Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Applications for emergency farm loans for losses and damages caused by drought November 1, 2013 and continuing are being accepted at the Farm Service Agency (FSA) office located in Vernon, Texas, FSA Farm Loan Manager, Kelley R. Boone said today.

           Archer, Baylor, Clay, Jack, Knox, Montague, Wichita, Wilbarger and Wise are nine counties in Texas recently named by the Secretary of Agriculture to be eligible for loans to cover part of actual production and/or physical losses resulting from drought from November 1, 2013 and continuing.

Kelley R. Boone said farmers may be eligible for loans of up to 100% of their actual losses or the operating loan needed to continue the agricultural business, whichever is less.  For farmers unable to obtain credit from private commercial lenders, the interest rate is 3.75 percent.

“As a general rule, a farmer must have suffered at least a 30 percent loss of production to be eligible for an FSA emergency loan”, Kelley R. Boone said.  Farmers participating in the Federal Crop Insurance program will have to consider proceeds from those programs in determining their loss.

“Applications for loans under this emergency designation will be accepted until September 15, 2014 but farmers should apply as soon as possible.  Delays in applying could create backlogs in processing, with possible delays into the new farming season”, Kelley R. Boone said.

FSA is a credit agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  It is authorized to provide disaster emergency loans to recognized farmers who work at and rely on farming for a substantial part of their living.  Eligibility is extended to individual farmers who meet U.S. citizenship requirements and to farming partnerships, corporations, or cooperatives in which U.S. citizenship requirements are met by individuals holding a majority interest.

Additional Information regarding Disaster Assistance Programs may be found online at

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Women and Heart Disease

A little over half of women know the leading cause of death for women is heart disease. Almost 500,000 women die from cardiovascular diseases, while 270,000 women die from all forms of cancer combined.
Because so many studies are reported in the news—some with conflicting findings—about half of women report being confused about how to reduce their risks for heart disease.
            Experts at the National Institutes of Health agree, however, there are five essential things women can do to reduce their risks, even if they know heart disease runs in their family: 

1. Do not smoke, and, if you do, quit. Keep trying even if you have tried many times. Ask your doctor about tobacco cessation medications. Use the counseling offered by the National Cancer Institute at 1-877-44U-QUIT.
2. Aim for a healthy weight.
3. Become more physically active. Aim for 30 minutes on all or almost all days each week. Walking is a great way to be active, whether walking indoors on a treadmill or outside.
4. Eat smart. Choose a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, and moderate in total fats.
5. Know your blood pressure, total HDL and LDL cholesterol, and blood glucose. Ask your doctor to do these tests and to inform you as to whether or not the numbers are within the recommended limits. Ask what you need to do if your numbers are outside the recommended range.

       Walking is such an important way to reduce cardiovascular risks for both women and men. Every year, Texas AgriLife Extension in Wise County offers an eight-week program called Walk Across Texas to help people get started and establish the habit of physical activity.  This program will be starting March 3, 2014 watch this news article for specific details.
       To find out more about Walk Across Texas, go to http://walkacrosstexas.tamu.edu   or call the Extension office at 940/627-3341.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dinner Tonight weekly recipes


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Solving the Mystery of Pruning Roses

