Bosque County Hay Show Scholarships Awarded

The first Bosque County Hay Show was held in Clifton in 1979 and was sponsored by the Bosque County Hay Show Committee, Bosque Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Texas Agriculture Extension Service, Bosque County. This year the event is tentatively planned for October 2020, in Meridian (to be confirmed).

The purpose of the Hay Show has been to provide producers information as to the quality of the hay they are producing. By knowing the quality, producers know if their hay has adequate protein or if they need additional supplements to meet the requirements of their livestock.

The hay from this show is auctioned and proceeds are used to offset expenses in addition to providing scholarships for FFA and 4-H high school seniors in Bosque County. A total of 346 scholarships in the amount of $217,850 have been provided to high school seniors in Bosque County. In 2020, twenty scholarships were awarded to graduating seniors.

We are proud to announce this year’s recipients!  From Cranfills Gap FFA: Torrance Crawford, the Marc Johnson Memorial Hay Show Scholarship; Kameron Wiese, the J. B. Wood Memorial Hay Show Scholarship; Caleb Ince, Vianey Lujan, Kassidy Johnson, Gabriel Martinez, Breanna Ratliff and Bennie Wright the Bosque County Hay Show Scholarship. Clifton FFA: Madison Burk, the C. Pernell and Rosalie Aars Memorial Hay Show Scholarship. Meridian FFA: Madisyn Hicks, the John D. & Murlene Smith Memorial Hay Show Scholarship. 4-H: Dacey Dietiker, the C. Pernell and Rosalie Aars Memorial Hay Show Scholarship; Reese Errington, the Sandra S. Shrank Memorial Hay Show Scholarship; Matthew Murphy, the  Jon F. Henderson Memorial Hay Show Scholarship; Mallory Paruszewski, the  Kenneth Shrank Memorial Hay Show Scholarship; Logan Anderson, the  Wade Lee Memorial Hay Show Scholarship;  Brice Barrett, the Bosque County Hay Show Scholarship. Valley Mills FFA: Weston Klemcke, the Carroll M. Olson Memorial Hay Show Scholarship; Erin Thiele, the Homer and Vera Erickson Memorial Hay Show Scholarship; Kaylee Burt and Makenzee Burton, the Bosque County Hay Show Scholarship.

3rd Annual Central Texas Vines and Wines Program

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Offices of McLennan, Bosque, Bell, Falls, Hill, Limestone Counties is hosting our Annual Vines and Wines Program which will be offered via zoom meetings as a two part educational program. Curtis and Mary Timmons at Country Spring Vineyard and Wine Garden (located at 1685 Country Spring Road, Lorena, Texas 76655)  were going to host us, but with all that is going on we have been forced to offer this program online instead. The first day (May 28th) will feature topics of the Grape Industry and its Impact on Texas, Basics of Vineyard Establishment, Basic Grape 101, and Everyday Vineyard Management.  You must register in advance for this meeting on May 28th at

The second day (May 29th) will offer Grape Varieties-Wine for Acreage and Table Grapes for the Homeowner, Vineyard Disease and Pest Management, followed by Laws/Risk and Liability in the Vineyard. You must register in advance for this meeting

Our speakers will be Fran Pontasch-Extension Viticulturist, Michael Cook-Extension Viticulturist, Justin Scheiner-Extension Viticulturist, Curtis Timmons-Owner/Operator at Country Spring Vineyard and Wine Garden, and Patricia Ferguson-Attorney at the Patricia Ferguson & Associates Law Firm.  Participants must register by clicking on the provided link for each event. There is no cost unless you want to obtain CEU hours. There is a $10 fee on the second day for anyone wanting to obtain the 1 IPM CEU hour. Mail your $10 check to 4224 Cobbs Drive, Waco Texas 76710. All the information you need to register is provided when you click on the registration links above.

Marinade Me Tender

Marinades are a simple way to impart complex flavors into meat, fish, or vegetables with little effort. They also work to help tenderize food and to keep it moist!

Marinades work to tenderize meat by acting on collagen, a protein that is a major component in connective tissue. Normally this protein is wound tightly and causes flesh to be tough. Fortunately, there are two ways to cause collagen breakdown: acidic marinating or enzymatic marinating. Acidic marinades use a weak acid like vinegar or citrus juice to break down the proteins, however, do not leave meat or fish in an acidic marinade for more than the recipe calls for. As proteins are broken down via acid, the water content of the meat will decrease, toughening the meat. Use small amounts of acid or very weak acids like those found in buttermilk or yogurt to avoid this issue. Enzymatic marinades work in a similar manner using naturally occurring enzymes that work to break down tissue. Pineapple and papaya for instance contain these natural compounds and work wonders for meat tenderizing. The pitfall with marinating with this method is that eventually these enzymes will work its way through the flesh, causing it to become mush.

Following the recommended time on a recipe will keep that marinade doing what it is designed to do: keep food moist, tender, and flavorful. If you do not have a recipe per se a good rule to remember is that the smaller the cut of meat, the less time it needs to marinate. Roughly speaking, 30 minutes is enough time for meat, fish or vegetables to become tender, take up flavor, and take up moisture from a marinade.

When marinating foods, keep them below 41F in the fridge or a cooler packed with ice or ice packs. Marinades are full of flavor, but they cannot be reused as sauces alongside a cooked food. To avoid cross contamination, utilize a sauce or marinade that was kept separate from the raw food.

For more information please contact County Extension Agent for Family and Community Health Chris Coon at 254-435-2331 or at


Grain Storage and Marketing Program

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office will be hosting a Small Grains Storage & Marketing program on May 14, 2020. This program will be offered via online technology due to current COVID-19 restrictions for programs.

The program will start at 8:30AM with Storage of Small Grains, Protecting Seed Quality, by Reagan Noland, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Agronomist; followed by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Economist Mark Welch covering Ag Commodity Market Updates at 9:20AM. This program should conclude around 10:30AM.

There is no fee to participate. To register in advance of the meeting click HERE, After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Walk Through Texas History

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service invites you to join us for a 4 week challenge to Walk Through Texas History!

Join District 8 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in our Multi-County Walk Through Texas History COVID-19 Challenge beginning April 20th.  Walk Through Texas History is a four-week program designed to help Texans establish the habit of regular physical activity while learning the rich history of Texas. Each adult team may include up to 8 team members, all working together to reach designated goals while following along legendary historical paths created by fellow Texans.

In these unknown times we want to ensure that the health and safety of all Texans remains a priority and the best part about our Walk Through Texas History program is that it involves teamwork & friendly competition but requires no face-to-face interaction! You & your team will be able to easily log your miles through our Howdy Health Website and learn rich Texas History as you hit certain goals. Although we are “walking” through Texas, all forms of physical activity are welcome and can be adapted into miles through our online conversion chart (activity equivalents chart here).

Once you’ve Registered stay connected through our District 8 Walk Through Texas History COVID-19 Challenge Facebook Group! We will use this group for reminders, education, and to connect and support one another as we Walk Across Texas!

PRIZES will be awarded at the end of the four-week challenge for individuals and teams with the most miles!

To Register/Create or log into your Howdy Health Account click the link  HERE then follow the steps below!

  • Once logged in you are ready to join the District 8 WTTH COVID-19 Challenge!
  • Select:  Create a Team and use this League Code:  wtthL-200409-pFdsB7      Using this code will let you see your competition!
  • Create a TEAM and invite friends, family and/or coworkers to join.  Teams can have up to 8 people, or you can have a solo team.
  • Start logging your miles!
  • Share the league code with others to challenge them and see who can log in the most miles!
  • Any activity counts!  Use the activity equivalents chart above to calculate your miles.


Cabin Fever

The cabin fever, associated with the being confined due to onset of COVID-19, can have a pronounced effect on our health and on our mood. On Tuesday I was at wit’s end; beyond stir crazy and tired of seeing the walls of my house. So, I laced up my shoes and went for a run at the Clifton High School track and what I saw was incredibly encouraging. People of all ages were out walking, running, kicking soccer balls and practicing their volleyball skills. While observing social distancing, folks were talking to each other, smiling, laughing and enjoying the beautiful Central Texas weather. It was a great reminder that we are all members of a community and as such we have the means to come together safely and help each other through this difficult time.

I encourage you all to remain physically active as these changes come into our daily lives. It can be very easy to drop our regular exercise routines as we make transitions to working from home or staying at home to help our kids keep learning. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults reach at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week. That may seem daunting, but it’s quite easy if you break it down to at least 30 minutes of activity each day. Even that can be broken down into at least 10 minutes increments. You don’t need to get all that time in one sitting! And physical activity includes anything that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe a little heavier. Gardening, walking, throwing a football around, or leisurely riding a bike are all forms of physical activity! Keep in mind that any physical activity is better than none. The key phrase here is “Move more, sit less.”

Something else to think about is “mindful eating.” Who has ever sat down to a movie with a full bag of popcorn and eaten the whole thing before the movie’s halfway point? When we are distracted by something else (a movie, work, a conversation) and munching on some snacks, we are more likely to eat more than we want. This overeating can, over time, lead to weight gain. Mindful eating means that we are cognizant of what we are eating, how much we are eating, and how fast we are eating. The body’s natural “I’m full” response takes roughly 20 minutes to click in the brain, so eating quickly means that the body can be “full” way before we stop eating. Aim for snacks and foods that are lower in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars. For snacks that will keep you feeling fuller longer, go for foods with good sources of fiber (likes apples or celery) and protein (like hard cooked eggs).

