Child Care Conference 2017

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Tarleton State University are proud to host the 2017 Child Care Conference on September 9.  The theme “Up, Up & Away: Soaring Beyond the Minimum Standards” will focus on fun activities and resources to help child care staff go beyond the minimum standards of child care.

This year, the conference will offer different tracks for child care staff to attend: Infants/Toddlers, Preschool, School Age, and Director/Owner.  Each track will focus on fun activities, guidance and discipline, learning, and developmental needs for the specific age groups.  Conference participants will also get some hands-on experience with activities and fun snack ideas.

The 2017 Child Care Conference will be held Saturday, September 9, 2017, from 7:30 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. in the Science Building on the campus of Tarleton State University.  The cost of the conference is $30, and registration is due by August 28, 2017.  Six clock hours of in-service training will be given to participants, and six CEUs will be offered for an additional $10 per person.  Click on the picture below to register today!

For more information, please contact Bosque County Extension Agent, Kate Whitney, at 254-435-2331 or

Private Applicators Pesticide Training

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Bosque County, will be hosting a Private Applicators Pesticide training on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at the Bosque County Extension Office in Meridian. Registration will begin at 8:15 a.m. with the training starting at 8:30 a.m. and continue until noon.

The training is open to the public. The cost of the class is $75.00. A Laws and Regulation Manual and a Private Applicator Study guide is mandatory, and included in the class cost. It is recommended that the manuals and study guide be picked up at the Bosque County Extension Office, 104 S Fuller, Meridian, Texas, prior to the training.

To pre-register, or if you need more information, please call the Bosque County Extension Office at (254) 435-2331 or complete the form below to register today!

Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid, service or other accommodations in order to participate in Extension sponsored events are encouraged to contact the County Extension office a week prior to the class to determine how reasonable accommodations may be made.

What’s New in 4-H

I’m Back! Hello my name is Marc Arnold and I’m very excited to be back as the 4-H program assistant in Bosque County. I’m ready to help and serve the 4-H program in any way I can, so please don’t hesitate to stop by the office or give me a call. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones!

This is going to be another great year in 4-H, so come see how you can get involved.  We have something for all ages:

  • Clover Kids
  • 4-H
  • Adult Volunteers

4-H probably has a lot more opportunities to get involved than what you might think! We’ve got projects in which you can participate whether you’re interested in robotics, cooking, shooting sports, photography, livestock and stock shows, public speaking, fashion, gardening, scholarship opportunities, competitions and many more.

It’s going to be a terrific year in 4-H and we’d love to share it with you.  Don’t miss our Floating with 4-H pool party – this is a great opportunity to meet everyone! Give me a call @ 254-435-2331 or stop by the Extension Office to find out more.

Step Up & Scale Down

This fall, the FCS Committee of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is offering Step Up & Scale Down, a ten-week program to motivate you to a healthier lifestyle.  The series will begin on Tuesday, September 19, at the Extension Office in Meridian.  Classes will be held at 12pm on Tuesdays for 10 weeks.

Step Up & Scale Down consists of weekly lessons to help participants move toward a healthier weight.  The program includes a healthy lunch every Tuesday, a weekly weigh-in, a weekly challenge to help you stay motivated, healthy recipes and cooking tips, exercise resources, and a weight-loss planner.  Joining a group program is a great way to add accountability as you try to reach your health goals.

The Step Up & Scale Down program is based on the USDA 2015 Guidelines, which are intended to help Americans choose a healthful eating plan.  Step Up & Scale Down is a research-based program that has proven success in weight management and building healthy lifestyle habits.

The cost for the 10-week program is $50, which includes all course materials and a healthy lunch every week.  Registration is open until September 8.  If you have any questions contact the Extension Office at 254-435-2331 or complete the form below to register today!


Annie’s Project – Empowering Women in Agriculture

New U.S. census data indicates the number of Texas women managing farms has grown by 10 percent since 2007, and a nationally awarded workshop series is scheduled for Stephenville to help empower them through shared experiences, according to an expert.

Annie’s Project is an educational program dedicated to strengthening women’s roles in modern farm and ranch enterprises, said Dr. Jason Johnson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist, Stephenville.

The series will be offered in six sessions, from 6-9 p.m. each Thursday evening beginning Sept. 7 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1229 N. U.S. Highway 281, Stephenville. The class will meet on Sept. 7, 14 and 21, and Oct. 5, 12 and 19.

Cost of the program is $50 per person for the entire series, and class size is limited to 30 to facilitate discussion among participants, he said. Registration slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Meals and refreshments will be provided at each session.

The conference is sponsored by AgriLife Extension, with program support provided by Farm Credit Bank of Texas.