February is the month when most modern roses need to be pruned.  Even if your roses have already begun growth, the time has come to prune.  Annual heavy pruning is essential to insure the prolific bloom and long-life of a rose bush.
            Explaining the concept of rose pruning without a live bush to demonstrate on is difficult, so let your mind loose to help visualize the following steps in rose pruning:
·         Pruning of roses is actually done year round.  Every time you cut off old blooms and remove twiggy growth, you are actually promoting new growth.  There are two times a year when you prune more seriously, spring and fall.
·         You will need the following items: a good pair of hand pruners (preferably the scissor type, not anvil type), a sharp keyhole saw and large loppers, a heavy pair of leather gloves, a pruning compound and a dull knife.
·         The first step in spring pruning of Hybrid Teas, Grandifloras, Floribundas and Climbing roses is to remove any canes that are dead or just old and non-productive.  These canes are usually gray in color and scaly.
·         This pruning will encourage future “basal” breaks which are the life blood of any rose bush.  Basal breaks refer to new shoots, soon to be producing canes, which arise from the graft union.  These should not be confused with “suckers” which arise from the rootstock below the graft union.  Remove all suckers.
·         Beginning to fine tune the pruning, remove all twiggy growth on the remaining canes (note: the fine tune pruning on climbing roses should be done after they bloom in the spring).  Try to clean out the middle of the bush as much as possible.  This allows for good air circulation to prevent insects and disease.
·         Now you are ready to prune on the good healthy canes.  If your roses have already flushed growth, it is important to prune each cane back to a dormant bud.  A bud that has already begun growth and is then pruned will simply continue to grow vigorously and bloom very little.  A dormant, non-growing bud will initiate growth after pruning and will produce an abundance of blooms.
·         One comment used to describe pruning is to “prune to an outside bud.”  This means when picking the point on a given cane to cut back to, make sure there is a good bud on the cane facing toward the outside of the plant.  This will insure the growth of the new bud is to the outside, therefore keeping the center of the rose bush clear and open for air circulation.
·         Another guideline in pruning back an individual cane is to cut the cane at the point when the diameter of the cane is the size of a pencil or slightly larger.  This is normally at a height of 18 to 14 inches.  If there is the need to prune back to a dormant bud, the size of the cane may be larger and the cane length may be shorter.
The final product of your pruning should be a rose bush about 18 to 24 inches tall with 4 to 8 canes.  Add some mulch, water and tender-loving-care, and that pitiful looking rose bush will soon give you a shower of flowers.

For more information please contact the Wise County Extension office at 940-627-3341.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Drink Up: Choose Water First

           I hope you are staying with the goal to eat healthier in 2014. At our weekly Step Up & Scale Down class we have talked about the variety of foods that should be included on our healthy plates. Last week we touched on the importance of drinking water even during the colder months. Water is often an overlooked nutrient for many people. It is important for just about every bodily function.  In general, adults need to be drinking eight or more glasses per day. Fluid intake for children and teenagers is also important.
Research suggests that most children and adolescents aren’t getting enough. For school-age children, expert panels generally recommend daily water intake of about 4 cups for children 4-8 years old, 7-8 cups for youth ages 9-13, and 8-11 cups for those 14-18 years old. It’s recommended that children consume this quantity of water daily in liquid form (water, unflavored lowfat milk, and no more than 4-6 ounces of 100 percent fruit juices). For teens, that translates into drinking enough water to fill a 2-liter bottle.
Young people who drink more water gain many benefits. First, higher water consumption can help in the battle against childhood obesity. One study found that plain drinking water accounted for only 33 percent of total water intake among adolescents, with the remaining intake consisting primarily of beverages that contained excess calories. Choosing plain water more often — “water first for thirst” — would likely decrease the amount of sugary beverages children drink. And that can be significant: A 2001 study in The Lancet found that for every 12-ounce sugary soda a child consumed each day, the odds that he or she would become obese over the next 18 months increased by 60 percent.
Public health authorities suggest parents can help children increase water consumption by:
·         Offering water first when your children say they are thirsty.
·         Having only water and other unsweetened beverages available or within your child’s reach
·         Modeling the behavior — drink more water yourself.
·         Checking your children’s school policies on allowing children to visit the water fountain often or bring bottled water into the classroom.
·         Dressing it up — add slices of lemon, lime or cucumber to water to add interest and variety.   
For more information please contact the Wise County Extension office 940-627-3341.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Call for Coops: 2014 Coop Tour

One hobby that continues to grow in interest is the raising backyard chickens. This stems from families having the desire to grow their own food and from youth bringing home chicks from their classroom’s Egg to Chick project. Either way we are excited that we are in the middle of a chicken frenzy around here!

            The Wise Chicks Coop Tour has held an annual tour for 3 years now and I am very excited to be involved with organizing the tour. We are currently looking for families that have a coop up and running, and would like to participate in the tour. In previous years, we have seen funky and fun coops to efficient small scale coops. The best part about the tour is that each coop and the chicks that reside there are different!

            If you have a coop you would like to share with the general public please get in touch with tour organizer, Susan Simich, by calling 940-225-4740 or emailing

Save the date for the 2014 Coop Tour! We will hold the Coop Tour on May 3, 2014. For more information regarding previous Coop Tours visit: