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Valley Falls , Kansas
October 11, 2012     The Oskaloosa Independent
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October 11, 2012

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P. 2 THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1 I, 2012 THE OSKALOOSA INDEPENDENT ] ] Opinion The View From... Rural Route #8 In recent years, forgetting for the moment capital gains and estate tax- es, land sales by farmers of- ten have meant their landships have come in. That's a play on an old saying from sailing ship days when owners felt rich when their "ships came in" from the treacherous ocean journeys laden with rich cargoes. I have lived long enough to witness a long run up in land prices, followed by an over-the-side decline and deep bottom accompanied by a farm de- pression (early and mid 1980s) and then another long upward run to amazing levels the last few years. Last week I mentioned some Iowa ground selling for $9,000 an acre, a not unusual price there. But what's going on in Kansas these days? The Kansas Agricul- tural Statistics service, a sub-agency financed in part by the U.S. Depart- ment of Agriculture, has out a report filled with data, including cash rental rates paid by farmers for various kinds and uses of land. Might as well get started. Take some anti-eye glaze--numbers ahead. Estimated average value of ir- rigated ground was $2,200 an acre; non-irrigated brought $1,700, while all crop land averaged $1,750. Ir- rigated land rented for $119, while non-irrigated brought $52.50. All of those numbers were big jumps over last year. The increase in land value this year from last year on irrigated ground was 16 percent; the rise for non irrigated was 26 percent and for pasture it was 17 percent. Naturally, those values differed vastly from a low of $31.50 an acre for non-irrigated crop ground in southwest Kansas to a high of $105 an acre in northeast Kansas. Brown County had the highest rent average for non-irrigated crop land at $160 an acre. Pasture and rangeland were val- ued at $950 an acre with the rent averaging $16.50. Those also varied a great deal from the semi-arid (it was all arid this year, folks) realm of southwest Kansas at $10 rent an acre to the northeast district's $22.50 average rent. How much longer will this upward trend last? I do not know. Readers know all of the same old sayings and bromides that I do, as well as some of the old lenders' and economists' utterances. You know, what goes up must come down...but...they don't make more land...or...this will hold unlike last boom because farm debt is's all propped up by revenue insurance, tax swaps, CRP payments, ethanol subsidies, land speculators...and so on. The last land crash was spectacu- lar. Old land financed new land some- times back then and still the old land was lost. The 1985 bottom in land was ushered in several years earlier by the high-interest, high inflation rates of the Carter era. Often farm production loans charged interest rates of more than 20 percent! Low commodities prices could not service what often were very high debt loads by many farmers. Sons borrowing against their parents' holdings often took everyone in the family out. Those who survived were often in position after land bottomed to expand greatly their holdings. A new bankruptcy law for farmers was cre- ated, Chapter 12. It was a consolida- tion and new era in agriculture in America. The losers were many. The feelings were often bitter and sorrow- ful. Many who successfully changed careers recall that time with deep sadness. Some were my friends. Jim Suber is an award-winning farm, ranch, and rural life columnist resid- ing on Rural Route No. 8, Topeka. Should all FB uniforms be green? Get ready for a test of what people now call thinking "outside the box." In this rendering, you have people who don't work in an industry take a look at how it works--and how it spends money--without much in the way ofknowledgo At The Rail by Martin Hawver State Board of Education. about the final product that it is supposed to produce. That's outside the box, all right. Well, Gov. Sam Brown- back has appointed a school efficiency task force to nose around the relatively in- bred industry of public edu- cation and see if there are ways to save money while producing students employ- ers will want to hire. The task force? Most- ly accountants, business people, and a couple who have been on school boards including a member of the The task force? Yes, there's nary a teacher or ad- ministrator or anyone who works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. inside the public education silo. This is either a great idea--fresh eyes on how public schools work and spend their money--or a horrible idea that would be akin to having exports at knitting assess- ing how the state operates its prisons. But it is probably the best way--or at least a way-- to generate