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Washington County Office 806 Martinsburg Rd., Suite 104 Salem, IN 47167-5907

Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service



January/February 2010

Dear Friends, We hope you all had an enjoyable holiday season and we wish each of you a happy and prosperous New Year. We look forward to continuing to serve you in 2010. As always, we welcome any comments or suggestions you may have on this newsletter or the programs and information we offer. YOU



What: Wash. Co. Extension Annual Meeting When: Thursday, January 28, 2010 – 6:30 p.m. Where: Southern Hills Church, St. Rd. 135 South, Salem We would like to take this opportunity to invite your family to our Extension Annual Meeting. This Annual Meeting is open to the public, but is especially for anyone who is involved with the Wash. Co. Extension Program in any way (4 H Leaders, Council members, Board members, Extension Homemakers, Farmers, County Council, County Commissioners, Businesses, and any others who use the programs offered through Extension). The purpose of this annual meeting is to bring our Extension clientele up to date on our Extension programs and to elect Extension Board members to help oversee our county Extension program. Come learn more about Extension. Reservations need to be turned in to our office by January 21st. Cost of the meal will be $6 per person with the remainder being sponsored. Please plan to join us on January 28th for our annual meeting.

SOME OF THE TOPICS IN THIS ISSUE: *2010 4-H Fair Schedule *4-H Enrollment *Dealing With Soil Compaction *Horticulture Information *New “Secure ID” Requirements *Slow Cookers and Food Safety

*Hunter Education Course *Winter Ag Meetings *Grain Storage Management *Parenting Classes *Scholarships Available *Homemaker Happenings


Amy M. Nierman Extension Educator, CED 4-H Youth Development

Mary Alice Sharp Extension Educator Consumer & Family Sciences

Brad W. Shelton Extension Educator Ag & Natural Resources

Mary Mead, FNP Assistant • Pam Hawes  •  Jean Hill


4-H YOUTH NEWS See Pg. 3


See Pg. 5




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EVENTS CALENDAR Calendar of Events - January SUNDAY












4-H Council - 7:00 pm, Gov. Bldg. Conf. Room



4-H Jr. Leader Mtg. – 6:30 pm, Gov. Bldg. Mtg. Room





Area 2 Camp Counselor Mtg. - 5 pm, Gov. Bldg. Mtg. Rm.

IN Hort Congress (19-21) – Indianapolis; Homemaker Council Heart of America - 1:00 pm, Gov. Bldg. Mtg. Grazing Conference Room; Parenting Class (Jan. 20-21) – Ohio - 5:30 pm, Gov. Bldg. Conf. Room; IBEP Bull Weigh Day - Feldun Farm, Bedford; SWCD Annual Meeting – 6 pm, New Hope Church

Parenting Class - 5:30 pm, Gov. Bldg. Conf. Room



Crop Management Workshop – 8:30 am, Columbus










15 16 State 4-H Scholarship

Sheep Board Mtg. - 7:00 pm, Gov. Bldg. Conf. Room

Good Earth Master Gardeners – 6:30 pm, Gov. Bldg. Mtg. Room

State 4-H Poultry Workshop – 10 am, Hamilton Co. Fairgrounds

Applications Due; IN Livestock, Forage & Grain Forum – Indianapolis.







Extension Annual Meeting – 6:30 pm, Southern Hills Church

Calendar of Events - February SUNDAY



4-H Council – 7:00 pm, Gov. Bldg. Mtg. Room






4-H Jr. Leaders – 6:30 pm, Gov. Bldg. Mtg. Rm



Sheep Assoc. Annual Mtg. - 6:30 pm, Gov. Bldg. Mtg. Room



Parenting Class – 5:30 pm, Gov. Bldg. Conf. Room






Parenting Class - 5:30 pm, Gov. Office Bldg. Conf. Room















10 Homemakers First Timer Applications Due; National Farm Machinery Show (10-13 - Louisville

Parenting Class - 5:30 pm, Gov. Bldg. Conf. Room; IBEP Bull Weigh Day - Feldun Farm, Bedford


Women in Ag Conference (Feb 24–25)- Indianapolis; SW IN Crop Seminar – 8 am, Jasper

Sheep Board Mtg. - 7 pm, Ext. Office; Hunter’s Ed. - 7-9 pm, Gov. Bldg. Mtg. Room

Good Earth Master Gardeners - 6:30 pm, Gov. Bldg. Mtg. Rm.


Hunter’s Ed. - 1-6 pm. Gov. Bldg. Mtg. Room; Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry – IN State Fairgrounds


Hunter’s Ed. - 1-6 pm, Gov. Bldg. Mtg. Room

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4-H YOUTH NEWS 2010 4-H Fair Schedule Thursday, July 8 6:00 p.m. – Fair Set-Up 6:30 p.m. – 4-H Council 7:00 p.m. – Livestock & Auction Committee Meeting Monday, July 12 9:00 a.m. – Fashion Revue, Sewing, and Consumer Clothing Judging 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Evening Non-Perishable Project Check-In (No open judging) Tuesday, July 13 - Non-Perishable Project Check-In Day (Mini & Regular) 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. – Early Check-In (No open judging) 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Project Entry & Judging Thursday, July 15 - Project Judging for Foods, Cake Decorating, Crops, Flowers, Garden, & Strawberries 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. – Early Check-In (No open judging) 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Project Entry & Judging 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. – Livestock Entered Friday, July 16 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. – Livestock Entered 5:00 p.m. – 4-H Building Open House 6:00 p.m. – Sheep Show Saturday, July 17 10:00 a.m. – Dairy Show 3:00 p.m. –Rabbit Show 5:00 p.m. – Beef Show Sunday, July 18 3:00 p.m. – Poultry Show 6:00 p.m. – 4-H Night Monday, July 19 10:00 a.m. – Dairy Beef Show 3:00 p.m. – Swine Show 6:00 p.m. – Pigeon Judging Tuesday, July 20 10:00 a.m. – Goat Show 6:00 p.m. – County Born & Raised Beef Show Wednesday, July 21 10:00 a.m. – Jamboree of Fun 5:30 p.m. – Dog Exhibition 6:30 p.m. – Supreme Showman 11:00 -Midnight – Livestock Released Thursday, July 22 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. – Livestock Released 5:30 p.m. – Livestock Auction Friday, July 23 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. – Projects Released Saturday, July 24 11:00 a.m. – 1: 00 p.m.– Projects Released

Livestock Auction Changes for 2011

In 2011, the number of animals 4-H members will be able to sell will be reduced to one animal. The decision to not imple-

ment the policy until 2011 was based on the fact that some 4-H beef members may have already purchased animals based on policies for 2009. By waiting to implement this until 2011, it will give all members the opportunity to plan accordingly.

