Category Archives: Communication

“Managing #Drought” Tweet Chat with @EDENTweets

The heavy flooding in Denver and surrounding areas have temporarily focused national attention on Colorado. In the meantime, the EDEN Drought Team continues to focus on #drought recovery and mitigation resources.


September 10, 2013 drought map

On Tuesday, September 24, the Extension Disaster Education Network (@EDENTweets) will host its inaugural tweet chat. The one-hour chat, Managing #Drought, will begin at 3 PM Central, 2 PM Mountain Time.

Co-hosts are New Mexico State University Extension, the National Drought Mitigation Center (@DroughtCenter) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the National Integrated Drought Information System (@Drought_Info).

The chat will provide an opportunity to share resources that can help people and communities respond to an ongoing #drought or reduce vulnerability to future #drought.

Follow and join the conversation on (hashtag #drought).

We look forward to chatting with you!

Family Preparedness Friday

This September You Can Be The Hero


September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters. If you’ve seen the news recently, you know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. We’ve seen tornado outbreaks, river floods and flash floods, historic earthquakes, tsunamis, and even water main breaks and power outages in U.S. cities affecting millions of people for days at a time.

Police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover.

This September, please prepare and plan in the event you must go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services for several days. Just follow these four steps:

  • Stay Informed: Information is available from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial resources. Access to learn what to do before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care. For sample plans, see Work together with neighbors, colleagues, and others to build community resilience.
  • Build a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies – water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and battery-powered radio on hand – for you and those in your care.
  • Get Involved: There are many ways to get involved especially before a disaster occurs. The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families, homes and places of worship safer from risks and threats. Community leaders agree that the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of volunteers, a trained and informed public, and increased support of emergency response agencies during disasters.

By taking a few simple actions, you can make your family safer. Consider planning a Ready Kids event in your community to encourage families to get prepared with their children.September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters.  #familypreparednessfriday #edenotes

  • Volunteer to present preparedness information in your child’s class or in PTO/PTA meetings.
  • Invite officials from your local Office of Emergency Management, Citizen Corps Council, or first responder teams to speak at schools or youth events.

Use local emergency management resources to learn more about preparedness in your community.

  • Contact your local emergency management agency to get essential information on specific hazards to your area, local plans for shelter and evacuation, ways to get information before and during an emergency, and how to sign up for emergency alerts if they are available
  • Contact your local firehouse and ask for a tour and information about preparedness
  • Get involved with your local American Red Cross Chapter or train with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

For more information, check out:

Family Preparedness Friday

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It’s Off to School We Go

#Safety #checklist for when your kids get ready to go #backtoschool. #familypreparednessfriday #edenotes In my neck of the woods, kids headed back to school this week. And I’m guessing if yours haven’t started yet, they soon will be.

While I know for many parents back-to-school planning means meeting the teacher, buying cases of #2 pencils and notebook paper, and learning the new bus driver’s name, but have you considered starting the new year off buy learning your child’s school emergency plan or brushing up on your family emergency plan?

Remember, while no one likes to think of a disaster occurring, we like even less to think about a disaster occurring when we aren’t with our family.

Back to School Disaster Preparedness Checklist

Take the time now to:

  • Learn what your child’s school or day care emergency plan is.
  • Find out where children will be taken in the event of an evacuation during school hours.
  • Update your emergency contact information is at your child’s school or day care.
  • Pre-authorize a friend or relative to pick up your children in an emergency and make sure the school knows who that designated person is.
  • Have a family communications plan.
  • Review your family communication plan with your child; the plan should include contact information for an out-of-area family member or friend, since local telephone networks may not work during a major disaster.

What have you done to prepare your child for going back to school?

