kids, say, “You sound irate!” Oftentimes, that is all that may be needed; children want to be heard, understood and validated.
  •  Helping them verbalize their wishes: “You wish she would have saved some cake for you to enjoy, too.”
  • Throwing out a possible solution: “How would you feel about helping me bake something?”

But what if a fight breaks out? Try to let bickering play itself out as an important lesson in conflict resolution, a valuable life skill. If things get a little more intense, help your children out by describing the situation and feelings, without judgment. Tell them you are certain they can work the situation out fairly and reasonably, and walk away. For physical fighting, stop any real fights and send the children to new physical activities in opposite directions to cool off before trying to problem solve.

  • Problem solving involves a meeting. Go over ground rules, such as taking turns talking and listening.
  • Write down each person’s thoughts and feelings without judgment.
  • Together, determine the real problem.
  • Take turns naming solutions and write them all out so everyone can see them - all of them.
  • Cross out any that are not agreed to by all parties, including parents (save the list).
  • Choose an idea to try. Write it out and post it where family members can see the plan. Check back in a day or two to see if the plan is working. If not, choose another idea from your list.
  • Help children learn and practice problem solving steps so they eventually can manage them with little or no guidance.

For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

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Fuel Your Empty Tank With Breakfast

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Jamestown Sun 9-23-20

Do you ever skip breakfast? People have lots of reasons. Maybe they hit the “snooze” button on their alarm clocks one too many times and they didn’t have time to grab something.

Maybe someone ate the last of the cereal and left the empty box in the cupboard. Maybe they just weren’t feeling hungry. Others might be trying to cut some calories out of their diet to lose weight. Some might think that breakfast is only important for kids.

Avoid the Midmorning Slump

After many hours without food, people have an “empty tank” and their energy levels fall. Most people who skip breakfast eventually feel the “midmorning slump.” Their stomachs might grumble, and they might even feel a little shaky.

Regardless of your age, breakfast is a valuable meal for a variety of reasons. Researchers have shown that adult and child breakfast skippers are more likely to be overweight and to have higher blood cholesterol levels.

Children who eat a morning meal are more likely to do well in school and have improved overall nutrition. They pay attention and score higher on tests. They also have better behavior in school. Adults maintain their energy and concentration.

Try these tips:

¨ Keep breakfast foods such as ready-to-eat whole-grain cereal, yogurt, milk and fruit on hand.

¨ Set out the cereal bowls, spoons, cereal box(es) and some bananas before you go to bed. All you need to do is pour cereal, peel and slice bananas and add some milk.

¨ Have some protein, such as yogurt, milk or a hard-cooked egg, with your breakfast. Protein helps you feel full longer.

¨ Build a breakfast burrito bar. Prepare toppings such as shredded cheese, diced ham, tomatoes and olives the night before. In the morning, scramble eggs, warm tortillas and fill with your favorite toppings.

¨ Whip up a fruit and yogurt smoothie or build a yogurt parfait to take on the go.

¨ Try something “trendy” such as avocado toast. Mash an avocado, add your favorite seasonings and spread on whole-grain toast. Top with a sliced hard-cooked eggs.

Tip of the Month

Do you want to enjoy something homemade for breakfast without spending a lot of time in the kitchen?

Try making your favorite muffins, scones and pancakes ahead of time and then freezing for a quick meal later. In the morning, warm each item for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave.

Add some fruit to your plate and a glass of milk or yogurt for a quick meal. Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/recipes for more breakfast ideas.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, Nourish newsletter, Issue 32. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

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Tomatoes Are a Versatile Food

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Jamestown Sun 9-16-20

Can you name the top four vegetables? Do you think tomatoes are on the list?

Potatoes, lettuce and onions are at the top for the most popular fresh-market vegetables, but the tomato comes in just behind these in fourth place.

Tomatoes are grown for the fresh or processed market. Three-fourths of the tomatoes Americans consume are in processed form.

Tomato sauce, which is used on pizza and in pasta sauces, and salsa are the most common uses for tomatoes. Consumption of processed tomatoes has increased steadily since the 1980s due to the rising popularity of pizza, pasta and salsa.

You also can use tomatoes in soups, salads, sandwiches, quiche and relishes, or roasted or stewed. You can eat tomatoes fresh or dry, can or freeze them for later consumption.

A wide range of tomato varieties are grown throughout the world. Tomatoes may be green, red, pink, yellow, orange, burgundy, purple, streaked and striped or black, and will vary in size and flavor.

Tomato varieties that have grown successfully in North Dakota include Celebrity, Big Beef, Big Boy, Health Kick, Sugary, Roma VF, Juliet, Jolly and Early Girl.

Celebrity tomatoes have shown disease resistance and high-quality productivity in a wide range of growing conditions across North America. This variety is a great option for fresh slices or canning.

Early Girl will produce fruit in as little as 52 days, staying true to its name. Due to the short growing season in the Midwest, this is a great choice for a slicing tomato. Roma VF is the most popular canning tomato in our state.

Select tomatoes that are firm, smooth and plump with good color. Green tomatoes will ripen but will not have the same flavor as vine-ripened tomatoes.

Handle tomatoes carefully to reduce bruising. Store them at a cool room temperature away from direct sunlight until ripe, then move them to the refrigerator.

Nutritionally, tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins C and K. They also are a very good source of vitamin A and dietary fiber, and contain less than 20 calories per half cup. Tomatoes also are known for having a high amount of lycopene, a pigment that gives many fruits and vegetables their red color and may offer health benefits.

To learn more about tomatoes and preservation, see the North Dakota State University Extension food preservation website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/food-preservation.

Visit NDSU Extension’s Field to Fork website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork for more information about a variety of specialty crops, including tomatoes.

Here’s an easy recipe to make with your own garden-fresh produce or items you purchased at a farmers market or grocery store.

Fresh Tomato Salsa

3 large tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1 large onion (white or red)
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded, finely chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 to 3 Tbsp. lime juice (fresh or bottled)
1/2 tsp. salt

Rinse, then chop tomatoes and transfer to a bowl. Wearing plastic or rubber gloves, seed and finely chop peppers. Finely chop onion and cilantro. Stir pepper, onion, cilantro and garlic into tomatoes; add lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate.

Makes 14 servings. Each serving has 15 calories, 0 grams (g) fat, 0 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber and 85 milligrams sodium.

Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, can be contacted at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

Soybean Cyst Nematode Testing Program

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Jamestown Sun 9-12-20

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. Each grower can test up to three fields with the pre-marked soil testing bags. Results of the soil tests will be sent directly to the grower 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 2013-2019 SCN surveys. It should be noted that very low levels (50-200) could be false positives. As you can see from the map, Stutsman County has a few confirmed spots of SCN.  

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 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. This is why sampling is so important.  

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.  

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Make Planning and Preparing Meals Family Time

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Jamestown Sun 9-2-20

Fall is a busy time for families as back-to-school and community activities begin. You may think that you have no time for family meals, even if you know they are important.

We all know stopping at the drive through can be expensive and can result in high-calorie food for dinner. Granted, it’s fast.

However, a half-day of grocery shopping, preparing and freezing meals for the week can save resources of time and money. Sharing time teaching your kids in the kitchen how to plan and prepare meals is priceless.

Are you a time saver in the kitchen?

Which statements listed are true of you...

¨ I plan menus and write grocery lists, so I have meal ideas and the food I need.

¨ I sometime prepare portions of a meal in advance.

¨ I sometimes use leftovers as the basis for another meal.

¨ Other people in my household help with meal preparation and cleanup.

¨ I focus preparation efforts on one portion of the meal. For example, if the main course is time-consuming, I fix a simple vegetable or salad.

¨ I assemble equipment, cooking utensils and ingredients before I begin meal preparation.

¨ I use time-saving equipment, such as slow cookers and microwave ovens.

¨ I use the one-pot-method. For example, I add vegetables to pasta as it cooks.

All of the above are time-saving tips. See https://tinyurl.com/NDSUTimeSavingTips to explore menus and ideas to save time. Consider which additional methods will work for you.

Eating out...

Sometimes time is short, and you may need to grab a meal on the run to get to an activity.

If you go out to eat once in a while with your family, you can save some money (and calories) by involving your kids in research about food options and pricing.

Ÿ Are coupons available online or in mailers?

Ÿ Does the restaurant have a daily special?

ŸHow much can you save if everyone drinks water rather than another beverage option?

You can use technology to help you make good restaurant choices. For example, the free app at www.nutritionix.com/brands/restaurant allows you to build a meal at numerous restaurants and explore the nutrition.

If you use technology to help guide your decisions, be sure that everyone puts away the phones when it’s time to eat. Enjoy some good family conversation during your meal.

Here’s a conversation starter: If you could plan a perfect day, what would it be?

Visit The Family Table website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable to find more conversation starters.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 21. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

Dividing Perennials

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Jamestown Sun 8-29-20

Fall is a good time to divide certain perennials. A general rule of thumb is perennials should be divided in the season opposite from when they flower. So, spring flowering perennials should be divided in the fall and fall flowering perennials should be divided in the spring. What about the perennials that flower in the middle of summer? They can be divided either in the spring or fall.

When perennials start to get overgrown, they restrict airflow which can lead to diseases and compete for nutrients and water. Plants starting to have poor flowering, open centers or floppy growth are showing signs that it is time to divide. Dividing helps rejuvenate the plant. Plus it is a great way to start a new patch of the perennial plant in a different location of your garden or share plants with your friends or neighbors.

Fall perennials should be divided about four to six weeks prior to ground freezing to give the new plants time to establish. On average, for our area the first freeze date of the year is around September 15th to September 20th. Late August to early September is a good time to divide and transplant perennials.  

To divide perennials, first cut back plants to about three to four inches to reduce the stress of transplanting. Use a spade of fork to dig up the parent plant. Gently remove excessive soil from the roots. The plant can be divided into smaller sections either by gently pulling roots apart or using a sharp knife or spade. Each division should have three to five healthy shoots and roots to support that plant during transplanting. Discard any woody or old center pieces. Keep division pieces moist (not wet) and in the shade until they are transplanted. They should be transplanted as soon as possible.  

The University of Minnesota Extension has a great publication that explains how often a certain perennial should be divided, when they should be divided and special notes about each perennial. The publication can be found on their website at: tinyurl.com/y82whyr6. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030.

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Proper Food Canning is Vital

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Jamestown Sun 8-19-20

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.

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 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.

For example, home-canned tomatoes need to be acidified with lemon juice or citric acid and properly processed to be safe.

Boiling food will not kill the bacteria, so to can low-acid foods 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.

If you have a favorite salsa recipe that hasn’t been research-tested, the safest way to preserve it is to freeze it rather than canning it.

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 and food from glass 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. Here are some tips for storing canned foods:

* Store them in a cool, clean, dry place where temperatures are below 85 degrees. The 60- to 70-degree range is 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, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/food-preservation You also can contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu.

 

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Ways to Reduce Food Waste

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Jamestown Sun 8-5-20

Do you ever find yourself throwing away food? Maybe you picked up some food on sale and you bought the larger container. Then your family got tired of the food. The food is in the refrigerator getting moldy. We all waste food from time to time.

Wasted food in homes accounts for up to 40% of total food waste, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports. According to its 2017 study, researchers found that 68% of the discarded food was potentially edible.

Unfortunately, fruits and vegetables topped the list of wasted foods, followed by prepared foods and leftovers. Many adults and children do not eat the daily recommendations for fruits and vegetables. We can’t save all the food, but most of us can take steps to reduce food waste at home.

  • Buy what you need and use the ripest fruits first.

 

  • Check out the quality dates on food containers.

 

  • Arrange your cupboards in “first in, first out” order.

 

  • Use your leftovers as lunches.

 

  • Repurpose your leftovers in casseroles, soups, stir-fry, quesadillas or omelets.

 

  • Freeze your leftover fruits, vegetables and other foods.

Check out “Pinchin’ Pennies in the Kitchen” to learn how to make recipes out of what you have on hand. See https://tinyurl.com/pinchinpenniesinkitchen for details to stretch your food budget.

Do you have any fresh vegetables that are nearing the end of their shelf life? Use them or freeze them. Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food to learn more about food preservation.

Explore Composting With Your Family

What can you do with food scraps, such as potato peelings? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food scraps and yard waste make up 20% to 30% of what we throw away and could be composted instead.

In fact, about 58% of the participants in the NRDC study felt less guilty if they composted the food instead of throwing it out.

Compost consists of organic materials that can be added to soil that will help your plants grow. Compost is like “black gold” that can be used in your garden to enrich the soil, reduce the need for fertilizers, reduce the amount of organic waste sent to the landfill and reduce the methane emissions from landfills.

Visit https://tinyurl.com/NDSUCompost to learn about composting.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 20. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

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Learn about Freezing and Other Food Preservation Methods

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Jamestown Sun 7-29-20

Farmers markets are in full swing, and gardeners are beginning their harvest. It is time to start preserving the fresh fruits and vegetables of the season.

Freezing is one of the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming ways of preserving fresh fruit and vegetables for later use.

The cold stops the growth of microorganisms and slows down changes that spoil food and affect food quality.

First, select fresh, firm fruit or vegetables that are free of damage. Freeze them within a few hours of harvest if possible.

Did you know some vegetables freeze better than others? For example, thawed cabbage, celery, cucumbers, endive, lettuce, parsley and radishes are limp and water-logged, and quickly develop an oxidized color, aroma and flavor.

Did you also know that some fruits, such as peaches, apricots, pears and apples, darken quickly when exposed to air and can darken when thawed? Adding ascorbic acid will prevent that discoloration.

To learn more about freezing and other food preservation methods, you can attend free online food preservation workshops being hosted by NDSU Extension-Stutsman County agent, Christina Rittenbach.

Starting in August, four online workshops will be offered. This event is online only; there will not be an in-person component. All workshops will be held from 12:00 – 1:00 PM on their respective days.

  • August 11 – Freezing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
  • August 18 – Preserving Jams and Jellies
  • August 25 – Preserving Salsa
  • September 1 – Preserving Pickles

Preregistration is required and will allow you to get the link for the workshop. You can register for any or all workshops on the Stutsman County Extension website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension

For additional information about freezing fruits and vegetables or other food preservation methods, you can contact Rittenbach at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu or visit the North Dakota State University Extension website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food.

 

Pyrethroid Resistant Soybean Aphids

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Jamestown Sun 7-25-20

Soybean aphid populations were found in North Dakota during the 2017 growing season with reduced pyrethroid effectiveness from nine North Dakota counties, including Cass and Barnes counties. This is a concern as insecticide options for soybean aphid treatment are limited. Fortunately during the 2018 and 2019 growing seasons, soybean aphid populations were low which meant there were not as many insecticide applications. However, soybean aphids were collected in 2019 from a Grand Forks County field that were fairly resistant to bifenthrin (Brigade 2EC and generics) with 60-70% of the aphids surviving and resistance to lambda-cyhalothrin (Warrior II and generics) with up to a 50% survival rate. Pyrethroid resistant soybean aphid populations are most likely established in ND or are migrating into ND from other resistant areas. 

The economic threshold for soybean aphids is 250 aphids per plant with increasing populations in 80% of the field. Waiting to treat for soybean aphids until the population reaches economic threshold avoids unnecessary insecticide applications which is important for several reasons.  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 mode of action group.

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
  • Do not apply insecticide applications during windy conditions, a temperature inversion or very hot weather as those application conditions can 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 usually are not recommended from a resistance management standpoint because they usually contain a reduced rate of at least one active ingredient. 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 Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030.

 

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Stutsman County Extension Office Hosting Free Summer Meals for All Youth and Teens

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Jamestown Sun 7-15-20

Stutsman County Extension office is pleased to announce that they are once again hosting the Free Summer Meals Program for youth and teens through the USDA and Great Plains Food Bank.

Other site locations include the Hansen Arts Park and the Jamestown Parks and Recreation are hosting sites at the Two Rivers Activity Center, Nickeus Park and Leapaldt Park.

Childhood hunger is a year-round issue, but the problem is especially critical during the summer months when children do not have access to the school lunch program. This is why the Great Plains Food Bank launched it Youth Summer Meals Program to give kids the chance for a nutritious meal at time when other options might not be available.

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. These programs are designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children get the nutritious meals they need.

USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides meals at no cost to All children 18 years and younger. Under normal circumstances, the meals are served in a group setting.

However, due to the pandemic and social distancing... this summer, the meals will be grab-and-go (non-congregate), and parents/guardians are able to pick up meals for their child. This is also available to any families in the surrounding communities.

The Stutsman County Extension Office is a curbside pickup for summer meals, Monday through Friday until August 19. Service time is from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm at our location.

There are different entrees available for youth to choose from, including WOW Butter, SunButter, cheese stick, chicken bites, and beef sticks, accompanied by healthy options, such as fruit. The kid’s favorite entrees are the chicken bites and beef sticks.

Parents are able to pre-order the meals for their families prior to service at the Stutsman County Extension site only by calling (701) 252-9030. They can pick up more than one-day’s worth of meals (up to five days), which is a great convenience for the families.

At the extension site in June, there were 1335 meals provided to families with the help of volunteers from the Jamestown Volunteer Center.

Families can use the USDA Meals for Kids Site Find to find directions to nearby sites as well as hours of operation and contact information. To use the interactive map, visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/meals4kids.

You can also visit www.greatplainsfoodbank.org website, Child Nutrition Programs – Summer Meals to learn about the various programs in our state. 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 Ready for the Canning Season

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Jamestown Sun 7-8-20

Summer is a great time to enjoy fresh vegetables. But with proper preparation and planning, you can enjoy produce from your garden, grocery store or local farmers market all year long.

Canning properly so your food is safe is a must, so check to make sure you have up-to-date and appropriate equipment for the canning you plan to do.

