Friday, May 22, 2015

Blog 1 - Daviess County Extension

My first two weeks of the Extension Internship have been very busy!  Planting season is underway here in Daviess County and the Extension Office is dedicated to making sure farmers have everything they need for this busy time of year.  During the past two weeks I have planted variety trial plots throughout the county, attended a district agent meeting, went to a 4-H  banquet, and so much more. 
One of the biggest projects I have been working on is a newspaper article for the Messenger Inquirer.  Every week, Clint Hardy, the Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent in Daviess County, writes an article for the paper about a pressing agricultural topic amongst farmers.  This week Clint gave me the opportunity to write an article for his section of the paper! Since hay harvest and storage is approaching, I decided to write an article concerning this topic.  I have displayed the article below for everyone to enjoy!

Hay Harvest and Storage
            My name is Lauren Settles and I am an intern for the Cooperative Extension Service in Daviess County this summer.  I am an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky studying Plant and Soil Science with minors in Animal Science and Agricultural Economics.  Throughout my time as an intern this summer I am shadowing the role of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, Clint Hardy.  By the end of the summer I hope to be better prepared to go into the agricultural industry after graduation and make an impact in the Daviess County community that I grew up in.  One of my requirements is to write a newspaper article.  Since some farmers are starting to harvest hay in the county, I thought an article about hay harvest and storage would be appropriate.  As most producers know, it is very important to take precautions when harvesting and storing hay. 
            As hay harvest quickly approaches, producers are looking forward to storing high quality hay for their livestock.  Producers endeavor to produce, store, and feed high quality hay, however a great deal of hay is lost each year through storage.  Most hay producers in Kentucky store round bales.  Although large round bales are an efficient feeding method, they are most prone to losses.  Hay losses can mostly be contributed to the conditions the hay was harvested and stored in.  When hay has been damaged it is less palatable to livestock and does not have good nutritive value.  Weather conditions and the type of storage methods play a huge role in minimizing hay losses. 

To reduce hay losses during harvest and storage, producers need to remember to think about fire prevention.  Hay changes significantly after baling.  When baled, a spontaneous combustion fire can easily occur.  Spontaneous combustion fires are caused by extreme heating in stored hay resulting from microorganism activity in bales stored at too high of a moisture level.  Even if the excessive heating doesn’t cause a fire, it will reduce forage quality.  It is a good idea to periodically monitor hay temperature until you are sure there is no danger of fire.  All baled hay at moisture contents above 15 percent will experience some elevation in temperature, also referred as “sweating.”  When the hay is stored at too high of a moisture the color of the hay can also change.  This is another way to detect the amount of moisture and heat damage within the bale. 
            Hay commonly reaches temperatures of 120 to 130 degrees F.  This heating level poses no serious threat of fire or quality loss. Temperatures ranging from 130 to 160 degrees F decrease forage quality by reducing protein and dry matter digestibility, and increasing fiber levels.  At temperatures of 160 degrees F or higher, it is possible the hay will heat further, reach combustible temperatures, and catch on fire.
            There are many hay storage options, depending on the type of operation and how much money the producer is willing to invest.  In the Daviess County area, most hay producers store hay either outside on the ground with plastic wrap or in permanent hay structures.  One of the cheapest hay storing options producers use is outside/on the ground.  However, this option can often result in the highest hay loss percentage.  Moisture is very susceptible to reaching the hay (especially at the bottom of the bale) resulting in low air movement and damaged hay.  To prevent hay losses while storing outside, a well-drained area should be selected while using pallets or tires to lift the bales off the ground.  This would allow sufficient space between the bales for air flow and prevent collection of water and potential spontaneous combustion fires.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture offers a Forage Testing Program to producers to test the quality of their hay.  A producer has the opportunity for a KDA staff member to take samples of hay at the farm and analyze them in the KDA Forage Laboratory.  By testing forages and knowing the nutritional value, producers can minimize cost and maximize production.  Any hay producer in the state of Kentucky is eligible for this service.  If you are interested please contact Jim Wade at (270) 776-2172 or 

"...Wood Bees to Willow Trees."

Week One McCracken County
By: Cole Bell

     The first day I sat in on staff meeting at 9:00 where I got to meet the agents and staff. Shortly thereafter we made a trip to Sam’s club for to pick up supplies for the Backpack Food for Kids program. I have spent four days working with Kathy Wimberley the Horticulture Agent here in McCracken County. The first three days we spent a large amount of time working at the UK Extension Demonstration & Trial Gardens. We spent one day pulling weeds from the beds, removing old perennials that will be given away at farmers market, and preparing the soil for new plants. We were lucky enough to have help from one of the students of the Master Garden Class. The following day we began planting the beds, the plants will be evaluated by Master Gardeners each month and at the end of the year the information is available for local gardeners to use in selecting plants for their home gardens. Another day I got to make a power point presentation on entomology that I presented to Kathy’s Master Gardener class that evening.

     I couldn’t even tell you how many people have been looking for answers about cicadas, everyone that I have had the pleasure to talk to has been eager to listen. I've also gotten to talk to homeowners about everything from Wood Bees to Willow Trees. I have learned that simply listening to someone who comes in to the office eases them almost as much as any of the advice we may be able to offer them. Listening is a great skill.

     Later in the week I was able to go with Ag agent Amie Buckman to a local blueberry patch where we set up traps for Spotted Wing Drosophila. The traps will be checked each week and contents of the trap will be sent to the department of Entomology in Lexington. The owners of the crop were very eager to participate, knowing that trapping the insects will help them out. I am excited about the opportunity that I have to go to Princeton next week and visit the Research and Education Center. It has been a great first week, and I am sure many more like it to come!

 Cole Bell McCracken County

Off to A Great Start!

I am so stinkin’ excited to finally be a part of a County Extension Office! (Even though it is only for the summer). My name is Aubrey Clark and I am the 4-H intern for Jessamine County this summer. Our office has one 4-H Agent, Cathy Weaver, one ANR Agent, Rob Amburgey, one FCS Agent, Porsha Batts, one 4-H Program Assistant, Abby Sorrell, and our support staff, Jessica Lawrence & Shellie Castle.
I am now ending my second week as an intern and so far, & I love it! Last week I went to the KVF (Kentucky Volunteer Forum) Planning Committee Meeting, the District 4 Staff Meeting, a Fitting Show (had no clue what that was until last Friday), an overnight JC (Junior Counselor) training, I led teambuilding activities for CITs (counselors-in-training), and much more.
            Monday of this week I had the opportunity to spend some time with our ANR Agent, Rob. We went to the community garden at Asbury Seminary to make sure everything was growing properly. It was located in an area where international families lived so they could use the gardens to grow plants that were native to them. This garden had a nice gazebo area and had dozens of raised beds for gardening. The gazebo area was the perfect location for Rob to do programs and reach a diverse audience. After making this stop we went to look at a tree that had thinning leaves. Rob determined that it had a gall & it need to be trimmed. In the afternoon we attended a gardening club meeting. Here, Rob spoke about herb gardening and answered questions that the club members had.

          Tuesday I spent some time with Porsha, our FCS Agent. We went to the local housing agency, daycares, and community action center to pass out flyers on two of her upcoming programs, canning & meal planning.  In the afternoon we met with a Homemaker to go over the yearly revisions of the bylaws. I had a slim understanding of what the Homemakers did before Tuesday and am now hoping to get more involved with this club in the future.
           The rest of the week was filled with errands, meetings and hams. So far I love this job! Having something different to do every day is a blast. The diversity of the projects, activities and people makes 4-H and Extension such a fun thing to be involved with and it’s exactly what got me interested all those years ago. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer is like!

Aubrey Clark

Week 1 Intern

Week 1

                My first week as an extension intern has quickly flown by. Monday was my first day as an intern at the Franklin County Extension Office I was quickly emerged into a project which had previously been implemented. That day I was fortunate enough to be able to work with the students from the Academy and educate the importance of nutrition. We allowed students to cook their own food, while learning about the nutritional value of certain food.   
               My second day I spent most of my day in the office and then that night attended a horse show meeting which was held at the Jessamine County Extension office. Throughout the meeting I corrected and recorded entries for the upcoming horse show. Wednesday I was able to participate in a project held at Collins Lane Elementary. As a team we taught students about economics by allowing them to participate in Lemonade Wars. Through this experience the students were able to see the process of marketing and the steps of creating a business plan. Students were able to create their own lemonade stand business and create their own business plan to sell their product. 
               Thursday our team attended the University of Kentucky Appreciation Day. Last but not least Friday I spent all day at the office planning for upcoming student and community events. Although this week has gone by fast I have quickly realized the time and the effort that goes into to being a 4-H extension agent. Can’t wait to see what next week has in store for me.

Week One!

Hi everyone!

I am just now finishing up my first week of being a summer intern in my home town of Letcher County, KY. I have had a great experience thus far working with my supervisor Ann Bradley, the FCS agent, and the rest of the staff here in Letcher County. I began this journey on May 18th with a welcoming introduction to the people that I will be spending most of my time with this summer, which was followed by a staff meeting. The meeting gave everyone a chance to discuss any questions they may have about what was to come during the upcoming weeks and to give any announcements they felt were necessary for others to know.

Having a meeting the first day of my internship was only a glimpse of what was to come. The next day I attended a meeting in Hazard, KY with 4-H agents in surrounding counties to discuss the plans for 4-H camp. The meeting was very successful, the agents were able to finalize all of the day-to-day schedules for camp and plan for all of the supplies that needed to be purchased for camp to run smoothly.

Later that week, I also attended a meeting in London, KY with the camp manager from J.M. Feltner campgrounds, where my county will attend camp. Before the meeting began the camp manager offered to give us a tour of the grounds, since I had never attended camp. The campgrounds were greater than I could have imagined. As I walked through the cabins and out to the lake, I could envision all of the children participating in the activities that we had spent hours planning a couple of days before. Knowing that I am playing a small part in planning the camp that the children from my county and surrounding counties are getting to attend fills me with pride.

I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer holds for me! If it is anything like this first week, then I know I will have an amazing summer surrounded by amazing people.

I hope that all of you are having a great first couple of week as well!

Caitlin Collier
Letcher County FCS Intern

Intro to Extension


By the time I was through half of my first day interning with Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Brian Jeffiers in Johnson County, I realized that I was certainly going to enjoy this position. I started last Monday, May 11. After a very welcoming introduction to the office staff and all the agents, I jumped right into the action by helping begin to fill out Senior Citizen vouchers for our upcoming Farmer's Market. Voucher distribution has continued up until now, and it's a great thing to see the involvement and the interest generated about our Farmer's Market! I also sat in on the district staff meeting last week, which was on the Link system.

Throughout last week Mr. Jeffiers and I responded to several home and farm visits. It was my pleasure to meet and help advise homeowners on issues ranging from landscaping freeze damage to soil acidity issues. It was also fantastic to meet some of the county's farmers, which I expect to be working with throughout the course of my internship. I also have been scheduling workshops for the county's beekeeping and cattle producers, which are coming up within the next few weeks. The Highland Beef Cattle Association's next meeting is on a variety of topics, including synchronizing breeding cycles and the economic benefits for producers that go along with that practice. This week has encompassed my training for our 4-H camp attendance with the Johnson County 4-H Teen Club, and I assisted the county 4-H agent, Dianna Reed, with a few of her camp planning and inventory needs.

In terms of upcoming events, I'll be getting ready for our beekeeper's workshop next week, preparing for 4-H camp, and continuing with Farmer's Market prep. I've  had a great first two weeks with Johnson County Extension, and can't wait to see what the rest of the summer holds!

Josh Baldwin
Johnson County Ag and Natural Resources Intern

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Harrison County Extension

Interning at the Harrison County Extension office in my hometown of Cynthiana, KY has been a great two weeks so far. Even on my first day, I was treated as another agent. The agents and support staff here are great people to work with and are very welcoming. I have always known that extension is something extremely important to this community, but after being in the office for two weeks, I have been able to witness first-hand how important the services the agents provide truly are to these people. During the internship, I am working primarily with the county 4-H Agent, Mike Meyer. I have become good friends with Mike over the past several years through livestock judging and showing cattle together, so I was excited to be paired with him for the internship process. He has been the person to get me interested in extension from the beginning, so it's fitting that he would be the agent that I work with the most.

I have packed a lot into these first couple of weeks. I have been helping out with the livestock judging team and the horse judging team at least once a week. Judging is something I feel pretty strongly about, because I think there are many characteristics that can be learned by being on a judging team that are important later in life as well. Last Friday, Mike and I went down to Jessamine county to teach a showmanship and fitting clinic to their livestock club. I enjoy working with 4-Hers and their project animals and teaching them things that they can improve upon during the summer show season in preparation for the Kentucky State Fair in August.

The livestock judging team competed in the Boyle County livestock judging contest last Saturday, and were well represented, despite having many of our senior division judgers at another leadership event hosted by the Kentucky Junior Cattlemen's Association. The contest was well put together with extremely high quality classes, and we certainly appreciate the work that went into hosting such a great contest before the state 4-H livestock judging contest in June.

I was expecting there to be meetings associated with being an extension agent, but there are certainly more than I anticipated. My first week, we had the district staff meeting in Lexington. It was great to be able to meet a lot of the other agents and interns in the district and see more of what goes on behind the scenes with extension. I have also been to a couple meetings about Teen Conference coming up, as well as planning for 4-H camp and Clover bud camp. I also attended the Farm Bureau meeting last Thursday where we had an appreciation dinner and there were representatives of many politicians that discussed what they were trying to do about the concerns that have been brought up by Farm Bureau members. It was great to see how concerned they were to help local agriculturalists by passing certain bills in Washington and Frankfort that were relevant to the livelihood of not only Harrison County farmers, but farmers across the state as well.  

It has been a great start to my internship in Harrison County, and I am looking forward to the coming weeks. I am assured that I will get the full extension agent experience by working with the staff here, and for that, I am grateful.

Until next time,

Luke Arthur