State 4-H Poultry Workshop

A State 4-H Poultry Workshop will be held on Saturday, January 9th from 10:00 am. – 1:00 p.m. at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds. Workshop presentations include: “Judging Exhibition Chickens”, “Selecting Quality Exhibition Waterfowl”, “Selection, Feeding and Characteristics of Commercial Poultry”, “Poultry BioSecurity for Back Yard Flocks”, and “Questions and Answers”. There is no registration fee or advanced registration required. For more information, call 1-800601-5826, ask for Doug Keenan, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Noble County.

Scholarships Available For Indiana 4-H Members - Due January 15th

Indiana 4-H Foundation Scholarship – 150 plus scholarships to be awarded in 2010. Applicants must be a senior in high school when applying and enrolled in any post high school studies or training. State 4-H Club Scholarship – These scholarships are awarded each year at varying rate of fee remissions. This scholarship is available to incoming freshman at Purdue in the school of Agriculture or Consumer and Family Science. Indiana 4-H Accomplishment Scholarship – 25 plus scholarships are awarded at a minimum of $500. Applicants must be enrolled in any post high school studies or training. Must be in Grade 10 (at the time of the due date) through the year following the final year of 4-H eligibility. State 4-H Scholarships/Trips Packet for 2010 are available from the Extension Office for pick-up or they can be found at http:// www.four .

Trips Available For Indiana 4-H Members

National 4-H Congress (November 26-30, 2010) - Atlanta, GA. Must be in Grade 10 (at the time of the due date) through the final year of 4-H eligibility.

Washington County 4-H Week

Washington County 4-H Week will be March 7-13. We hope you are thinking of some ways of helping spread the word. The 4-H Council urges clubs to do window displays. There will be contacts made at the Continued on Page 4

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4-H Youth News...

Continued from Page 3

elementary schools with information about joining 4-H and an insert in the paper with articles by 4-H members and leaders. The 4-H Carnival of Fun has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 9th. Plan now to be a part of the kick-off week for 2010's 4-H program. Let us know if you are willing to help with any of the activities by calling the Extension Office, 883-4601. Let's make 2010 one of the best 4-H years in Washington County.

Beef ID Day Set

Due to success with offering an evening ID Day, we will once again offer an ID Day during the evening and one on Saturday morning. March 1 has been set as Beef/Dairy Beef ID Day for those 4-H members who wish to show beef or dairy beef steers or non-registered beef heifers at the fair in 2010. Animals must be brought to the Fairgrounds between 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 11th or 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 13 Letters and enrollment forms will be sent out in February. Enrollment & location forms will be due back to the Extension Office by March 1. The 4-H Council will meet the evening of March 1st to review location forms. The 4-H Council wanted to stress to 4-H members that all location forms will have to be approved again for 2010. The location of the animal(s) needs to be at the 4-H members home unless they have no facilities to keep the animal(s). If you are interested in being in the 4-H Beef or Dairy Beef project and were not enrolled in those projects in 2009, you need to contact the Extension Office. Livestock must go through the ID program to be eligible for the show next summer. All 4-H non-registered Beef Heifers must be enrolled by March 1 and identified at Beef I.D. Day. Registered Beef Heifers must be owned and enrolled by May 1. 4-H members should contact the Extension Office prior to May 1 to get their registered heifers enrolled. For 2010 we will not be using retinal scanning for identification purposes. We will be using RFID tags. RFID tags are tamper evident. It is also against federal law to remove the tags. Also 4-H members will be required to list their 4-H Premise ID Number on their enrollment form. If you do not have a Premise ID yet, or have lost your number, you will need to contact the BOAH. Information on how to apply for a Premise ID is available on the Board of Animal Health’s website at

4-H Shooting Sports

The Wash. Co. 4-H Shooting Sports Program has trained instructors in the following disciplines: Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun, Archery, and Hunter Education. Each discipline teaches safety, concentration, self-discipline, self-confidence, goal-setting, decision-making, and courtesy as the young people learn

basic skills and build toward more advanced activities. Any youth in 3rd grade or above who is interested in the Shooting Sports Program should call the Extension Office to sign up so specific details can be mailed to them.

Hunter Education Class Offered

David Day will be conducting a Hunter’s Education Class for anyone age 9 or older. Anyone 12 and under must have a parent or guardian attend with them. Classes will be held on Thursday, February 4 from 7-9 p.m., Saturday, February 6 from 1-6 p.m., and Saturday, February 13 from 1-6 p.m. Participants must attend all three classes. They will be held on the lower level of the Washington County Government Building located at 806 Martinsburg Road (behind the Washington County Detention Center). All participants must make reservations for the class by February 1 so that materials will be available. There is no charge for the class. To sign up for the Hunter’s Education Class, call David Day (967-4528) or the Extension Office (883-4601). Anyone interested in joining 4-H Shooting Sports is urged to attend these Hunter Ed classes if you do not have a hunter ed card.

4-H Is Open To All Youth Grades Kindergarten And Up

A mini 4-H member shall be youth enrolled in kindergarten, first or second grade. Youth can become regular 4-H members when they enter the third grade and may continue their membership through the completion of grade 12. A member may continue membership for a maximum of ten (10) years.

County 4-H Enrollment Fees

4-H enrollment fees for Washington County will be $5.00 per member for the 2010 year. (Some 4-H Clubs may also collect a small fee for club dues.) The 4-H Council will continue to provide our 4-H members with quality resources and activities. The enrollment fees will allow us to continue to offer the best 4-H Program we can in Washington County. Each 4-H family is also encouraged to participate in the county 4-H fundraiser to help raise additional funds for the Washington County 4-H program. In hardship cases enrollment fees can be waived.

4-H Updates For 2010

New this year will be the form in which you receive your 4-H handbooks. Many counties throughout the state have been handing out CD’s instead of a printed version of their handbook. This year Washington County will be handing out CD’s free of charge. If you would rather have a full printed version of the handbook, they will be available for pick

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up from the Extension Office for $2.50. Also this year we will offer an online enrollment system. This system is not up and running yet, but more information will be made available. You will still have the option of completing enrollment forms at club meetings. The enrollment forms will also be available to print off of our county web site once it is updated. Several changes have been made to the handbooks for the 2010 year, so please review carefully.

2010 4-H Camp –Registrations will be available for Pick-Up

Due to increased cost in printing and sending out camp material, only youth who have attended camp in the past will be receiving registration information via the mail. This information will go out in February. If you are interested in attending camp, please stop by the Extension Office and pick-up a form or call us and request that we send you one via mail. Due to issues with school release dates for counties in our area, 4-H Camp will again be one session this year. 4-H Camp will be held Wednesday, June 2nd through Friday, June 4th. Once again we will camp at the Country Lake Christian Retreat Center near Underwood, Indiana along with other counties in our area. The facilities are wonderful and opportunities for the campers are endless. Each year the campers love the activities, the plush cabins including A/C, and the lake with its “cool” water sports including kayaking, paddle boats and canoeing. Cost of camp will be $140. We will be holding a cheese ball fundraiser again this spring for those interested. Registration information will be sent out in February. Please pay close attention to the registration details

this year. A centralized registration process for all counties will be used again this year. Registrations should be postmarked or delivered on or after March 1 to the Washington County office. Registrations will be accepted until all spots are filled. The Cheese Ball fundraiser will be held on Thursday, April 1st. We are also looking for another fundraiser idea to help keep the cheese ball numbers down to a manageable number. If you have any ideas, please let the Extension Office know. Cheese ball fundraiser packets will be available for pick up after February 1st.