We as a community are in this transition together. I encourage everyone to stay calm, cool and collected. Reach out to your neighbors, friends, family and local institutions to see how we can help each other. A little kindness can go a long way! Please continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines for health – observe social distancing, wash your hands thoroughly and often and monitor your health.

For more information on physical activity or healthy eating habits please contact County Extension Agent Chris Coon at 254-435-2331 or at .

Preserve Foods by Freezing

From a historical point of view, food preservation methods have been means of keeping mouths fed in times of hard ship for millennia. Canning, smoking, drying and salting, and more recently, freezing of foods are all great ways of keeping food safe to use much later down the road. Freezing is the most accessible method of food preservation today. Not everyone has access to equipment needed or the knowledge necessary to pressure can, smoke, or desiccate foods, but most people have access to a freezer.

Here are some methods that can be used to freeze foods effectively, which foods should be frozen like this, and how long they can last frozen:

  • Flat on a tray: Lay these foods spaced out in a single layer on a rimmed tray. Place the tray on a flat surface in the freezer until food is thoroughly frozen. Move food to another container to store. Fruits and vegetables (8-10 months), herbs (12 months), cooked rice (1 month), cooked meatballs (4 months) all can be done with this method. Note that vegetables should be blanched prior to freezing.
  • In bags: Cool any cooked food down to below 40F and then portion it into resealable bags. When freezing cheese, grate it from the block and add 2 tablespoons of flour to prevent sticking. Cooked pasta (1-2 months), uncooked grains and flour (indefinitely), soups and chili (4-6 months), cheese (6 months).
  • Milk: Milk can be frozen in its original container provided that some (roughly 1 cup) is removed prior to freezing. As liquids freeze, they will expand; the last thing you need is half frozen milk everywhere. Milk can be frozen for up to 6 months.
  • Eggs: Remove eggs from their shell and place them in a seal-able container. Eggs can be frozen intact like this or with the yolks and whites frozen separately. Frozen eggs can be held for up to 12 months.
  • Bread: Bread and tortillas can be frozen, as is, for up to 6 months.
  • Meat (immediately): If meat products are going to be frozen that needs to happen immediately after getting it home. To prevent having to thaw and refreeze, portion meats out according to your meal plans. Meats can be frozen in their original packaging or in freezer grade resealable bags. Meats can be held frozen for up to 4 months.

Before foods are placed in the freezer or refrigerator, they should be date marked, either directly on the resealable bag or on the container. Painters or scotch tapes work well as temporary labels! A food label at home should have the name of the food, how many portions there are, the date it was made, and what date it should be disposed.

Freezer storage should be organized by the “First In, First Out” method. This means that the oldest food is closer to the front and will be used before the newest food. As newer foods are put in the freezer, shift older foods forward and stock from the back. Use this method with pantry and refrigerated foods as well!

When it comes time to thaw food, the safest method to use is thawing in the refrigerator. This will increase the amount of time needed for it to completely thaw but keeping it in the fridge will greatly reduce the risk of spoilage or of a foodborne illness. A cool running water (below 70F) bath can be used to thaw but the water must be changed out at most every 30 minutes. Frozen foods can be thawed in the microwave provided that you immediately start cooking the food.

For more information on food safety and techniques please contact County Extension Agent Chris Coon at 254-435-2331 or at

Coronavirus and Livestock

written by Kay Ledbetter

Coronavirus: Human strain causes fear, but domestic livestock strains are routine

While wildlife may be source of China outbreak, livestock coronaviruses are common worldwide

Many people are hearing about coronavirus for the first time as the China strain, COVID-19, affecting humans causes concern all across the world. But coronaviruses are not new to livestock and poultry producers, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife veterinary epidemiologist.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives.

But the CDC is now responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel or new coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

“Coronavirus is a common virus in livestock herds and poultry flocks seen routinely worldwide,” said Heather Simmons, DVM, Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, IIAD, associate director as well as Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s associate department head and extension program leader for Veterinary Medical Extension. IIAD is a member of the Texas A&M University System and Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Wildlife in China may be human strain carriers

“In wildlife, bats are known to carry over 100 different strains of coronavirus, and wild civets are the source of the coronavirus that causes SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), first reported in China in 2002-2003,” Simmons said. “Although our understanding is still limited, wild pangolins (a scaly anteater) sold at live markets may be associated with the recently reported coronavirus outbreak in China.”

Bats, civets and pangolins are all commonly sold at live markets in China, she said. Coronaviruses from wildlife are dangerous since they have the potential to mutate, adapt and spill over to new species, including humans.