ideas that we'd probably not get from educa- tors, who have generations of tradition and a long list of practices and procedures in public education because "that's the way we've always done it." For that reason alone, it probably makes sense to have people who aren't intimately involved in public education take a look. Brownback tends to like putting fresh eyes on a problem...presuming that the problem is public edu- cation costing the state a lot of money that is going to become scarce because of massive state income tax cuts approved last session. (Remember, he started his life in government as Kansas Secretary ofAgriculture...that's right, agricul- ture, where silos were invented.) So, while the education industry was aghast--it tends to have rather delicate sensibilities--that there aren't administrators and teachers on the task force, chances are that the panel is going to come up with ideas that are new and probably surprising. Brownback has to be hoping that the panel takes a wide-ranging look and comes up with dozens of ideas to pare costs. Hard to guess where the accountant-heavy panel will go with its ideas. Is it cheaper to make all football uniforms green, so districts don't have to wash out the grass stains after every game; it cheaper to issue bonds for Astreturf fields so there are no grass stains? Would school districts save money if a fourth grader reading at grade level in March gets the rest of the year off?. Lots of ways to go, and the best hope is that the panel looks at everything, and then parents, school administrators and ultimately the Kansas Legislature look through its final report and crosses out the ideas that don't make sense or are "not the way we do things" for a good reason--and seriously considers ideas that appear to make sense. This might...or might interesting. Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report--to learn more about this statewide political news service, visit the website at Early detection can save your life. A message from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Service, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundalion, and Amedcan Cancer Society. Rock Doc column: Eating our way into trouble by Dr. E. Kirsten Peters Lots of us have observed that foods that are good for us - broccoli and bean sprouts - don't trigger intense cravings. In the late after- noon, when my energy is low, I want a cookie or a piece of chocolate, not a green pepper. Similarly, when I walk around the grocery store, I go through the meats and produce sec- tion without feeling deep cravings for the food I see. But when I get to the bakery, all bets are off, even if I'm not hungry. These patterns of cravings are significant because what we eat affects our health so much. Obesity and diabetes are more and more problematic in the U.S., and all too many of us have a diet rich in French fries, doughnuts or soda pop. Why is it we so intensely want what is likely to be bad for our health? Could it be there are strong biological reasons for the pickle we so often find ourselves in? A recent piece from Oregon State University helps explain our pattern of cravings. It seems we have evolutionary adaptation to crave certain things. When we were hunter-gatherers in the wild, we had to decide what to eat and what to avoid. Our lives depended on our choices. In the wild, sweet foods are gen- erally good. They are safe to eat, and their calories help ward off hunger and starvation. When we were hunter-gatherers, we were on our feet essentially all day, every day, burning through the calories we ate. Some sweet fruit was good - good tasting and good for us. Back in the old days, when we could hold off hunger by eating fat- rich foods, we also had reason to celebrate. The fatty portion of meat gave us a lot of calories, something we needed because we were burning a lot of"fuel" each day. High calorie food was to be welcomed in such circumstances, so fatty food was a good meal. Now, however, our natural crav- ing for sweets and fats gets us in trouble. I sit at a desk all day, yet I crave sweets and fats as much as my hunter-gatherer ancestors during the Ice Age. It's easy for me to overeat, espedal!ybecause there : are chocolates kept in a bowl just a few,feetfrom my desk .......... When it comes to the battle of the bulge, a good test is to conjure up the image of a food and ask myself if I crave it. Sweet and salty foods are high on the list of what I crave, even when I've been eating three square meals a day and don't need more calo- ries. The Oregon State Univer- sity publication points out "fla- vor" is a compli- cated subject. Only part of what gives a food its flavor is taste: sweet, sour, salty, and so on. Smell is also important: the smell of fresh brewed coffee comes close to driving me wild first thing in the morning. That brings up temperature, too, with the warmth of hot coffee being part of its appeal. Then there's