Finney County Extension agents

Southern Plains farmers and ranchers can register now for a one-day workshop Jan. 9 in Garden City to discuss planning for long-term and extreme drought in their operations.

The workshop will be at the 4-H building on the Finney County Fairgrounds. Registration and coffee begin at 8 a.m. It is a joint effort by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Finney County Extension-KSU, and the National Integrated Drought Information System, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"This workshop brings together a dynamic group of producers and specialists who have experienced the recent drought of the Southern Plains and have ideas for how to weather such droughts in the future," said Chad McNutt with the NOAA-NIDIS Program Office. "Crop farmers and ranchers will come away with new information and resources to help them plan and adapt."

The workshop will feature morning sessions on climate forecasts and the long-term outlook for drought. Separate afternoon tracks will target the specific needs of ranchers and irrigated-crop producers who are dealing with long-term choices associated with declining aquifer levels.

Speakers will include range, climate and irrigation specialists such as Joel Brown, New Mexico USDA-NRCS rangeland ecologist; Gary McManus, associate state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey; Klaus Wolter, research associate with NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences in Boulder, Colo.; and Freddie Lamm, irrigation engineer at the Northwest Research Extension Center in Colby. The workshop also will feature ranch and crop producers with real-world experience planning for and adapting to low-water situations, from Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico and other states. Additional speakers are being confirmed and will be announced online at

The workshop is open to the public, and the only charge is an at-the-door $10 fee for a brisket or pulled pork lunch. Space is limited, and participants are asked to pre-register by Jan. 3 at For more information or to pre-register, contact the National Drought Mitigation Center at or (402) 472-6776.

If you have any questions about the workshop or any other concerns, contact David Coltrain, Finney County Extension agent, at 272-3670, or email

Importance of liquids in winter

Often with climate change, when days get colder and the sweat is less noticeable in us, sometimes we forget the importance of hydration in our body, however, fluid needs do not change greatly and is essential to maintain proper fluid balance to perform in every way.

One of the most neglected, yet important, aspects of winter body maintenance is hydration. On a hot summer day hike, it is much easier to keep up with your body's loss of water because the heat of the day is a constant reminder of your thirst. In winter, you feel less need to moisturize your thirst and the cold conditions make it harder to respond to water need. Not only is it appealing to take a long drink of cold water when it's below freezing weather, it seems our brains just don't make hydration a priority as much as in summer.

As we sweat less, perhaps we believe we can reduce fluid intake. However, functions in our body, organs and daily activities do not change, and it is important not to wait until you are thirsty to drink fluids. Then, when you are thirsty, you are already slightly dehydrated.

Fluids intake can detoxify, control blood pressure, provide essential minerals and help regulate body temperatures cooling off in the heat and cold isolating. Adding the liquid also plays an important role when looking for the weight ideal because it activates your metabolism, contributing to better assimilation of food, and it helps you regulate the size of the portions of food you consume.

A 3 percent of body weight loss in water implies lower concentration, less memory and a noticeable drop in performance, not only physical but also intellectual. Do not wait to feel thirsty, remember that fruits, vegetables, broths, soups and tea can help you hydrate in winter. Just as we use drinks to cool us down in the summer, in winter, we can drink hot liquid low in fat, sugar and sodium to feel a little more heat and protect the body hydration level.

Any questions or concerns, contact Léhisa de Fornoza, Finney County Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences agent, at 272-3670, or email

A family's greatest gift is time

How much time do you spend with your child in conversation, or discussion of issues that are important to them, as well as to you? Parents and children sleep in the same house, they eat in the same house, and may spend considerable time "together," each family member doing his or her own thing. For example, mother may be cleaning the bedroom while father is vacuuming and daughter is doing her homework in her room. This time spent together, while productive, does not necessarily promote better relations between parents and youth. Research indicates that parents and children spend as little as 17 minutes together each week in communication, where thoughts and ideas are exchanged.

Several years ago, I heard Garth Brooks interviewed and he explained why he is cutting back on his music career to spend more time with his three girls. One thing he said was, "The greatest gift we can give our children is time." He is not talking about more clock time in the day, but taking more personal time to spend with our children. Remember, when you as a parent or mentor enters a room, the youth in the room expect positive eye contact with you. Our youth need that feeling of being a part of a family or group and need adult approval.

With Garth Books' quote in mind, I look back on the Finney County Fair and how 4-H parents take time from their daily jobs to focus for five days in the summer on the lives of their 4-H children, and attend the fair. Parents are there working alongside their 4-H youth, encouraging, and being there for that moment of accomplishment and approval. The 4-H family also includes volunteers and mentors, who take time from their lives to help at the fair for the good of the young people.

Young people grow up pretty fast these days. In our fast-paced, mobile society, are you always there to watch them grow up? Are you there to develop strong relationships and understanding of the young family members. Adults and young people need time and positive communications to help them understand and appreciate each other.

In order to strengthen your relationship with your children, you may wish to increase the amount of time that you devote to your family members. Such time is required to develop strong relationships and understanding for the parties involved. Positive communication requires time, understanding and appreciating each other.

Remember, adults and youth that spend time together are usually stronger! Time is the greatest gift you can give.