4-H License Plate

It is easier to buy a 4-H Plate than ever before. You can now purchase them on the spot at the license branch. Plates are available for trucks, cars, and motorcycles. When renewing your license plates, just mention that you would like an Indiana 4-H plate. You only pay an additional $25 donation to the Indiana 4-H Foundation for this special plate. Your donation is divided between the state scholarship program and Washington County 4-H - $10 comes back to us and $15 goes to the state. Having a 4-H license plate is wonderful advertisement for such a vital youth organization. If you own a business, consider plating all of your fleet vehicles with 4-H plates. Think of the positive statement your business would make to your clients if they all knew you supported 4-H!

Tax Time

Members that sold livestock in the 4-H Auction are reminded that monies from that sale are considered taxable income by the IRS. Be sure to consult your accountant or reference tax laws to determine if a tax return needs to be filed. 4-H Clubs that handle money will also be required by the IRS to file a 990N.

AG NEWS Private Pesticide Applicator Exams Offered

Have you been considering getting your private pesticide applicators permit? If so, an exam only opportunity will be offered March 16 at the Scott County Extension office from 4 to 7 p.m., no fee required. There’s also an option to travel to Purdue to attend a class and take an exam for a fee. Visit http:// or contact the Extension office for more information on getting a manual.

Heart of America Grazing Conference

Interested in expanding your grazing management skills or learning the basics?? The Heart of America Grazing Conference will be in Wilmington, OH, January 20-21.

The featured speaker on January 20 will be Ben Bartlett of Michigan State who will discuss his visits to other countries to tour their grazing operations. General topics offered on the morning of January 21 will include forage growth, storage and use; low stress livestock handling and profitability in dairy grazing. Following lunch there will be breakout sessions for each species: beef, dairy, and sheep and goats as well as a session for advanced graziers. For more information or a registration form visit Ohio State University’s forages page or contact the extension office. Continued on Page 6

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Women In Ag Conference

The Midwest Women in Agriculture Conference will be held February 24-25 at Indianapolis Hilton North. Early bird registration ($50 savings) is due before February 5. For information, go to www.agriculture. or contact our office.

Indiana Livestock, Forage and Grain Forum

The Indiana Commodity groups are teaming up for a one day symposium at the Indianapolis Convention Center on Friday, January 15. For more information contact the extension office or visit the Indiana Soybean Association website at

National Farm Machinery Show

The National Farm Machinery Show will be held February 10-13 in Louisville. For more information log on to

Wash. Co. Sheep Assoc. Annual Meeting

The Washington County Sheep Association invites anyone interested in the sheep industry to attend their Annual Meeting on Monday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the Gov. Bldg. meeting room. The evening will include a meal, association business and a program. Reservations should be called into our office by February 17th. The association is also maintaining a list on their website (www. of local producers who have lamb for sale. If you would like to be included on the list, please let our office know. If you are interested in purchasing locally grown lamb, check out the website or give our office call for the list.

Are Big Cows More Profitable?

As producers, we are always looking for ways to be more efficient, save a buck or stretch it a little further. One of the first things to look at is cow size. Most people assume bigger cows produce larger calves than smaller cows. However, as data from North Dakota State in 2008 shows, that’s not the case. Kris Ringwall, NDSU beef specialist, published data showing that cows averaging 1242 pounds weaned about 50% of their body weight. Cows averaging 1350 pounds weaned off about 45% of their body weight at 611 pounds. A 1450 pound female weaned off calves averaging 590 pounds or 40% of her body weight. And a 1550 and 1650 pound cow weaned off a 600 and 575 pound calf which is only 38 and 34% of their body weights, respectively. The second strike against big cows is the amount of feed they will consume to produce that ‘smaller’ calf. Assuming a cow will eat about 2.5% of her body weight in dry matter on a daily basis, for each 1000 pound

increase in body weight she will need an additional 1000 pounds of dry matter in her diet on an annual basis. This means more hay needs to be made and more pasture may need to be rented. Obviously, one way to reduce cow size is to start using smaller framed bulls, assuming heifers are retained but that’s not the entire answer. Some animals are just no efficient as converting feed to milk or muscle. If artificial insemination is utilized, it would be wise to look at the maintenance type EPD’s in the bull catalog. Reducing cow size will allow more cows can be ran on the same acreage and less hay will need to be fed during the winter months. Unfortunately many think they have a 1200 pound cow but in reality animals are much larger. I encourage you to borrow the Cattlemen’s scales to weigh cows and calves at weaning to get an idea of how the herd measures up.

Udder and Teat Scoring Beef Cows

The conformation of a beef cow’s teats and udder are important in a profitable cow/calf enterprise. Females with poor udder and teat conformation are a management challenge for commercial cow/calf producers. Cattle producers do not have the time or labor to manage around cows that need intervention at calving to physically “milk-out” a quarter(s) so that the calf can suckle or to save the quarter from infection. Research findings in two experiments indicates that the occurrence of clinical mastitis in beef cow herds was 17.5% and 11.9% resulting in a reduction in weaning weights of 12.5% and 7.3%, respectively. Poor udder and teat conformation can potentially lead to increased calf sickness as teats may be contaminated with mud and debris from a lot or calving area before the calf suckles. Although selecting and culling based on conformation of teats and udders may be considered convenience trait selection, selecting against poor teats and udders increases profit potential by increasing calf performance, reducing calf sickness, increasing longevity of the cow, and reducing labor inputs. Udder and teat conformation is moderately heritable, so enhancing teat and udder quality can be accomplished by selecting bulls who’s female offspring have good teat and udder conformation and by not selecting replacement heifers from dams that have marginal teat and udder conformation. When selecting bulls from your seedstock provider, request the udder score of his dam or visually appraise the udder of the dam to help reduce undesirable udder conformation in your herd. Learn more about udder and teat scoring by going to the learning module at score.shtml

Source: Ricky Rasby – Univ. of Nebraska Beef Specialist

Controlling Field Mice in No-Till Fields

If you noticed “cities” of field mice/voles

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during harvest this fall, here are a couple things you can try between now and planting to reduce issues at planting time. University of Missouri recommends spraying weeds a month before planting, eliminating the food source. Mowing brush and grassy areas around the field’s edge discourages mice/ voles and allows hawks, feral cats and coyotes/fox to get at the mice easier. Prozap Zinc phosphide pellets is the only labeled pesticide I have found on the market for use in reduced-till and no-till corn. Pellets must be incorporated. Placing the pellets in the furrow at planting is suggested at a rate of 4-6 pounds per acre. Zinc phosphide pellets are a restricted use pesticide requiring a private pesticide applicators license to purchase.

