Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wise County 4-H Takes District 3 4-H Livestock Judging Contest By Storm

Once again hard work and dedication pays off for Wise County 4-H’ers.   On Wednesday, November 4th, 24 counties and 179 4-H members converged to Vernon, Texas to compete at the District 3 Livestock Judging Contest only to be dominated by 19 4-H members from Wise County. 

Of the three age divisions, Wise County 4-H won first place in two age divisions and second place in the other.  Wise County had 3 members in the top ten individual in all three age divisions.

The Junior Team placed 1st with team members of Mason McComis, Creed Vineyard and Brandt Rasco.  Mason was 4th High Point Individual, Creed was 8th High Point Individual, and Brandt was 9th High Point Individual.  Creed Vineyard also placed 3rd High Point Individual in Reasons. 

In the intermediate division, Wise County placed 1st, 6th and 11th.  The first place team included, Kaylyn Shallene, Dustin Meadows, Clint Demmitt and Cassady Craddock.  The 6th and 11th place teams were made up of Blake Johnson, Brandon Fraser, Rebecca Lambert, Cale Laaser, Chloe Malone, Emily Fraser, Charlotte Hale and Kooper Martin. The top ten High Point Individuals included, Blake Johnson 3rd High Point Individual, Clint Demmitt 5th High Point Individual, Dustin Meadows 7th High Point Individual, and Kaylyn Shallene 9th High Point Individual.  Kaylyn Shallene was also 2nd High Point Individual in Reasons.

The Senior Team placed 2nd and has qualified to compete at State Roundup in June.  Thaine Laaser was 4th High Point Individual, Sheridan Shallene was 5th High Point Individual, Seth Byers was 9th High Point Individual, Carson Read was 12th High Point Individual and Michaela Martin.  Sheridan Shallene was 1st High Point Individual in reasons, and Seth Byers was 3rd High Point Individual in reasons.

Wise County should be very proud of our 4-H members and what they represent for our county.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cooking Healthy for the Holidays Seminar

“Healthy” and “holiday” don’t usually find themselves in the same sentence, especially when it comes to food. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

Join Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in collaboration with the Decatur Public Library, for a healthy cooking class where you can learn to reduce the amounts of fats and sugar usually found in holiday recipes. With a little planning and a few simple changes, you can enjoy great tasting holiday foods while maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding the weight gain often associated with the holiday season.

Making wise menu choices can be a challenge and sometimes keep you from enjoying these festive occasions. Healthy eating can be part of party menus too.  For those who want to find out more about eating healthy during the holidays and enjoying those special-occasion meals, please join me for the presentation  Focus on the ‘Stars’ Cooking Healthy for the Holidays’ on November 16 . The hour long seminar will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Decatur Public Library at 1700 Highway 51 S. in Decatur. To register, call the library at 940-393-0290, visit their website at, or ask at the front desk or call Texas A&M AgriLife Extension at 940-627-3341.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Healthy Eating for Healthy Joints

Found: one more reason for healthy eating! AgriLife Extension’s Walk Across Texas website recently shared information from the Human Performance Resource Center which indicated that  we can take control of how our daily eating habits help or hurt our body’s joints. The physical demands of everyday, along with day-to-day exercise, overuse, injury, and aging—can take their toll on joints over time. There are certain eating habits we can practice to help keep joints happy and healthy for the long run.
  • Aim for a healthy weight. Extra weight means extra stress on joints – walking alone can cause our knees to take on 3–6 times your body weight. Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if needed.
  • Fight inflammation. Include omega-3 fatty acids on your plate to reduce the body’s inflammation. Salmon isn’t the only source; foods such as English walnuts, flaxseeds and their oil, canola oil, and other fish contribute omega-3s to your eating plan.
  • Fill up on fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables, all of which are nutrient-heavy, have been linked to a lower incidence of joint diseases such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at meals, and build snacks around them too.
  • Revive with vitamin C. Because of its role in forming collagen (the main component of connective tissue) and as an antioxidant, foods high in vitamin C are important for joint health. Oranges, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, red peppers, and kiwi are excellent sources.
Focusing on a healthy weight and filling up on nutrient-rich foods, along with regular exercise and stretching, can help optimize the long-term health and performance of your joints.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Small Grains Off to a Start

