Keywood Animal Clinic to conduct breeding soundness test

By Sarah Ransom

The University of Tennessee/Tennessee State University is partnering with Tri-State and Keywood Animal Clinic to conduct a Breeding Soundness Exam for local cattlemen on Saturday, March.
The exam is scheduled to be held at the Johnson County Livestock Association Cattle Handling Facility located inside the Chamber Park in Doe.
Suzanne Robinson from Keywood Animal Clinic is coming to conduct the bull’s breeding soundness tests.
Testing bulls can help reduce the risk of spreading unwanted diseases or genetic issues and help increase higher pregnancy rates to help with cattle production and increased profit.
According to the University of Tennessee’s Extension Veterinarian, Lew Stickland, “failure to properly evaluate bulls before and during the breeding season can result in huge economic losses…a bull’s fertility can be considered fertile, sub-fertile, or sterile.”
The cost of testing is $45.00 per bull.
However, Tri-State Growers Co-Op is providing a $10 sponsorship per bull to help cover part of the cost for testing. The testing fee is $35 per bull.
Once the test is complete, all bulls that receive a satisfactory score for breeding purposes will also receive vaccinations and deworming at no additional cost.
BVD-PI testing is also available for an additional $15, and it is a great deal for those hoping to breed their bull this season.
Tests are scheduled through the UT/TSU Extension office that can be reached at (423)-727-8161. Those interested can stop by the office, located at 212 College Street.
For more information or additional questions, please contact the Extension office.
UT Extension serves the citizens of Johnson County with educational programs in the areas of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, Community Resource Development, and 4-H Youth Development.
The office has a wealth of research-based publications, addressing virtually any issue related to the home or farm.
Johnson County 4-H is the largest youth serving organization in the county working with 900-1,000 youth annually in grades 4-12. The Mountain City
office is an outreach branch of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and Tennessee State University, providing research-based solutions and information to the citizens of Tennessee.
Extension is an educational organization, funded by federal, state and local governments, that brings research-based information about agriculture, family and consumer sciences, resource development and youth to the people of Tennessee.

Hansen wins Belgard Project Excellence Award

This normal backyard transformed into a great outdoor space. Photo by Ricky Hansen

By Meg Dickens

Mountain View Nursery Hardscaping Manager Ricky Hansen recently won the Belgard Project Excellence Award for hardscaping work on an outdoor space in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Hansen specializes in hardscaping and irrigation at Mountain View Nursery. He is a Tennessee Tech graduate, ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute) Level II certified installer, NCMA (National Concrete Pavement Institute) certified SRW (Segmental Retaining Wall) Installer and certified commercial pesticide applicator. Hansen continues to attend classes to maintain and attain additional certifications. He is also a Belgard Certified Contractor, Belgard Premiere Power Manufacturer and the winner of Belgard’s Most Outstanding Project Award in 2016.
“It gives me a sense of pride knowing that the things I’m creating are getting recognized,” said Hansen. “ It makes me want to keep going and do a better job.”
These types of projects are a team effort between the hardscaping and landscaping teams. The hardscaping team consists of Manager Ricky Hansen, Technician Logan Church and Technician John Kidd. The landscaping team consists of Manager Cody Graybeal, Foreman Tony Church, Technician Nathaniel Meyer, Technician Daniel Branch and new member Jesse Compton.
Owner Harvey Burniston, Jr. is involved in all aspects.

The hardscaping crew takes two classes per year on walls and pavers for certification purposes. The classes put the crew on Belgard’s radar. Hansen sent in photos of this project for recertification, and district Belgard officials chose the project as a winner from there. Mountain View Nursery falls into the Southeast category competing against professionals in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.
The property is designed to function as three separate living spaces. There is a patio and kitchen area, a fireplace and relaxing area and a place to gather. According to owner Jackie Kimball, the area continues to grow even more beautiful. “Everything they did was up to the highest standard,” said Kimball. “They were very professional and mindful of their surroundings. You can tell they are truly trying to please the client.”
Hansen is currently working on a project near Highway 321. He plans to help with Mountain View Nursery’s new location afterward. The Home and Garden Center will occupy the old Wiley’s Body Shop location on Highway 421.The nursery and display gardens will be around back. Customers will be able to walk around and see what they might want. Employees can then make suggestions based on experience.
Burniston plans on opening the new location on April 1 to the right of the Garden Barn. There is no reason to fear conflict between the two businesses. Garden Barn’s Bob Pardue suggested the space to Burniston. They plan on the two businesses complimenting each other.
Customers will be able to buy their flowers and vegetable plants from the Garden Barn and then head to Mountain View Nursery to look at fruit trees, shrubbery and landscaping ideas.
Keep an eye out for a possible grand opening this April. As Hansen says “always go bigger and better.”