Dealing with compaction from wet soils at harvest

Many corn and soybean growers are harvesting record crops, but they may face compaction issues because of saturated soils at harvest. "Many farmers will be unable to get back in the fields after harvest, because many fields have ruts and severe compaction issues," said Randall Reeder, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer. "Farmers may face two types of compacted fields," he said. "One type is an isolated compacted area, in which case, I suggest farmers do whatever is necessary to get that area ready for planting and leave the rest of the field alone. "The other type is compaction across the entire field, where whatever tillage operations are completed are applied to 100 percent of the field." If compaction is deep, Reeder suggested doing nothing, especially if it turns out to be a wet spring. "Farmers don't want to make a bad situation worse by performing deep tillage on wet soils because it destroys the soil structure," he said. "If a farmer can get a no-till planter or drill across rutted ground reasonably well, it may be better to take a slight yield hit in 2010, then try to correct the deep compaction problem after harvest." Another option, if soil is dry, is to perform light shallow tillage. "If ruts or tracks are more than 2 or 3 inches deep, a light tillage pass can smooth out the soil and create a surface ideal for planting," Reeder said. "Fill in ruts enough to eliminate standing water." Reeder also said this fall should be considered when assessing future tillage practices. "Growers may want to consider the benefits of continuous no-till, especially with controlled traffic," he said. "Strip-till, either fall or spring, may be best for corn planting." Research shows that compaction affects crop yields. OSU Extension research on Hoytville silty clay loam showed that through compaction, 10 percent to 15 percent of the potential crop yield was being left in the

field. To counteract yield losses from compaction, researchers recommend no-till production. Recent research shows that continuous no-till soil resists compaction from heavy loads better than soil that is subsoiled every three years, which results in higher yields. Source: Purdue Ag Answers – 12-1-09

Corn Grain Storage Management

It looks like we will have another large wet crop, especially in eastern Iowa. There is less room to accommodate problems from this year because the grain market system is already overloaded with poor quality corn from 2008 crop. However, we learned from 2008 – extra cost in additional handling and drying logistics is likely to pay off in terms of avoiding spoilage losses later on. This would not be a good year to take chances that wetter corn will keep and can be absorbed in the spring/summer. Storage Management - Grains have a shelf life just like any food product. Shelf life is primarily determined by moisture content and temperature. It is gradually used through the time before use, and each operation or storage regime consumes a portion of the life. Corn and soybeans stored at 15 and 13%, respectively, and cooled to 40 degrees will keep for about 29 months but only 16 months at 50 degrees and 9 months at 60 degrees. As moisture in corn increases to 18%, storage time is limited to 6 months at 40 degrees, 3 months at 50 degrees and 2 months at 60 degrees. Some cautions in using the numbers above: 1. The numbers assume that temperatures are held constant – such as with aeration. Grain heats when it spoils, and gives off moisture. Unaerated grain will shorten its own shelf life through moisture and heat. 2. Lower test weight corn will spoil faster than the Table indicates. In 2008 the storage times were about half of those expected. 3. If corn is held at higher moisture then dried, the storage time can be used up by the wet conditions. The dry corn will still experience hot spots or other problems in the summer. This was common for the 2008 crop. Always get wet corn into an aerated storage immediately. Holding wet grain, especially without aeration, shortens shelf life considerably. Fungi grow very fast in corn above 20 percent moisture. Overnight storage of wet corn in a wagon or truck can have a marked effect on future storability. Likewise the practice of holding medium moisture corn (16-20 percent) for future blending or feeding opportunities will cause problems for corn stored (even after drying) into the following summer. Aeration Practice: Phase 1: Fall Cool Down • Lower grain temperatures stepwise • October 40-45 F Continued on Page 8

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• November 35-40 F • December 28-35 F Phase 2: Winter Maintenance • Maintain temperatures with intermittent aeration • January, February 28-35 F Phase 3: Spring Holding • Keep cold grain cold • Seal fans • Ventilate headspace intermittently Wet corn should be checked weekly, and monitored for temperature increases. Wet corn should have 0.2 cfm/bu of welldistributed aeration, double the normal rates for dry corn. Problems will start to show up in February and March as temperatures rise. Wet corn should not be held in bunkers, piles, flat storages, sheds or other structures where airflow is not well distributed. Options when wet corn volume exceeds drying capacity: 1) Dry to 17-18 percent moisture and cool in the storage bin. Corn will end up at about 16 percent moisture. Good aeration should be able to manage 16 percent corn down to the 14 percent needed for midsummer storage. 2) Dry to 20 percent moisture, cool in bin, hold wet corn for spring but not summer. 3) Dry in two passes – first down to 17-19 percent, then the rest of drying later after the actual harvest is over. This requires more handling and logistics, but could be profitable if the market carry increases to encourage storage. Last summer, 16-19 percent moisture corn was still coming to market, in poor condition. This corn could have been dried, albeit at additional cost and effort. The less you dry, the more risk you are accepting. But spreading out the drying into spring may be the only choice. Risk will require more constant attention. Be selective about what corn is placed in storage versus moved at harvest. Deliberately decide which corn and bins are going to be kept into the summer. This should be your best (highest test weight) corn, harvested below 20 percent moisture with careful combine settings to minimize trash and placed in storages with good aeration rates/airflow distributions. Low test weight corn should not be put in temporary storages or outdoor piles. It is also not wise to mix corn of different crop years in the same storage bin; the mix is less stable than each year’s crop stored separately. The 2008 corn was very susceptible to mold and heating in storage; 2009 crop looks to be similar. Holding wetter corn should be done with a plan for drying or other options to halt spoilage if it starts. Remove the center core and use a grain distributor if possible. Check your grain at least every two weeks, with some way to take grain temperatures. If a slow rise is noted, aerate. If a hot spot starts, make that the next corn to be moved out; one storage prob-

lem always leads to another. Understand your buyers' needs, and match storage and drying practice to intended marketing time. For example, corn presold for July or August delivery should be dried more fully right away.

