Wildfire Preparedness grants available

Home improvement projects that resist flames and embers, teaching neighbors about wildfire risks and how to reduce them and removing flammable debris that could fuel a wildfire are all activities actively supported by the National Fire Protection Association and State Farm via the national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day campaign.

The seventh annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day will be May 2.

Since 2014, community groups and individuals have taken part in the campaign, completing hundreds of wildfire safety projects across the United States. Preparedness Day gives people of all ages a chance to plan and participate in a risk reduction or wildfire preparedness activity that makes their community a safer place to live.

Financial support from State Farm will once again enable NFPA to provide 150 applicants from across the country with $500 awards to complete a wildfire risk reduction project on May 2.

Project applications can be submitted through Feb. 28.

Currently, an estimated 43 million homes are in areas prone to wildfire, and wildfire risk is present in every state. In 2018, nearly all of the $13 billion in property damage and losses from large fire incidents was due to just six wildfires. That same year, 88 people were killed in wildfires, most in the devastating Camp Fire that obliterated the town of Paradise, California.

For more information about Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, funding awards, project ideas, and free resources to download, visit www.wildfireprepday.org.

Playas training will highlight conservation benefits

GARDEN CITY – Ducks Unlimited Kansas staff are helping coordinate the 2020 Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) annual playa lake tour and workshop, set for Jan. 14 and 15, in Garden City.

KAWS is hosting the event designed for landowners and land managers who have playas on their land, but which is also open to individuals interested in learning more about this unique natural resource.

Participants will learn about playas and the benefits they provide, including groundwater recharge and wildlife habitat. The workshop will also cover conservation programs available for restoring and conserving playas.

The event begins with a tour of several playas in Haskell, Seward and Meade counties from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Jan. 14. Shuttles will leave from the Finnup Conservation Center parking lot in Garden City at 9 a.m. and Haskell County Fair Ground parking lot at 10 a.m.

Attendees will see what playa lakes may look like before, during and after being accepted into a conservation program and using different management strategies to restore the health of a playa. There will also be opportunities to discuss the pros and cons of each conservation program.

The workshop itself runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Finnup Conservation Center in Garden City.

Participants will learn about the benefits playas provide, including groundwater recharge, improved water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreational uses. The workshop will cover playa conservation programs that provide financial and technical assistance to landowners.

There will also be opportunities for attendees to ask questions of technical staff and get expert advice about playa lakes and playa restoration programs.

The event is free for landowners and land managers with playas on their land and includes lunch both days and tour transportation. For others, a $50 fee is required to cover lunch and transportation. Participants must register.

To learn more, visit the KAWS website, https://kaws.org, or contact event coordinators: Joe Kramer, Ducks Unlimited special projects manager, at 620-388-5878, and Abe Lollar, Ducks Unlimited biologist, at 620-214-2693.

WEALTH Day at the Capitol focuses on health and environment

TOPEKA – Join Kansans to learn about and advocate for Water, Energy, Air, Land, Transportation, and Health in Kansas on WEALTH Day, Feb. 10 at the Kansas State Capitol Building, 300 SW 10th St.

• Get up-to-date on current environmental issues

• Visit the Solutions Showcase featuring leading environmental organizations

• Enjoy the local foods luncheon

• Join the Interfaith Climate Prayer Vigil

• Sample new ideas at the Cookies & Conservation Conversation

• Meet with your legislators

For more information, or to register as a sponsor or attendee, visit http://www.climateandenergy.org/page.59.wealth-day

Program starts second year of educating fruit, vegetable farmers

WICHITA – Growing Growers ICT, an innovative farmer education program based at K-State Research and Extension – Sedgwick County, is entering its second year of providing new and experienced fruit and vegetable growers with fresh energy and new ideas.

An informational meeting to learn all about Growing Growers ICT and the changes for the 2020 season will be from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 7001 W. 21st St. N.

The program's new website provides additional information at ictfoodcircle.org/growinggrowers.

Farmers interested in hosting and mentoring an apprentice are invited to submit a biography to be listed on the Growing Growers ICT website. Apprentice applications for the 2020 growing season are open as well.

On-farm apprenticeships and a workshop series are the two pillars of the program. Apprentices are mentored by seasoned farmers and get hands-on experience working on host farms. They also receive technical classroom training at workshops and the opportunity to see other operations during farm tours.

"Combining classroom-style and experiential learning environments provides opportunities for all kinds of learners and growers, from new to experienced and urban to rural," said Lyndsay Feather, program manager for Growing Growers ICT.

The program is open to all types of people interested in starting fruit and vegetable farms and accepts all kinds of growing styles and approaches. Feather said apprenticeships have worked particularly well for individuals considering a mid-life career change, but anyone is welcome to apply and attend the workshops.

Mini Hereford Junior Nationals Debut In Hutchinson

Visit Hutch announced Friday that the Miniature Hereford Association will bring its Junior National Show to Hutchinson for the first time in June.

This five day show, June 23 to 28 at the Kansas State Fairgrounds, will attract an esitmated 150 t o200 attendees and 300 head of cattle.

Visit Hutch and the Kansas State Fairgrounds began working with the National Mini Hereford’s Association in 2016 and looking at the possibility of hosting a future Junior National Show in Hutchinson.

The proposal for the 2020 Junior National Show was submitted in June 2019 and awarded in late December. For more information on the event, contact Holly Leiker at (620) 662-3391 or hollyl@hutchchamber.com.

 

 

Kansas Animal Health Board meets Jan. 16

MANHATTAN – The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Board will meet via conference call at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday. This is a regularly scheduled board meeting.

The meeting is open to the public. Individuals who have questions about the meeting, including how to access call-in information, should contact Animal Health Commissioner Justin Smith at (785) 564-6601 or Justin.Smith@ks.gov.

Public hearing on expansion of Ash Borer quarantine

MANHATTAN – A public hearing is set for 10 a.m., Feb. 6, to consider the issuance of a permanent quarantine regarding Emerald Ash Borer.

The proposed quarantine would expand the current permanent quarantine to include Jackson and Miami counties. The hearing will be at the Kansas Department of Agriculture, 1320 Research Park Dr. in Manhattan.

The proposed quarantine would prohibit the movement of regulated items, primarily wood and wood products of the genus Fraxinus (Ash), from the quarantined area, except under specific conditions. Also, the quarantine would require anyone who discovers Emerald Ash Borer in an area not currently under quarantine to report the discovery to KDA within 72 hours.

The proposed quarantine, including a full list of regulated items that would be included in the quarantine, can be found at the KDA website, agriculture.ks.gov/ProposedRegs.

Comments can be submitted before the hearing on the webpage as well. All interested persons may attend the hearing and will be allowed to express comments either orally or in writing, or both. Interested parties may appear in person or by counsel. For more information, contact Ronda Hutton, (785) 564-6715.