National Disaster Recovery Framework Webinar — February 1, 2013

The National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF)  and Drought Response Across Agencies and Organizations Webinar

Friday, February 1, 2013 at 1 PM Eastern


The  National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) offer a chance to take a closer look at how the National Disaster Recovery Framework was used to respond to the drought of 2012 and how it continues to be applied in 2013. This Webinar was requested by members of the  National VOAD  Drought Task Force and the EDEN Drought National Extension Issues Leadership Team. The Webinar is open to anyone, but may be of special interest to VOAD and EDEN members, and federal, state and local agencies involved in drought response.

  • Introductions:  Steve Cain
  • Colleen Callahan: USDA’s perspective on NDRF and drought
  • Ryan Velasco, FEMA’s perspective on NDRF and drought **
  • Arlan Juhl,  State of Illinois’s Drought Task Force and cross agency cooperation,


About the speakers:

  • Colleen Callahan is the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator at USDA
  • Ryan Velasco is Emergency Management Specialist, FEMA
  • Arlan Juhl is Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • Steve Cain is the EDEN Homeland Security Project Director and National VOAD drought Task Force Chair.

** Because Ryan is subject to Hurricane Sandy deployment, there may be a substitution.


The link for the webinar is —

Kim, Chair Drought NEIL

EDEN Snow and Ice Web Page Updated with University and Federal Resources

As cold, snow, ice and wind blanket much of the nation, the EDEN Snow and Ice page has been updated with University and Federal Resources with reminders about safety outside, in the home and on the farm.  Not a new “disaster” for most,  but with so many folks visiting and traveling these resources are a good reminder of safe practices in the home and on the farm.  Of course if not travel is advised, folks should heed the warnings but when traveling in winter weather folks should travel with a winter survival kit.


Kim Cassel

Helping Children Cope with School Violence

December 14, 2012 was a horrific day for children and families in Newtown, Connecticut, and vicariously for the rest of the world as people learned of the school shooting. By day’s end, authorities said 20 children and eight adults were dead, shot by a 20-year-old.

Kindergarten girls standing togetherIn this age of 24-hour news, it is hard to keep such horror away from children. Their reactions will vary based on their age and development levels. Extension has resources for parents and teachers to help the children cope with their feelings and fears. provides a table showing ages, developmental stages, and the children’s possible responses, and practical things you can do to help children and teens cope.   Other resources may be found on the University of Minnesota Extension and the EDEN sites.

What web sites and resources are you using?


Ag In UncertainTimes: Webinar 2 — Tax and Financial Risks Due to Drought and Disaster

A reminder of the  Ag in Uncertain Times webinar Friday December 7, 2012, 12:00 Eastern/11:00 Central/10:00 Mountain/9:00 Pacific  – Tax and Financial Risks Due to Drought and Disaster

The webinar is part of a series by the North Central Risk Management Education Center and co-hosted by the Agriculture and Applied  Economics Section (Extension Section)  and is being hosted by Montana State University Technology at this link –


The third webinar is set for January 22, 2013 and will address strategies for the coming production year with uncertain institutional, production, and market risks.

Kim Cassel         Dec 7 AgInUncertainTimes_FLYER

COW/CALF CORNER The Newsletter From the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

Shared by Susan Kerr with EDEN deleagates:

In this Issue:

Can We Rebuild the Beef Cow Herd? Part 1

Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist

Management of Cows with Limited Forage Availability

Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

Can We Rebuild the Beef Cow Herd? Part 1

Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist


That was the question posed to me by a producer in response to my recent article suggesting that two years of drought liquidation, on top of previous liquidation, has pushed the beef cattle inventory so low that we are effectively “out of cattle” in terms of our ability to maintain beef production and rebuild the cow herd.  This producer specifically noted two issues that will affect the ability of the beef industry to rebuild: the loss of forage land to non-agricultural (development and recreational) uses; and the conversion of pasture to crop production.  While these and other issues pose significant challenges to rebuilding the beef cow herd, I do believe there is ample capacity to rebuild the cow herd according to the demands of the market.  That said, the question of how and where it will done is likely to be different in the future than in the past.


