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Released: August 9, 2007

Briefly . . .

This week's news briefs from Kansas State University Research and Extension:

1)   Tips for Parents: Don’t Be a Parent-Teacher Conference Dropout
2)   Retire the Shoebox – Free Personal Record Keeper Can Keep Things Organized
3)   Clean Water Farms Tour Featured Aug. 24 Near Washington, Kan.
4)   K-State Scientist Honored by American Meat Science Association





1)  Tips for Parents: Don’t Be a Parent-Teacher Conference Dropout

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kids typically do better in school when parents are involved, said Charles A. “Chuck” Smith, Kansas State University Research and Extension child development specialist.

Parents of children in kindergarten or lower grades usually make an effort to attend parent-teacher conferences, he said. As students advance to middle and high school, however, most will have several teachers (rather than one) and that can make it more difficult to schedule parent-teacher conferences.

Making an effort to see one or more of your child’s teachers sends a positive message to your child, Smith said. Talk with your child about his teachers and ask which teachers he would most like you to speak with.

Parental involvement reinforces a child’s commitment to education, and also lets teachers and school administrators know that you, as a parent, value their efforts, Smith said.

More information on child development and family life is available at local K-State Research and Extension offices and on Smith’s Web site:


2) Retire the Shoebox – Free Personal Record Keeper Can Keep Things Organized

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A Kansas State University Research and Extension publication, “Our Valuable Records,” makes short work of organizing personal information, said Diane Burnett, Kansas State University Research and Extension agent in Miami County.

Such information is essential in recovering after a natural disaster, managing personal business, or preparing end-of-life documents, such as a will, said Burnett, who earned a master’s degree in family financial management at K-State.

Our Valuable Records” is an easy-to-complete guide for listing key personal information; advisers ranging from a health care provider to a banker, insurance agent, etc.; bank account, insurance policy and credit card numbers and contact information; debt information; memberships in organizations and clubs and other important records, such as school, marriage, military and employment records; and location and inventory of a safety deposit box. 

To download the document, interested persons can go to the K-State Research and Extension Web site:, click on publications search and search for publication MF-685. The guide is easy to use, said Burnett, who credited Joyce Jones, former K-State Research and Extension financial management specialist, for originally developing the records management form.



3) Clean Water Farms Tour Featured Aug. 24 Near Washington, Kan.

MANHATTAN, Kan. A tour of two farms that have completed the River-Friendly Farm Whole-Farm Planning Assessment is scheduled for Aug. 24 near Washington, Kan.

Michael Scheer of Haddam, Kan., and Joe Zarybnicky of Hanover, Kan., have both installed various water developments, fencing, and grazing management systems to improve water quality.

River-Friendly Farm is a voluntary program on environmental farm planning, both developed and supported by Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Partial funding for Sheer’s and Zarybnicky’s projects included grants from the (Kansas) State Conservation Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service programs on Environmental Quality Incentives (EQUIP) and Conservation Security (CSP).

“The graziers our organizations work with are highly interested in water developments and fencing options,” said Jana Beckman, coordinator of the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops (KCSAAC) at K-State. “Producers really enjoy looking at different technologies up close and talking with other producers about management practices.”

Scheer has installed a solar water system, rotational grazing system, fencing, and enhanced wildlife habitat. Zarybnicky manages native range and former CRP grass for range health and wildlife.

During the tour, NRCS conservationist John Henry, grazing specialist John Emig and wildlife specialist Clinton Thornton will discuss grazing management, as well as grant and cost-share programs.

Registration, which includes lunch, is $10, due Aug. 22. To register, interested persons can contact Mary Howell at 785-363-7306 or e-mail The tour begins at 9:30 a.m. in one of Scheer’s pastures located a 5.5 miles west of Washington, Kan., on U.S. Highway 36 and then 1/2 mile south.

More information about the tour is available on the Web at Information about the River Friendly Farm program is available at

The Aug. 24 tour is the fourth of six summer tours co-sponsored by the KCSAAC, the Kansas Graziers’ Association and the Kansas Rural Center Clean Water Farms Project.


4)  K-State Scientist Honored by American Meat Science Association

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Elizabeth Boyle, a Kansas State University professor and Extension specialist in meat science, has been awarded the Distinguished Extension-Industry Service Award by the American Meat Science Association.

She was honored June 19 at the AMSA’s annual meeting in Brookings, South Dakota.

The AMSA is an organization that develops and disseminates its collective food and animal science knowledge to provide meat science education and professional development.

The award was in recognition of Boyle’s work in enhancing the quality and safety of meat products and in providing scientific and technical assistance to meat processors, entrepreneurs, regulators and trade associations, according to the AMSA.

Boyle has worked with colleagues at K-State and other universities to conduct educational programs in meat processing technology, ingredients, quality control, labeling and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). 

She is currently working in collaboration with several other universities to develop programs and to disseminate information on Listeria monocytogenes for the meat industry. She is also involved in research in food safety and muscle food processing quality and technologies.

In addition to her work at K-State and with other universities, Boyle has served in numerous leadership capacities within the AMSA and the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus in Manhattan.

For more information:
K-State Research and Extension - News
Mary Lou Peter-Blecha, News Coordinator

Contributing writers: 
Mary Lou Peter-Blecha, Nancy Peterson,
and Kathleen Ward

K-State Research and Extension