Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Private Well Water Screening

DECATUR — The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting a water well screening from 8:30–10 a.m., October 21 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office for Wise County, 206 S State Street Ste. A in Decatur, to give area residents the opportunity to have their well water screened.

A meeting explaining screening results will be held at 6 p.m. October 22, at the Wise County Fairgrounds, Women’s Building,  3101 S. FM 51 in Decatur. Julian North, Assistant General Manager, from the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District will also discuss ongoing programs.

The screening is presented by AgriLife Extension and Texas Water Resources Institute in partnership with the AgriLife Extension office in Wise County.

“Private water wells should be tested annually,” said John W. Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist. “It is very important that only sampling bags and bottles from the AgriLife Extension office in Wise County be used and all instructions for proper sampling are followed to ensure accurate results.”

Smith said for area residents to have their well water screened, they need to pick up a sample bag, bottle and instructions from the AgriLife Extension office in Wise County. A $15 per sample fee will be collected when bags and bottles are picked up by participants. Bottles and bags will be available at least a week before the turn-in date.

The samples must be turned in before 10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 21. Samples will be screened for common contaminants, including total coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity.

Research shows the presence of E. coli bacteria in water indicates that waste from humans or warm-blooded animals may have contaminated the water. Water contaminated with E. coli is more likely to also have pathogens present that can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea or other symptoms. 

“Water with nitrate-nitrogen at levels of 10 parts per million is considered unsafe for human consumption,” Smith said. “These nitrate levels above 10 parts per million can disrupt the ability of blood to carry oxygen throughout the body, resulting in a condition called methemoglobinemia. Infants less than 6 months of age and young livestock are most susceptible.”

Salinity as measured by total dissolved solids will also be determined for each sample. Water with high levels may leave deposits and have a salty taste, and using water with high levels for irrigation may damage soil or plants.

Smith said it is extremely important for those submitting samples to be at the meeting to receive results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and to improve understanding of private well management.

For more information, please contact the AgriLife Extension office in Wise County at 940-627-3341. To learn more about the programs offered through the network or to find additional publications and resources, please visit

Support for the Texas Well Owner Network program is provided through Clean Water Act nonpoint source funding from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


It’s a question more than a few of us have faced. We pull a forgotten container of leftovers from the back of the refrigerator, stick our faces into it, and inhale deeply. “This smells fine, so is it safe to eat?”
September is National Food Safety Education Month, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service joins with the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) to introduce consumers to “Food Safety Mythbusters.” The myths are presented with the facts consumers need to know to help reduce their risk of foodborne illness:
            Myth: Leftovers are safe to eat until they smell bad.
Fact: Most people would not choose to eat spoiled, smelly food. However, if they did, they would not necessarily get sick. This is because there are different types of bacteria, some of which cause illness in people and others that don’t. The types of bacteria that do cause illness do not affect the taste, smell, or appearance of food. For this reason, it is important to freeze or toss refrigerated leftovers within 3-4 days.
            Myth: I use bleach and water to sanitize my countertops, and the more bleach I use the more bacteria I kill.
Fact: There is no advantage to using more bleach. In fact, overuse of bleach can be harmful because it is not safe to consume. To create a sanitizing solution, it is recommended that you use 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid bleach per gallon of water. Any leftover sanitizing solution can be stored, tightly covered, for up to one week before losing its effectiveness.
Myth: I don’t need to wash my produce if I am going to peel it.
Fact: You should wash fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water just before eating, cutting, or cooking. Harmful bacteria could be on the outside of the produce. If you peel or cut it without first washing it, the bacteria could be transferred to the part you eat. For more information on food safety, contact the Wise County Extension office.

Extension Education Clubs and Greenwood Fall Festival

Wise County Extension Education Clubs were represented at the annual (Texas Extension Education Association) State Convention in Waco, September 15-16 by Linda Hood, Gerry Galloway, Feliberto and Rosa Martinez, and Dixie Range of the Greenwood Extension Education Club. ‘The Open Heart of Texas’ was the theme of the two day conference.
Pictured from left to right is Ola Culwell presenting the Honor Roll of Counties Award to:  Dixie Range, Gerry Galloway, Feliberto Martinez, Rosa Martinez and Linda Hood.
The Greenwood Club was named as District 3’s Outstanding County during the Honor Roll of Counties report. The Honor Roll of Counties reflects the volunteer work that clubs have done in their community service projects during the past year.
Wise County Extension Education members will also have representation on the State Board with the installation of Dixie Range as the District 3 Director.  Dixie will serve as the link between the twenty-four District 3 counties, the State TEEA Board, and AgriLife Extension.
TEEA members also attended workshops, education programs, and AgriLife programs at the Waco Convention Center which will be shared with TEEA Clubs and counties. The group's mission is to work with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to strengthen and enrich families through educational programs, leadership development and community service.
The new year for Extension Education clubs begins soon and new members are welcome. Clubs currently formed are in the community of Greenwood. As an EE member you make new friends, participate in fun, fellowship and educational programs.
The first activity for the new TEEA year is the Greenwood Fall Festival which is scheduled for Saturday, October 10 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Everyone is invited to enjoy a parade beginning at 10:00 am and immediately following the parade, handcrafted arts and craft booths will be open. Featured activities will be children’s train rides, food and game booths and door prizes.  Booth space is available for $10 by contacting Gerry Galloway at 940/466-7997 or Linda Hood at 940/627-7597.
For those unsure of finding Greenwood, it is a short, scenic drive out of Decatur on Highway 51 North for 10 miles to FM 1204, turn left and travel approximately five miles into the community of Greenwood.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Private Pesticide Applicator Training Class

A Private Pesticide Applicator Training Class has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 7 at 8:30 a.m. at the Wise County Extension office located at 206 S. State St., in Decatur. The $60.00 registration fee includes the study books. This class is for those individuals who do not currently have a pesticide applicator license, but would like to get one.

 Individuals who have a license that has been expired less than 1 year are not eligible to take this class. The class is limited to the first 20 paid participants.

As defined by law, a private applicator is a person who uses or supervises the use of a restricted use or state-limited-use pesticide or a regulated herbicide for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity. The licensed private applicator is responsible for assuring that persons working under his or her direct supervision are knowledgeable of the label requirements governing the use of the pesticides they are using.

Licensing as a private applicator requires practical knowledge of pest problems and control practices associated with agricultural operations.

Licensed private applicators are required to re-certify every five years by obtaining 15 continuing education units (CEU’s) by December 31 of the year preceding license expiration. That includes two (2) credits in laws and regulations and two (2) credits in integrated pest management. Check out the Texas Department of Agriculture’s website for more information.

Space is limited for this class, please call the Extension Office or come by to sign up for the class. You can contact the Wise County – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at 206 S. State St. or call 940-627-3341.