If you intend to can low-acid foods such as most vegetables, meat, poultry and fish, you will need to use a pressure canner. A properly working pressure canner will reach a temperature of 240° F. Processing low-acid foods for the proper amount of time in a pressure canner kills harmful and potentially deadly bacteria.

Be sure to have your pressure canner’s pressure gauge checked annually for accuracy. Gauges can be checked at the Stutsman County Extension office free of charge, and it only takes a couple of minutes.

When canning acidic foods such as fruits, pickles, jams, jellies, sauerkraut and most tomato products, you will need to use a boiling water-bath canner. When you can tomatoes, you also need to add lemon juice or citric acid to acidify them because some tomato varieties are lower in acid than others.

You should examine the rest of your equipment to see if you need to buy anything new. For example, check all jars for cracks, dents and chips. Throw away any damaged jars because they may not seal properly, which is a safety hazard.

If your jars are very old and have been reused many times, you may need to purchase new ones. Old jars may break under the pressure and heat. Mason jars are best because they are designed specifically for home canning.

After examining your jars, inspect your lids and screw bands. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that home food preservers use two-piece, self-sealing metal lids. Throw away used metal lids; never reuse them. You can reuse the screw bands as long as they are not damaged or bent.

Next, be sure your canning instructions are up to date and reliable. Recipes from family and friends may be tempting to use, but you don’t know if they were scientifically tested for safety.

Visit the NDSU Extension’s website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food for free canning information and some tasty, research-tested recipes. You also can contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent at 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu, or visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation website at http://nchfp.uga.edu/ for more information.

 

NDSU Updated Soybean Planting Rate and Row Spacing Recommendations

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Jamestown Sun 7-1-20

NDSU’s traditional recommendation for an established soybean plant population has been 150,000 plants per acre across all row spacings. From 2008 to 2019, NDSU has been collected planting rate by row spacing data. The large dataset has allowed NDSU to reevaluate the current soybean planting recommendation.

In the dataset, soybean planting rates ranged from 60,000 to 220,000 pure live seed per acre and row spacings ranged from 7 inches to 30 inches. Test plot data was collected from across the whole state. Below is the summary of the dataset:

-          Across North Dakota plot locations and row spacings, the planting rate of about 170,000 pure live seed per acre optimized soybean seed yield, while optimum yield occurred with 180,000 and about 140,000 pure live seed per acre in eastern and western North Dakota, respectively.

-          In eastern trials, 8% of planted pure live seed per acre did not develop into viable soybean plants. Assuming 8% of pure live seed does not result in established planted across North Dakota, and using 170,000 pure live seed per acre, about 155,000 plants per acre would be expected to maximize yield.    

-          Across North Dakota or by regions, narrow rows (less than 15 inches) consistently provided the greatest soybean yield.

-          In eastern North Dakota, the combination of narrow rows (12 to 14 inches) and planting rates of about 170,000 pure live seed per acre provided optimum yield. If planting in wide rows (24 to 30 inches), planting rates to reach the optimum yield were about 190,000 pure live seed per acre.

-          In western North Dakota, the combination of narrow rows (7 to 10 inches) and planting rates of about 150,000 pure live seed per acre provided optimum yield.

A new NDSU Extension publication, “Soybean Response to Planting Rates and Row Spacing in North Dakota (A1961), has just been published that explains the dataset and goes into more detail about the concluded summary. The publication can be found online at: www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications. For more information, contact Alicia at the Extension office at 701-252-9030 or alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu. 

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Try These Tips for Good Digestive Health

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Jamestown Sun 6-24-20

We can develop digestive problems at any age, but they are more likely to occur as we get older. Prevention is the best medicine for health problems, including digestive system issues, for people of all ages. Make healthful eating and regular physical activity part of your family life.

Some digestive disorders are caused by changes that happen in the digestive tract with age. Common digestive system disorders include constipation, diverticular disease, ulcers and stomach bleeding, swallowing problems, colon polyps and heartburn.

Here are some tips for protecting your digestive health and for overall well-being:

Eat more fiber. As we age, the digestive tract slows down, just like other bodily functions. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Make half your grain choices whole grains.

Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking water and other fluids, such as orange juice with pulp, can keep you hydrated and help ease constipation.

Stay active. In addition to its other benefits, regular physical activity can help prevent constipation.

Manage your weight. Many health problems can be prevented by maintaining a healthful weight, which also can reduce the number of medications you need to take. Medications can cause digestive side effects. Limit the fat in your diet, choose healthful portions and select whole foods instead of processed foods to help you manage your weight.

Check your meds. Many medications used to manage chronic conditions such as arthritis and high blood pressure can have digestive tract side effects. If you take a diuretic, you are at an increased risk for dehydration.

Get regular health screenings. Talk to your doctor about any concerning symptoms you are having and ask about regular screenings. According to 2018 guidelines, people at average risk for colon cancer should begin screening at age 45.

For more information on this topic, go to WebMD at https://tinyurl.com/webmddigestion.

Question: I know I don’t eat enough fiber-containing foods. Do you have some suggestions?

Try adding extra vegetables to soups, stews and casseroles. Add more lentils, beans and split peas to your diet. You can perk up the fiber in your diet with these simple swaps.

       Higher-fiber choice

White bread.......................Whole-grain bread

Instant or white rice...........Brown rice

Canned fruit or juice..........Fresh fruit with skins

Potato chips.......................Popcorn

Chocolate chips.................Raisins

Cream of tomato soup.......Lentil or split-pea soup

Low-fiber cereal.................Bran cereal

Sugar cookies....................Oatmeal raisin cookies

White flour.........................Whole-wheat flour

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, Nourish newsletter, Issue 18. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

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Summer is the Perfect Time to Practice Home-Alone Skills

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Jamestown Sun 6-17-20

If you’re thinking about having your children go home alone after school in the fall, start now to teach skills, define rules and encourage them to be in charge while you’re nearby.

North Dakota guidelines for children staying at home alone allow 9-year-olds to take on this responsibility for up to two hours during daylight hours, but there is much more to this important decision than age alone.

Are your children prepared for the many situations that may arise? Are they mature enough? Would they know what to do if they came home after school and the door was unlocked? Are they emotionally ready? Will they be too frightened to stay home alone?

Also, consider children’s physical and cognitive abilities. Are they able to think on their feet if a pet gets out of the house? Can they safely reach the microwave to heat a snack? Think about the location of the home and proximity to a trusted adult who could help if your children were in trouble.

According to ParentsLead.org, children must be able to get home from school safely; use keys, or a code to get in the door and lock it once inside; know their full name, phone number and address in case of emergency; have access to and know how to use the phone; and know when and how to call 911 or a trusted adult for help. Do they know how to safely make a snack, do homework on their own, follow simple rules, do basic first aid and understand how to tell time?

Encourage your children to discuss their feelings about being home alone. If they are afraid, talk about it, practice being away for only 10-15 minutes at a time and be open to making care arrangements if your children are not ready to stay home alone without fear.

Establish rules. This avoids confusion about what you expect and adds to the children’s sense of security. Consider how they will check in with a parent when they arrive home after school. Can the parent take a call at work? Are the children allowed to use the internet, video games and movies? Discuss food, chores, friends, appliances, activities and other possible scenarios, and write out responses.

Have your children practice being in charge while you are outside in the yard or taking a nap. When you and your children feel confident, start by running errands close by and work up to a two-hour time frame. Review the home-alone time each time you return so you can address any issues and plan for the next time.

For additional information, see the N.D. Department of Human Services and Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota brochure “Home Alone: Is Your Child Ready?” at www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/family.html.

Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, can be contacted at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

###

Source: Kim Bushaw, NDSU family science specialist, 701-231-7450, kim.bushaw@ndsu.edu

Dicamba Tolerant Soybean Weed Control

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Jamestown Sun 6-13-20

On June 3rd, the 9th Circuit Court ruled to cancel the federal registrations for XtendiMax, FeXapan and Engenia effective immediately. On June 5th, the North Dakota Department of Ag announced in a press release: “At this time, the EPA has not directed the state to cancel its state registrations of XtendiMax, FeXapan and Engenia”. This means until further notice, North Dakota will allow applications of XtendiMax, FeXapan and Engenia under the North Dakota 24c Special Local Needs (SLN) label for these specific products [as of June 8th when this article was written]. This is very fluid situation and applicators should keep up-to-date on any further announcements from the EPA and the North Dakota Department of Ag that may affect the legal status of applying these products.

What herbicides should farmers plan to use if they are not able to apply XtendiMax, FeXapan, or Engenia on their Xtend soybeans? The following herbicide recommendations come from Joe Ikley, NDSU Extension Weed Specialist, and Tom Peters, NDSU Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist:

Waterhemp – It is safe to assume that any waterhemp is resistant to ALS-inhibiting (Group 2) herbicides. Glyphosate-resistance is also present on most acres, though not all plants will be resistant. Glyphosate is most effective on waterhemp up to two leaves when applied at labeled rates with adjuvants. The best remaining options would be PPO-inhibiting (Group 14) herbicides. Flexstar (fomesafen), Cobra, or Ultra Blazer could all be used on small waterhemp. The addition of oil adjuvants will be important for weed control. Flexstar cannot be applied after June 20th west of Highway 281. Read the Flexstar label to for rate restrictions based on location. 

Common lambsquarters – Glyphosate has historically provided variable control of common lambsquarters. Harmony (thifensulfuron) will be one of our best options left for the Xtend acres.

Kochia – Glyphosate is the best option for those who do not have glyphosate-resistant kochia. For the acres with glyphosate-resistance, Flexstar is one of the few remaining options and must be applied to small plants. Flexstar will work best by maximizing spray coverage and using full rates of oil adjuvants.

Common ragweed – Glyphosate, FirstRate, and Flexstar are the best remaining options for common ragweed control. We do have several populations resistant to glyphosate and FirstRate, so do not expect control with either product on those populations.

Horseweed/marestail – The safe assumption for horseweed is that it is glyphosate-resistant. This leaves FirstRate as the best remaining option. However, we do have some populations that are also resistant to FirstRate. Unfortunately, we are left with no effective postemergence options in Xtend soybean for horseweed populations that are resistant to both glyphosate and FirstRate.

It is important to remember some of the best practices for applying these alternate options. For instance, Group 14 herbicides are contact herbicides that work better with higher carrier volumes and smaller droplets. Flexstar can also have carryover issues for rotational crops like corn and sugarbeet. Basagran is another herbicide option that can help control these weeds. However, we must reset weed control expectations compared to dicamba and target weeds smaller than 1 inch. Many weeds we are hoping to control may already be larger than 1 inch, so inconsistent control could be expected. Now is also a good time to reinforce the use of tank-mixing Group 15 herbicides with your postemergence applications for waterhemp control. The Group 15 herbicides will not control any emerged plants, but will help control later emerging waterhemp.

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

  

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Grow Your Own Leafy Greens

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Jamestown Sun 6-3-20

Do any of your family members avoid green veggies? Have them help you with gardening and they may change their minds.

Children who help grow foods are more likely to eat their vegetables, according to many researchers. Children learn about science and nutrition in the process.

Lettuce can be an “early crop” for gardeners in the Midwestern states. You can grow some in a pot on your front step, as long as you keep your plants watered. You can harvest as soon as the plants produce leaves.

Leafy greens provide vitamins A, C and K. Leafy greens that are darker usually are more nutritious. See “From Garden to Table: Leafy Greens!” at http://tinyurl.com/NDSUExtensionLeafyGreens for more information about growing and preparing lettuce.

Remember Food Safety

To clean leafy greens, rinse them in cool, running water. Young children can help with this task.

Sometimes soil can be difficult to remove, so place the leafy greens in a bowl of cool water and allow them to sit for a couple of minutes to loosen the soil. Rinse and remove excess moisture by blotting the lettuce with a clean paper towel or by placing the greens in a salad spinner.

Disconnect From Screens, Reconnect with Nature

If your family has gotten a little “screen-eyed” and lethargic, now is the time to put down those phones, tablets and remotes, and go outdoors.

Make the commitment to spend 60 minutes outside with your kids every day possible. Leave the screens indoors so the temptation to check them is out of sight - even if it is not out of mind.

If you think your bunch is ready for a big screen break, go to www.screenfree.org to download an entire week’s worth of activities for families, as well as reasons why taking a break from technology is so important.

Savor the Savings with Outdoor Activities

Having fun in the summer doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Physical exercise will come naturally outside as you work up dirt for planting, find the summer toys and tools, and, most importantly, play!

What did you do outside when you were young? Relay races, Frisbee, whiffle ball, tree tag? Keep the tradition alive by teaching your children some of your favorites. Ask siblings, cousins and grandparents about their outdoor play and incorporate those into the summer reunions.

Gardening provides opportunities for fun, exercise and food for your family. Start small with gardening. Try square-foot gardening. Read all about it at http://tinyurl.com/NDSUExtensionSquareFoot.

Kids love small gardens because of their reasonable size and ease of planting and weeding.

A garden provides everyone a lot to learn about, look at, talk about, tend and water. Kids learn where vegetables come from, and everyone can enjoy eating the “fruits” of their labor together at the family table.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 17. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

Needle Cast Disease in Spruce Trees

By Alicia Harstad

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. 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 but treatment for both is similar.      

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. 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 an example of one tradename). The fungicide should be applied to the whole tree to prevent the disease from spreading to the new needle growth.

Treatment for needle cast is two properly-timed applications of chlorothalonil per year. 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 for the first application. The second application should occur two to three weeks after the first application.

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 alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.    

 

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Spring Clean Your Way to a Safer Kitchen

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Jamestown Sun 5-13-20

Many people have been home bound due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the green grass begins to pop up outdoors, we often feel energized to do some projects.

After a long winter, tackling a “spring cleaning” of our refrigerator and kitchen cupboards might be a good place to start.

Check out the foods in your refrigerator. Could some of the foods become your dinner? If any of the foods are moldy or well past their “best if used by” date, toss them.

Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/food-preparation to learn how to make soup, casseroles, omelets and other foods with the leftovers in your refrigerator. Check out the “Pinchin’ Pennies in the Kitchen” series.

Sort the foods in your cupboards. Are your cupboards arranged in “first-in first-out” order? Are similar items (tomatoes, canned fruit) grouped together? Do you write the date of purchase on the foods you buy?

Check out the new “What’s in Your Home Food Pantry?” handout (available at www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn1706.pdf) for some ideas of foods to keep on hand.

Try these kitchen cleaning tips. Harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, Staphylococcus, E. coli and Listeria can lurk in our kitchens. Try these tips from the national Fight BAC campaign:

  • Clean surfaces. Wash countertops with hot, soapy water, then sanitize them. You can use a commercial disinfecting kitchen cleaner or make your own “sanitizer” with 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water. Put the bleach mixture in a spray bottle or wipe it on with a clean rag. Finally, blot dry with a clean paper towel or allow to air dry.
  • Disinfect dishcloths. Bacteria love to grow on dishcloths because they often are moist and provide some “food” for them. Use the hot water cycle of the washing machine and dry them in the dryer.
  • Clean your refrigerator. Wash the refrigerator surfaces with hot, soapy water and rinse with a damp cloth. Do not use a chlorine-based sanitizer in your refrigerator because it can damage seals, gaskets and linings.
  • Clean the kitchen sink drain and disposal. Pour a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water down the drain once or twice a week.
  • Disinfect frequently touched areas. To “disinfect” surfaces such as door knobs, handles, toilets and faucets, follow the directions on the disinfectant container. See the guidance at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html.

Question: Is our food safe?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, “there is no evidence to suggest that food produced in the United States or imported from countries affected by COVID-19 can transmit COVID-19.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, Nourish newsletter, Issue 28. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

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Tips for Sandwich Generation Caregivers During COVID-19

By Christina Rittenbach

Family caregivers have a big responsibility on any given day, but news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the effects it may have on people with suppressed immune systems and older adults with chronic illness are especially concerning.

COVID-19 has thrust many family members into caregiving roles for the first time and, at the same time, required existing caregivers to adapt to how they carry out their caregiving responsibility.

Caregivers are of many different types. For example, an estimated 28% of caregivers are “sandwiched” between caring for an aging parent or older adult while also raising their own children. These caregivers often are balancing the demands of work and school.

Sandwich generation caregivers juggle multiple responsibilities, such as school, work, child care, self-care and other tasks of daily life in addition to caregiving responsibilities for an adult. When balancing caregiving with the other demands of life becomes difficult, caregivers often feel overwhelmed and stressed.

The need to balance life and caregiving becomes increasingly important for the caregiver’s own health and well-being. Here are some strategies for those faced with caring for children and older family members:

  • Set clear boundaries. State what you can and cannot do and be comfortable saying “no.”
  • Prioritize important activities. Let go of “nonessential” activities right now.
  • Ask for help. Seek out friends, neighbors, co-workers, kids and church family to help with tasks.
  • Communicate. Keep other family members updated through email, text groups or other apps.
  • Plan ahead. Research what services, such as adult day care and respite care, are available in your community.
  • Talk to your employer. Check on telecommuting options, flexible work schedules and leave policies
  • Seek balance. Focus on the needs of your family and yourself.

Sandwich generation caregivers are providing an important source of support and love to family members. From their role, these caregivers often experience feelings of satisfaction and meaning in their lives.

However, many caregivers typically feel highly strained and overwhelmed with the emotional, physical and financial burden taking a toll them. Recognizing the potential stressors associated with being “sandwiched” between caring for their children and an aging parent is imperative for caregivers. Implementing positive strategies to better care for themselves while they care for others is even more critical for caregivers in this time of COVID-19,to

For more resources on family caregiving or opportunities for education, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/aging/caregiving or contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 701-252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu.

 

Spring Planting Recommendations

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 5-2-20

Below are some spring planting recommendations for wheat, corn and soybeans.