In the short run, the drought is, of course, the major factor affecting herd liquidation.  Until forage conditions improve, the question of herd rebuilding is a moot one. And while there is no current indication of improving drought conditions, nor any guarantee that conditions will improve, it is likely that some regions, at least, will see improving conditions in the coming months.  The more regionally specific drought in 2011 caused a 1.07 million head decrease in beef cows in a single year in Texas, Oklahoma and the surrounding states.  Much of this region is still in severe drought, with some areas, such as Arkansas, in considerably worse shape in 2012 than in 2011.  There has been some improvement in drought conditions in parts of east Texas but little if any herd rebuilding has taken place yet.  Most all of this loss in beef cows can be recovered post-drought, though some parts of the region will take several years to fully recover.


The impact of the 2012 drought has yet to be documented until the next USDA cattle inventory report is available.  I expect to see another 400 to500 thousand head decrease in the beef cow herd, spread across several states.  I suspect this reduction represents extra heavy culling of the cow herd and fewer heifers entering herds rather than the deep herd culling or herd dispersals that occurred in 2011.  Nevertheless, this is additional herd capacity that can return rather quickly with improved forage conditions.


Land use issues affecting the beef industry reflect long term trends and on-going structural changes in U.S. agriculture.  Concerns about development and recreational use of forage lands are common and understandable among many cattle producers.  Certainly in some areas, the loss of pasture to small acreage development or for other non-agricultural uses is significant and noticeable.  However, about 30 percent (571 million acres) of the total U.S. land area of 1.93 billion acres is rangeland, pasture or non-cultivated cropland (mostly hay). No doubt this includes some land used for recreation despite being designated as agricultural.  Another 810 million acres (42 percent) is forest land or federal land, a significant portion of which is grazed or partially grazed by livestock. Thus, a majority of some 1.381 billion acres (72 percent) of the total land in the country is used exclusively or partially for livestock, mostly cattle, production.  This compares to 305 million acres (16 percent) used for crop production; 33 million acres (1.7 percent in the Conservation Reserve Program); 111 million acres (5.7 percent) developed; and another 5.2 percent in water surface and other rural uses.  Land used for development increased nearly 17 million acres from 1997-2007.


Land diversion away from agriculture is not a trivial matter but does not represent a significant barrier to potential rebuilding of the cow herd, at least not on a national basis.  The implications of this issue certainly vary in some regions and are part of a broader set of regional changes in agriculture that will affect the beef industry in the future.  The next installment of this article will discuss how and where beef cow herd rebuilding will take place.


Management of Cows with Limited Forage Availability

Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

Most of the cow calf producers of the Midwest and Southwest are going into winter with very limited hay supplies and standing forage.  As they search for alternative methods to keep the cows in adequate body condition this winter, some were planning on wheat pasture that so far has not received enough rain to grow.  Therefore it has become time to look for Plan B (or C or D).  Most of the alternatives after wheat pasture are not easy or inexpensive.


Information that may provide guidelines for alternative winter feeding methods can be found in an Oklahoma State University Extension Fact Sheet:  ANSI-3034 called “Management of Cows with Limited Forage Availability”.  In this fact sheet you will find:


  • Culling suggestions (if that has not already been done);
  • Recommendations about how much hay is needed if it is to be purchased;
  • Limit-feeding grain with limited forage available
  • Suggested complete diets for cows fed in drylot
  • Limit energy concentrate feeding management tips
  • Limit feeding of hay


Some of the suggestions in the fact sheet require great skill and discipline on the part of the herd manager.  Also feed handling equipment, feed bunks, and well-fenced lots or sacrifice pastures are necessary for many of these alternatives.  Study the lesson extensively before undertaking some of these alternatives.  The price of many grain-based diets must be considered as well as the management challenges.  Read Oklahoma State University Extension Fact Sheet ANSI-3034 ( before winter sets in.


Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services.  References within this publication to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not constitute or imply endorsement by Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.


Kim Cassel