Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NMSU’s provides 4-H Military Partnership program statewide

NMSU’s provides 4-H Military Partnership program statewide DATE: 01/12/2017 WRITER: Jane Moorman, 505-249-0527, jmoorman@nmsu.edu CONTACT: Brittney Sonntag, 505-243-1380, bsonntag@nmsu.edu Paper airplanes and propeller sticks fly around the room as kids chase their flying objects. This is a special day at the Kirtland Air Force Base youth recreation center. It’s National Youth Science Day and the youth are learning about airplane flight and drones. New Mexico State University’s 4-H agents Brittney Sonntag and Nicole Jaynes have brought the national 4-H activity to the youth center. Helping with the activities are volunteers from Sandia Labs. Lockheed Martin, parent company of Sandia Labs, is a national partner for the science day. This is just one activity the 4-H agents provide for the children of military personnel through the 4-H Military Partnership program. Through deployment and other events, military children face multiple stressors, which emphasizes the importance of youth development skills that help them process adversity by positively adapting to situations. “The 4-H club provides youth an opportunity to take on leadership roles, creating the opportunity to communicate and think of other’s interests, and the needs of other age groups of youth,” Sonntag said. “It is critical that military children have the opportunity to develop resiliency skills within their family and community.” Over the last four years, New Mexico 4-H has been working to strengthen its partnership with the military installations in the state. Currently, there are programs at Holloman and Kirtland air force bases, New Mexico Army National Guard in Albuquerque and White Sands Army Base. “Statewide annually we have approximately 215 military youth enrolled in 4-H and another 650 military youth reached through 4-H programing at the various installations,” Sonntag said. “There are four main components in the program, health and nutrition; STEM – science, technology, engineering and math; community service; and integration into traditional 4-H programs off-base,” Jaynes said. Fourteen youth participating in a five-day 4-H cooking camp at Holloman AFB learned about nutritional food choices, menu planning, food preparation, food and kitchen safety and etiquette. At Kirtland AFB, a year-long project combined learning where food comes from with nutritional cooking. “We decided to reconstruct a garden area on the base and asked Home Depot for help,” said Sonntag. “Home Depot donated $500 worth of plants and provided a gardening expert to help design and plan for a successful garden.” With help from military personnel volunteers, the garden was created. An automated drip irrigation system was designed and installed by the youth. “Throughout the summer, the Kirtland AFB youth center had harvest days,” Sonntag said. “The youth harvested the produce then prepared it for consumption and served it with lunch that day.” Twenty-four youths, grades kindergarten through fifth grade, attended a week-long STEM camp at White Sands Army Base where they experienced science through hands-on activities. They had fun learning about chemical reactions and what happens when different ingredients are mixed together making Play-Doh, bubbles, Silly Putty and goo. Eleven youths, ages 9 to 14, participated in a three-day rocketry camp at Kirtland AFB youth center. “They build three rockets – a construction paper model, a water rocket and a model rocket,” Sonntag said. “At the conclusion, the model rockets were launched.” Community service projects at the various installations included participating in the Read Across America Celebration and making no-sew blankets for Animal Humane of New Mexico. “An important aspect of the 4-H Military Partnership is to have the military youth participate in traditional 4-H programs so they become involved in the community where their installation is located,” said Sonntag. “One way to do this is to have the military youth enter their projects in their respective county fairs. The New Mexico military youth entered over 400 projects.” Future plans are being made for a leadership building activity of rafting on the Rio Grande south of Taos. The activity is being offered to all military pre-teens and teens. They will be joining the Bernalillo County 4-H Council members in this activity. “This will be a big event, getting everybody together for a leadership day,” Sonntag said. “It will be interesting seeing what other activities evolve from this gathering of the youth.” The 4-H Military Partnership between Bernalillo County Urban 4-H and Kirtland AFB has already established a working relationship that the youth enjoy. “The kids really look forward to 4-H day,” said Lucy Burbach, recreational specialist at Kirtland AFB youth recreation center. “I really appreciate Brittany and Nicole. They have vast knowledge for various activities such as cooking, jewelry making and sewing. They have helped me a lot with our photography club.”

USDA Announces Farm Service Agency Cooperative Agreements

USDA Announces Farm Service Agency Cooperative Agreements 01/12/2017 02:00 PM EST WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced cooperative agreements with 46 partners to educate producers, including those who have been historically underserved by USDA programs, about Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs that provide financial, disaster or technical support. Nearly $2.5 million will go to nonprofits and universities that will provide training and access to FSA programs, financial resources and other information.