Source: Charles Hurburgh, Iowa State Ag Engineer and Roger Elmore, Iowa State Agronomist

FSA News

Happy New Year to all from your local FSA staff: Tracy, Donna, Beth, Debbie, Sandy & Mike. We’re looking forward to working with you in 2010! Farm Changes: In Farm Service Agency program terminology, farms are constituted to group all tracts having the same owner and the same operator under one farm serial number. When changes in ownership or operation take place, a farm reconstitution is necessary. The reconstitution (recon) is the process of combining or dividing farms or tracts of land based on the farming operation. When you purchase a farm or sell a tract of land from your farm, then you need to provide a copy of your deed so that the farm can be reconstituted. If you changed operators on all or part of your farm, then you will need to report that information as well. To be effective for the 2010 crop year, recons must be requested by August 1, 2010 for farms enrolled in the Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) or the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program. Farms which are enrolled in the DCP program cannot be combined with farms which are enrolled in the ACRE program. If direct advance DCP payments have already been issued on a particular farm, the reconstitution will be effective for the next year, unless the payments are refunded. If there have been changes in your farm operation for the 2010 crop year, please contact the local Farm Service Agency Office. DCP: Sign-up for the 2010 Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) is underway and will continue through June 1, 2010. FSA computes DCP Program payments using base acres and payment yields established for each farm. Eligible producers receive direct payments at rates established by statute regardless of market prices. You may request to receive advance direct payments based on 22 percent of the direct payment for each commodity associated with the farm. FSA will issue advance direct payments for the month selected. Counter-cyclical payment rates vary depending on market prices and are issued only when the effective price for a commodity is statutorily set below its target price. ACRE: Sign-up for the 2010 Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE) is also underway and it also continues through June 1, 2010. The ACRE alternative provides eligible producers a state-level revenue guarantee, based on the 5-year state Olympic average yield and the 2-year national average price. Producers who elect the ACRE program for a farm agree to: 1) forgo counter-cyclical payments; 2) accept a 20-percent

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reduction of the direct payments; and 3) accept a 30-percent reduction in loan rates for all commodities produced on the farm. In exchange for these conditions, producers receive proven yields for their crops and higher target prices. Commodities eligible for ACRE payments in our area are wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, soybeans and sunflower seed. The ACRE program was created to give producers an option in lieu of traditional counter-cyclical payments. To elect ACRE for a farm, producers must complete Form CCC-509 ACRE, which irrevocably elects ACRE for the farm through crop year 2012. Form CCC-509, the contract to participate in ACRE, must then be completed each year the producer intends to participate and receive benefits. Vegetable Crop Option for Producers with Processing Contracts: A pilot program has been authorized for planting certain vegetable crops for processing on base acres. The key word here is ‘processing’. In order to qualify for this program, the vegetables must be grown under a processing contract instead of being grown for ‘fresh’ produce. Vegetables eligible through the pilot program in Indiana are cucumbers, green peas, lima beans, pumpkins, snap beans, sweet corn and tomatoes. This program will allow planting of the vegetable crop on a farm which does not have a history of fruit or vegetable plantings. Indiana is limited to 9,000 base acres. Therefore a sign-up period is currently underway and will continue through March 1, 2010 for the 2010 crop. Because there are a limited number of acres available to the state, all applications will be referred to the Indiana State Office to determine how the available acres will be allocated. Farms which are approved will have an acre-for-acre base reduction applied. Disaster Programs: In 2010, we should get our first look at the new disaster related programs this year, based on losses from the 2008 crop year. There were several different qualifying events in 2008, including flooding, dry weather conditions and wind damage. Producers who purchased crop insurance and non-insurable disaster assistance program (NAP) coverage when applicable may earn payment through the new Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE). Other disaster programs which may also apply include the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP). Sign-up for the SURE program is expected to begin soon. Adjusted Gross Income: Producers are reminded that the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) certification is now year specific and will need to be refiled each year. The current AGI program qualifications are as follows: $500,000 adjusted gross nonfarm income, $750,000 adjusted gross farm income, and $1 million adjusted gross nonfarm income. For the 2010 crop year, which category you fall into is based on your 2006, 2007 and 2008 tax records.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its program and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication and Compliance, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Latest Farm Bill Includes Conservation Reserve Program

Changes come and changes go, but as for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), it remains virtually untouched in the latest farm bill under the new administration. Two of the most popular practices in Washington County, as well as the state of Indiana, are grassed waterways and filter strips. Now is a good time to make a visual check of crop fields as they are being harvested to determine if there are gullies that have formed since planting last spring. Obviously, this growing season has not lacked for rain. Soil that stays wet will be in an erodible state. When more rain falls on saturated soil it more easily detaches soil particles forming rills and gullies. Eroding soil particles eventually will form gullies in sloping fields unless a lot of crop residue remains on the surface all year. Soil that leaves crop fields will end up in streams and ditches unless filter strip areas are left to catch these deposits. Filter strips continue to be a very economical practice to install that will help keep, not only soil particles from entering creeks and ditches, but will filter chemicals that may be moved along with them. Filter strips are cost sharable, once again, through the continuous CRP program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Filter strips may be tailored to fit your site depending on the field edge, existing width of trees along a stream, etc. Grassed waterways are another popular practice that continues to be offered in the continuous CRP program. This practice requires engineering plans from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) before they can be installed and meet FSA requirements for cost sharing. Technical specialists can plan and survey areas to install grassed waterways when crops are off the fields. Landowners who are interested in establishing a waterway should not wait until spring to contact the office if planning to install the practice next year. Anyone interested in establishing a filter strip or installing a grassed waterway under the Conservation Reserve Program should visit their local FSA office to make an application. Once the application is made NRCS will work to plan and survey the area so Continued on Page 10

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engineering designs can be completed before next summer for waterway installation. Filter strips do not require a survey, but a site visit will be needed. Contracts for these CRP practices are for 10-15 years and include a maintenance agreement between the landowner and USDA. Information on CRP, as well as other USDA conservation programs, can be found at . The local USDA Service Center is located at 801 Anson Street in Salem. The phone number is 812-883-3006 and may be accessed at normal business hours.

SWCD Celebrating 64th Annual Meeting

The 64th Annual Meeting of the Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will be held Tuesday, January 19, 2010 beginning at 6:00 pm. The meeting will be held at the New Hope United Methodist Church located off State Rd. 60, Salem. The meeting will begin with the traditional “Ham and Bean” meal followed by the business meeting, annual report, election of supervisor, conservation plaques will be presented for: Conservation / Master Farmer of the year, Conservation Teachers and Friends of Conservation and conclude with door prizes. Please call 883-3704 to make your reservations before January 15th.