You know early grazing didn’t work in our favor this year; however, those of you who were lucky enough to get your small grain fields planted before the rain may have a chance to have an excellent beginning and should be able to graze those fields much earlier than usual.  Of course we don’t need it washed out and we need it to stay warn a little while longer.  If these things fall into place early grazed forage should contain 28-32% crude protein. It is important to remember, each ton of forage harvested by livestock will remove 90-100 pounds of nitrogen. Small grain forage that stands a foot tall will easily yield one ton per acre. That means if you only applied 60 to 80 pounds of nitrogen per acre at planting, most if not all of your nitrogen will be harvested with the first grazing.   
I think we can expect to see nitrogen deficiency symptoms before the first of the year. If you are able to graze early and remove the forage before then, nitrogen top dressing in December will surely help produce more winter forage. If you delay that nitrogen application until January or February, expect a forage growth loss.
In many cases, hay quality is below average, so a few pounds of nitrogen may allow your winter forage to economically supplement the hay.
According to Noble Foundation research, limit grazing your small grains may be the best bet to extend that small grains grazing and provide the necessary protein. Grazing steers as little as 15 minutes on small grains equals about 2.5 pounds of 20% breeders cube.  Using forage supplementation in place of feed can save money if managed correctly.  Producers should look at all winter feeding options to determine the cheapest source of protein and energy to sustain suitable body condition scores throughout the winter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sanitizing Your Kitchen: Easy, Safe and Inexpensive

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that there are about 76 million cases of foodborne illnesses every year. Severe cases of vomiting, diarrhea, and even death can occur. Certain groups are more at risk for severe illness: the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, and those who have weakened immune systems due to illness.
Many people think that food poisoning stems mainly from restaurants, but experts suggest that at least half occur in the home due to unsafe food practices.  Practicing poor personal hygiene, contaminating ready-to-eat food with raw meat juices, not cooking foods to proper temperatures, and not storing foods properly are all culprits when people get sick from their very own kitchens.         
One critical food safety practice that restaurants adhere to, but we as consumers often neglect, is cleaning AND then sanitizing all food contact surfaces.  Cleaning involves removing dirt from surfaces using soap and water. Sanitizing involves reducing germs to safe levels on a food contact surface by applying chemicals or heat.  If you don’t clean, your sanitizer won’t work well and you’ll still have germs.  If you don’t sanitize, you’ll have a clean surface full of germs.   
 According to an Ohio State University Extension factsheet entitled “Cleaning and Sanitizing in the Kitchen:  Using inexpensive household food-safe products” there are several points to consider when cleaning and sanitizing:
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing should be considered BEFORE and AFTER food preparation on a daily bases if you live with those who are at risk for food borne illness and/or if you have a pet that climbs on counters. 
  • When cleaning with soap and water, make sure to rinse with clean water and air dry or dry with a paper towel.  Soap residue can reduce the effectiveness of a sanitizer.
  • When sanitizing, leave the sanitizer on the surface for the recommended amount of time.  Allow it to air dry or dry with a paper towel.

 Consider using the following inexpensive household products as sanitizers:
·         Diluted Chlorine Bleach (6.1%) Solution – Mix 1 scant teaspoon with 1 quart of room temperature water and apply to food contact surface for 1 minute.  This solution can be kept in a spray bottle for one week.  Chlorine bleach will kill Listeria, E. Coli, and Salmonella.

  • Undiluted Hydrogen Peroxide (3%) – Apply warm (130 degrees) for 1 minute or apply at room temperature for 10 minutes.  The warm method is more effective against Listeria and so should be considered if preparing food for pregnant women.

  • Undiluted White Distilled Vinegar (5%) - Apply warm (130 degrees) for 1 minute or apply at room temperature for 10 minutes.  The warm method is more effective against Listeria and E. Coli, but both methods are effective at preventing Salmonella.

  • Baking Soda has not been proven to be an effective sanitizer. 
For additional information about cleaning and sanitizing, please call the Wise County Extension Office at 940/627-3341.