According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, women now manage 15 percent of the nation’s farms and about 38,500 farms in Texas.

“The program is based on the experiences of farm women who spend their lifetime learning how to be an involved business manager or partner with their farm husbands and other family members,” Johnson said. “The reality is that over 90 percent of farm women usually end up managing their personal and farm business finances at some point in their lives as a result of death, divorce or disability.”

Speakers will include a variety of local professionals, practitioners and experts from AgriLife Extension, Texas Farm Bureau, the U.S. Department of Agriculture -Farm Service Agency and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service including an agricultural attorney, family financial management specialist and a registered investment advisor.

Participants will receive training in critical decision-making and information addressing the management of production risks, marketing risks, financial risks, personnel risks and estate planning.

Interested participants can request a brochure and registration form by contacting Dr. Jason Johnson at 254-968-4144. The registration form is also available at by clicking on the Annie’s Project link.

Additional information about the program and how other farm women nationally have benefitted is available at:

“Often farming women do not feel comfortable in the coffee shop network that is so familiar to farm and ranch men,” Johnson said. “Annie’s project provides a place where farm women can learn both from the perspectives of local agricultural professionals as well as the experiences of other workshop members without the pressure of sales pitches or solicitations.”

Rethink Your Drink

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at the Goodall-Witcher Hospital Wellness Wednesday lunch program about “Rethink Your Drink.”  I always enjoy getting to visit with the folks who attend Wellness Wednesday, and it doesn’t hurt that Goodall-Witcher provides a free, healthy lunch for all attendees!  I also enjoy talking about healthy eating and drinking.  You might be surprised to learn how much sugar is in your favorite beverage!

Did you know that a typical adult is eating and drinking about 320 calories or more each day in the form of added sugar?  Three major culprits for those extra sugar calories are soda, energy drinks, or sports drinks; desserts; and fruit drinks.  Sugar can be found naturally in some foods such as fruit and milk, but most of the sugar in the American diet is added during food processing, preparation, or at the table.  If we can limit added sugars in the diet, we can reduce calories and improve diet quality.

Did you know that one can of Dr. Pepper has 10 teaspoons of sugar?  That’s right!  One can of Dr. Pepper has 40 grams of sugar, and there are four grams per teaspoon.  Soda is not the only source of extra sugar.  Many of the sports drinks that teenagers like to have are loaded with sugar, and our favorite Starbucks drinks are just as bad.  The problem with so much sugar in our drinks is that these are empty calories, meaning they do not provided any nutritional benefits.  The healthier option is to drink water or unsweetened beverages and eat foods that are nutrient-dense to get the vitamins and nutrients our body needs.

Next time you reach for your favorite soft drink or a big glass of sweet tea, think about what is in your drink!  For more information about healthy eating, contact Kate Whitney at the Bosque County Extension Office at 254-435-2331.

Hot Tomatoes

Yes, it is the heat of the summer and your spring garden may be looking a little stressed. Don’t worry; there are some ways to extend the production of your favorite veggies.  When the days get to 85 degrees and night stay above 75 degrees some vegetable plants, such as tomatoes, fail to pollinate. This puts your plant’s fruit production on hold until the temperatures drop.

There is good news, your tomato plants can survive the summer with a little help.  First choosing a variety that is heat tolerant is key as well as planting it in the right spot. But you are way past this point now, so if your tomatoes are getting too much sun try using a shade cloth during tomato flowers’ peak pollination times (10AM to 2PM).  Have the shade open to the East so the plants can get morning sun but be shielded from the afternoon’s sun.  Second, add mulch.  A 2-3 inch thick layer will help keep your soil moist.  Be sure to reapply mulch as it breaks down over the season.  Third, water!  Do not let your plant get thirsty and go into survival mode; but do not over water your plants either.  Plants need a happy medium.  Next, pick your fruit early.  Tomatoes tend to stop producing red pigments when temperatures reach 95 degrees and they stop ripening altogether when days reach 100 degrees and nights stay at 80 degrees.  So, pick your fruit early and allow it to finish ripening indoors. Picking early will also help ward off pests that will target heat-stressed plants.

For more information please contact Chelsea Dorward at the Bosque County Extension Office at 254-435-2331 or Information for this article is from How to Grow Tomatoes in Hot Weather from

Mosquito Control

Mosquito season is in full swing!  I seem to attract mosquitoes every evening when I am outside, and I sure don’t like those pesky insects or their bites.  Aside from the nuisance, mosquitoes can also carry diseases such as West Nile virus, Chikungunya, Dengue fever, and Zika.  We heard a lot about Zika in the news last year, and Zika is still an issue in Texas.