HOME GARDENING Indiana Horticultural Congress The Indiana Horticultural Congress and Trade Show runs Tuesday -Thursday, January 19th – 21st at the Wyndam Hotel (formerly Adams Mark) in Indianapolis (2544 Executive Drive, Indianapolis). The Indiana Horticultural Congress is an educational meeting designed to meet the needs of fruit, vegetable, wine, organics and specialty crop growers and marketers in Indiana and surrounding states. All interested individuals are invited to attend. For more information or a registration form, contact the Extension office or visit

Mid-Winter Gardening Activities Increase humidity around houseplants by grouping plants together, placing them on a pebble-water tray or running a humidifier. Check stored produce and tender flower bulbs and roots for rot, shriveling or excess moisture. Remove and discard damaged material. Repot houseplants as they outgrow current pots. Most houseplants require less water in winter months because growth is slowed or stopped. Check soil for dryness before watering. Move houseplants to brighter windows, but don't place plants in drafty places or against cold windowpanes. Prevent bark-splitting of young and thinbarked trees, such as fruit and maple trees. Wrap trunks with tree wrap, or paint trunks with white latex (not oil-based) paint, particularly on the south- and southwest-facing sides. Check young trees for rodent injury on lower trunks. Prevent injury with hardware cloth or protective collars. Prune landscape plants in February, except early spring bloomers, which should

be pruned after flowers fade. Wood ashes from the fireplace can be spread in the garden, but don't overdo it. Wood ashes increase soil pH, and excess application can make some nutrients unavailable for plant uptake. Have soil tested to be certain of the pH before adding wood ash. Prepare or repair lawn and garden tools for the upcoming season. Start seeds indoors for cool-season vegetables in February so they will be ready for transplanting to the garden early in the season. Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage seeds should be started five to seven weeks prior to transplanting. Test leftover garden seed for germination. Place 10 seeds between moist paper toweling or cover with a thin layer of soil. Keep seeds warm and moist. If less than six seeds germinate, then fresh seed should be purchased.

Pruning Newly Planted Fruit Trees Fruit trees planted this year should be pruned at planting to begin developing a strong structure of the main or scaffold limbs. This will help to prevent limbs from breaking over the years when the scaffolds carry a heavy fruit load. Apples, pears, and cherries: Young apple, pear and cherry trees are generally trained using the central leader system. The growth pattern for these trees is for a center branch to be dominant. Trees that have no branches or those that have only one or two small branches should be cut back so the tree is only about 30 inches high. This pruning will promote branch development along the tree trunk. The lowest branch should be about 20 inches above the soil level. Newly purchased trees that have already developed branches should be pruned so there are no more than two to four branches for permanent scaffolds, plus

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the central leader, or main center branch remaining. The rest of the branches should be removed. The scaffold branches should: - Form wide angles (about 60 to 80 degrees) with the trunk. - Be distributed on different sides of the tree for good balance. - Be spaced about 6 to 10 inches apart on the trunk with no branch directly opposite or below another. Peach and nectarine: Peach and nectarine trees may be pruned to either a central leader (described above) or open center method since they do not have a strong tendency for one shoot or branch to dominate the growth of other shoots or branches. Open center trained trees will usually produce more fruit. This is the training method recommended for peach and nectarine trees unless space is a limitation. Here are directions for pruning an open center tree: Prune the newly planted tree or whip to about 30 inches at planting time. Newly purchased trees that have already developed branches should be pruned so there are no more than three to four branches for permanent scaffolds. The central leader, or main center branch is removed. Scaffolds should: * Form wide angles (about 60 to 80 degrees) with the trunk. * Be distributed on different sides of the tree for good balance. * Be 4 to 6 inches apart and the lowest scaffold about 14 to 18 inches above the ground with no branch directly opposite or below another. Training at planting is important to insure the tree gets off to a good start. Source: Kansas State University

Using Old Garden Seed Seed catalogs seem to come earlier every year, and many gardeners already have a collection of them. Garden seed can be expensive, and you may want to consider using seed from previous years. Seed stores best if kept in a cold, dark, dry location. We normally consider seed will stay viable for about 3 years under these conditions though there are exceptions. For example, members of the carrot family (carrots, parsnips and parsley) are short-lived and are usually good for only 1 to 2 years. If you are unsure of viability and have plenty of seed, there is an easy method of determining how good your seed is. Place 10 seeds on a paper towel moistened with warm water and cover with a second moistened towel. Roll up the towels and place inside a plastic bag with enough holes for air exchange but not so many that the towels dry quickly. Place the bag in a warm place such as the top of refrigerator. Remoisten

towels with warm water as needed. After the first week, check for germination. Remove sprouted seed and check again after another week. Add these numbers together to determine the percent germination. Source: Ward Upham – Kansas State

Starting Plants from Seed January is often a cold and dreary month for many gardeners. However, starting vegetables and flowers from seed can make this a much more interesting time of year. Following are the steps needed to be successful in seed starting. Purchase Recommended, Quality Seed: Obtain your seeds from a reputable source including garden centers and seed catalogs. If choosing seeds from a business that does not specialize in plants, pay special attention to the package date to make sure the seed was packaged for the current year. Though most seed remains viable for about 3 years, germination decreases as seed ages. Determine the Date to Seed: There are two pieces of information that need to be known in order to determine the date to seed: the target date for transplanting outside and the number of weeks needed to grow the transplant. The target date for transplanting the cool-season crops such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and onions is the end of March to the beginning of April. Warm-season crops like tomatoes, peppers and most annual flowers are usually planted about May 10. Sowing Seed: Do not use garden soil to germinate seed as it is too heavy and may contain disease organisms. Use a media made especially for seed germination. Keep Seed Moist: Seed must be kept moist in order to germinate. Water often enough that the media never dries. Using a clear plastic wrap can over the top of the container until the new plants emerge can reduce the amount of watering needed. Light: Most plants will germinate in either darkness or light but some require darkness (Centurea, Larkspur, Pansy, Portulaca, Phlox and Verbena) and others require light (Ageratum, Browallia, Begonia, Coleus, Geranium, Impatiens, lettuce, Nicotiana, Petunia and Snapdragon). All plants require adequate amounts of light once emergence occurs. South facing windows may not provide adequate amounts and so fluorescent fixtures are often used. Suspend the lights 2 to 4 inches above the top of the plants and leave them on for 16 hours each day. Temperature: The temperature best for germination is often higher than what we may find in our homes especially since evaporating Continued on Page 12

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moisture can cool the germination media. Moving the container closer to the ceiling (top of a refrigerator) can help but a heating mat is best for consistent germination. A companion article lists common plants and their optimum germination temperature. After plants have germinated, they can be grown at a cooler temperature (65 to 70 degrees during the day and 55 to 60 degrees at night). This

will help prevent tall, spindly transplants. Hardening Transplants: Plants grown inside will often undergo transplant shock if not hardened off. Plants are hardened off by moving them outside and exposing them to sun and wind before transplanting occurs. Start about two weeks before transplanting and gradually expose the plants to outside conditions. Increase the number of hours and degree of exposure over the two week period. Source: Ward Upham – Kansas State

EXTENSION HOMEMAKERS Dear Homemakers, We are beginning the second half of the homemaker’s year. We have a Council meeting on January 19 at 1 p.m. in the County Government Building meeting room. We will start the nomination process for election of officers for 2010-2011. Plans are underway for the Spring District Meeting on March 17. Washington County is the host for the meeting. Please plan to attend. Happy New Year! Laura Godfrey, WCEH President

Homemaker Council Meetings Council meetings will be held on January 19 – 1:00 p.m. and March 2 – 1:00 p.m.