Keywood Animal Clinic to conduct breeding soundness test

By Sarah Ransom

The University of Tennessee/Tennessee State University is partnering with Tri-State and Keywood Animal Clinic to conduct a Breeding Soundness Exam for local cattlemen on Saturday, March.
The exam is scheduled to be held at the Johnson County Livestock Association Cattle Handling Facility located inside the Chamber Park in Doe.
Suzanne Robinson from Keywood Animal Clinic is coming to conduct the bull’s breeding soundness tests.
Testing bulls can help reduce the risk of spreading unwanted diseases or genetic issues and help increase higher pregnancy rates to help with cattle production and increased profit.
According to the University of Tennessee’s Extension Veterinarian, Lew Stickland, “failure to properly evaluate bulls before and during the breeding season can result in huge economic losses…a bull’s fertility can be considered fertile, sub-fertile, or sterile.”
The cost of testing is $45.00 per bull.
However, Tri-State Growers Co-Op is providing a $10 sponsorship per bull to help cover part of the cost for testing. The testing fee is $35 per bull.
Once the test is complete, all bulls that receive a satisfactory score for breeding purposes will also receive vaccinations and deworming at no additional cost.
BVD-PI testing is also available for an additional $15, and it is a great deal for those hoping to breed their bull this season.
Tests are scheduled through the UT/TSU Extension office that can be reached at (423)-727-8161. Those interested can stop by the office, located at 212 College Street.
For more information or additional questions, please contact the Extension office.
UT Extension serves the citizens of Johnson County with educational programs in the areas of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, Community Resource Development, and 4-H Youth Development.
The office has a wealth of research-based publications, addressing virtually any issue related to the home or farm.
Johnson County 4-H is the largest youth serving organization in the county working with 900-1,000 youth annually in grades 4-12. The Mountain City
office is an outreach branch of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and Tennessee State University, providing research-based solutions and information to the citizens of Tennessee.
Extension is an educational organization, funded by federal, state and local governments, that brings research-based information about agriculture, family and consumer sciences, resource development and youth to the people of Tennessee.

Plant trees on annual Tree Day

By Tamas Mondovics

Tennessee residents are invited to beautify their properties and their communities by planting trees on 250K Tree Day, scheduled for March 23, 2019.
According to officials, trees are now available to order for a $1 donation per tree, while supplies last through March 17, by visiting the event website at www.tectn.org/250KTreeDay.
This year’s event is organized by Tennessee Environmental Council (TEC) in its effort to maintain a healthy tree canopy in communities across Tennessee. Tree species include Red Oak, Red Bud, Pine and Plum or similar fruit variety.
TEC has planted over 540,000 trees since 2007 fulfilling the mission to educate and advocate for the conservation and improvement of Tennessee’s environment, communities, and public health.
“We are thrilled each year to be able to offer low-cost trees for the people of Tennessee to beautify their properties and participate in the largest community-tree-planting event in America,” said Jeffrey Barrie, Interim CEO for Tennessee Environmental Council, and one of the event organizers.
The event is sponsored by numerous funders and agencies, including the Memorial Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation, Cumberland River Compact, MTEMC’s Sharing Change, Bridgestone, Bass Pro Shops & TVA.
“This event typically draws tens of thousands of volunteers who plant their trees at their homes, farms, businesses, neighborhoods, and other locations of their choosing,” Barrie said.
Residents are urged to be sure to pick up their trees as ordered on the dates and locations published on the event website.

Everyone Can Make a Difference: Recycle

By Sarah Ransom

Everyone is looking to make a difference in the world, and the best part about making an impact on the world around us, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money either.
Making a difference can be as simple as saving up paper and recycling it. Not only does this impact the environ-

