Stay hydrated with nutritious beverages






Finney County Extension Office

The heat of summer increases the need to drink plenty of fluids. When we're thirsty, it's a signal that our bodies need water. Nutritious beverages like milk and fruit juice also play a valuable role in maintaining good nutrition. But, most other beverages besides water, milk and juice are luxuries. This includes such favorites as soda pop, sports drinks, fruit drinks, lemonade, coffee, tea and almost any other beverage.

They add calories, caffeine, sugar, fizz and flavor to our diet. They do not add significant nutritive value. When we buy these types of luxury beverages, we are paying for someone to combine water and flavorings and then package them in a container that probably costs more than the beverage itself.

Rethink your drinks and rank them before you buy them. Here is an idea how to rank them:

High priority — tap water, low-fat milk, nonfat dry milk, fruit juice; medium priority — sugar and/or artificial sweetener for mixing your own beverages, unsweetened cocoa powder, store brand unsweetened fruit-flavored drink mixes and lemonade, store brand ground coffee and tea; low priority — whole or 2 percent milk, store brand soda-pop (two-liter); seldom or never — fresh and refrigerated juices, chocolate milk, flavored coffee and tea, juice boxes or pouches, bottled water, name brand soda-pop, most canned and bottled juices and punches.

Occasional treats are OK, just be sure to buy the important and nutritious things first.

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

Finney County Fair

The 2014 Finney County Fair will be July 23 through 27 at the fairgrounds in Garden City. There's something for everyone at the Finney County Fair. Enter an exhibit, see booths and animals, take in a show or the demolition derby or monster truck show, enjoy great food, have fun at the carnival and join your friends.

For division check-in and judging schedules, entertainment and attractions, and details about the Finney County Fair, refer to the Finney County Fair Book or fair website at

For more information about the fair, call the Finney County Extension Office at 272-3670.

4-H fair/show exhibits

4-H fairs or shows are often the highlight of the 4-H year. From a youth development perspective, fairs allow 4-H members to display projects and to participate in educational experiences critiqued by an adult expert. Shows provide opportunities for 4-H members to demonstrate new knowledge, abilities, skills and attitudes. County fairs provide a showcase for recognition of youth and allow an avenue for young people to practice the life skills of teamwork, cooperation, communication, sportsmanship and club pride and unity.

The pamphlets — "Preparing Cut Flowers for Exhibit" and "Exhibiting Fruits and Vegetables" — are available at the Extension office to help fair exhibitors prepare their flower displays and choose quality fruits and vegetables.

Finney County Extension takes it on the chin

Before this week's column addresses the above title, let me tell you about the fantastic agronomy training I attended last week. All Kansas State Research and Extension agents are greatly encouraged to attend professional development events. These events help agents stay up to date on the latest and best unbiased research-based information. I attended Kansas Agricultural Retail Association training in Manhattan.

This training should be a big boost to the agriculture information provided by Finney County, and the total cost was almost nothing. For regular crop consultants and other ag industry retailers, registration is $210, but the seven Extension agents attending had no fee. I shared a motel with an agent for two nights, and the total hotel bill was $43. Almost all of the meals were supplied, so little cost there. Gasoline to Manhattan and back was about $43, but I dropped off sick plants at the plant pathology lab and picked up bratwursts for the county fair at McPherson on the way back. Accounting for those multi tasks and putting everything all together, the total expense was in the neighborhood of $60.

I took 20 pages of notes and felt like I had learned two semesters of information from the K-State specialists. Think what the bill for that much info would be. My radio programs for the next two months and four or five newspaper columns will contain some of the information gleaned at the KARA meeting. K-State Research and Extension at its best. I usually list about 25 professional development events each year.

Now for the bad news and the reason for the column title. I knew before I left and had it reinforced when I returned, that Finney County agents will not be traveling to professional development events next year. Our budget is going to be slashed by 25 percent from what it was in 2007. No more travel and a whole lot more. Think where Finney County Extension will be if a similar cut is appropriated next year.

The timing of this local budget cut seems very unfair. Finney County Extension was down to only one agent for most of two years, but hired two new agents last year just in time for the county fair. Looking at only the agriculture Extension program for the past year, around 15 public education programs were provided, and a very popular monthly newsletter, "Green Thumb Guidelines," was launched.

After mostly observing the situation in Finney County the first year, in the upcoming year, already 25 programs are in the organizing stage, and additional programs will come forth during the year. Meeting sponsors are stepping up to be a part of Finney County Extension. A second newsletter, "AG ABC's: Acres, Beef, Conservation," will debut at the fair. Looking at individual contacts, last June the contacts number was zero (no ag agent) compared with June 2014 with 145 contacts on 273 topics.

Yes, Finney County Extension took it on the chin.

If you have any questions about Finney County Extension or need other types of information, talk to me next week at the Finney County Fair or call David Coltrain at 272-3670 or email

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