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. Corn is a warm season grass and germinates at a soil temperature of 50°F. It also needs 110 growing degree-days (GDDs) before it emerges from the soil (use soil temperature in calculating GDDs rather than air temperature). Corn that takes longer to emerge in cold soils has a greater risk of seedling diseases and variability in emergence 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. If possible, avoid planting right before a cold rain event to help prevent uneven corn emergence. Fortunately, the soil does warm up quickly this time of year with sunny conditions. As you get towards the end of May, consider switching to an earlier maturating variety.

Soybeans

Soybeans are a warm season broadleaf that germinates 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 seeded 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.

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. If you end up in a situation where you are deciding between planting late or prevent plant, NDSU Extension has a spread sheet analyzer to compare the economics between the two options. The prevented planting analysis tool can be found at: www.ag.ndsu.edu/farmmanagement/prevented-planting     

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

 

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Taking Care of Ourselves and Our Families

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 4-25-20

In times of stress, such as during this COVID-19 outbreak, many of us feel like rolling into a ball and protecting ourselves. This position may work for a while, but eventually we should unroll, stand up and take control of what is in our control.

This includes taking care of ourselves and our families. Nutritious foods, physical exercise and good sleep are key ingredients in staying healthy. Connect with your family over physical exercise. It can be low or no cost. It will improve everyone’s attitude, sleep and energy. Outdoor activity is especially good when we are feeling isolated and secluded.

Try shoveling; raking; walking; biking; sledding; skiing; climbing; pulling; pushing; walking faster; touching your toes, head, shoulders, knees and toes (sing loudly while doing the actions); skipping; galloping; or walking on an imaginary tight-rope. Whew!

Play charades where each person acts out a sport or physical activity that the individual would like to try. Write them down and use the list to plan future family activities.

What are you already doing well as a family around physical activity? What would you like to add or change?

Morning workouts not your thing? If you can’t carve out alone time to exercise, multitasking during your kid’s activities is a great way to keep the family fit. Walk or jog around the ball field with the rest of the family, or do strength work or stretching at the park to keep everyone moving for better health.

What to Do When Your Income Drops

An abrupt reduction in family income, such as if your employer closes during the COVID-19 outbreak, can be a traumatic experience psychologically and financially. But you have ways you and your family can minimize the hardship.

First, don’t panic. Give yourself time to get over the initial shock and then start making plans. Don’t blame yourself or anyone else. Just concentrate on dealing with the situation. Here are some things you can do:

  • Take stock of family and community resources. If you are experiencing food shortages in your home, there are several options in our community for obtaining food. Check out the Food Assistance/Stutsman County publication, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/efnep-snap-ed/local-food-assistance to learn more.
  • Recognize that your life will be different, at least for a while, but you and your family still can be in control of your household financial affairs.
  • Start making adjustments immediately by setting priorities for spending.
  • Involve the entire family in setting these priorities.
  • Plan to pay creditors and protect family welfare.

 Make every effort to maintain positive family relationships and not allow financial pressures to destroy these bonds. Recognize that family income will be reduced and the past level of spending will have to be lowered.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 28. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

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Food Safety and COVID-19: Tips for Keeping You Safe

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 4-18-20

You may have heard with the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that you should be washing your food with detergent, dish soap or even bleach to prevent you from getting the virus. Don’t do that!

Here some facts you need to know about food safety and the coronavirus.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that COVID-19 is not transmitted through food or food packaging. Although some diseases are spread through food, such as norovirus, COVID-19 is spread through human-to-human contact.

Even though COVID-19 is not transmitted through food, incorporating food safety practices into your everyday life still is important. The FDA’s four key steps of food safety are clean, separate, cook and chill.

Clean:

  • Always wash your hands before cleaning and preparing food. Wet your hands with warm water, use soap to scrub all over your hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds, rinse with warm water and dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Do not wash meat. This can cause harmful bacteria to spray over other food and kitchen counters.
  • Clean utensils, cutting boards and countertops with hot, soapy water.
  • Rinse produce under cool running water. Gently rub to get rid of dirt and bacteria before cutting, peeling or preparing.
  • Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumber.
  • Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towels to further reduce bacteria.

 Separate:

  • Do not cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood away from ready-to-eat foods such as cheese, deli meats, fruits and vegetables from the time of purchase to the time of consumption. Keep raw meats on the lowest shelves in the refrigerator and separate from all other foods. Be sure to use plates or containers to catch their juices.
  • Use different cutting boards for different foods. For example, use one cutting board for meat, one for poultry, one for fresh produce and one for seafood.
  • Always clean your cutting boards, plates and utensils before reusing them for a different task.

Cook:

  • Be sure to cook foods to the right temperature: 165° F for all poultry and for reheating foods (casseroles, fully cooked ham); 160° F for ground meats (beef, pork) and egg dishes; 145° F for whole cuts of meat such as pork and ham (raw pork), beef, lamb, veal and fish; and 140° F for hot-holding dishes.
  • When using a microwave, be sure to cover food, stir and rotate for even heating.

 Chill:

  • Do not let food sit for more than two hours in the “temperature danger zone” (40° F to 140° F).
  • Keep your refrigerator below 40° F and the freezer below 0° F.
  • Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours after preparation.
  • Safely defrost food. Do not defrost food at room temperature. Defrost food in the refrigerator or the microwave, or under cool running water.

 For more information, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu 

Sources:  

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist and Rachel Landmark, NDSU dietetic intern.

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions. (March 31, 2020). Retrieved March 31, 2020, from www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

Starting Seeds Indoors

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 4-11-20

This is a great time to get seeds started indoors. Are you looking for a seed source? We are lucky in Stutsman County that the Stutsman County Library hosts a seed library that is organized by the Jamestown Community Gardens. The seed library provides free seeds to those who are interested. The Stutsman County Library is currently closed to public visitors. However, if you call the Stutsman County Library (701-252-1531) staff can tell you what seeds are available and prepare your order for curb side pick-up. It is a great resource that we are lucky to have.

When deciding when to start seeds, you will want to back date from the time you estimate to transplant seedlings into the garden. On average for this area, the last frost free date is about May 13th. Most transplants should be planted in the garden about two weeks after the last frost date. This puts us at an estimated planting date around the week of Memorial Day. Now is a great time to get seeds started for plants such as peppers and tomatoes that should be started 6-8 weeks prior to transplanting. Other plants such as cucumbers and squash should be started end of April or early May since they only require three to four weeks of growth time before transplanting.  

Seeds can be started using either seed starter mix (usually made up of peat moss, compost and perlite) or regular potting soil. Do not use topsoil or soil from the garden as true soil usually does not provide good enough drainage and can harbor diseases and weed seeds. Seeds should be kept in a warm location about 70° to 80°F to promote germination. A heating pad may help start germination but is not required. On seedlings have germinated, keeping the seedlings at room temperature is sufficient. Keep seedlings in a sunny location to ensure they receive enough light and if needed supplement with a grow light. Keep seedlings moist but not wet. Seedlings that are overwatered will start to damping off and die.

Before transplanting seedlings to the garden, you will want to harden off or acclimate the seedlings to the outdoors first. This can be done by setting the seedlings outdoors for short period of time to begin with (an hour or two) and gradually increasing the time spent outdoors and decreasing the amount of water they receive. Choose a shaded, shelter spot outside to harden seedlings. If possible, choose a cloudy, calm day to transplant seedlings into the garden to help avoid transplant shock.         

For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030, go online at: www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension or e-mail Alicia Harstad at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.

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Let's Review the CDC Recommendations

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 4-4-20

Almost every newscast begins with “breaking news” about COVID-19, a specific strain of the corona family of viruses that has caused many illnesses and deaths. Have you been listening?

Try these questions about strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These steps can reduce our risk of becoming ill from a variety of viruses, including colds and the flu:

How long should we wash our hands (in seconds)?

Wash your hands with soapy water for a minimum of 20 seconds. That’s the amount of time to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. The next time you wash your hands, I challenge you to watch the second hand on a watch as you scrub and sing.

You stop to wash your hands before eating lunch in a restaurant. What are the first two steps in the handwashing process?

The first steps in the handwashing process are turning on the water and wetting your hands. After scrubbing and rinsing, wipe your hands with a clean paper towel and shut off the faucet with the paper towel. Or use a hand dryer. Use your elbow or your paper to open the exit door to leave the restroom.

If handwashing facilities are not close, using hand sanitizer is an option. What percent alcohol should your hand sanitizer be?

Hand sanitizers should be at least 60% alcohol.

You wake up feeling sick with a fever and chills and you need to be at work in less than an hour. What should you do?

If you are sick, call your employer. Stay home and rest to avoid spreading illness.

Does the CDC recommend facemasks for general use by people in the community?

The CDC does not recommend that the general public wear a facemask to protect against respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. However, health-care workers and people caring for sick individuals should wear an approved facemask.

 If you are coughing or sneezing, how can you help protect yourself and others?

Use a tissue to cover your cough or sneezes, then discard the tissue in the trash. Or sneeze into your elbow.

About how far (in feet) should you maintain a distance between yourself and others who might be sick?

Experts recommend keeping a distance of 6 feet.

Hand-to-hand contact can spread germs. What are some alternatives to handshakes?

 Try a wave or fist bump instead of the typical handshake.

 See www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html for more information about protecting yourself and others.

 Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, Nourish newsletter, Issue 27. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

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Older Adults and Family Caregivers: Dealing with COVID-19

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 3-28-20

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has important information for people who are at risk for serious illness from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).  People who may be at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness include:

  • Older adults
  • People with serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

 Many older adults live in the community, and some may depend on services and supports delivered in their homes and/or provided in the community in order to maintain their independence and health.  As a friend or neighbor, what can you do to help older adults in your community?

  • Make an extra effort to reach out by phone or email to the older adults in your neighborhood.  Ask if they need help picking up groceries, prescriptions or other supplies to have on hand.
  • Assure them that you and other community and social networks are available to support them during this challenging time.  Initiating more frequent contact may be reassuring to older adults who are staying home as much as possible and have limited social contact.

 Family caregivers have a big responsibility on any given day, but news about COVID-19 and the effects it may have on people with suppressed immune systems and older adults is especially concerning.  So what can you and your family do?

  • Be an advocate for your family member’s needs and assure they receive appropriate health care services.
  • If you are a family caregiver, stay updated on the latest facts on COVID-19 from credible sources, like the CDC or local and state health departments.
  • Know the potential COVID-19 symptoms and warning signs and consult your medical provider, if indicated.
  • Know what support you need from your family and friends and how to delegate out these responsibilities. 
  • Determine who can provide care if you or the formal care provider is unable to do so.
  • Communicate your anxiety or fear for yourself and your loved ones becoming exposed to the virus. Fear can grow to a point where it hinders a family’s ability to share feelings as tensions mount.  Talking through our concerns and feelings with others can help us find helpful ways of dealing with a stressful situation.
  • Most importantly, take care of yourself.  You may feel overwhelmed by the constant, rapidly changing, and often conflicting information provided by the media regarding the growing danger of COVID-19.  It is critical during this time to take care of both your physical and emotional health.

For more information on family caregiving, contact Christina Rittenbach, NDSU Extension agent, at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

Moldy Cattle Feed

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 3-21-20

Before I start my article, I just wanted to remind people that Extension will not be hosting any face-to-face meetings through April 5th. If you were planning to attend any Extension meeting across the state between now and April 5th, please call/e-mail the organizer for postponement plans. 

The following information was written by Karl Hoppe, Extension Livestock Systems Specialist from the Carrington Research Extension Center about moldy cattle feed and whether or not to feed it. 

How much mold is too much when feeding beef cattle? The goal is to feed very little mold but sometimes that’s an unrealistic expectation in the ranching business. The two most common sources of mold for cattle are hay and silage.

It is extremely difficult to make hay in high rainfall regions without some mold. Untimely rains allow for mold growth in the windrow before baling and when hay is baled too wet, the molds will grow inside the round bale. Looks are deceiving since the hay bales can look fine on the outside but are moldy on the inside.  If bales are ground or shredded, we never see the mold in the hay bale other than an abnormal dust cloud.

Corn silage that isn’t covered with plastic will develop several layers of mold. The top, black mold layer is decomposed feed. It has lost most of its feed value and should be discarded and not fed. The next mold layer is white and shows the transition between the non-fermented and fermented silage pile. Usually the white mold layer is drier than the fermented part of the silage pile since it lost moisture due to exposure to sun and wind.

With the ongoing, late corn harvest in eastern North Dakota, molds are being seen on wet, light test weight corn. An NDSU Extension resource on moldy corn can be found here: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/crops/corn-ear-molds-basic-questions-and-answers/pp1451.pdf.

Experience indicates that beef cattle can consume some mold without too many problems.  However, when sporadic abortions occur in a cow herd, mold or fungal abortions are incriminated. Testing for abortions caused by mycotoxins (toxins caused by molds) at the NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) should include both the fetus and the placenta.

If you suspect molds are present in your stored feeds, you are encouraged to contact your local NDSU Extension agent.  There is an ongoing effort to collect samples of moldy, stored feeds which will help develop a stored feed research testing procedure and program at the NDSU VDL.  

For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030, go online at: www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension or e-mail Alicia Harstad at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.

 

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Ask Yourself Some Questions This Month

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 3-14-20

Let this month be a springboard toward more healthful eating.

Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics works with nutrition professionals to focus attention on making informed choices. How do you answer these questions?

Yes or No: Do you include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis?

Yes or No: Do you select more healthful options when eating away from home?

Yes or No: Are you mindful of portion sizes?

Yes or No: Do you help reduce food waste by considering the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store?

Yes or No: Do you make food safety part of your everyday routine?

Yes or No: Do you do physical activities that you enjoy?

Yes or No: Are you physically active most days of the week?

Consider these tips:

Explore new foods and flavors

When shopping, select a fruit, vegetable or whole grain that’s new to you or your family. Try different versions of familiar foods such as blue potatoes, red leaf lettuce or basmati rice.

Get the most nutrition out of your calories

Choose the most nutritionally rich foods you can from each food group each day – those packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but lower in calories. Use added salt, sugars and fats sparingly.

Get cooking

Cooking at home can be healthful, rewarding and cost effective. Try new recipes and incorporate the best of them into your favorite meals.

Enact family mealtime

Research shows that family meals promote more healthful eating. If you have children or grandchildren, involve them in meal planning and cooking, and use this time to talk about healthful foods.

Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food for numerous recipes and healthful eating tips.

QUESTION: What’s the difference between added sugars and natural sugars?

Added sugars are not found naturally in foods. Food processors add these sweeteners for various reasons, including flavor. We add these sweeteners in our homes. Added sugars include brown sugar or white sugar, which provide calories from carbohydrate. They do not provide vitamins or minerals and other nutrition.

Other foods have natural sugars. For example, dairy products contain the natural sugar lactose. Dairy products provide protein, vitamin D and calcium. Fruits and vegetables provide some natural sugars as well, but they also provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

In coming months, you will see Nutrition Facts labels with “added sugars” listed.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, Nourish newsletter, Issue 14. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

 

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Connect with Family Around the Table

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 2-22-20

You have many ways to connect with all of the “loves” in your life: your children or grandchildren. Humans are born needing others to care for them until they have learned to care for themselves.

Teaching children how to be safe seems to come easily. We hold hands and look both ways before crossing the street. We wear proper clothes for the weather. We buckle up when we ride in a vehicle. These are things we model for our children when we do them ourselves and talk about the importance of safety with them.

Healthful habits seem a little harder to model. We don’t all love vegetables and fruits, but we know their nutrients and fiber are important for our health. Drinking soda pop, putting the salt shaker on the table, eating condiments to excess, eating too fast and checking the cellphone at meals are all things we don’t want to model to our children. We want their hearts to be healthy and their habits to develop with their heart health in mind.

Adapt these ideas to get your family around the table connecting heart to heart:

Try vegetables in a variety of ways: raw, cooked, pureed and added to other foods. Make dessert another opportunity to enjoy fruit. Apple slices with yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon, anyone?

Replace soda pop at meals with flavor-infused water or milk for everyone. Add lemon or orange slices to a pitcher of water and store in the refrigerator.

Experiment with fresh or dried herbs, not added salt or condiments, to flavor food.

Connect heart to heart by shutting off the digital interruptions for an hour during meal prep and eating time, and while relaxing around the table.

Destressing with warm conversation also is good for the heart. Use the family conversation starters on The Family Table website: www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable.

Savor the Savings

Which of these are true for you? These are moneysaving tips to use when grocery shopping.

I avoid grocery shopping when I am tired. (When you are tired, you may be more likely to purchase convenience items and make poor food choices.)

I shop alone and/or go only once a week. (If you are not able to shop alone, have your family members help you at the grocery store. Assign them different tasks, such as price checking or getting hard-to-reach items on the bottom shelves. This may distract them from checking out the tempting candy, cookie and toy aisles, and they can learn to become smart shoppers, too.)

I have a snack before going grocery shopping to prevent impulse buys.

I compare the unit prices for the same product from different brands to determine the best size and brand for the money. (Unit prices are the small labels on the front edge of the shelves in the grocery store.)

I avoid buying nonfood items at the grocery store. Unless they’re on sale, the prices of soaps, shampoos and paper products can be inflated.

I stay alert for checkout counter mistakes. Look carefully at your receipt to make sure you get the sale price on sale items. Check your change, too!

See https://tinyurl.com/NDSUThriftyBudget to learn how to feed your family on a thrifty budget.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 15. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

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Teaching Confidence

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 2-15-20

Anyone who remembers the mix of fear and exhilaration when learning to ride a bike, giving a speech or playing a solo likely agrees that a bit of success made you feel more confident in your abilities.

You felt more confident, not only in your ability to do that one brave thing, but to do other activities that take courage, too. The old adage that “success breeds success” really does seem to have merit.

Think of a time when you were near a baby learning to walk. Smiling, encouraging parents may have gotten the baby to try walking. Experiencing success is what keeps that baby going, walking, then running and climbing. With each successful step, babies learning to walk build confidence in their ability to move their bodies in a way that helps them get around where they want to go.