Extension Homemaker Scholarships Available

Career Advancement Scholarships The Indiana Extension Homemakers Association is offering eight $500 scholarships to homemakers, 25 years or older, who are completing their education or upgrading their vocational skills. One scholarship will require the applicant be a member of Indiana Extension Homemakers Association and one scholarship will be for applicant pursuing

a degree in the medical profession. The remaining 10 will be random scholarships. Applications with complete details are available in the Extension Office. Deadline for applications is March 15. Ruth B. Sayre Scholarship This $500 scholarship is given by Country Women’s Council, USA and is for a woman who is a resident of the United States, who shows financial need, potential leadership and carries a minimum of 9 hours. Applications and more information are available in the Extension Office. Deadline for the application is January 15. First Timers Award Any Extension Homemaker who has not attended the Home and Family Conference at Purdue in June, should consider applying for this award. You will have 3 chances to win $175 for the conference. You could be a state winner, or a district winner or a county winner. The conference this year will be held on June 10-12 at Purdue University. Applications are available from your club president or the Extension Office. Deadline for applications are February 10 to the Extension Office. County winners will be selected and sent on to the district and state for consideration.

CONSUMER & FAMILY NEWS Parenting Skills Class

Translating Trans Fats

The next “Parenting Piece By Piece” classes will be starting on January 19th. The 8 sessions will conclude on March 17th. These educational classes are designed to teach ways of improving parenting skills. There is a charge of $5 per person per session or $40 per person for the entire 8 session class. Call our office to register for the class or for more information.

Trans fat is a type of fat mainly found in highly processed foods. It is formed when liquid vegetable fats are “hydrogenated” or hardened through a chemical process. Manufacturers created this process to for two reasons, to lengthen shelf life of a product and create a product from a cheap source of oil. Margarine, shortening, cookies, cakes, fried fast foods, snack foods, and doughnuts are the main source of trans fats. Packaged

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foods are now required to list the amount of trans fats contained in the food on the “Nutrition Facts” label. The amount of trans fat in grams that is contained in 1 serving of the food is listed under the main heading of “Total Fat” where “Saturated Fat” and then “Trans Fat” are listed. So what is wrong with eating foods that contain trans fat? Trans fats have been shown to raise the amount of “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower the amount of “good” HDL cholesterol in the body. The risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease are increased when an individual’s diet contains food with trans fat as an ingredient. The American Heart Association recommends that trans fat be kept under 1% of the total calories in the diet. For the average American, that equals about 2.2 grams of trans fat per day. Remember that if the serving size of a food item is ½ cup and you eat 1cup, then you must double the amount of trans fat in the item you are eating. Reading food labels is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

Source: Purdue University, Family Nutrition Program Newsletter, October/November 2006.

You may have heard about…. SECURE ID (Driver’s License & ID Card Document Requirements) Beginning in January 2010, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will comply with new federal laws designed to protect against identity theft and fraud. After providing the necessary documentation, you will receive a Secure ID. Without a Secure ID, your ability to board airplanes or enter federal facilities may be restricted. The exact date when the federal government will enforce these restrictions is not clear. Requirements When you apply for a new, renewed, amended or duplicate driver’s license, permit, or identification card after January 1, 2010, you will need to provide the documents listed below. Only original documents or certified copies will be accepted. You will only need to provide these documents once. Proof of Identity (one document) You need one document to prove your identity. Common documents include: -United States birth certificate -United States passport -Foreign passport with a VISA and I-94 form (If your name is different from the name shown on your identity documents, you must present a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order providing the change in name.) Proof of Social Security (one document) You need one document to prove your Social Security number. Common documents

include: -Social Security card -W2 Form -Pay stub showing your name and Social Security number Proof of Lawful Status (one document) In most cases, the document that you present to prove your identity will also prove your lawful status. Proof of Indiana Residency (two documents) You need two documents to prove your Indiana residency. Common documents include: -Bill from a utility company, credit card company, doctor or hospital, issued within 60 days of the date you visit the license branch and containing your name and address. Printed copies of e-mailed or online bills are acceptable. -Bank statement -Pay stub showing your name and address of residence -Medicaid or Medicare benefit statement If you are having trouble collecting or cannot provide the documents necessary to obtain a Secure ID, the BMV offers options to help you. For more information, please contact the hotline 1-888-myBMV-411, visit your local branch, or visit the BMV website at Source: Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Active Aging—Stay Strong and Stay Healthy When people talk about being physically active, many think of aerobic activities, but it is also about being strong. Getting the heart and lungs working to full capacity has great health benefits. Walking is perhaps the most common form of this type of exercise. When the weather permits, the walkers abound. But as a person ages, fear of falling may prevent a person from getting out and getting moving. Strength training can help by increasing the strength of muscles needed to “catch” a person and help them right themselves before actually falling. The American College of Sports Medicine has set guidelines for older adults for resistance exercise to maximize the benefits. They recommend “performing at least one set of repetitions for 8-10 exercises that train the major muscle groups.” A good starter exercise would be a set of chair squats that strengthen the thighs, buttocks and lower back. It might also mean bicep curls for the upper arms, overhead presses for shoulders, upper back and arms, and bent forward flies for the upper back and shoulders. It could include standing leg curls for the back of the thigh of the moving leg and the front of the thigh of the standing leg, side hip raises for the outside of the moving leg, and knee Continued on Page 14

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CONSUMER & FAMILY NEWS... Continued from Page 13

extensions for the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh. And to wrap it up, try some toe stands to strengthen the calves, ankles and feet. They also recommend that these exercises be done in 10-15 repetitions per set. At least one set should be done 2-3 times per week on nonconsecutive days. The resistance for resistance exercises can be created by using hand weights and ankle weights. Increasing the weight increases the resistance and strengthens the muscles. With strong muscles, a person may find that the everyday tasks that have become burdensome with age, are not as difficult as in the past. Stay Strong, Stay Healthy classes, offered by University of Missouri Extension, teach older adults to do the exercises mentioned above. A 76 year old participant in one such class explained that the bag of mulch that last year was really heavy, this year didn’t seem like much at all to lift and carry. An 80+ year old class member said that after doing these exercises even getting up out of a chair was easier! For more information see: nut349.htm

Source: Janet Hackert, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist in Harrison County, University of Missouri Extension

