Tour to give sneak peek at agribusiness






Finney County Extension Office

Kansas has a history deeply rooted in farming and ranching. That tradition lives strong today as agriculture remains our state's largest economic driver. Finney County is one of the leading agriculture-producing counties in Kansas. Farmers work each day to grow the food, fiber and energy that sustains each of us. Agribusinesses deliver critical support to this important sector in a dynamic, complex and growing agriculture industry.

Finney County Extension is hosting an Ag Day Tour on June 18 to visit two agribusinesses located close to Garden City: Bonanza Bioenergy and Royal Farms Dairy. The Bonanza BioEnergy plant has been operational since 2007. The plant has the capacity to produce 55 million gallons of ethanol per year. Royal Farms Dairy was started in 2000. Today, Royal Farms Dairy milks 6,300 head of dairy cows with another 7,000 head in heifer development.

We hope that you will join us in touring these facilities and learning about how their operations provide wholesome food and renewable fuel to Kansas families as well as families around the world.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. June 18 at the Finney County Extension Office, 501 S. Ninth St. We will tour Bonanza Bioenergy in the morning, eat lunch at the fairgrounds and tour Royal Farms Dairy in the afternoon. The tour will be completed around 3 p.m.

The tour is open to the public. The registration fee is $10 for lunch and bus expenses. Please pre-register by calling the Finney County Extension Office at 272-3670 by June 12 to ensure your spot on the tour as space is limited.

Spring Field Days

The Kansas State Southwest Research-Extension Center will host its Dryland Wheat Tour in Tribune and a Spring Field Day in Garden City, both on the same date, May 27, this year. The two programs are timed so that participants can attend both if they like.

The Dryland Wheat Tour begins at 8:15 a.m. MDT one mile west of Tribune on Kansas Highway 96. Presentation topics by K-State Research and Extension specialists will include wheat varieties, diseases and insects.

The Spring Field Day in Garden City starts with registration at 2:15 p.m. CDT. Presentation topics will include wheat varieties, diseases and insects, and canola varieties and production, as well as a presentation on cover crops.

A supper sponsored by the U.S. Canola Association, Crop Production Services, Farm Credit of Southwest Kansas and Garden City Co-op Inc., will follow the field day in Garden City.

If you have any questions about the Ag Day Tour, Spring Field Days or any other concerns, call David Coltrain at 272-3670 or email

4-H Pilot Project

Hispanic youth and their families are actively participating in 4-H in southwest Kansas. They are discovering the value of 4-H as an organization that empowers young people to learn new skills, build their confidence and grow into capable, responsible adults. The purpose of the pilot project is to engage Hispanic youth and their families, primarily in southwest Kansas (Finney, Gray and Kearny counties), in safe and active learning experiences that are well-rounded in positive youth development.

The goal is to establish new clubs in which the youth fully participate in 4-H and engage in relevant and age-appropriate programming in science, health and leadership development. In addition, support and guidance will be provided to parents in helping their children set and achieve their goals and aspirations for the future.

Any questions concerning the Southwest 4-H project, call Barbara Addison at 272-3670 or email

Life skills learned

Livestock programs are one of the most recognized aspects of 4-H, but many people do not realize that these programs help young people develop positive character traits and become the leaders of tomorrow. They introduce many young people to animals but, more importantly, youth learn life skills. Participants increase their level of responsibility, work ethic, self-pride and sportsmanship, which are all valuable and rewarding.

Through participation in 4-H, youth can exhibit cattle, horses, pigs, sheep and goats. One misconception people often have about livestock projects is that you have to operate a livestock farm to participate.

Although it is true that you do need property on which to keep your animal, the acreage would depend on what type of livestock you are interested in. The barns and fences on your property will also help determine the appropriate project.

The 4-H Livestock Quality Assurance and Pork Quality Assurance course teaches youth about the quality of meat and food products that come from livestock. Quality assurance for livestock producers means making a promise to the consumers, or the people who consume the meat, eggs, milk and dairy products from food production animals. The promise made is that products from livestock will be the highest possible quality and producers will do everything possible to make these products safe to eat.

The Livestock Quality Assurance has been developed to assist 4-H youth with learning about major areas of proper animal care, including: daily care and management, prevention, handling, carcass quality and medication.

Regardless of the species, participating in a youth livestock project can provide a very rewarding experience for a child. Late winter and early spring are the organizational time periods for these programs.

Finney County 4-H/FFA Livestock youth Livestock Quality Assurance Pork Quality Assurance Certification date schedules are as listed at the Finney County Extension Office: 1 to 6 p.m. June 10, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 11, 1 to 7 p.m. June 17, 1 to 7 p.m. June 18, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 19, 1 to 7 p.m. June 30.

Any questions concerning the 4-H Livestock Quality Assurance certification, call Barbara Addison at 272-3670 or email

Safety near animals

As warm weather brings people outdoors, visiting a petting zoo or county fair is a popular outdoor activity. At these events, animals typically draw a crowd, especially among children. These animals, however, can carry infectious diseases that cause illness or even death. If hands are not washed after handling animals, bacteria can transfer to food and into the body. Children tend to put their hands in their mouths more than adults, so it is especially important to wash their hands.

What can be done to reduce the risk of illness after handling an animal? Here are some tips:

* The best defense is washing hands with soap and water as soon as possible. If hand-washing facilities are not available, carry waterless hand sanitizers. They are not ideal, but are better than nothing.

* Do not eat or drink until hands are clean.

* Do not consume food or beverages in the animal areas.

* Do not kiss the animals.

* Do not feed animals your personal food.

* Children who climb or touch gates or stall dividers should also wash their hands.

Concerns about health should not keep people from enjoying being around animals. But taking simple precautions such as thorough hand washing can make the difference between an enjoyable memory and an unfortunate incident.

For more information, call Léhisa de Fornoza at 272-3670.

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