Naturally, parents don’t want their children to be hurt in any way: not physically, emotionally, socially, academically or otherwise. Fear can drive parents to hover over their children, helping in ways that may be too helpful and blocking the child’s success and confidence in their own abilities. Perhaps you’ve seen elementary school Valentine boxes containing calligraphy or science fair projects in which an adult did practically all the work for the child.

Imagine you are working on something that is difficult and a little frustrating for you. Now, how would you really feel if someone waltzed in and took that job away from you? For the moment, you may feel relieved. Later, you may feel incompetent or not as smart or skilled as the other person.

How would you build those skills for the next time you needed to complete this task? We all need to put in the time to learn and practice and, yes, maybe even feel some frustration in the process. Our children do, too, and they are born ready to learn.

From infancy through adolescence, parents can help their children grow to be confident by modeling, monitoring for safety, providing an appropriate environment, teaching skills, setting boundaries and being encouraging. To build their own skills, children need to have the opportunity to experience feeling capable and able.

This comes from doing the hard work themselves. Whether that means standing up, taking four steps, falling and crawling back to the chair to get up again, or studying for the SATs more than once, children have to be in charge of their own competence to build confidence. Parents can be present to cheer their children on for a while, but as children grow, they need their own internal cheerleader to take over - for life.

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

 

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By Luella Morehouse

How Fit Are You?

Published in the Sun Country 2/1/20

How many minutes of physical activity do you accumulate through walking or other activities on an average day? Do you ever have a tough time getting motivated, especially in the winter?

Not being physically fit is among the greatest risk factors for heart disease. People who exercise routinely have up to a 50 percent lower risk of experiencing a heart attack or chest pain, and they also have lower risk of other diseases, too. In addition, people who exercise routinely simply live longer than people who don’t.

Question: What are the specific heart-healthy benefits linked to exercise?

Answer: Usually, people who exercise will lose weight or maintain a lower weight. They also usually will lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Exercise also keeps blood vessels strong and healthy by improving the vessels’ ability to dilate and increase blood flow.

Question: What if I never have exercised and am worried I don’t have the motivation to make a big change? Any advice?

Answer: Start slow and build up gradually. Even small steps to fitness may make a big difference. You don’t have to make big changes to have an effect on your heart health.

Question: What is the minimum exercise a person needs to improve heart health?

Answer: Health professionals recommend people engage in moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 150 minutes per week and muscle-strengthening activity at least twice a week. Note that dividing those 30-minute workouts into three 10-minute or two 15-minute segments works just as well.

See “5 Steps to Loving Exercise … Or at Least Not Hating It” available from the American Heart Association at https://tinyurl.com/5StepsToLovingExercise.

Question: I have heard that I should be sure I get enough potassium in my diet. Why is potassium needed for heart health and what foods contain it?

Potassium has many jobs in our body. It helps our heart beat, our muscles move and our nerves fire. Having enough potassium in our diet may keep our blood pressure at a healthy level.

In fact, by cutting back on sodium in our diet and increasing potassium-rich foods, we may protect ourselves from stroke. However, do not take a potassium supplement unless your health-care provider recommends it.

To get enough potassium, aim to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables and have plenty of low-fat dairy as recommended by MyPlate. Some of the best sources of potassium are sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans (pinto, lima, kidney), split peas, yogurt, potatoes, bananas, oranges, orange juice, strawberries, raisins, dates, spinach and milk.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, Nourish newsletter, Issue 13. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

 

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The F.A.C.T.S. Help Reduce Stress

By Christina Rittenbach

How does your head feel? How does your face look?

Tighten all the muscles in your face, then relax your facial muscles. Squeeze your shoulders together, then relax your shoulders. Flex your arm muscles, then relax and let your arms hang at your sides. Wiggle your fingers, then relax your hands. Take a deep breath, 2, 3, 4.  Let it out, 2, 3, 4, 5. Repeat as needed.

Whether you are working in the garden, the office, the field, the kitchen, the barn, the plant or elsewhere, we can hold a certain amount of tension in our bodies. Having to be reminded to breathe, stretch or relax seems unnecessary, but we all need to hear it from time to time.

NDResponse.gov posted a five-minute video about resilience. Dr. Andy McLean shares numerous helpful tips, including the F.A.C.T.S. to remember when we find ourselves feeling stressed:

  • Foster hope - Challenge your negative thoughts, surround yourself with positive people and reach out to trusted individuals. Put your problems in perspective.
  • Act with purpose - Make a list of realistic things you can accomplish. Advocate for yourself and reach out for resources.
  • Connect with others - Social connections are most important during trying times. Maintain relationships, and give and receive help.
  • Take care of yourself - Taking care of yourself emotionally and physically allows you to help yourself and others.  
  • Search for meaning - Find opportunity in the difficult times. Consider change when change is needed.

Take a break and find the link to McLean’s video, NDResponse.gov and many other helpful behavioral health resources on the NDSU Extension webpage at www.ag.ndsu.edu/cff/resources-for-emotional-and-mental-health

For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

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By Luella Morehouse

New Year Begins, Step Back and Assess

As a new year begins, many adults launch diets. Sometimes, they include their entire family on the diet.

However, children should not be placed on a weight-loss diet without first consulting a health-care provider. Reducing the rate of weight gain while allowing normal growth and development is the goal for children’s diets.

Family Eating

As we begin the new year, step back and assess your family’s daily diet. Does it have room for improvement?

  • Are family members eating, on average, 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit daily?
  • Are half of your grain choices whole grain items?
  • Do you choose a variety of lean proteins?
  • Do you serve calcium sources such as dairy or an alternative?
  • Do you encourage your family to drink lots of water?
  • Do you limit sugar-sweetened beverages?

Consider setting a monthly family goal for healthful eating, with one small change at a time. Consider this goal: Store crunchy, ready-to-eat vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and cauliflower in containers in your refrigerator for afterschool (or work) snacks.

See https://tinyurl.com/NDSUMyPlate for easy-to-read fact sheets.

Family Connection

As we begin the new year, take another step back and assess your family’s daily interactions. Do they have room for improvement?

How often do your family dinner conversations include laughing together?

Consider asking people to bring a family-friendly joke to the table once a week.

Do you include everyone in some aspect of food preparation, table setting and cleanup?

Think about using a homemade chore chart to rotate jobs among family members.

Will your family take a vacation this year?

Plan a budget, where and when you will vacation and what you will do. If money is tight, camp in the living room and play board games, but be sure to put it on the calendar so it really happens.

Where can you find minutes to move together in your day?

Resolve to do a physical activity together as a family for 20 to 30 minutes a day.

Use the extra “waiting” minutes in your day for physical activity. Instead of sitting in the car waiting for a school activity to end, walk the halls in bad weather and the track in good weather.

Instead of checking social media while the hot dish is in the oven, find a tune you can dance to and encourage everyone to move to the music. Dance party!

See www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/children_families_finances for more information about children, families and finances.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, NOURISH newsletter, Issue 11. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

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Plan for Long-term Care

By Christina Rittenbach

Recently, I helped facilitate a Design Your Succession Plan workshop, and we talked about the importance of risk management in farm business planning – specifically, long-term care plans. This topic, however, is important for everyone to consider, not just those who have a farm or family business. No one wants to envision spending their later years living in a nursing home or being dependent on the help of others, yet most Americans will need long-term care at some point in their lives.

Planning for long-term care needs is crucial for financial security and peace of mind.

Long-term care is an umbrella term for services and supports designed to help people live independently on a daily basis, such as eating, bathing and dressing, either in a care facility or one’s home. A misconception is that health insurance, Medicare or disability insurance cover these services, but they do not.

Medicaid does cover long-term care services, but you only qualify if your income and assets do not exceed levels set by your state. You can purchase long-term care insurance, annuities or other hybrid or combination products. The other option is to pay for it with savings, pensions or income from investments.

Paying for long-term care may be one of the largest financial investments a person or the person’s family will make. To start the planning process, here are some important steps:

  • Think about your ultimate goals for where you want to live and how you will receive care, should you need it.
  • Consider your unique needs, such as risk factors for long-term care. Risk factors include age, gender, disability, health status and living situation.
  • Understand the range of long-term care services and supports, including home care, adult day care, assisted living and nursing homes.
  • Do the research so you know the costs of long-term care services in your community.
  • Determine what financial resources you have to cover long-term care and address any gaps in financing before you need it.

The best time to plan is when you are healthy and have time to plan. The earlier, the better, just like with financial retirement planning. Planning for long-term care needs is not just about you. It is really a family plan because it impacts the lives of those who care about you, too.

For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

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By Luella Morehouse

Try These Tips to Stay Active During Cold Weather

When cold winter temperatures keep us indoors, what can we do to stay fit and reduce stress? All adults should aim for at least 2½ hours or 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Every little bit of fitness adds to the goal. Remember, doing something is better than doing nothing.

Start a physical activity tradition. Instead of “cozying up” by the TV, bundle up and take a walking tour of holiday lights after dinner.

Think differently about seasonal chores. Make tasks such as shoveling and house cleaning to prepare for guests fun. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can get done as a team.

 Be a kid again. Go sledding, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Make a snowman, a snow fort or snow angels.

 Holiday gift idea: Check out second-hand sporting goods stores for discounted prices on skates, skis, snowshoes and other outdoor equipment.

Take 10. Do at least 10 minutes of activity at a time. Take a 10-minute walk at lunchtime or after school.

Turn off the TV. Set a rule that no one can spend longer than two hours per day playing video games, watching TV and using the computer (except for school work).

Play indoor physical activity games. Go on scavenger hunts or play charades. For example, be an Olympic skater or a star basketball player.

Find an indoor place to walk. Check if a local school gym is open to the public for walking. Walk at a mall. The average supercenter is 179,000 square feet (a mile is 5,280 feet).

Be cautious when walking at malls, though. Don’t be enticed to overspend your budget or have high-calorie snacks along your route. Bring a bottle of water.

Set a physical activity goal. Write it down and chart your progress on a calendar.

Holiday gift idea: Invest in pedometers (step counters) for the family. Write down your steps every day. Build to 10,000 steps a day.

Tip for the Holiday Season

During the holiday season, we might be tempted to eat more than we need, especially with the many sweet treats. Consider some recipe makeovers to update your recipes. To decrease sugar, you can:

  • Reduce sugar by one-quarter to one-third in baked goods and desserts. This works best with quick breads, cookies, pie fillings, custards, puddings and fruit crisps.
  • Increase the amount of cinnamon or vanilla in a recipe to enhance the impression of sweetness.

To see more suggestions to help reduce sodium, fat and calories, check out the “Now Serving: Recipe Makeovers!” handout (available at www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/now-serving-recipe-makeovers).

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, NOURISH newsletter, Issue 11. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

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Do-it-Yourself Food Gift Ideas

By Luella Morehouse

During the sometimes hectic holiday season, be sure to have fun in the process of making memories. Invite kids in the kitchen to help with food preparation (and cleanup), and spend some time in indoor or outdoor play. If you give gifts, be aware of inexpensive, thoughtful food gifts you can make at home.

Expand Your Gift Dollars

You can expand your gift dollars by making some food mixes that you layer in glass Mason jars or other containers. You can decorate with your favorite fabric and ribbons if you’d like. The person who receives the gift just adds a few more ingredients to complete the recipe and prepare at home.

Check out the following publications from NDSU Extension:

“Mix It Up” (FN1494) is available at tinyurl.com/NDSUMixItUp. It features Country Chili,

Homemade Cornbread, Cranberry-Oatmeal Cookie and Friendship Soup mixes.

“Give the Gift of Joy with a Quick Bread Mix” (FN1888) is available at tinyurl.com/NDSUQuickBreadMix. It features Quick Herb Bread, Snickerdoodle Muffins, Cherry-Chocolate Scones and Peanut Butter Bread.

“Beverage Mixes in a Jar” (FN1625) is available at tinyurl.com/NDSUBeverageMix. It features Double Chocolate Peppermint Candy Hot Cocoa, Spiced Tea and French Vanilla Coffee mixes.

Question: Do you have any suggestions on how to alleviate the holiday stress, which I tend to gain a couple of pounds and overspending on my budget?

  • Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise three to five times per week, but preferably daily, because it reduces and prevents stress and promotes well-being.
  • Drink a glass of water before grabbing a snack. If the holiday foods are tempting, have ready-to-eat foods such as cut-up vegetables, Greek yogurt, low-fat string cheese and whole-grain crackers available for a pick-me-up instead of cookies or candy.
  • Get seven to nine hours of sleep each night to keep yourself in balance. Sometimes people who think they are hungry really are tired.
  • Keep your finances in check because worrying about money problems can cause issues with sleep, appetite, etc. If you overspent your budget, consider returning some of the items. Try making some of your gifts or offer gifts of your time.
  • Try learning some relaxation techniques and make time for fun.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 12 and NOURISH newsletter, Issue 11. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

Design Your Succession Plan Workshop Helps with Family Communication

By Alicia Harstad

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 16th and 23rd at the Farmers Union State Office. Supper will be 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 Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030.

 

Central Dakota Ag Day

By Alicia Harstad

Producers and others will have an opportunity to learn about the latest farm bill, crop marketing and feeding poor-quality wheat and corn to livestock, as well as other agricultural issues, at North Dakota State University Extension's Central Dakota Ag Day.

It is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 5, at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center (CREC).

The workshop will begin at 9 a.m. with coffee and doughnuts. Kevin Wolsky from Central Ag Alliance will open the workshop with a presentation titled "Can We All Get Along? The Power of Farmers Group Purchasing." Several half-hour break-out sessions also are scheduled for the morning and afternoon.

 

The workshop will end with a panel discussion. The panelists will be speakers from the breakout sessions. The workshop will conclude at 3:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided and is being sponsored by the North Dakota Soybean Council and North Dakota Corn Council.

The breakout session topics and presenters are:

* Market facilitation program/farm bill - Bryon Parman, NDSU assistant profession/Extension agricultural finance specialist

* Soybean production research and recommendations update - Greg Endres, NDSU Extension cropping systems specialist

* Advantages of zone soil mapping and testing - Dave Franzen, NDSU professor/Extension soil science specialist

* Palmer amaranth - Joe Ikley, NDSU assistant professor/Extension weed specialist

* Crop marketing outlook for corn, wheat and soybeans - Frayne Olson, NDSU associate professor/Extension crops economist

* Intercropping cash crops - Mike Ostlie, NDSU agronomist, CREC

* Foliage-feeding caterpillars on soybeans - Jan Knodel, NDSU professor/Extension entomologist

* Land cash rent - Parman

* Comparing crop budgets - Joel Lemer, Farm Business Management program instructor

* Wheat quality production issues - Andrew Friskop, NDSU assistant professor/Extension plant pathologist

* Prevent plant and crop insurance - Jason Rohr and Chris Tofsrud, AgCountry Farm Credit Services

* Feeding poor-quality wheat and light corn - Karl Hoppe, NDSU Extension livestock systems specialist, CREC

* CREC beef research update - Bryan Neville, NDSU animal scientist, CREC

* Forage and winter cereal options for hay production and cover crops - Kevin Sedivec, NDSU professor/Extension rangeland management specialist

* Selling meat off the farm - Cody Kreft, North Dakota Department of Agriculture

* Using floors to protect profitability in livestock - Jason Frey, Hurley & Associates

* Optimizing the value of the beef carcass with underutilized cuts - Rob Maddock, associate professor, NDSU Animal Sciences Department

Central Dakota Ag Day is sponsored and organized by Extension agents in Foster, Eddy, Wells, Sheridan and Stutsman counties and staff at the CREC.

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

 

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By Luella Morehouse

Making Holiday Meals More Meaningful

As we begin the holiday season, meals with extended families usually become more frequent. The fun conversation starters available on “The Family Table” website will fill your family meals with laughter and memories.

How about this conversation starter: What’s your most memorable Thanksgiving dinner?

Making Meals More Meaningful

Families celebrate many holidays throughout the year, and every family probably celebrates a little differently. More than the special foods, gifts or ceremonies, the best part of a holiday is often the connections we make with the people who mean the most to us.

Whether you are celebrating a homemade meal, holiday, birthday or another special occasion, why not include a centerpiece? Use items from around the house that have special meaning. Talk about why you chose those items at mealtime. Lead with “My Great-grandpa Ervin embroidered this table runner more than 70 years ago.” Then share a memory about him with your children.

For a fall centerpiece, bundle up and take the family outdoors on a crisp fall day to walk and collect interesting bits of nature to add to your centerpiece. Young children can wear a piece of masking tape, sticky side out, on their arm so they can add pieces such as small pine cones, leaves and feathers to their “nature bracelets.” You may wish to wash off your outdoor finds and set them in the bathtub for a while before bringing them to the table, just in case you collected more than you thought you had.

If you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary, include photos of the honorees in a variety of small frames or on a cardholder in a fresh bouquet.

Break out the (flameless) candles, the table linen and the good manners before a holiday or special event so everyone has a chance to learn and practice. Read up on the basics of good table etiquette. Teach the basics and accept that manners take practice.

Save on Holiday Meals this Season

Holiday meals can put a strain on any budget. With a little planning and ingenuity, you can find ways to save some money this holiday season.

Make a plan. Write it down. When you go shopping, have a list and don’t deviate.

Check grocery store ads for items on sale. This time of year, grocery stores will have sales on most of the things you need for your holiday meals. Start stocking up when items are at a reduced price. Even think about things such as baking ingredients. These items will keep until you are ready to use them.

Make it a potluck. If you are hosting a big group, have family and friends bring some of the dishes. If you like to do all of the cooking, ask them to pitch in with some of the ingredients or some money toward the meal.

Don’t make too much. If you’re just going to end up throwing food away, you are wasting money.

If you do have leftovers, have a plan for them. Send some home with guests, freeze them or use them. For ideas on what to do with leftover Thanksgiving foods, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 11. 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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How Strength Training Can Help You

By Christina Rittenbach

With fall in full swing, many of us are settling into a new routine, so now is a perfect time to consider how to include physical activity into this schedule.