Take Steps To Offset Soaring Heating Costs Consumers may take some solace in forecasts for a winter of above-normal temperatures across the Midwest, but also should take steps to offset soaring heating costs, said a University of Missouri Extension housing specialist. "There are some relatively inexpensive steps you can take to keep your heating bills from going through the roof," said Barbara Buffaloe. Forecasts from the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center anticipate temperatures this winter to be warmer than normal for much of the U.S. But heating oil users will pay about 36 percent more on average to warm their homes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Homeowners with natural gas will pay almost 24 percent more than they did last year. In many homes, a lot of heat escapes through the roof, cracks in walls, and gaps around windows, doors, and pipes. Homeowners can ease the shock of fuel costs by reclaiming some of that lost heat. Twelve inches of attic insulation is recommended. Exposed air ducts in the attic allow heat to dissipate even before it enters the house, making the furnace work harder, so

wrap or cover these ducts with insulation. Depending on the size of your house, for a couple hundred dollars you can probably save 10 to 15 percent on your winter heating bill. Weatherstrip your doors and apply caulk around pipes. A few tubes of caulk, which cost $3 or $4 each, could save you several hundred dollars. Lifestyle can also play a role in reducing heating bills. Open south-facing curtains during sunny days to benefit from free solar heat. Set the thermostat a degree or two lower. For each degree you lower the thermostat, you can save an estimated 3 percent in heating fuel costs. A thermostat setting of 65 to 68 degrees provides enough heat for normal daytime activity, although children and the elderly may need higher temperatures. Because people need less heat when sleeping, a thermostat setting of 60 degrees is good for nighttime hours. Have a reputable specialist service your furnace before the heating season; this could reduce your fuel bill as much as 10 percent. If the furnace is fired by oil or gas, make sure the furnace and flue outlets and filters are cleaned or changed and the motor is in working order. Check furnace filters every two months during the heating season. Source: Robert Thomas, Information Specialist, Cooperative Media Group, University of Missouri

Slow Cookers and Food Safety Opening the front door on a cold winter evening and being greeted by the inviting smells of beef stew or chicken noodle soup wafting from a slow cooker can be a diner's dream come true. But winter is not the only time a slow cooker is useful. In the summer, using this small electrical appliance can avoid introducing heat from a hot oven. At any time of year, a slow cooker can make life a little more convenient because by planning ahead, you save time later. And it takes less electricity to use a slow cooker rather than an oven. Is A Slow Cooker Safe? - Yes, the slow cooker, a countertop electrical appliance, cooks foods slowly at a low temperature— generally between 170° and 280° F. The low heat helps less expensive, leaner cuts of meat become tender and shrink less. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking and steam created within the tightly-covered container combine to destroy bacteria and make the slow cooker a safe process for cooking foods. Safe Beginnings - Begin with a clean cooker, clean utensils and a clean work area. Wash hands before and during food preparation. Keep perishable foods refrigerated until preparation time. If you cut up meat and vegetables in advance, store them separately in the refrigerator. The slow cooker may take several hours to reach a safe, bacteria-killing

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temperature. Constant refrigeration assures that bacteria, which multiply rapidly at room temperature, won't get a "head start" during the first few hours of cooking. Thaw Ingredients - Always thaw meat or poultry before putting it into a slow cooker. Choose to make foods with a high moisture content such as chili, soup, stew or spaghetti sauce. If using a commercially frozen slow cooker meal, prepare according to manufacturer's instructions. Use the Right Amount of Food - Fill cooker no less than half full and no more than two-thirds full. Vegetables cook slower than meat and poultry in a slow cooker so if using them, put the vegetables in first. Then add the meat and desired amount of liquid such as broth, water or barbecue sauce. Keep the lid in place, removing only to stir the food or check for doneness. Settings - Most cookers have two or more settings. Foods take different times to cook depending upon the setting used. Certainly, foods will cook faster on high than on low. However, for all-day cooking or for less-tender cuts, you may want to use the low setting. If possible, turn the cooker on the highest setting for the first hour of cooking time and then to low or the setting called for in your recipe. However, it's safe to cook foods on low the entire time — if you're leaving for work, for example, and preparation time is limited. While food is cooking and once it's done, food will stay safe as long as the cooker is operating. Power Out - If you are not at home during the entire slow-cooking process and the power goes out, throw away the food even if it looks done. If you are at home, finish cooking the ingredients immediately by some other means: on a gas stove, on the outdoor grill or at a house where the power is on. When you are at home, and if the food was completely cooked before the power went out, the food should remain safe up to two hours in the cooker with the power off. Handling Leftovers - Store leftovers in shallow covered containers and refrigerate within two hours after cooking is finished. Reheating leftovers in a slow cooker is not recommended. Cooked food should be reheated on the stove, in a microwave, or in a conventional oven until it reaches 165 °F. Then the hot food can be placed in a preheated slow cooker to keep it hot for serving—at least 140 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Source: USDA Food Safety Fact Sheet, 2009

Busy Day Stew

Ingredients: * 6 large potatoes, pared and cut in pieces * 6 large carrots, pared and cut in 1 1/2 inches * 1 bag frozen onions (approx. 12 ounces), thawed * 3 pounds of stew meat * 1/3 cup soy sauce

* 1 tsp paprika * 1/2 tsp. pepper * 3 Tablespoons of flour * 1 can (approx. 10 1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth * 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce * 1 tsp. salt Preparation: Layer potatoes, onions, and carrots in the bottom of the slow cooker; top with the meat then sprinkle with soy sauce, salt, pepper, and flour. Combine the beef broth and tomato sauce; pour over all. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours or 4 hour on HIGH. Serves 8 to 10.

Cauliflower and Cheese Soup

Ingredients: * 1 med. head of cauliflower, separated into flowerettes * 1 med. onion, chopped * 1 carrot, chopped * 1 rib celery, chopped, or about 1/4 to 1/2 cup * 4 cups chicken stock * 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce * 1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated * salt and pepper * 2 cups half-and-half or light cream * chopped chives Preparation: Combine cauliflower, onion, carrot, celery, and chicken stock in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Puree in blender to desired consistency. Return to slow. Blend in cream, Worcestershire, and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix well. Turn control to high and heat through; garnish servings with chopped chives, if desired. Serves 4 to 6.

Crock Pot Beef and Corn Chowder

Ingredients: * 1 pound lean ground beef * 1/2 cup chopped onion * 3 cups diced potatoes * 1 can cream-style corn, about 16 ounces * 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth * 3/4 cup water * 1/4 teaspoon salt * 1/4 teaspoon dried basil, crushed * dash pepper * shredded sharp American cheese Preparation: In skillet, brown beef and onion; drain. Transfer to slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese. Cover and cook on HIGH 3 to 4 hours. Top each serving with a little shredded cheese. Serves 6 to 8.

Purdue CES Home Page -- Washington County CES Home Page -- Amy Nierman, 4-H Youth Development/ Mary Alice Sharp, Consumer and Family Brad Shelton, Ag/Natural Mary Mead, FNP Assistant Pam Hawes, Office Jean Hill, Office


PHONE: 812-883-4601          FAX: 812-883-3988

Our office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. An answering machine is available for calls during other times. Our office is located at 806 Martinsburg Rd., Suite 104 which is on the lower level of the Washington County Government Building. All persons shall have equal opportunity and access to our programs and facilities without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, or disability. If you have a disability that requires special assistance for your participation in any Extension event, please contact the Washington County Extension Office at:









The mission of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service is education of Indiana citizens through the application of landgrant university research and knowledge base to develop youth and strengthen agriculture, families and communities.


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