Monday, January 16, 2017

EPA Finalizes Steps to Better Protect Bees from Pesticides

EPA Finalizes Steps to Better Protect Bees from Pesticides EPA’s is releasing a final policy which describes methods for addressing acute risks to bees from pesticides. Applications of acutely toxic pesticides would be prohibited under certain conditions when bees are most likely to be present. While the restrictions focus on managed bees, EPA believes that these measures will also protect native bees and other pollinators that are in and around treatment areas. New label language will protect managed bees under contract to provide crop pollination services. The final Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products is more flexible and practical than the proposed policy. For example, a product that retains its toxicity to bees for a shorter time might be allowed to be applied under certain circumstances. Also, in some cases, pesticide application would be allowed when it is unlikely that pollinators will be foraging for crops that have extended bloom periods. The EPA will begin implementing this policy in 2017 by sending letters to registrants describing steps that must be taken to incorporate the new labeling. EPA continues to encourage efforts by states and tribes to reduce pesticide exposure to bees and other insect pollinators through locally-based measures, such as through Managed Pollinator Protection Plans (MP3s). EPA will continue to assist the American Association of Pest Control Officials in developing performance measures for MP3s and will continue to monitor the progress and effectiveness of pollinator protection plans in reducing bee exposure to pesticides. EPA has also engaged the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee in examining the best ways to measure the effectiveness of MP3s. For more information on the proposal, its supporting documents, and comments received, please see regulatory docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0818. EPA’s Actions to Protect Pollinators Pollinator Protection at EPA

USDA Expands Grasslands Conservation Program to Small-Scale Livestock Producers

View it as a Web page. https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USFSA/bulletins/1803fd3 USDA Expands Grasslands Conservation Program to Small-Scale Livestock Producers 01/13/2017 12:00 PM EST WASHINGTON, Jan.13, 2017 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that USDA will accept over 300,000 acres in 43 states that were offered by producers during the recent ranking period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands enrollment with emphasis placed on small-scale livestock operations. Through the voluntary CRP Grasslands program, grasslands threatened by development or conversion to row crops are maintained as livestock grazing areas, while providing important conservation benefits. Approximately 200,000 of the accepted acres were offered by small-scale livestock operations.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Parents: 20 Seconds Could Save You or Your Kids Weeks in Bed this Cold & Flu Season

We’re already deep into cold and flu season – but it’s never too late to start protecting yourself. Easy step? Keep your hands clean. Consider this: 65% of U.S. parents of children ages 5 and under don’t always wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, according to a new survey by Wakefield Research for the American Cleaning Institute. Any less than that and you could be leaving gross flu germs behind and spreading them to others.

And learning hand hygiene begins long before children can read and write. ACI offers parents five finger tips to help prevent their young ones from getting sick, spreading illness and missing school.

Set a good example by washing your own hands often and properly.
Teach kids to soap up for at least 20 seconds, rinsing and drying completely.
Explain to kids the reasons they should wash up, to keep from getting sick and spreading germs.
Tell kids when to wash, such as after using the bathroom, while cooking and after touching animals, blowing your nose, coughing and sneezing.
Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizers or gels or antibacterial wipes on hand for when soap and water are unavailable.


Post Holiday Cleaning Tips

The holidays can do a number on your home! Between houseguests, holiday feasts, and kids on school breaks, your house probably need some TLC. ACI offers tips for cleaning up after houseguests, storing holiday decorations, and more.


Holiday Stains are so 2016

Holiday stains are no match for ACI’s Stain Removal Chart. Whether gravy, candle wax, wine, or chocolate, this handy guide will help get those stains out in no time. Caution: check to see if the stain has been removed before adding to the dryer. If the stain remains, wash again since dryer heat can permanently set some stains.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Strategies for Weight Management