“That is the concern now, this new strain of coronavirus has emerged to cause disease in humans,” Simmons said. “It is important to create an understanding of the difference between coronaviruses occurring in domestic livestock and poultry compared to coronaviruses that spill over from wildlife to humans.”

Coronavirus in domestic livestock doesn’t jump to humans

Simmons said, to date, the coronaviruses in livestock are not considered reportable diseases because their main effect is as an economic burden to livestock producers.

They are known to occur worldwide annually, with some of the most common coronaviruses found in production animals to include the scours and winter dysentery in beef and dairy cattle, porcine respiratory coronavirus in swine and avian infectious bronchitis in poultry.

The World Health Organization has reported that while another coronavirus, MERS-CoV, is known to be transmitted from dromedary camels to humans, other coronaviruses circulating in domestic animals have not yet infected humans.

“That’s what is very important to understand at this time,” Simmons said. “We have been dealing with these diseases for a long time but as of yet, we have not seen cases worldwide transmitted from livestock to humans or vice versa.”

What does coronavirus look like in livestock?

While coronaviruses have a high morbidity, or rate of illness, in livestock and poultry they are generally considered to have low mortality, rate of death, Simmons said. Coronaviruses will affect either the respiratory system or the gastrointestinal system, depending on the species and the age of the animal.

Coronavirus in cattle

In calves, diarrhea commonly occurs in animals under three weeks of age due to a lack of obtaining antibodies when the calf does not get enough colostrum from the mother in order to build up immunity. Clinical signs include severe dehydration and diarrhea. The severity of the clinical signs depends on the age of the calf and their immune status. This is often seen by producers in the winter months as the virus is more stable in cold weather. The second clinical syndrome, winter dysentery is found in adult cattle. Clinical signs include bloody diarrhea with decreased mild production, loss of appetite with some respiratory signs. Bovine coronaviruses can also cause mild respiratory disease or pneumonia in calves up to six months. The virus is shed in the environment through nasal secretions and through feces.

Coronavirus in swine

There are multiple coronaviruses that affect swine. Like cattle, they affect the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract. In sows and piglets, porcine respiratory coronavirus usually presents with no clinical signs. If clinical signs do occur, it may be a transient cough within the herd and spread of this disease occurs through aerosolized methods.

Coronavirus in poultry

Infectious bronchitis virus, or IBV, is a rapidly spreading respiratory disease in young chicks. Clinical signs in laying hens include reduced production, eggshell abnormalities and decreased internal egg quality.

How to treat

Livestock producers should consult with a veterinarian for treatment, Simmons said. Treatment in livestock herds and poultry flocks typically includes supportive therapy of fluids. Antibiotics are not indicated for viral infections but may be used if a secondary bacterial infection occurs.

More information can be found through the Texas &M AgriLife Extension Disaster Education Network.

Food Handlers Course

Statistics indicate that foodborne illness continues to be a health issue in the United States.  Each year, 1 in 6 Americans will become sick, 128,000 will become hospitalized, and 3,000 will die due to a foodborne illness.  Lost wages due to illness coupled with the loss of business, reputation, employees and the potential for litigation against the business that originated the foodborne illness can become a problem for our local economy.  Fortunately, there are ways we can prevent foodborne illness that originate at the restaurant and at home.

Per the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Texas Food Establishment Rules, all food establishment employees who handle food must complete an accredited food handler training course within 60 days of employment, as well as anyone operating a cottage food business.  This course is intended to provide a valuable education regarding the safe handling of food and provide a certification that lasts for two years.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will be offering a Food Handlers Course on Saturday, March 28.  The course begins at 10:00 am and will last for approximately 2 hours. Cost of the class is $20 per person.  Upon completion of the course, participants will receive a Food Handler’s Certificate, good anywhere in the State of Texas.

For questions or more information contact Family & Community Health Extension agent, Chris Coon, at 254-435-2331 or email   or to RSVP please complete the form below :

Weed and Brush Program


Due to national health and safety concerns caused by the corona virus, this event has been postponed. 

We will try to present this program again in the later months of August or September.  We will keep this site updated with any changes as they happen.

Thanks for your understanding!


Texas A&M AgriLife Extension of Bosque County will be hosting a Weed & Brush Program Thursday, April 2, at the Meridian Civic Center. Registration will start at 8:15AM with the program to follow at 8:30AM and should conclude by noon.

Topics to be discussed will include:  Range & Pasture Plant Identification by James Jackson, Range Management Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service; Value of Your Land: Cleared, Semi-cleared, Brush Covered, by Dr. Jason Johnson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Economist; Sprayer Calibration by James Jackson, Range Management Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.  One IPM and One Drift CEU will be offered for individuals holding a Private Applicator’s Pesticide License.

Cost of the program is $15.00 and can be paid at the door. For any question or to confirm your attendance please contact the Bosque County Extension Office at 254-435-2331