the texture of a food like custard. Fi- nally, some foods are spicy, a feature that makes them a favorite to some people. We're all different, and our indi- vidual brains decide what foods we like. But most of us have a hanker- ing for foods that are high in calo- ries. Now that we can choose at the grocery store or the restaurant what we want to eat, rather than having to chase it down in the wild, we all too often end up with more calories than is useful for our health. They're good tasting calories, to be sure, but there are just too many of them. But the good news from Oregon is that the way we perceive flavor is only partly instinct left over from our hunter-gathering days. It's also partly learned. It's certainly true that the first time I tasted coffee I thought it was terrible. Now I can't live without the stuff. What we need to work On is retraining our senses to enjoy the foods that are really good - both good tasting and good for us. That may take more work than pulling up at the fast food outlet, but it's important labor that can yield rich rewards for our health. Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geolo- gist at Princeton and Harvard. Follow her on the web at and on ..i.tter. @Rock. D, oc W, SU.! T,,is column is a service Of the" Coiecgj'of tciences at Washington State ]iiversity. " Delaware Watershed Dialogue by Marlene IL Bosworth WRAPS coordinator Residents of Northeast Kansas have a rare opportunity coming up this month that I hope everyone will consider taking advantage of. The Fall Forestry Field Day, a statewide event held in a different location in Kansas each year, will be held at the Kickapoo PowWow Grounds in south Brown County Oct. 19. Fun and educational sessions will be offered throughout the day that deal with a variety of topics, including stream restoration, how' to successfully manage trees for conservation and timber produc- tion, tree identification, attracting wildlife, successful tree planting techniques and much more. A variety of demonstrations and exhibits will also be on display throughout the day. These include archery demonstrations by Votruba Archery, Fairview, "Skins & Skulls" and native plant exhibits, a sawmill demonstration, tips on selling tim- ber and others. It is also rumored that Smokey Bear may make a special appear- alice. The field day will be held at the grounds just off of Highway K-20, approximately 5 miles west of Horton. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with activities starting at 9 and concluding at 3 p.m. Lunch will also be provided on the grounds by "Thunder Al- ley Barbeque" of Horton. The location on the banks of the Delaware River, provides a beautiful and fit- ting setting for the field day. The lush riparian woodlands and the river nearby provide the perfect surroundings for the day's activities that focus on the role trees play in protecting natural resources and enhancing the quality of life for Kansans. Don't miss out on this educa- tional and enjoyable Opportunity! Make plans now to attend and get your registration in by calling the Kansas Forest Service at 785-532- 3300. More information and a bro- chure about the field day can also be found on the Kansas Forest Service website at A $12 registration fee covers the cost of lunch, refreshments and other materials. You can also call Delaware River WRAPS locally (785-284-3422) for more informa- tion. Delaware River WRAPS * 2751 Antelope Road * Sabetha, KS 66534 785-284-0080 i T H E O S K A L O O S A Sn00epenbent County Seat Weekly--The Official Newspaper of Jefferson County Established 1860 * Six Months Older Than The State Of Kansas i i 0USPS 412-940) A legal Jefferson County Newspaper and the official publication for McLouth, Nortonville, Oskaloosa, Win- chester, Jefferson County, and Unified School Districts 339,341 and 342. Published every Thursday at Oskaloosa, Kansas 66066. Periodical Class Postage paid at Oskaloosa (KS) Post Office. Postmaster: Send address changes to: The Oskaloosa Independent, P.O. Box 278, Oskaloosa, KS 66066. Subscription rates: New and renewals: $26.00 a year mailed to a Jefferson County Post Office (tax included); $27.50 a year elsewhere in Kansas (tax included); and $34.50 a year out-of-state; in advance. Single copy, $1; plus postage if mailed.  