Exercise and physical activity are good for everyone, including older adults. For some older adults, getting older seems to involve a loss of strength, energy and vigor. But this does not need to be the case.

The frailty and decreased energy we associate with aging, such as difficulty climbing stairs, walking long distances or doing household chores, are largely due to muscle loss. Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging. After age 30, we begin to lose as much as 3 to 5 percent per decade. Most men will lose about 30 percent of their muscle mass during their lifetimes.

One of the best ways for keeping muscles strong is through exercise called strength training. Research has shown that strength training is one of the best ways to combat the frailty and weakness that can come with age.

When done on a regular basis, strength training can build bone and muscle, and help with maintaining strength, independence and energy. These exercises are effective and safe for people of all ages, including those who are in less than perfect health. In fact, individuals with specific health concerns, such as heart disease and arthritis, may benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights each week.

Studies have shown that strength training can help manage and sometimes prevent conditions as varied as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and osteoporosis. When combined with regular aerobic exercise, strength training can have a major effect on a person’s mental and emotional health.

Research also shows that people who exercise regularly sleep better. In addition, strength training exercises can reduce depression and boost self-confidence and self-esteem, and improve one’s sense of well-being.

Whatever your motivations for staying strong and fit, figuring out what to do and where to start can be challenging, especially if you are inactive. One 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. The institute is part of the U.S. Department of Health.

This interactive website 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.

Strength training can help you stay strong, vital and independent throughout your life. Consider motivating others to join you in the many physical and emotional benefits of strength training.

For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

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By Luella Morehouse

Do You Need More Sleep?

As we all know, sleep is critical for functioning in daily life, but most people experience occasional insomnia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic

On average, adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. In a survey by the Better Sleep Council, 48 percent of Americans stated that they do not get enough sleep, but less than half of them take any one specific action to help them get better sleep.

Women are more likely than men to feel sleep-deprived, and women are more likely to recognize the heath issues associated with sleep deprivation.

So, what’s the big deal about not getting enough sleep? Most of us recognize issues related to fatigue and inability to concentrate when lacking sufficient shuteye. Longer-term issues include a link to heart disease, strokes, diabetes and mental health issues. A lack of sleep upsets hormones linked to appetite control, which can lead to weight gain.

Tips for Better Sleep

  • Establish a bedtime routine and stay on a schedule with your sleep patterns. Go to bed the same time on weeknights and weekends.
  • Don’t nap after 3 p.m. Occasional short naps are okay, but persistent napping may indicate you are not getting the restful sleep you need.
  • Be aware of your caffeine intake. Caffeine can disrupt sleep, so try refraining from caffeine after noon.
  • Avoid nightcaps (alcoholic drinks). Drinking alcohol may make you sleepy; however, you may wake up when the effects wear off.
  • Avoid large meals or large amounts of beverages before bed.
  • Unwind before bedtime. Listen to music, read and/or take a warm bath.
  • Make sure your room is quiet and cool. Be sure your mattress is comfortable and supports your body.
  • If you can’t sleep after 20 minutes, get up and do some relaxing activity such as reading.
  • If you have persistent issues with sleeping, see a health-care professional.

Sources: National Institutes of Health and the Better Sleep 

Question. I have to travel for work. Even changing the clock back or forward during Daylight Saving Time affects me for a few days. Am I the only person who has trouble adjusting to time changes?

One hour of lost snoozing time has some major repercussions, according to a survey of 1,000 adults the Better Sleep Council conducted in 2013 and 2014. About 61 percent of the survey respondents said they feel the effects of the time change the following Monday. About 29 percent of the respondents said that recovering from the time change takes a full week, with women having a harder time adjusting than men.

Younger adults have a harder time adjusting than older adults. About 39 percent report that Daylight Saving Time affects their mood. In fact, 5 percent of the survey respondents indicated that “the Incredible Hulk has nothing on them.” If you lack sleep, try the “sleep tips” and let your health-care provider know at your next visit

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, NOURISH newsletter, Issue 9. 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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Separation, Divorce and Children in the Middle

By Christina Rittenbach

When couples say “I do” or decide to make a family, divorce or separation is not what most anticipate in their futures.

Even so, the North Dakota Department of Health’s Vital Records Division indicates that during the past five years, North Dakota couples have averaged about 2,000 divorces a year. This number does not capture never-married couples who dissolve their relationships.

Many of these divorces and separations include families with children.

Anyone who has experienced a divorce or separation as a child, teen or adult knows the transition can include trying times. Oftentimes, the adults and the children in the family are at very different places in their journey with divorce and separation. The adults may have been talking about divorce for months or years, waiting for a particular time to divorce or separate. The children may be completely unaware that the parents are planning to separate.

Children, especially young children, accept that their life, whatever it is like, is “normal” because it is what they have come to expect. By the time parents break the news to their children, the adults may be accepting of the idea, while the children are shocked by the news.

One way to think of family dynamics is to picture a baby’s mobile. When nothing is happening around the mobile, its pieces are hanging in balance. If we add another family member, such as an aging grandparent or a new baby, the mobile may go out of alignment for a while. Eventually it will right itself again and perhaps hang a bit differently than it had originally.

The illustration can be used for many other family transitions, such as changing jobs or moving to a different location. All of these transitions can upset the balance of a family’s life for a while. Getting research-based information and support can make these life transitions easier for everyone.

NDSU Extension, in cooperation with the University of Minnesota, offers “Parents Forever,” an educational program for families in transition, as an online class available 24/7 and as an in-person class in some areas of the state.

Parents Forever covers three areas of help for families:

  • Taking care of yourself
  • Taking care of your children
  • Being successful with co-parenting

All three areas are important for parents to learn about as they consider separation or divorce and the impact this transition will have on their children.

Visit www.parentsforevernd.org/ for more information on the Parents Forever program. Information for both online and in-person classes is listed on the website. You may also contact the Stutsman County Extension office at (701) 252-9030 or email christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu 

 

 

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By Luella Morehouse

Do you ever throw out Food?

Are the dates and other terminology on packages sometimes confusing? If you answer “yes” to either question, you are not alone.

About one out of every three pounds of food is wasted. Dairy foods are thrown out more often than any other food. Often, the foods are still safe to eat, but consumers are confused by the dates on the packages.

Throwing away food is like dropping money in the trash. In fact, the average person wastes at least 1.1 pounds of food daily. For a family of four, that adds up to 1,606 pounds of food ending up in the landfill every year.

According to a 2014 survey with 1,010 respondents from throughout the U.S., 42 percent had heard about food waste and 24 percent said they were very knowledgeable about food waste. The respondents cited saving money, setting an example for their children and managing their household efficiently as motivators to avoid tossing food.

They also were motivated to curtail food waste when they thought about people with not enough food. Most reported they felt guilty about wasting food. Visit www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/faqs.htm to learn more about national efforts to trim food waste.

What do food product dates mean?

Food dates are included on most foods, but except for infant formula, food dates are not required by federal regulations. In fact, confusion about food product dates probably is responsible for a lot of foods being tossed while they still are safe to eat. Stored properly, food often is safe to use for several days or longer beyond the date.

You might see “Use by,” “Sell by” or “Best if used by” on packages. These are “quality” dates, not “expiration” dates. With the exception of baby formula, food product dates are not about food safety.

The “sell by” date is the last date the store can display the item in the refrigerated case. As long as the food is stored and handled properly, foods can be used safely at home beyond the date. See https://tinyurl.com/NDSUStorageGuide to view the NDSU Extension Food Storage Guide.

Question: We really throw away too much food. Do you have any tips?

Try these tips to trim food waste in your home:

Ÿ  Develop a meal plan. Use leftovers as other meals, such as breakfast or lunch.

Ÿ  Shop your refrigerator. Plan to make a meal with what you have and pick up added ingredients.

Ÿ  Try to keep on hand a well-rounded selection of food and food ingredients, such as pasta, flour, sugar, bread, canned vegetables, vegetable oils, eggs, spices and other canned goods.

Ÿ  Create grocery lists. Shop sales and write down everything you need.

Ÿ  Re-purpose food. Try making a dish into something else: Use leftover meat as a pizza topping or make a breakfast omelet with leftover veggies.

Ÿ  Freeze the excess. Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and click on “Food Preservation.”

Ÿ  Consider frozen vs. fresh. If you are not using fresh produce before it spoils, try frozen instead.

Ÿ  Organize cabinets with the first-in, first-out system so you use the oldest items first.

 

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, Nourish newsletter, Issue 8. For more information on this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

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By Luella Morehouse

Back-to School, Eat... Connect... Savor the Savings

As the new school year begins, families get busier and family mealtimes may get crowded out of the schedule. Here are some nutrition, parenting and budget tips to keep the family mealtime tradition alive.

Eat

Make time for family meals with a little help from your family in the kitchen. Plan meals and set up a “family help schedule” to involve all family members with meal preparation and cleanup.

 Age-appropriate tasks will be different for each child, depending on how much experience the child has in the kitchen. See www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/foodpreparation for hundreds of healthful recipes and food preparation tips. Find age-appropriate tasks on the Family Table website.

 Connect

As students from kindergarten to college get ready to pull on their backpacks and head to school, take time to talk about all of the decisions your children will need to make independently of you for the hours or weeks they are away.

 You have no better time than a meal around the family table to tell a funny story from your school days about a concert, athletic trip, theater production or club that had an interesting twist. That should get the conversation started!

 Review all of the extracurricular activities your children may want to join in the coming year. Determine how much of the child’s time each potential activity will take, including practices. Also figure the amount of family time, money, driving and other resources each option will use.

— How long is the season for sports?

— What is the rental costs on an instrument?

— Will out-of-town travel, hotels and food costs be involved with this activity?

— Is the activity too early or late in the day to be considered for this student?

Being informed and realistic about the activity going into it is better than being surprised by costs and commitments later.

Connecting at the family table means everyone may linger a little longer. Serve ice cream with fruit or berries to sweeten the time together.

Savor… the Savings

As you are sending the kids back to school and making sure they have a healthful lunch that doesn’t break the bank can be a balancing act.

If you decide to pack their lunches instead of purchasing school lunches, here are a few tips to save a bit of money and time in the mornings:

Buy larger packages of items and make your own snacks. Don’t buy portion-sized prepackaged foods. You can purchase a few hundred sealable snack-size bags for a few dollars and divvy up the snacks yourself.

Prep your own produce. By taking a little extra time to clean and prepare fruits and vegetables, you can save some serious cash. Precut fruit can cost several dollars more a pound.

Invest in a good lunch bag that keeps food cold. You don’t want your food to spoil and go to waste. Ask your kids what they will eat. If your children don’t like something, don’t pack it because the likelihood of it ending up in the trash is high. Give them choices.

Work with them to pack their lunches.

Do all your prep work in one day. Save yourself from stressful weekday mornings by having items prepped and ready to pack. Have different containers for each food group, and make sure your kids pick something from each one so they have a balanced meal.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 9. 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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Freezing: Easy Way to Preserve Food

By Christina Rittenbach

Freezing is one of the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming ways of preserving fresh fruit and vegetables for later use.

The cold stops the growth of microorganisms and slows down changes that spoil food and affect food quality.

 First, select fresh, firm fruit or vegetables that are free of damage. Freeze them within a few hours of harvest if possible.

 Some vegetables freeze better than others. For example, thawed cabbage, celery, cucumbers, endive, lettuce, parsley and radishes are limp and water-logged, and quickly develop an oxidized color, aroma and flavor.

 Plastic freezer containers, glass canning or freezing jars and plastic bags designed for freezer storage are best for freezing food. Don’t use paper containers, such as milk cartons, or plastic containers that held yogurt, dips and sour cream. Freezer wrap and heavy-weight aluminum foil are good for odd-shaped foods.

 Wash fruits and vegetables before freezing them. Don’t allow fruit to soak in water because soaking will cause the fruit to lose nutrients and flavor.

 Stem, pit or slice fruit as necessary for the recipe you are using. Prepare only enough fruits and vegetables for a few containers at a time.

 Blanch (scald in boiling water) vegetables to stop the action of enzymes that can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. The amount of blanching time will vary with the types of produce. Cool the vegetables quickly by plunging them in cold water and drain them after completing the cooling.

 You have several ways to pack fruit for freezing: syrup pack, sugar pack, dry pack or unsweetened pack. To make syrup, dissolve sugar in water and pour it around and over fruit packed into a container. For a sugar pack, simply sprinkle sugar over the fruit and gently mix the fruit and sugar until juice is drawn out and the sugar is dissolved.

 To dry pack, pack the fruit into containers, seal and freeze. This method works best with berries and smaller fruits that have good flavor without sugar.

 Some fruits, such as peaches, apricots, pears and apples, darken quickly when exposed to air and can darken when thawed. Adding ascorbic acid will prevent that discoloration.

 When packing food into containers, leave space between the food and lid to allow the food to expand as it freezes. Make sure to label the containers with the name of the food, the date it was packed and the type of pack used.

 The quality of most fruits and vegetables will remain high if they’re used within 12 months.

 For more information about freezing fruits and vegetables, visit the North Dakota State University Extension Service website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food or contact Christina Rittenbach, Extension agent, at 701-252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

 

Weeds Management Bus Tour to Nebraska

By Alicia Harstad

Last week, extension agents and specialists, weed board officers and agronomists took a bus tour down to North Platte, Nebraska to learn about weed resistance management, in particular to Palmer amaranth and spray quality research. Palmer amaranth is in the pigweed family and looks very similar to redroot pigweed and waterhemp. Palmer amaranth has a hairless stem and typically has long petioles (the stems that attach the leaf to the stem). Palmer amaranth was first confirmed in North Dakota last fall.

The first day of the bus tour was spent at the University of Nebraska West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte. We learned about the different research projects that were being conducted relating to resistant weed management and pesticide applicator spray quality. The research station has one of the only Pesticide Application Technology Labs in the country that includes a wind tunnel where they are able to conduct spray quality research. The University of Nebraska is conducting several different research projects relating to mitigating spray drift while still maintaining pesticide efficacy.

The second day was spent looking at farmers’ fields and hearing from local agronomists about how they manage resistant weeds. Palmer amaranth has aggressively become one of their toughest to control weeds in Nebraska, however, like in North Dakota, Nebraska also struggles with controlling resistant kochia and waterhemp. Here were some of the take home messages I learned from this trip:

  • We have the opportunity to be proactive in North Dakota to prevent complete crop failures due to resistant weeds. We still have several viable weed control options in our toolbox if we manage them correctly.
  • Crop rotation is a great tool. Avoid using the same herbicide products and herbicide tolerant variety traits in all crops. Think about weed management program as a systems approach rather than just a one year herbicide program.  
  • Crop canopy and competition was a weed management tool that was brought up over and over. Think about what factors that might slow crop canopy and how you can manage them to get crop canopy as fast as possible.
  • Spray quality is important to make sure to the most out of a herbicide application (correct pressure, nozzle, adjuvant, etc.).
  • The biggest weakness of kochia, waterhemp and Palmer amaranth is they all have relatively short seed viability, typically 3-5 years. Preventing these weeds from producing viable seed will reduce the seed in the seed bank and limit the ability of these weeds to take over. Preventing seeds from germinating is a much easier control method then trying to control several, large weeds during the growing season.

This was a great trip where I learned a lot. It was sponsored by the North Dakota Soybean Council and would like to thank them for the opportunity. 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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By Luella Morehouse

Enjoy and Preserve Your Harvest

This time of year, you finally are getting to enjoy the fresh produce from your garden. Growing your own produce can save you money.

 However, your garden may produce more than you can eat before it spoils. If you are just throwing food out, you’re not really saving money. Using a food preservation method such as the ones listed below can help extend the life of your food.

 Canning is the most expensive form of food preservation. Buying a jar of jelly/jam from the grocery store might be cheaper than making your own. If you can, you will need jars, lids and a canner (water bath or pressure, depending on what you are canning), and the costs can add up quickly. However, the amount of joy you may get from canning food items as a family is priceless.

 Two inexpensive methods of preserving food from your garden are drying and freezing. If you don’t have a food dehydrator, you can use your oven. If you decide to freeze your foods, you just will need freezer storage bags or containers.

 For more information on how to preserve your harvest and what equipment you will need, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/foodpreservation, NDSU Extension’s food preservation website.

 Connect with Kids

Kids can learn a lot when growing, preparing and preserving food. Explore basic food preservation and fun garnishes to make with your family.

 Many fruits and vegetables are in season, so they are at their best quality and, often, best price. Try preserving any extra with a little help from a child.

 Drying food is one of the easiest food preservation methods. The following fruits were rated as “excellent” or “good” by the University of Georgia for preparing fruit leather: apples, apricots, berries, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums and strawberries. Other fruits (blueberries, cranberries) in combination can provide a good end product, too.

 Garden Garnishes

  • Children learn best by doing, playing and being engaged in the experience.
  • We all can use a little whimsy, no matter what our age.
  • Some garden veggies and homegrown fruit just ask to be the center of attention!

 Why not combine all three and make garnishes from fresh produce with your kids?

 If your family members like to create on their own, check your garden, the orchard or the farmers market and decide what you can make by what the fruits and vegetables look like to you. If you need more inspiration, check the library, cookbooks or the internet. Here is a fun page to get you started: https://goo.gl/pcW2p7 (garnishes to make with kids).

 Keep your food designs simple so everyone can take part and feel successful. Toothpicks make the job easier, but they are not safe hidden in food, so refrain from using elements you can’t eat.

 Making garden garnishes is a great way to help kids get comfortable with fruits and vegetables while being creative and sharing time around the family table.

 Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 8.

 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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Old Canning Recipes May Not Be Safe

By Christina Rittenbach

Gardens are beginning to produce, and many people are getting ready to pickle or can their crop.

Don´t let your experience become a recipe for disaster.