If you are overweight, you probably have had this experience more times than you care to count: being told by a health-care provider that if you could “just lose weight and keep it off,” your health would improve. You may have tried numerous weight-loss programs, gym memberships, and diet books in an attempt to follow that advice. Over the years you may have lost somewhere between 50 and 100 pounds. But keeping that weight off over the long term poses its own, unique challenge.
Advice to lose weight is given routinely, yet losing weight and maintaining weight loss are very difficult goals to achieve. However, there are practical tools and strategies that can help you reach your weight-loss targets and (most important) keep that weight off over time. This article presents some of those strategies that have stood the test of time.
Set realistic goals
The most important strategy for successful weight loss — or behavioral change of any sort — is to learn how to set realistic, achievable goals for yourself. Losing weight and managing diabetes both require attention to diet and exercise. But nobody can change everything at once, so it helps to set small, achievable goals that can build on each other.
Start with any goal you are ready to tackle. For example, if you see some areas in your meal plan that you are ready to “tune up,” focus on them first. On the other hand, if the weather is getting warmer and you are interested in starting a regular walking routine, go for it. Any positive lifestyle change you make that you are able to build in as a regular habit will result in improvements in your energy, mood, and motivation.
It’s also important to be realistic about the amount of weight you wish to lose. Even a 7% to 10% weight loss has been proven to have significant health benefits, but this often strikes people as too small a goal. For example, someone who weighs 300 pounds and loses 30 pounds is still overweight. However, keeping this weight off over time will result in improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure, lower blood lipids, increased mobility, and improved energy.
Setting a weight-loss goal that is too high and aiming for perfection are a recipe for burnout and make it more likely that you will give up on the overall goal of improving your health. Diabetes is a chronic disease that will be with you for your whole life, so your goals and expectations need to be maintainable and sustainable over a lifetime.
Keep track of your progress
Keeping track of your progress daily can be a powerful tool. Research shows that people who routinely monitor their progress are more likely to maintain weight loss and stick to an exercise program. Monitoring your progress could mean maintaining a logbook to regularly record meals, exercise, and weight, or it could mean designing your own personalized system. Keeping track of your weight-loss pattern will also help you decide when it is time to set a new goal. When you notice weight-loss plateaus, or a slowdown in your rate of weight loss, it is time to set a new small goal, such as increasing the duration or intensity of your exercise or making another change in your meal plan that will contribute to your progress.
Using a tracking system also helps you to increase your awareness of risky situations or foods that trigger overeating. For example, if you learn from your logbook that whenever you take home a doggie bag from a restaurant you polish it off the same night, it probably makes sense to rethink your doggie bag strategy. Keeping temptations out of your home and workplace will help you to create an environment that promotes your success.
Problem-solve ahead of time
Approach your weight-loss goals with strategic planning in mind. Since you are working on lifestyle changes for the long haul, give yourself variety in your exercise and meal plans so that feelings of boredom and deprivation don’t pull you off track. Schedule time for exercise so that you don’t feel rushed by other demands. Similarly, schedule time for meal preparation so that you have nutritious foods on hand to eat when you are hungry and won’t be tempted by vending machines or fast-food restaurants.
By sticking to a schedule and creating a routine for your new behaviors, they will gradually become more reliable habits for you. However, it’s still a good idea to devise a game plan ahead of time for how you might handle times when you are feeling bored or too stressed to exercise or cook, as well as for how you will handle changing seasons and unpredictable weather. Over time, your new habits will become your everyday approach to how you live your life. They will be just part of “what you do.”
Expect setbacks
Be prepared to give yourself a break when life intervenes and pulls you off track. Slips and setbacks are a normal and expectable part of working to change longstanding habits. Accepting that you cannot anticipate every crisis before it happens will help you to bounce back from those times when you are faced with the unpredictable. This is when it becomes necessary to take a deep breath, look at the situation with fresh ideas, and try to recommit to healthier choices. Self-criticism will only pull you further off track.
You may also sometimes experience setbacks in your weight-loss progress even when you’re doing everything “right.” This is normal. You can expect some ups and downs along the way, but you should see a gradual downward trend over time. Losing one or two pounds a week is considered a healthy rate of weight loss, but this is often too subtle to keep people motivated. Focusing on your monthly weight-loss pattern instead can help you recognize the progress you’re making.
Get support from family and friends
Find the supports you need. This may include your spouse, other family members, friends, and coworkers. In addition, consider joining a club focused on an activity you enjoy, such as walking, hiking, or biking, or a support group focused on weight loss and health. Reach out for exercise partners or weight-loss partners and connect to advocacy groups such as the American Diabetes Association.
Be on the lookout for people in your life who offer misguided helping, or who take on the role of the “diabetes police” or “food police.” These are usually people who love you and are worried about your health but simply do not know how to express their concern in a way that feels supportive to you. Help them to understand what it is that you need from them through patient and assertive communication. This involves first knowing yourself and tuning in to what it is that you need for support. For example, do you need someone to take care of your kids while you exercise? Or do you need the companionship of an exercise partner? Perhaps you need both.
It helps to assume that your family members and friends love you and are doing what they are doing out of love and concern. That does not mean that you should just put up with what they are doing. But it may make it easier to approach them and communicate your needs clearly and openly so that they can change their behavior to something that really is helpful to you.
Seek a supportive health-care team
In addition to finding supports in your social and family life, take the time to build a supportive medical team. This ideally will include a primary-care doctor and an endocrinologist and may also include a nutritionist, nurse educator, exercise physiologist, and mental health practitioner. Look for team members who are willing to help you define specific and clearly achievable goals together as a collaborative process. If you’re not sure which targets to prioritize, ask your team members for advice. For example, should you focus first on improving your blood glucose levels or your blood pressure? Or should you focus on establishing a maintainable exercise routine? Keep in mind, however, that your input is important because you are the one who will be carrying out the steps to reach your health goals.
Make health a priority
Decide that you and your health are worth the effort it will take to change your eating and exercise habits. This can be the most challenging part of the process for some people because of feelings of low self-worth or because of the feeling that it’s impossible to achieve an “ideal” thin body size.
How to overcome these feelings? One way is to note how much better you feel when you are actively engaged in the process of improving your health and well-being. Another is to remind yourself that it’s not necessary to be thin to be healthy. Look for role models who aren’t thin but are healthy, and aim to emulate them rather than, say, slender fashion models.
Reward yourself
Nobody can deny that the possible complications of diabetes are real and can be frightening; this is truly a “high stakes” disease. However, fear and self-criticism are not good motivators for behavior change. In fact, they often make people feel powerless and stuck. Rather than focusing exclusively on avoiding complications in the future, determine what the “here and now” positive rewards for your behavior changes (and their short-term results) will be. When setting goals for behavior change, don’t forget to build in positive rewards for yourself once you meet targets along the way. Get creative in finding non-food-related rewards that are personally meaningful.
By using these weight management strategies, you will soon notice changes in your blood glucose levels, and you may need to cut back on your insulin doses or doses of other diabetes medicines. (See your health-care provider for help in making these medication changes.) Make a point to also take time to register the subtler, “real life” rewards that come from feeling healthier: Notice whether you have improved energy and stamina, feel stronger, have better concentration and improved mood, and feel more self-confident. These are meaningful changes that will influence your overall quality of life.