Zika is a mild virus compared to other mosquito-carried illnesses.  Only one in five people infected with Zika will feel ill with mild symptoms including fever, joint pain, red itchy eyes, and a rash.  Symptoms typically occur two to seven days after being bit by an infected mosquito.  The greatest concern about Zika virus is related to pregnant women who can pass the virus on to their unborn babies.  Health officials believe this may result in a birth defect known as microcephaly.

What can we do to prevent the spread of Zika virus?  The best plan is to control the mosquito population and prevent mosquito bites.

  • Drain or dump any standing water around your home such as clogged gutters, bird baths, flower pot drain dishes, toys, wading pools, wagons, and wheel barrows. Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water, so do your best to dump potential breeding sites.
  • Dress to discourage mosquito bites. If you are outside for an extended period of time, wear long pants and loose fitting, long-sleeve shirts.
  • Day, dusk, and dark. Mosquitos are most active during dusk and dark, so avoid being outside during those times.
  • Defend yourself with mosquito repellant. Deet and other mosquito repellents recommended by the CDC are the best defense if you are outdoors when mosquitos are active.

Mosquito control is something we all need to help with.  Do your part by draining and dumping any standing water you see around your home or neighborhood to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.  Remember to use the mosquito repellent when you are enjoying the great Texas summer weather.

For more information about Zika virus or mosquito control, contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office at 254-435-2331.

Simply Eating Right

Does eating right seem like an impossible task?  I don’t know about you, but it’s no fun to focus on counting calories during summer when homemade ice cream is on my mind.  Eating right doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.  Here are a few tips from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help you shift to healthier food and beverage choices.

  • Make your calories count. The majority of your food choices should be full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients, and lower in calories.  Eat “nutrient-dense” foods to get the most out of your meals, rather than filling up on empty calories.
  • Focus on variety. Eat a variety of foods from all the food groups to get the nutrients you need.  Try a lot of dark green vegetables like leafy greens and broccoli and orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes.  You can easily find fresh, local produce this time of year, so try some new things!  Vary your protein choices with more fish, beans, and peas.
  • Drink water. Water is so important for good body functions, and it is calorie-free!  Be sure you get enough water during the hot summer months.  Add some cucumber slices or fresh fruit for a refreshing drink that doesn’t add to you calorie count.  Try to avoid sugary sodas or tea that add calories without any nutritional benefit.

This summer, focus on eating fresh, healthy foods.  You can find some great recipe ides at

Hay Baling in Wet Weather

The moisture content of your hay is important to keep in mind because hay baled with high moisture content levels can have negative impacts such as hay spoilage, barn fires, and decreased nutritive values.

A natural event, commonly referred to as “heating,” occurs when growing forages are cut and continue to give off heat due to respiration. Plant and mold respiration generates lots of heat; this does little but provide proper growing conditions for bacteria. If wet hay is baled while it is too wet, microbe populations will flourish and intensify the heating process. This results in hay that is lower in nutritive value and dry matter availability.

Allowing cut hay to dry (or cure) will slow down the respiration process. Respiration slows down as moisture content decreases but will not completely stop until plant moisture reaches 20 percent or less. Moisture levels above 20 percent allow the respiration process to continue and mold to develop, this then produces heat.

Moisture levels for safe storage vary with the size and density of the bale and the type of hay. Hay in small square bales should be baled between 15 and 22 percent moisture to minimize leaf shattering, molding and heating. Larger round bales or the large square bales are larger in size and weight. So obviously these will retain core moisture, thus internal heat longer than the small square bales. These larger bales should not be baled with a moisture content level in excess of 18 percent. If you are deciding to bale your large bales while the moisture content is in excess of 22 percent, you should not stack the bales for at least 30 days and consider this when feeding.

If the internal temperature of a bale of hay exceeds 130 degrees F, a chemical reaction occurs within the bales that releases flammable gases that can ignite. So when harvesting, the most effective way to reduce the potential of spontaneous combustion in hay bales is to make sure the cut has dried sufficiently prior to baling. Hay that has been rained on or is slightly wet should be mechanically teddered, or fluffed, to speed up the drying process.

Check newly stacked hay for possible heating, especially for hay that has been rained on. It is not unusual for hay to heat to 100 degrees F within the first couple of weeks after it is baled.

Details from this article are from the Texas Cooperative Extension Publication “The Burning Bale,” by David W. Smith; The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation publication, “Nutritive Value of Hay is Critical at Baling and Feeding,”; and the U.S. Drought Monitor, For more information, please contact Chelsea Dorward at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Bosque County Office at 254-435-2331 or