The first step is to use a recipe the U.S. Department of Agriculture has tested and approved. A lot of recipes are available on the Web, in old cookbooks and from friends and family. The problem is that most of those recipes haven´t been tested for safety.

Home-canning vegetables improperly can lead to the growth of bacteria and their toxins. For example, Clostridium botulinum produces a toxin.  If a food containing the toxin is consumed, a potentially deadly form of foodborne illness can result.

Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found in raw vegetables, milk and meat, soft-ripened cheese, poultry and fermented raw-meat sausage. It grows at refrigerator temperatures and can survive in acidic conditions. That means it could survive and grow in unprocessed refrigerator pickles without the proper level of vinegar. Heat kills Listeria, so proper canning will inactivate this type of bacteria.

Most bacteria are hard to remove from food surfaces, according to experts at the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They say that washing fresh food reduces bacteria levels only slightly, but that peeling root crops, underground stem crops and tomatoes cuts bacteria numbers significantly. Blanching vegetables also helps, but the best bacteria control is using proper canning methods, they say.

Following canning or pickling recipes exactly also is vital. Canning is a science, while cooking is an art. You don’t have a lot of room for creativity when canning. Altering ingredients and proportions can result in a deadly mixture.

Here is some other advice from the experts:

* Select fresh, firm fruit or vegetables that are free of damage.

* Measure or weigh ingredients carefully.

* Use canning or pickling salt because other salt may make the pickling brine cloudy.

* Use distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar with 5 percent (50 grain) acidity.

* Process canned products in a pressure canner or boiling-water canner, depending on the acidity of the food. Foods with enough acid can block bacteria´s growth and destroy them more rapidly when heated.

* Use standard canning jars and self-sealing lids.

* Store home-canned products in a cool, dark place.

* For best quality, use the products within a year.

For more information on safe home canning, check out the North Dakota State University Extension Service website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food or contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030.

 

Soybean Aphids

By Alicia Harstad

Soybean aphids are starting to be detected in very low numbers in southeast North Dakota. Consistent rains have probably helped keep the soybean aphid populations low as aphids have a hard time staying on the plant after a rain. Hopefully, the populations will continue to stay low. Now is the time to scout 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 increasing populations in 80% of the field.

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 mode of action group. Minnesota has confirmed pyrethroid resistant aphids to a 4X rate of bifenthrin (example tradename is Tundra) and 10-20X rates of lambda-cyhalothrin (example tradename is Warrior). There were also reports from nine North Dakota counties, which included Cass and Barnes counties, in 2017 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 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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By Luella Morehouse

Stutsman County Extension Office Hosting Free Summer Meals for Youth and Teens

Stutsman County Extension office is pleased to announce that beginning July 29 through August 21, we will be hosting the Free Summer Meals Program for youth and teens through the USDA and Great Plains Food Bank. The Two Rivers Activity Center and Hansen Arts Park will also be sites through August until school starts.

Learning and good nutrition does not end when school lets out. The USDA Summer Food Service Programs help 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. These programs are 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 registration is required and no cost. Participants are invited to join us at any of the sites for a healthy meal.

Summer lunches will be served from 11:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday at the Stutsman County Extension Office and Two Rivers Activity Center. Hansen Arts Park serves between noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

There are up to ten different meals being served, including pizza, barbecue chicken salad and various sandwiches accompanied by healthy options, such as fruit.

 Power Up for Summer Fun! Summer Meals Kickoff Event at the extension office on July 29th from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  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, I will be holding nutrition education events on Mondays 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.

 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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Follow Simple Steps to Grow Tomatoes

By: Christina Rittenbach

How many pounds of tomatoes do Americans consume each year?

  1. 12 pounds
  2. 32 pounds
  3. 22 pounds

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans consume 22 to 24 pounds of tomatoes each year. Almost half of that comes in the form of ketchup or tomato sauce.

Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and beta-carotene. The tomato plant is a tender perennial that thrives in summer gardens.

The time of planting is an important step to consider. Tomatoes flourish during hot and sunny North Dakota summers.

When buying plants, choose durable plants that are approximately a foot tall. You can transplant outdoors after the frost has passed and the soil has warmed.

Tomatoes are easy to grow in a garden or a large pot. The crop produces a large quantity, so you only need a couple of plants.

All tomatoes grow best in a rich, well-drained soil, with water and nutrients being provided regularly. Fertilization should take place at the time of planting.

Place them in a location with as much direct sunlight as possible. Water carefully around the base of the plants, keeping the water off the foliage.

After planting, pat the soil around the plant until firm. For best results when container growing, plant just one plant per pot.

Wire cages can support plants during growth and keep leaves and fruit off the ground. An optimal sized cage is 20 to 24 inches in diameter and 4 to 6 feet tall. The cage not only supports the plant but also can prevent pests from eating the foliage.

Hornworms, large, green worms with white and black spots, are a pest that commonly affects tomato plants by eating the leaves. Other pests include the tomato fruit worm, which is the larva of a moth that eats the insides of the tomato. Flea beetles also are a problem because they jump from plant to plant, feeding on foliage.

Check your plants for signs of trouble every time you water. Any fungal infection will cause wilted leaves with spots or other markings on the foliage.

Harvest by twisting the fruit until it comes free from the vine. Avoid pulling on fruit when picking because this can break the tender tomato branches. Remove the tomatoes as soon as they ripen, and harvest regularly to promote new growth.

Growing your own tomatoes is a tasty reward. Follow these steps to ensure you can keep your tomato plant healthy throughout the growing season and enjoy all summer long.

Tomatoes can be consumed alone or used to enhance many dishes. Try something different with your fresh garden tomatoes. See www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork for more information about growing and using tomatoes and many other vegetables and fruits, or contact the Extension office at 252-9030 or NDSU.Stutsman.Extension@ndsu.edu

 

More Palmer Amaranth Found in ND

By Alicia Harstad

More Palmer amaranth has been found in North Dakota from the previous cases that were found last year. Joe Ikley, NDSU Extension Weed Science Specialist, reported in the June 27th edition of the NDSU Crop and Pest Report that new cases of Palmer amaranth were found in Benson and Nelson counties. In his report, he indicated that in one field in each county, they were able to find Palmer amaranth growing in dense populations as localized patches in the headland rows, with a few scattered plants nearby. The density in these patches indicates that at least one or more mature plants went through a combine last year. Luckily, these infestations were caught early enough to control the plants before they will go to seed. One population was detected at a small enough stage to control with herbicides, while the other population was already 16” tall and had overtaken some corn rows by the time he had visited.

At this time, we do not know how these plants were introduced, only that the introduction was likely last year. Until recent rains, Benson and Nelson counties have been relatively dry, which is good conditions for Palmer growth. The upcoming warmer temperatures will favor rapid growth of any Palmer amaranth plants that are currently growing in the state. Early detection is the key for keeping Palmer amaranth populations at manageable levels. The key identification characteristics of Palmer amaranth are no hairs on the stem and petioles that are quite a bit longer than leaf. Waterhemp looks very similar to Palmar amaranth and also has a hairless stem, however, the leaf petioles are about the same length or shorter than the leaf itself. These findings serve as a good reminder to scout after a herbicide application is made in order to look for weed escapes or herbicide resistant weeds in general, not just Palmer amaranth. If you would like help with weed identification, contact the Stutsman County Extension Office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail pictures to Alicia at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu

 

 

 

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By Luella Morehouse

Summer Mealtimes Offers More than a Meal

Summer mealtimes offer many rich opportunities for family connections. Stretch your imaginations this summer by having your children help plan and prepare the menu and the meal.

Base a meal on a book or poem you or one of your children are reading. If the book does not specifically mention food, research the time and place together to determine what the characters may eat or have eaten.  Ask the person who read the book to explain the story during the meal and maybe even read a favorite part aloud after dinner. Books for young children often talk a lot about food. Everyone can participate.

Take dinner outside tonight. Pack a picnic and go to a nearby “meaningful” location. Talk about why this place holds special meaning to your family. It may be the stream where Grandpa and Grandma used to catch fish, a park you played at as a child or a farm field where many of your kin have worked. Share the stories from this place and at least one food item that may have been shared there by your extended family.

Enjoy breakfast as your family meal. Plan and prepare a simple breakfast with your “early riser.” Turn on some friendly wake-up music and watch the family follow their noses to the table. Add fresh wild flowers in vases to brighten the table and positive notes to start everyone’s day.

Food fuels the body while family connections fuel the mind and soul.

Savor (the Savings) planning meals and snacks

Are your older children home alone at times during the summer? Planning meals and snacks ahead can help you get through the next few months.

Determine your children’s skill level in the kitchen. Are they comfortable with using a stove and/or oven? Are you comfortable with them using a stove and/or oven? Practice together often before they are home alone.

Stock the fridge and pantry with foods they like, that they can prepare safely and are nutritious. Plan meals and snacks together that your children actually will eat. Make sure to discuss healthful eating options.

Prepare meals together ahead of time. Convenience foods are a great option for summer meals, but sometimes they aren’t the most healthful. Prepare meals that can be frozen in small portions, easy to warm up at a later time.

Plan snacks that add nutrition, not just calories. Have plenty of fruits and vegetables cut and cleaned in the refrigerator for easy snacks. This time of year, you have many affordable options because they are in season.  For melon, cut up and place in an airtight container. You also can precut cheese for another healthful option.

Pack your children’s lunch. Not comfortable with your children being responsible for feeding themselves? Pack them a lunch and leave it in the refrigerator (with a note for a positive day). You can make healthful wraps or sandwiches (fruit, veggies and dip, salads or “planned-overs” from last night’s dinner).

With a little planning and team work, you and your children can save money and feel a little more at ease about food choices this summer.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table, Issue 7. 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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E-cigarettes: What You Need to Know and Share

By: Christina Rittenbach

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, e-hookahs, vapes, mods or ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems), are made to look like regular cigarettes, pens, cigars, pipes, guitar picks and even a small cellphone, as well as other household items.

However, the one quickly gaining popularity is JUUL. It looks like a USB stick. Some refer to using this device as Juuling.

Vaping is the act of using an e-cig by any name to inhale and exhale aerosol vapor.

More than 3.6 million U.S. youth, including one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students, use e-cigarettes.

Most e-cigarettes have a battery, a heating element and a place to hold a liquid. They produce an aerosol by heating the liquid, which contains nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. Users inhale this mixture into their lungs and then exhale a cloud of vapor.

While some mistake the vapor for being just water, it is actually formaldehyde and cancer-causing chemicals. The flavorings also are chemicals that have not been approved for inhalation into one’s lungs.

Most vapes do contain nicotine, even some the manufacturers claim do not. Nicotine is an addictive substance that makes e-cigarette use harmful to anyone, but especially adolescents and young adults whose brains still are developing.

Nicotine can disrupt brain development; create permanent changes in the brain; adversely impact learning, memory, attention, impulse control, mood and respiratory health; and make the young person more susceptible to nicotine addiction. A typical e-cig pod or cartridge contains about as much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes, making it extremely dangerous around a curious young child.

The risks and the sheer volume of youth using these devices has prompted a call to action by the surgeon general:

“I, Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of protecting our children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks by immediately addressing the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. The recent surge in e-cigarette use among youth, which has been fueled by new types of e-cigarettes that have recently entered the market, is a cause for great concern. We must take action now to protect the health of our nation’s young people.”

At the same time, companies selling these devices and products are advertising them where youth live - online. A recent study monitored the marketing materials used on social media, including Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. The study noted that e-cigarette companies use cartoons as a marketing strategy and many of the logos contain cartoons.

Although combustible cigarettes and chewing tobacco have had advertising restrictions since 1999, this new industry has none. This, combined with candy flavors and names that appeal to youth, make the problem even greater.

Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, can be reached at 701-252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

Ash Anthracnose

By Alicia Harstad

This year we had a cool and wet spring which has caused a recurring problem with trees – foliar diseases. A common foliar disease that is emerging right now in ash trees is ash anthracnose. Ash anthracnose is most commonly seen when green leaves fall from the trees in early spring.  Irregular, water-soaked spots can be found on young shoots and leaves. These spots develop into dark brown blotches that start on the margin of leaves and move toward the center. Severely affected leaves will curl and fall to the ground. The leaf symptoms may not necessarily be visible on fallen leaves, since the infection that triggered leaf drop is likely on a petiole or other inconspicuous location. Anthracnose and other foliar diseases primarily affect the lower branches and inside the canopy, which are the shadier, more humid areas of the tree. The healthiest branches are at the top of the tree due to abundant sunshine and wind movement. This is one way to distinguish foliar diseases from vascular and root disorders caused by cankers, borers, girdling or construction injury which show dieback at the top of the tree. Foliar diseases will stress but rarely kill an established tree. One rule of thumb is an established tree can tolerate defoliation of up to 25% with minimal stress.

Treatment with fungicides is usually not warranted. Fungicides are only effective as a preventative treatment, usually as leaves are expanding.  Treating trees now can prevent mid-season infections, but will not help current infections. For most large trees, fungicide applications aren’t very practical.  Most trees will not suffer significant stress unless infections occur during consecutive years. To reduce the amount of foliar disease inoculum and help break the cycle of infection from one year to the next, rake and remove any infected leaves or fruits, prune plants to maximize sunlight and air movement within the canopy, and keep trees healthy and vigorous through proper irrigation and fertilization practices. If you have any questions, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030 or e-mail Alicia at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu

 

 

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By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 6-15-2019

Summer Safety and Activities with Kids

 Now that the kids are out of school, let’s review some safety tips and activities for this summer. Invite your kids into your kitchen to whip up a healthful snack with seasonal fresh or frozen berries. If you decide to go on a family bike ride, be sure to review the bike safety. Learn about buying secondhand sporting equipment, too.

 Eat: Enjoy Smoothies

Using a blender is something a child can do with instruction, and smoothies are a tasty snack that can help children meet their nutritional needs. Smoothies can include fruits and vegetables, along with yogurt, milk, juice or other ingredients whipped together in a blender or food processor.

Be sure to supervise children during food preparation, especially when they are learning to use small appliances. Start with clean hands and tie back hair.

 When teaching kids to use a blender, dry your hands well before plugging in or unplugging your blender. Always keep the cover on during the blender operation, and don’t insert a spoon to stir when the blender is in operation; turn it off. Remember that the blades in a blender are very sharp, so be very careful during assembly and cleaning.

See www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/recipes for a wide variety of recipes. Click on “Snacks, Appetizers & Beverages” to find smoothie recipes.

Connect: Bicycling = Family Fitness and Fun

Riding bikes can be a wonderful way to spend time together as a family. When you don’t want to load everyone in the car on a fine summer night to run an errand, visit friends, play at the park or even make your way to the community pool, biking may be the perfect mode of transportation.

 How many miles can your family bike this summer? How much will you save in gas money? How fit will you feel with some nightly exercise? Safe Kids Worldwide at www.safekids.org/tip/bike-safety-tips will give you great tips on how to make your rides safe for the whole family. The organization has guides on:

  • properly fitting helmets
  • bike maintenance
  • where to ride
  • where to add lights and reflectors
  • how to use proper hand signals
  • modeling good biking behavior

Take a tour of the whole site to get safety tips on many topics pertaining to kids. And always, “Use your head, wear a helmet.”

Savor (the Savings)

Summer sporting activities are a great way to keep your children active and enjoy the outdoors together. However, equipment needed for those activities can be expensive. Check out these tips on saving money on summer activities:

  • Using hand-me-down sporting equipment can be a money saver. This is great if you have multiple children, neighbor, or cousins who are interested in the same activities. Check out what you already have before you leave for the store.
  • Buy second-hand sporting equipment. Some stores sell second-hand equipment. Garage sales sometimes will have the items you want. Or check out online buy/sell/swap sites. Make sure you’re buying equipment that’s safe and in good condition.
  • Carpool with other families. Gas prices tend to spike in the summer months, so you can save money by carpooling.
  • Maybe your children don’t want to join an organized team or club. Teach them some of the games you played when you were a kid.

You also can do other activities on a budget together. City parks and recreation services may offer no- or low-cost activities such as arts and crafts or movie nights in the park. Sign up for the summer reading program at your local library and plan a garden together at home or at a community garden.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table, Issue 6. 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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Snap Beans Provide Health Benefits

Published in the Sun Country 6-8-2019

By: Christina Rittenbach

Looking for a tasty, low-calorie and nutrient-rich snack? The answer is snap beans.

The term “snap bean” comes from the snapping noise of the fibrous string breaking along the seam of the bean pod. Snap beans are long, crisp and bright green.

Snap beans are a class of bean that can be identified in a number of ways. String bean, green bean, French bean, pole bean, bush bean and snap bean all refer to the same legume.

The bean can be purchased in a variety of ways, including fresh, frozen and canned. When purchasing canned beans, make sure to look for a low-sodium label, or simply rinse the canned beans before cooking.

Home canning is a popular method for preserving green beans. The legume must be processed in a pressure canner to avoid any botulism risks. Follow current pressure-canning procedures in the NDSU Extension Service publication “Home Canning Low-acid Vegetables” (FN173).

Otherwise, the snap bean can be rinsed under cool, running water and stored whole in the refrigerator for up to one week.

One cup of fresh green beans has 31 calories and contains a variety of nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. Snap beans are classified as a vegetable, which is an important part of a healthful diet.

Why are vitamins and minerals important? Vitamin A helps keep our eyes healthy and our immune system strong, and promotes cell development. Vitamin B also promotes cell growth. In addition, it assists with energy production and protects the nervous system.

Vitamin C is most commonly associated with keeping our immune system strong, but vitamin C also helps our body heal quickly. Vitamin K plays an important role in the clotting of our blood, as well as contributing to calcium production to strengthen our bones.

Folate/folic acid promotes tissue growth and cell development. Folate is especially important for pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects during their pregnancy.