O Meadowlark District Extension report Conservation Awards Program Nominations - Accepted Now! Conservation of our natural re- sources is commonplace in rural America. We plant windbreaks to reduce energy costs and protect per- sonal property. Terraces, no-till, and other conservation practices have drastically reduced soil loss. Wildlife habitat development continues to be of interest as we try to increase, in particular, upland bird populations. Much of it is done without cost share or incentive program. Most is done without desire for recognition of. All of it is done to conserve! To give a little recognition, the Kansas Bankers Association (KBA), K-State Research and Extension, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism are again work- ing on the KBA Conservation Awards Program. Winners can be selected in any of six award categories: Energy Conservation, Water Quality, Water Conservation, Soil Conservation, Windbreaks, and Wildlife Habitat. The purpose of the program is to stimulate a greater interest in the conservation of the agricultural and natural resources of Kansas by giv- ing recognition to those farmers and landowners who have made outstand- ing progress in practicing conserva- tion. Nominations can be made by any person in the county. Submit all nominations for Jackson, Jefferson, or Nemaha County to the local Mead- owlark Extension District Office. Nominations are due in each office by Thursday, Oct. 18. Contact District Agent David Hallauer for further information at (785) 863-2212 or via e-mail to Will anything grow in pond silt? Every once in a while we'll hear from someone trying to use silt from a pond, questioning what they've heard about it being 'sterile'. With as many ponds as this summer's dry weather David Hallauer Meadowlark District Extension Agent Crops, Soils, Horticulture 4-H and Youth KSU Research and Extension email: dhallaue @ has allowed to be cleaned out, it's a good question! Is it OK for growing plants? KSU Horticulture Specialist Dr. Ward Upham recently addressed that very question, noting a couple of things that may get in your way. Will they be an issue for plant growth? Probably. Do they render the soil unusable? Probably not. First, pond silt has little soil structure. It's collapsed. In other words there are very few large pore spaces. That means water can't soak in quickly - and oxygen can't pen- etrate deeply. Those are two things really important for plant growth! Fortunately, we can rebuild it with organic matter (and the gums and glues that the microorganisms that break down organic matter provide, but that's another topic for another class!!). Add organic matter (old rot- ten hay, rotted silage, leaf mold, peat moss, etc...) now to a two-inch depth on the soil surface and mix it in. A second problem has to do with the silt's lack of nutrients. Again, cor- rection is possible with the addition of a balanced fertilizer prior to plant- ing. One pound of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet in a balanced N-P-K fertilizer should do the trick. Alternatives for a healthy Hal- loween Halloween will soon be here, ldek- ing offthe official holiday season. For many, Halloween can be the start of months of unhealthy eating. It's hard to be disciplined with all that candy around. This year, why not help kids, star. on track by Offering healthy altern'a- tives to the traditional candy smor- gasbord? Here are a few tips to keep Halloween happy and healthy instead of hauntingly horrendous. Healthier food treats: Cheese and cracker packages, cereal boxes, sugar- free gum, small bags of sunflower seeds, pretzels, trail mix, animal crackers or fish-shaped crackers, small packages of raisins-chocolate and yogurt covered, peanuts in the shell, 100 percent juice fruit snacks, cereal or Granola bars, sugar-free hot chocolate mixes or other drink mixes, applesauce or other fruit cups, juice boxes (100 percent juice), microwave popcorn and pudding cups. Unless you are in a neighborhood with close friends, we don't suggest you make homemade treats. Most parents are trained to go through the Halloween candy and throw out opened, unwrapped or homemade treats. Consider non-food treats: (check out any place that sells to teachers or party supplies for party favors)-- Cindy Williams Meadowlark District Extension Agent Food, Nutrition, FNP 4-H and Youth KSU Research and Extension email: cwilliam have a variety so kids can pick their favorite: cool stickers (younger kids) or temporary tattoos, Halloween bal- loons, crayons-buy extra in August when they are less than a quarter a box, regular or colored pencils, indoor or outdoor colored chalks, fun- shaped erasers, Hacky sacks, jump ropes, silly bands, shoelaces, flower seed packets, slime, bubbles, plastic Halloween cups or water bottles or consider collecting for others-like for Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat-collect non-perishable food items for local food banks or trick or treat- ing for UNICEF. When collecting for others, Halloween can be a great op- portunity to teach your child charity and benevolence. Moving.:) Don't let your subscription 785-863-2520 delivery be interrupted. PO Box 278 * Oskaloosa, KS 66066 Call, mail or email your address change so you won't miss a thing! Oskaloosa Office Information P.O. Box 278 * 607 Delaware Oskaloosa, KS 66066 Phone (785) 863-2520 Fax (785) 863-2730 E-mail: Owner & Publisher: Davis Publications Inc. Independent Staff Dennis Sharkey Peggy Collier Editor Office Manager Reporter Bookkeeping Corey Davis Production Manager www. JeffCountyNews. corn