Most farmers and agri-businesses have probably discovered, and even bookmarked, a K-State website packed full of useful farm and agri-business management information. It is located at, and is simply called the AgManager website. Take a look at it and see all the farm management topics it addresses. Some of the broad topics listed include crops, livestock and meats, agribusiness, energy, farm management, human resources, income tax and law, ag policy, ag econnews and upcoming events.

On the current AgManager home page, it also has site updates on custom rates, farm bill, cattle markets, grain outlook, crop basis maps, livestock and hay charts, seasonal cattle and grain price spreadsheets, diesel fuel price forecasts, effective labor training, ethanol, crop insurance updates, spreadsheet options and the Kansas Farm Management Association summary for 2011.

Contributors to AgManager include Extension ag economics specialists.

4-H youth program

With a lot to see and do at the beginning of the new school year, a Kansas 4-H specialist reminds families the 4-H welcome mat is out and all are welcome.

Why 4-H? Why now?

Diane Mack, K-State research and Extension 4-H area specialist, says "4-H is a good fit for families because the entire family is welcome to participate." She goes on to say, "With more than 35 projects, there's much to hold a child's interest and help he or she grow."

For more than 100 years, 4-H projects have covered a wide variety of interest, from entomology, geology, photography, and food and nutrition to buymanship (which teaches how to evaluate clothing purchases before buying and care for them afterward to extend cost-per-wearing) and space technology.

Youth have different interests and that's where 4-H offers a variety of projects for them to explore. With involvement in 4-H projects and activities, the 4-H youth focuses on building life skills that may become the basis for a career or lifetime hobby or interest. These are skills that will be with the child for life and they build upon them as they continue to grow in the projects.

This can be seen in 4-H members who typically conduct project talks that help them become more confident in speaking before a group; most also learn how to lead a meeting, build a team and be a team player with youth of all ages from 7 to 18 years.

For the 4-H youth, having fun is a part of the process, so is hands-on learning, learning about science and technology.

Findings from Tufts University's study on "The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development" found 4-H members were:

* 2 times more likely to attend college, and, also more likely to choose careers that involve science and computer technology;

* 2.3 times more likely to exercise and choose health-promoting physical activity, and

* 3.4 times more likely to contribute to their community.

There is more opportunity to learn about Finney County 4-H and Kansas 4-H and about joining 4-H at or your front door source at the K-State Research & Extension Finney County Extension Office at 272-3670, 501 S. Ninth St.

Medicare enrollment

Medicare offers prescription drug coverage to everyone with Medicare. Even if you don't take a lot of prescriptions now, it's very important for you to consider joining a Medicare drug plan. If you decide not to join a Medicare drug plan when you're first eligible, and you don't have other creditable prescription drug coverage, or you don't get Extra Help, you will likely pay a late enrollment penalty. The cost of the late enrollment penalty depends on how long you didn't have creditable prescription drug coverage. To get Medicare prescription drug coverage, you must join a plan run by an insurance company or other private company approved by Medicare. Each plan can vary in cost and specific drugs covered.

There are two ways to get Medicare prescription drug coverage:

* Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. PDPs are stand-alone plans that offer only prescription drug benefits under Medicare. Generally, beneficiaries remain in Original (traditional, fee-for service) Medicare for their Part A and Part B coverage.

* Medicare Advantage Plans with Part D. MA-PDs offer a Part D prescription drug benefit along with other Medicare-covered benefits including physician, hospital, diagnostic, home health care and durable medical equipment services, through contracted provider networks. Beneficiaries still must pay their Part B premiums and they do have Medicare. Enrolling in Medicare Advantage essentially is an opt-out of Original Medicare. The MA-PD delivers Medicare benefits and serves as a primary insurer.

Annual Enrollment Period: Beneficiaries who already are enrolled in Medicare drug plans may change plans or disenroll from their plans during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). The Annual Enrollment Period runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 each year. A decision to enroll or disenroll during the AEP is effective usually for the entire calendar year starting on Jan. 1.

As a SHICK (Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas) volunteer, I offer free unbiased Medicare counseling to Medicare beneficiaries, families and caregivers. The best way to choose a Medicare Part D plan is through the plan finder on the Medicare website. Individuals may schedule an appointment with me, Alli Burns, family and consumer sciences agent. At this appointment I will sit down with you and your drug list to find the best Medicare drug plan for you. It is important to re-evaluate your prescription drug costs each plan year. I will help you consider the Three Cs:

* Coverage Does this plan cover all of my drugs, does it have quantity limits, prior authorization, step therapy.

* Cost How much does the plan cost? What are my co-pays?

* Convenience Can I go to the pharmacy I want?

If you have any Medicare questions or would like to schedule an appointment to review your prescription drug coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period, Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, please call Alli Burns at 272-3670.

K-State Research Extension Finney County is the front door source to your everyday questions for information and knowledge. Every question is of value to you and us. Give us a call at 272-3670, or better, walk in our front door at 501 S. Ninth St., for information to help you make a better decision.