Potassium is an electrolyte that helps maintain fluid balance and keeps your heart healthy. Iron is important for red blood cells and muscles. Lastly, zinc is essential for a healthy immune system and for wound healing.

These nutrients can help reduce the risk of a number of health conditions, such as obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, macular degeneration and an impaired immune system.

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

 

 

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Spring Cleanup Time

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 3-23-2019

As we enjoy warmer temperatures, be inspired to check food package dates and use food before it goes to waste.

Plan your meals and grocery list around the fresh, canned and frozen foods that you have on hand. Arrange your cupboards in first-in, first-out order. Before tossing the food, remember these definitions:

Sell by” means the store should sell the product by the printed date, but the consumer still can eat the product safely for several days after that date.

Best if used by” means the consumer should use the product by the date listed for best quality and flavor (not for safety reasons).

Use by” is the last date recommended for use at peak quality. Note: Do not use infant formula and baby food after the “use by” date.

See NDSU Extension’s Food Storage Guide at https://tinyurl.com/NDSUfoodstorage.

Savor the Savings: Stretch Your Produce Dollars

Based on nutrition guidelines, half of your meals should be fruits and/or vegetables. However, produce can be an expensive part of your grocery shopping budget. Planning ahead and making some substitutions can help you save.

Here are some tips:

  • Check the cost of canned and frozen versus fresh produce. When cooking, sometimes you can substitute canned or frozen produce for fresh produce easily. These options are typically less expensive than fresh.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has an interactive chart (https://goo.gl/A5N9B2) that lets you see the cost of an item in different forms. For example, canned corn costs 51 cents per prepared cup, fresh costs $1.81 per prepared cup and frozen costs 61 cents per prepared cup.

  • Buying fresh produce when it is in season can help keep extra money in your wallet or purse. Fruit and vegetable prices fluctuate dramatically, depending on the time of year. Berries are in season in the spring and summer, so they are much less expensive than if you were to buy them in the fall and winter months.

 Again, the USDA provides a great resource (https://goo.gl/6HS8pU) that tells you when various types of produce are in season.

  • Finally, make sure to store your produce properly to extend its useable life. The Food Storage Guide from the NDSU Extension Service is a great guide to show you how to store produce properly, as well as the expected shelf life of produce.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 4. 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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A Positive Attitude Can Add 7.5 Years to Your Life

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 3-16-2019

What if you had a relatively simple way to extend the length of your life? Would you be interested?

Evidence indicates we can extend our lives by embracing an approach that goes beyond the traditional strategies involving things like nutrition, exercise, and sleep.

Research has shown that people with positive perceptions of aging live 7.5 years longer than those who do not. This finding is the strongest evidence to date that negative stereotypes can be an important health hazard.

People with positive perceptions of aging also:

  • Experience much higher rates of recovery from illness and injury
  • Have better brain performance and improved memory
  • Have a greater sense of control over their lives and a greater will to live
  • Are more likely to talk to a doctor about health problems, get preventive care such as blood pressure screenings and flu shots, and pursue health promotion programs

Common stereotypes depict old age as a time of poor health and functioning or a regression back to childhood. Aging stereotypes can be positive or negative, with some people holding multiple views of a person or group.

Ageist stereotypes have potentially harmful consequences. For example, people subjected to negative stereotyping may adopt the negative views and act accordingly with detrimental effects to their self-image, confidence and abilities.

Examining our personal views on aging, as well as the messages we are getting around us, is important. Encourage others to join you in promoting positive perceptions of aging that can influence our physical and mental health, and even longevity.

For more information, contact Christina Rittenbach, NDSU Extension agent in Stutsman County, at 252-9030 or

 

 

Soil Testing Clinic – March 12th

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 3-9-2019

Have you wondered what your soil test results are really telling you? The Stutsman County Extension office is hosting a Soil Testing Clinic on March 12th starting at 9:00 am at the Stutsman County Extension office (502 10th Ave SE, Jamestown). Chris Augustin, NDSU Extension Area Soil Health Specialist will be presenting on several different topics including:

  • What soil test you need and do not need
  • Crop specific soil tests
  • New NDSU potassium recommendations

Participants are welcome to bring a soil sample report they have questions about. Chris is willing to answer any specific questions someone might have.

For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 701-252-9030, e-mail Alicia at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu or go to our website at: www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension

 

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March is National Nutrition Month

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 3-2-2019

March is National Nutrition Month, and that's a great time to ask yourself these questions about making informed food choices, and developing sustainable eating and physical activity habits. Which of the following are true of you?

Do you include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis?

Do you consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store?

Do you buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week?

Are you mindful of portion sizes? Do you eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do?

Do you use good food safety practices?

Do you find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week?

If you answered “Yes” to most or all of the questions, then you are taking the steps recommended by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Nutrition: Separating Facts from Fiction

Sharing correct and incorrect information is easier than ever, especially with the popularity of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other digital means.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are enticed by an amazing diet, exercise device or other information.

Does the advice or product promise a quick fix? Complicated medical problems seldom have quick, effortless or simple solutions.

Does the advice cast doubts about current food or lifestyle practices? Question whether you need the product to make you healthier. Often, some changes in our lifestyle, diet and exercise habits are what could help us feel better and more energetic.

Does the advice or claim sound too good to be true? Be careful when a product is advertised as a “cure” for serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease or arthritis.

Does the advice provide lists of bad and good foods? Don’t exclude foods or food groups. What you don’t eat can affect your health, too.

Is a product being sold as the solution to the problem? Keep in mind that the seller may be more interested in your money than your health.

Does the advice refer to studies reported in nonscientific sources? Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is a good indication that an expert panel has reviewed the claims. Testimonials and case studies do not prove the usefulness or safety of any product.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, Nourish newsletter, Issue 2. 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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Reflect on Your Food Choices during National Nutrition Month

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 2-23-2019

Only 25 percent of the U.S. population consumes adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables.

Does that percentage include you? If not, that is OK. Small changes can add up to big improvements in our health.

Socially, we have become invested in health and nutrition. You hear about the next best diet on the local news station, your Facebook friend sells a new product, and meanwhile, your cousin tells you that sugar is the key to living longer. We are consumed by several different recommendations and guidelines, so how do we know what we really should be eating?

Nutrition is a science. The topic is consistently being researched to ensure optimal health. One thing we do know is that a magic pill and cure-all diets just do not exist. Finding reliable sources is important when looking for nutritional advice.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture created a guide to healthful eating called My Plate (www.choosemyplate.gov). The guide separates the plate into five categories, which represent all the food groups. The five groups are fruit, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy.

Despite the fact that you should eat from all the food groups, you should put an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. Healthful eating patterns that include vegetables and fruit are associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Half of your plate should be filled with an array of colorful fruits and vegetables. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables all count in helping us meet that guideline.

Fruits and vegetables add flavor and texture to a meal. Fruit is naturally sweet and can reduce the amount of added sugar sources you consume. Vegetables taste great in cold or hot dishes, and make a delicious snack and an easy side dish.

During March, which is National Nutrition Month, reflect on the food you typically eat. Where could you add in extra fruits and vegetables? Start with one meal at a time and focus on including more produce in place of other less healthful options.

Here are some ideas to help you increase your fruit and vegetable intake:

  • For safety, rinse all produce under running water before cutting.  See the NDSU Extension publication “Vary Your Veggies: How to Select and Store Vegetables.”  Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and navigate to “food preparation.”
  • Keep colorful fruit and vegetables where you can see and grab them easily for an on-the-go snack.
  • Fill your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam for an easy side dish.
  • Blend fruits and vegetables into a smoothie.
  • Use vegetables as pizza toppings.
  • Replace chips with a crunchy vegetable and low-fat dressing.

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

Sources: McKenzie Schaffer, NDSU dietetic intern, and Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension food and nutrition specialist

 

Stutsman County Ag Update – February 27

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 2-16-2019

The Stutsman County Extension office will be hosting the Stutsman County Ag Update on Wednesday, February 27th at the Extension office (502 10th Ave SE, Jamestown) from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. This meeting is geared toward both livestock and crop producers.

Coffee and registration will begin at 9:30 am. The meeting will start at 10:00 am with commodity elections for the Stutsman County representative for the Barley Council and Oilseed Council, Canola. Any barley or canola growers are encourage to participate in the elections.

Topics for the Stutsman County Ag Update will include:

  • NDAWN Weather Tools presented by James Hyde, NDAWN Network Engineer
  • Disease Update about Ergot in Wheat and Soybean Cyst Nematode presented by Alicia Harstad, Stutsman County Extension Agent
  • Parasite Control for Cattle presented by Dr. Gerald Stokka, NDSU Extension Veterinarian

Lunch sponsored by the North Dakota Wheat Commission will be served after the meeting. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension Office at 701-252-9030, check out our website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension or e-mail Alicia at alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu.

 

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Eat, Connect and Savor at the Family Table

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 2-9-2019

This month, we are focusing on heart-healthy meals, heartwarming family connections and personal savings that you will love as you eat, connect and savor the savings.

Eat

Does your family enjoy avocados? These foods actually are a fruit, a “berry” to be exact. They are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and can be used in salads, soups, guacamole or hummus, grilled or used in tacos.

Check out ‘Lean and Spicy Tacos’ recipe at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/recipes. Your child can help rinse and/or chop vegetables, measure ingredients, assemble the tacos and clean up the kitchen.

Looking for a special chocolate dessert your kids can help make? Check out the four-ingredient chocolate mousse with a secret ingredient. (https://tinyurl.com/4ingredientchocolatemousse)

Connect

Some of our deepest connections with the past revolve around food and the people we have shared that food with in our lives. You may have had the experience of catching a whiff of a familiar food that brought you back to an earlier time.

Cinnamon rolls baking reminds you of staying overnight at grandma’s house. The tangy smell of spaghetti sauce brings back memories of holiday dinners with great-grandpa. Frying bacon conjures up happy camping trips with parents and siblings.

Make your own deep connections with others by trying one of these loving ways to share food this month:

  • Track down the recipe to one of those dishes that make you feel warm and loved by the memory of the people you shared it with in your growing years. Make the recipe and share the food and the memory with your own family.
  •  Make a meal for a family going through a difficult time. Invite the family to your home to eat it or deliver it to the family with a heartfelt note.
  • Invite someone who normally eats alone to join your family for an ordinary family meal. It’s nothing fancy, with no extra forks or candles, just warm conversation and healthful food.
  • Start a recipe box or book with each of your children. Write out their favorites, date the entries, have the child illustrate and watch how preferences change as they grow.

Savor… the Savings

Buying snacks for your family can really cut into a grocery budget. Planning ahead and taking a little extra time to prepare so you have snacks when kids (or you) are hungry can help you save. Buy some snack bags and little plastic cups/dishes with lids to store your ready-made snacks. Here are some items you can prepackage for a quick snack:

  • Peanut butter crackers are easy to make by just taking two crackers and putting a little peanut butter between them. Put four to six of these in a snack bag for an easy grab-and-go snack.
  • Make your own trail mix. This way, you can put whatever you like in it. Make a large batch and then separate it into snack bags.
  • Precut veggies can be expensive. Cut your own and prepackage them in snack bags. If you want a dip (or peanut butter) to go with the veggies, put a little in a plastic cup.
  • Precut fruit also is expensive. Wash and prep your fruit and place in snack bags. Not all fruits will last a long time after being cut, but berries or grapes work well for this. Again, if you want a dip to go with them, put a small amount in a plastic cup.
  • Cutting and packaging your own meat and/or cheese can help you save money.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 2. For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

 

Annie's Project Being Offered at Steele and Jamestown

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 1-26-2019

Annie's Project, a six-week program that helps farm women become better business partners in their farm or ranch operation. Two upcoming courses are being offered at Steele and Jamestown.

During the program, farm women become empowered to be better business partners or sole operators through networks and by managing and organizing critical information.

Whether new or experienced, understanding the five areas of agricultural risk, knowing how to analyze agricultural spreadsheets and other necessary skills are vital. The five areas of agricultural risk that will be covered are financial risk, human resource risk, legal risk, market risk and production risk.

At Annie’s Project these skills are learned in a friendly environment where questions and discussion are welcome and allow the learning process to flourish.

The Steele location dates are: February 12th, 19th, 26th, March 5th, 12th and 19th from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Steele Community Center. Pre-registration is due by February 6th to Penny Nester, Kidder County Extension Agent (701-475-2672 or penny.nester@ndsu.edu).

The Jamestown location dates are: February 21st, 28th, March 7th, 14th, 21st 28th from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm at North Dakota Famers Union Building. Pre-registration is due by February 8th to Alicia Harstad, Stutsman County Extension Agent (701-252-9030 or alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu).

A supper will be served at each site beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Since its inception, Annie’s Project courses have reached more than 9,000 farm and ranch women in 33 states.

Linda, an Annie’s Project alumna, says, “I took the class to gain a better understanding about agribusiness and how financial decisions impact our farm operation. This class has improved the communication with my spouse about his daily farm concerns.”

The cost for the course is $125 per person, which includes a workbook and support materials for all sessions. Course size is limited, so please register soon.

For more information on Annie’s Project and N.D. site information, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/anniesproject or contact Alicia Harstad at the Stutsman County Extension office (alicia.harstad@ndsu.edu or 701-252-9030) or Penny Nester at the Kidder County Extension office (penny.nester@ndsu.edu or 701-475-2632).

 

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The Family Table: We’re Cooking Now!

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 1-19-2019

Starting this New Year, take your family from The Family Table in the dining room to the kitchen. This will be a chance for the kids to gain lifelong cooking skills while connecting with parents and other family members. As kids help prepare food, they also may gain an appreciation of those who care for them by preparing food.

Boost Kids’ Confidence in the Kitchen

Some of us procrastinate when faced with those tasks we don’t really know how to do very well. That’s especially true with those tasks we know we should know how to do (think computers or mending).

Did you know that kids also resist doing a task if they are not confident in their skills? As parents or other caring adults, we can:

  • Start by teaching the skills of each chore until the “child” understands how to do that particular task.
  • Next, work together. Share and enjoy meaningful work and pleasant conversation.
  • Eventually, when you feel the child has a good grasp on the task, move to more of an encouraging supervisor role, setting the expectations, reviewing when needed and timing the projects.
  • And, of course, thank your children for their time and effort.

We all want our kids to be confident in their abilities and to help with daily chores such as food preparation and cleanup and other household work.

Savor… the Savings

Saving money is typically one of the top New Year’s resolutions. Coming up with more money is hard, but finding ways to cut costs and put extra money away can be a great way to meet your new savings goals. The average American household spends about 13 percent of its budget on food. Shopping smart is a great way to cut food costs.

  • Plan your meals around what you already have on hand and sales at the grocery store. Don’t forget to plan for snacks, too.
  • Write everything you need down and make a shopping list. Stick to your list when you’re at the store.
  • Comparison shop while sticking to your list and be ready to substitute if needed. Generic and store brands are typically less expensive than name-brand goods.
  • Buy in bulk when you can to save money in the long run. Only buy items in bulk that you will use before that item spoils.
  • Try to only go shopping once a week (or less). This saves on impulse buys as well as travel expenses.
  • Don’t go shopping when hungry; you will be more likely to grab something that isn’t on your list if you are very hungry.

Connect to NDSU Extension program called "The Family Table".  The program includes challenges, Facebook messages, e-newsletter and website. Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable to sign up.

Excerpted from The Family Table newsletter, Issue 1. 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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Pay Off Your Debt

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 1-12-2019

Do you have a New Year’s resolution to save money or budget better in 2019? Creating a debt-reduction plan can help. It is a great way to write out your goals and allow you to see how much you spend and where you spend it.

North Dakota State University Extension has resources at www.ag.ndsu.edu/money/ to help you set financial goals, save for emergencies and manage your money.

If you have gotten to a point where you are struggling to pay your debts, here are some tools you can use:

  • Online programs such as PowerPay (https://powerpay.org) - They provide a personalized, self-directed debt-elimination plan.
  • Credit counseling - Reputable credit counseling organizations can give you advice on how to manage your money. The counselors are trained in consumer credit and/or financial counseling.
  • Debt management plans (DMP) - Under a DMP, you deposit money each month with a credit counseling organization. The organization then uses your money to pay your unsecured debts according to a payment schedule that the counselor develops with you and your creditors. A DMP requires you to make regular, timely payments. Completing your DMP can take up to four years.  You may have to agree not to apply for or use any additional credit during this time.
  • Debt settlement programs - In these programs, a company negotiates with your creditors to allow you to settle your debt, as a lump-sum payment, for a lower amount than what you borrowed. You will need to place money into a savings account each month until you have enough money to pay off any settlement that is reached. However, most of these companies instruct their clients to stop making any payments to creditors, which can have a negative impact on the clients’ credit rating. Negotiations can take years to become finalized, and sometimes a settlement cannot be reached.
  • Debt consolidation - You may be able to lower the cost of your credit by consolidating all of your current debt into a lower-interest-rate loan (second mortgage or home equity are examples). However, doing this has some drawbacks.  You may have to pay upfront fees Also, you will have access to the credit on your credit cards again and may be tempted to use them and become even more indebted. If you are in a lot of debt, obtaining a low-interest-rate loan may be extremely difficult.

You will want to be very careful when considering a repayment program and company or organization to help you with your debt repayment plan. Using some of these methods can have a negative effect on your credit.

Many companies promise to clean up a client’s credit report for a fee, but anything these companies can do, you can do yourself for free. The only way to clean accurate negative information from your credit report is time.

Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, can be contacted at (701) 252-9030 or

 

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8 Tips to Make Cooking at Home a Breeze

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 12-29-2018

The holidays are memories now, but the bills for all the fun may be rolling in. Is saving some money on your New Year’s resolution list? How about having more healthful meals? Cooking meals at home can help you meet both of those goals.

A home-cooked meal usually costs about 60 percent less than a meal eaten at a restaurant. For example, ordering a large one-topping pizza may cost a family $15, but making the same pizza at home may cost about $7. The savings add up!