A Food Safety Resolution

The start of a new year offers an opportunity to reflect on and consider what you can do to make your life happier and healthier. Put food safety at the top of your resolution list and commit to safely handling food all year long.
"While many focus resolutions on health goals like weight loss or training for a marathon, it's also important to consider food safety," said registered dietitian and past Academy Spokesperson Joy Dubost (2011-2016). "By following a few simple steps to safely handle food at home, you can keep food safe and dramatically reduce your risk of food poisoning."
One in 6 Americans is sickened by food poisoning each year, and while it may involve flu-like symptoms, foodborne illness can cause severe and even life-threatening illnesses.
"Food safety is an important investment in your entire family's health," said Dubost. Young children and infants, pregnant women, older adults and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes are at an increased risk of food poisoning.
Ensure your kitchen is equipped for food safety this coming year, and follow these simple steps to properly handle food and reduce your risk of food poisoning:
  • Wash your hands. Hand washing has the potential to save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, according to the CDC. Wash hands thoroughly in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Buy and use a food thermometer. The only way to determine if harmful bacteria has been eliminated is to cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature. Always use a food thermometer to ensure food is fully cooked. Don't rely upon sight, smell or taste.
  • Keep it clean. Use hot, soapy water to wash countertops and surfaces, cutting boards, refrigerator door handles and utensils. After cleaning, keep it clean by avoiding cross-contamination. Start by washing hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs. And use a separate cutting board for raw meat and poultry from the cutting board you use for ready-to-eat foods such as bread and produce. Wrap raw meat and poultry in sealed containers or plastic bags and place on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent the raw meat juices from dripping onto other foods and surfaces.
  • Safely store leftovers. Perishable food should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of serving or throw them out. In hot weather, when 90°F or above, toss within one hour of serving. Use an appliance thermometer to check that the refrigerator is cooling to 40°F or below and the freezer is 0°F or below.