Meals eaten at home tend to be lower in calories and fat and higher in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

 You might think you have no time to cook. These tips can make cooking a breeze.

  1. Organize your kitchen. Keep frequently used items such as cooking oils/sprays, spatulas, cutting boards and spices within easy reach. You will not have to search for them later.
  1. Clear the clutter. Before you start cooking, clear off your counters. This allows more room to prepare food.
  1. Have everything in place. Read through the recipe and gather the ingredients needed for your recipe. Organizing your ingredients helps you spot missing items and avoid skipping steps. Prep ingredients by draining and rinsing canned beans or vegetables, washing fruits and vegetables, and chopping what you need.

   4. Invite family members to help you in the kitchen. Children can learn valuable food preparation skills. Plus, cooking together is fun! Eating family meals has many benefits, too.

  1. Chop extra. When chopping veggies for a meal, chop more than you need and refrigerate the extras for use later that week. For example, chop an extra onion and refrigerate it in an air-tight container. The next time you need it, you can skip a step. For longer storage, you also can freeze most vegetables.
  1. Double your recipe. For your next casserole or stew, try doubling the recipe and freezing the extra. You’ll save time and make cooking dinner during a busy evening a snap.
  1. Clean as you go. Fill the sink with soapy water and wash the dishes as you cook.

   8. Save some for later. Freeze leftover soups, sauces or gravies in small reusable containers. Be sure to mark the container with the name of the recipe and date you froze it.

Question: I am having a New Year’s gathering. How long can I leave food such as a meat and cheese try on the table?

Remember that perishable food should not sit at room temperature more than two hours. Bacteria that can cause foodborne illness cannot be smelled or tasted.

  • If the party will go for a while, set out smaller amounts of food and keep the rest in the refrigerator. Replace the serving containers as needed.
  • Keep salads, cut fruit and vegetables and meat and cheese trays cold be nesting the bowls or platters in containers of ice.
  • Keep warm foods, such as hot wings and warm dips, in slow cookers. If you do not have small slow cookers, set out a smaller amount of food and keep the remaining food in the oven or on the stove staying warm.

Excerpted from FoodWise Newsletter, Issue #324. For more information about this topic, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email

 

Agriculture Woman of the Year Award

By Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 12-15-2018

I have the great opportunity to be a committee member on the Jamestown Area Chamber Ag and Energy Committee. The Jamestown Area Chamber Ag and Energy Committee will again be awarding the Agriculture Woman of the Year award. We want to formally recognize a woman in our area for all the hard work they do in agriculture. This award is based on the individual’s involvement in agriculture, on the farm/ranch, in their communities, with youth and with local, regional and national agriculture organizations. The candidate should live within 75 miles of Jamestown and be notified of their nomination. The award winner with their family, will be recognized at the Annual Farmers Appreciation Banquet which is on February 15th, 2019 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 Woman 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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Enjoy Holiday Tastes Without the Waste!

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 12-8-2018

Holidays often are a time to enjoy delicious food, but sometimes we have leftovers after holiday gatherings. About one of every three pounds of food is wasted in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The amount of food waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Throwing away food is throwing away money.

What can you do to avoid wasting food during the holidays?
Plan menus and the amount of food to prepare. Figure out how many guests will be at an event and plan the quantities to make. That might mean cutting some recipes to half size.

  • Create a grocery shopping list and refer to the sale flyers.
  • Avoid impulse buys as you shop and stick with your list.

Save cooking time and expense with a potluck.
Invite guests to share in the fun of food preparation by bringing a part of the meal.

  • Set a theme, such as “healthful appetizers,” “Mexican fiesta” or “build your own pizza.”
  • At the end of meal, everyone takes his/her own food home or encourages guests to bring “to-go” containers to take home part of the food to enjoy in the next couple of days.

Help guests avoid waste.

Provide smaller plates at buffets. The larger the plate, the more people serve themselves. People waste about 25 percent of the food on their plates.

  • Use smaller serving spoons. When large serving spoons are used, people serve themselves larger portions.
  • Consider providing “tasting spoons” so people take a small taste without a full portion.

Store leftovers safely in shallow containers within two hours.

  • Label the containers with the contents and date you stored them. Consider adding “eat first” to the label or refrigerator shelf.
  • Serve leftovers within four days.
  • Reheat meat, casseroles and other main-dish foods to 165°F.

Create tasty new meals from the leftovers.
Your family might like “planned-overs” more than “leftovers.”

  • Use planned-over roast beef, chicken or turkey to make a stir-fry or a casserole.
  • Use extra mashed potatoes to make potato soup.
  • Learn to create your own casserole or soup with the “Pinchin’ Pennies in the Kitchen” handouts at www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/food. Click on “Food Preparation.”

Freeze extra food in meal-sized portions.
If you cannot use the food within four days, freeze it in meal-sized portions.

  • Label the container with the name of the food and the date you made it.
  • Keep a list of food that you put in the freezer so you do not forget it’s there.

Excerpted from FoodWise Newsletter, Issue #323. 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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Eating at Home Saves Money

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 12-1-2018

Americans spend more on food eaten away from home than at home, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Eating out costs more than preparing meals at home because you are paying for the convenience as well as the food.

The Family Table, an initiative of North Dakota State University Extension, has resources at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable to help you find ways to cook healthful meals on a budget.

Let’s look at a few examples of a meal prepared at home versus at a restaurant. Cheapism (www.cheapism.com) compared prices on a classic chicken dinner, taking into account a tip, food waste and family size, and found that a home-cooked meal costs up to 60 percent less than a dinner eaten out.

Pizza is another example of a food that can be ordered easily for delivery or carry out. On average, a large one-topping pizza will cost a family $15. Making the same pizza at home (crust, premade pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese) would cost about $8.32. That is almost a 50 percent savings.

Would your family rather have burgers and fries? Eating at a local diner would cost about $10 per person. However, for a family of four having quarter-pound hamburgers at home, the cost would be approximately $10 for all four of them (1 pound of hamburger, 5 pound-bag of potatoes, oil for frying potatoes and package of buns). This does not include the condiments, but as you can see, you can feed four people for the price of one by preparing the same meal at home.

These costs listed for eating at home do not take into account your time and labor. However, if you’re looking to save money on your food budget, preparing meals at home is a great place to start.

For more information on The Family Table, visit https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable, or like The Family Table on Facebook for more tips, meal plans and ideas for getting conversations started during family meals.

Christina Rittenbach is a NDSU Extension agent in Stutsman County. She can be contacted at 701-252-9030 or

 

Central Dakota Ag Day

by Alicia Harstad

Published in the Sun Country 11-24.2018

Central Dakota Ag Day is scheduled for Thursday, December 13th at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center. This workshop will consist of several different breakout sessions including agronomy, livestock, marketing and soil health topics.

The workshop will begin at 9:00 am with coffee and donuts. Lynn Paulson from Bell Bank will begin the workshop at 10 am with “An Ag Lenders Secrets to Weathering the Economic Storm”. The rest of the morning and afternoon will consist of several half-hour breakout sessions. The workshop will conclude with Frayne Olson, NDSU Extension Crops Economist, speaking on “Soybean Trade and Marketing Strategies” from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm. Lunch will be provided and is being sponsored by ND Soybean Council and ND Corn Council.

The breakout session topics will include:

-          Using Soil Health Building Practices On-Farm by Abbey Wick, NDSU Extension Soil Health Specialist

-          Palmer Amaranth Update by Brian Jenks, NDSU Weed Scientist

-          Specialty Crop Marketing Outlook (pulses/other minor oil seeds) by Frayne Olson

-          Corn/Wheat Marketing Update by Frayne Olson

-          Comparing Crop Budgets for 2019 by Joel Lemer, Adult Farm Management Education instructor

-          Soybean Research Update and Tips for 2019 by Greg Endres, NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center Agronomist

-          RIP Yield Goal: Updated Fertilizer Recommendations by Dave Franzen, NDSU Extension Soil Science Specialist

-          Clay Chemistry Influence on Crop K Nutrition by Drave Franzen

-          NRCS Farm Planning and Program Opportunities by Paul DuBourt, Foster County NRCS District Conservationist

-          Calculating Profitability of Buying Replacement Heifers by Bryon Parman, NDSU Extension Agricultural Finance Specialist

-          Don’t Be A Downer by Nicole Wardner, NDSU Extension Sheridan County Extension Agent

-          Livestock Marketing Outlook by Tim Petry, NDSU Extension Livestock Economist

-          Feed Concerns for 2018-2019 by Karl Hoppe, Carrington Research Extension Center Livestock Systems Specialist

-          Sorghum Sudangrass for Fall Grazing or Haying by Kevin Sedvic, NDSU Extension Rangeland Management Specialist

-          Ergot in Wheat and Goss’s Wilt in Corn by Andrew Friskop, NDSU Extension Plant Pathologist Specialist  

-          Optimizing Fungicide Application Methods for Improved Management of White Mold in Dry Beans by Michael Wunsch, Carrington Research Extension Center Plant Pathologist

-          Cover Crop Identification and Use by Greg Enders, Abbey Wick and Megan Vig, NDSU Extension Griggs County Extension Agent  

-          Getting Started with Soil Health Discussion by Abbey Wick

Central Dakota Ag Day is sponsored and organized by the Agriculture Improvement Associations and Extension Offices in Foster, Eddy, Wells, Griggs, Sheridan and Stutsman counties as well as the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center.

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

 

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Add Some Pumpkin and Squash to Your Menu

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 11-17-2018

What recipes do you think of when you hear the words pumpkin or squash? Are you thinking of pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread? Pumpkin and squash can be used in many ways on our menu.

Did you know that most canned “pumpkin” is actually squash? Pumpkin and squash are in the same plant family, and their taste and nutritional value are almost the same. They are good sources of fiber to help our digestion. Pumpkin and squash are rich in pigments (called carotenoids) that our body converts to vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy eyes and skin.

Try a variety of winter squash, including butternut, buttercup, acorn, hubbard or spaghetti squash, with these tips:

Store it correctly.

Store pumpkin and squash in a cool, dry place. Do not wash it before storing because that can shorten its storage life. When stored correctly, it can last several months.

Bake it.

To bake a pumpkin or squash, rinse the squash with running water and scrub with a vegetable brush if needed. Poke holes in the skin with a knife.

Place it in a baking pan and bake at 350°F until tender. Bake small squash/pumpkin for about 45 minutes or large squash for about 90 minutes. Remove the skin and seeds, then mash, season as desired and serve.

Microwave it.

Rinse the squash and cut it into chunks. Place in a microwave-safe container and cook on high for about seven minutes until tender. Note: Raw squash and pumpkin are very hard; be cautious when cutting it to avoid injuring yourself.

Freeze it.

Cooked, mashed squash can be preserved by freezing but not by home-canning. Chunks of cooked squash can be preserved by pressure canning. Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/food and follow the directions for safe food preservation.

Try some new recipes.

Have you ever made pumpkin pancakes or pumpkin fruit leather? How about pumpkin or squash soup or pumpkin bread pudding? See www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/food for recipes to try. Click on “Recipes,” then “Breads” or “Snacks, Appetizers and Beverages.”

Question: I am serving Thanksgiving dinner, and several people in my family are trying to cut down on calories. Do you have any tips?

Here are several ideas that may work for you.

• Begin with a veggie tray filled with colorful pepper slices, grape tomatoes, carrot sticks, etc. Serve with a reduced-calorie dip if desired.

• Use lower-calorie ingredients such as “light sour cream” or “light cream cheese” when making dips, mashed potatoes or salads. Compare the Nutrition Facts labels.

• Go easy on the brown sugar and butter added to sweet potatoes.

• Remove the skin from the roasted turkey before serving and/or eating. Turkey skin is high in fat and calories.

• Serve ice water with the meal. If desired, flavor the water with some orange, lemon or lime slices.

• Serve pumpkin pie instead of high-calorie apple pie or pecan pie.

• Use smaller serving spoons. People tend to serve themselves larger portions when larger utensils are used.

Excerpted from FoodWise Newsletter, Issue #322. 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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Pack Nutrition into Your Ramen Bowl

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 11-10-2018

You’re in a hurry and on a budget. You have no time to make supper for your family.

People who are busy with everything from children’s events to trying to fit in exercise often look for the quickest way to put a meal on the table. Ramen noodles are a convenient ingredient for a quick meal.

Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish made from wheat noodles. It typically contains a meat or fish-based broth.

Ramen noodle dishes aren’t the most healthful food on their own. Expect to consume roughly 400 calories and about 8 grams of saturated fat per package. The American Heart Association recommends consuming 5 to 6 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat. If you consume about 2,000 calories per day, that would be roughly 13 grams of saturated fat.

You also will find more than 1,800 milligrams (mg) of sodium in one package of the chicken-flavor variety, with the other varieties contributing similar amounts. The daily recommended intake for sodium is 2,300 mg per day. This is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of table salt daily.

Adding more nutrients can help make ramen noodles a healthier option for you and your family. Microwave fresh, canned or frozen veggies while your noodles boil on the stove. Heat up leftover meat and mix it in. Add your own herbs and spices to create new flavor combinations.

These additions to ramen noodles can increase your nutrient intake and make your meals interesting:

  • Bacon, scrambled or hard boiled eggs and green onions
  • Chicken, corn, peas and carrots
  • Steak strips, mushrooms and cilantro
  • Tofu, baby spinach and carrots
  • Slow cooker pork, sweet potato and kale
  • Shrimp, sriracha and broccoli
  • Peanut butter, bean sprouts, mini corn ears and red pepper

“The Family Table,” an initiative of North Dakota State University Extension, has resources at www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable to help you plan and prepare healthful meals. Visit the website or follow the program on Facebook for meal plans, money and time-saving tips and ideas for improving communication during family meals.

Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, can be contacted at 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

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Stop Germs in Their Tracks with Proper Hand Washing

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 10-27-2018

When the weather cools, people stay indoors more often. The number of colds and flulike symptoms begin to increase at this time of year. Did you know that proper hand washing is the single most important way to help prevent the spread of illness?

When should you wash your hands?

• Before, during and after preparing food
• Before eating food
• After using the toilet
• After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
• Before and after caring for someone who is sick
• After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
• After touching an animal or cleaning up after a pet
• After touching garbage
• Before and after treating a cut or wound

Four Steps to Proper Hand Washing

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap. (People often reach for the soap before wetting their hands.)
  2. Rub your hands together to make lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of hands, between fingers and under nails. Continue rubbing for at least 20 seconds. Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice to time yourself.
  3. Rinse your hands well under running water.
  4. Dry your hands using a clean towel, paper towel or an air dryer.

Is hand sanitizer a substitute for hand washing?

Question: I bought some hand sanitizer. Can I use this in my kitchen in place of washing my hands?

Before you begin preparing food, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  Hand sanitizers are not a substitute for hand washing.  Hand sanitizers are recommended when hand-washing facilities are not available.  Some schools have installed hand sanitizer dispensers to help prevent the spread of the flu and other illnesses.

Hand sanitizers usually include alcohol as their active ingredient.  Alcohol can kill bacteria and viruses.  Experts recommend that hand sanitizers contain at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective. Be sure to read the directions to see how much to use. Rub the sanitizer all over your hands and between your fingers until your hands are dry.

Keep hand sanitizers out of reach of young children, however, because they might be curious enough to taste it.

Quick Review Quiz: What are the three "ingredients" you need to wash your hands?

Answer: Warm running water, soap and a way to dry your hands (clean towel, air dryer).

Excerpted from FoodWise Newsletter, Issue #273. 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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Are You a Family Caregiver?

By Christina Rittenbach

Published in the Sun Country 10-20-2018

Are you one of the 62,100 individuals in North Dakota providing care to a spouse, relative or friend?

A caregiver is someone who helps another with things he or she cannot do for him/herself due to a serious medical condition or the aging process in general. Caregiving can include transportation, housekeeping, grocery shopping, bill paying, personal care, managing legal or insurance matters or providing a place to live.

These are the different kinds of caregivers:

  • Long-distance caregiver – These individuals look out for a loved one who lives in a different city, state or country.
  • Sandwich generation caregiver – These are men and women who are sandwiched between taking care of their own children and taking care of one or more elderly parents.
  • Spousal caregiver – These individuals find themselves taking care of a spouse with a serious illness.
  • Working caregiver – These are adults in the workforce faced with the dilemma of holding down a job and making sure a loved one is taken care of properly.

Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, but it also can be filled with enormous challenges, such as time commitment, competing demands, financial implications, and physical and mental stress. Here are some common symptoms of caregiver stress: depression, withdrawal, insomnia, trouble concentrating, anger, health issues, exhaustion, anxiety, drinking, smoking and altered eating habits.

Many caregivers have no idea what to do, how to do it or where to get help. This dilemma makes family caregivers vulnerable.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Take care of yourself. Try to find some time for yourself each day to do things that you enjoy. This might include fun activities, like attending a game or going to a movie. It could also include doing something relaxing, such as taking a bath or getting a massage. Taking some time each day to do something for you can help with managing or preventing the symptoms of caregiver stress.
  • Ask for help. The ND Family Caregiver Support Program is a system of support services for unpaid caregivers of older adults to help them continue to provide care in their homes and community through information, assistance, counseling, support groups and training. Contact the Aging Services Division at 1-855-462-5465 for more information or to learn more about other services and supports available to you and your care recipient. Also see www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/aging/fact-sheet-family-caregiver-support-program.pdf for more information.
  • Get educated on family caregiving issues. The AARP’s Caregiver Resource Center at www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving has checklists, worksheets, tips, tools, articles, blogs, Ask the Experts and more.  

Christina Rittenbach is an Extension agent with NDSU Extension – Stutsman County. She can be reached at 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu

 

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All Eyes on Potatoes

By Luella Morehouse

Published in the Sun Country 10-6-2018

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

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

Enjoy and Preserve Your Harvest

 

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