ment, but the recycled paper also affects the sustainability of the land, forests, and resources.
Over the last school year, the Johnson County 4-H children in 4th-6th grade have been making a difference by collecting any recyclable paper materials from their schools and turning it in as a community service project.
To date students from Mountain City Elementary, Roan Creek Elementary, Doe Elementary, Laurel Bloomery Elementary, and Shady Valley Elementary have collected and recycled 756 pounds of paper.
While these children may not be able to donate thousands of dollars for saving the planet, they can save paper.
Recycled paper can be made into many products used in everyday life, as well as impact life on the farm.
Recycling papers, plastics, and aluminum can go into making mulch, plastic buckets, egg cartons, cardboard boxes for shipping, office papers, playgrounds, animal bedding, napkins, plates and so much more.
Green America states, “From protecting forests to curbing climate, recycled paper use is essential for sustainability.”
A large part of protecting the natural resources is in the forests.
Recycled paper saves the trees, reduces water waste and allows for cleaner air and healthier soil and people.
Recycling paper not only protects the environment, but it saves energy for other uses.
Recycling is not the only way to make an impact on the resources around you.
Reducing the waste products and reusing anything with multiple purposes can help save natural resources and put them to their best use.
A look around and one can see how to make a difference with items used daily.
Making small changes
today impacts your tomorrow.
Source: Green America, Save Trees and Recycled Paper (2018).

UT plant scientists reveal list of influential florae

Staff note: Agriculture is a large part of rural areas like Johnson County. School years falling in sync with harvest times is one example of how agriculture has shaped current ways of life in the area. Experts from the University of Tennessee recently led a project to discover which plants had a substantial role in shaping Tennessee.

Whether walking through fields of high cotton or “sangin’ in the hills,” Tennesseans know plants are the state’s lifeblood. Two experts with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recently led a project choosing the 10 plants that most shaped the state: American chestnut, beans (several varieties), corn, cotton, dogwood, ginseng, grasses (prairie and turf), tobacco, white oak, and, of course, kudzu.

The order of the list is incidental. While monetary value or cost came into play, the project weighed other factors as well, including each selection’s historical influence on the state. Here are a few of the reasons each plant was chosen:

American chestnut
It’s been nearly a century since a fungus eradicated this king of the forest, but the widespread and majestic tree was so valued for timber and wildlife that though gone, it still stands out in the state’s culture and history.
Beans
(several varieties): Snap beans, pole beans, soybeans
Several varieties of beans are endemic to Tennessee history. From pioneer days to this day, bean crops have been important to farmers, home gardeners and the state’s food industry.

Corn
West Tennesseans view corn mainly as an agronomic centerpiece, but in East Tennessee the plant conjures up images of grits and cornpone that were dietary staples. All across the state it’s associated with legal and historically illegal distillery operations.

Cotton
More than 300,000 acres of our state are devoted to cotton production yearly. As a fiber, cotton is used in virtually every type of clothing. As a food, its seed is crushed for oil and meal that is used to feed livestock and for human food products.

Dogwood
Found naturally across many Tennessee counties, dogwood, is among the state’s favorite trees. Many festivals celebrate its spring blooms. In nursery production, which centers in Middle Tennessee, our state ranks first in dogwood production.

Ginseng
This native herbaceous perennial plant has been harvested and used or sold for hundreds of years. It is entwined in the history of eastern Tennessee and our deciduous forests.

Grasses
(prairie and turf)
Tennessee was once a complicated and diverse mosaic of many different types of plant communities which included forest and some of the most diverse prairie systems on the planet. Bison once roamed these prairies. As for turfgrasses, everyone knows they have become an integral part of our lives. Our lawns and playgrounds are covered with them. The estimated acreage of turfgrass in Tennessee is somewhere north of 1 million acres.

Tobacco
Though its recent history is clouded, tobacco was one of the earliest crops planted by settlers in Tennessee and has shaped the state’s economy and health since Tennessee joined the Union.

White Oak
As long as there has been people in Tennessee, they have been relying on white oaks for survival and income. We use it to build our houses and it graces our hearths as fuel on cold winter nights.

Kudzu
Easily recognizable by almost anyone in Tennessee, kudzu is among the invasive plant species that damage our natural environment.

Natalie Bumgarner and Andy Pulte of the Department of Plant Sciences at the UT Institute of Agriculture spent much of 2018 developing the list. More than 600 nominations were submitted, and submissions were open to the public. Together with a panel of other UTIA experts in a range of fields, all the nominations were weighed, and each nomination’s significance was carefully considered to develop the final list of 10 plants that most shaped the history of the state.

Pulte reflects on the process. “Every plant on this list is important. Some of them I could have guessed. However, there were a few surprises that could not be ignored, especially with the number of Tennesseans who nominated them.”

Each nomination was evaluated within the context of its contributions to the state’s history and economy, and its value to society spiritually or culturally, or its uses in the landscape or as a food. The pair intend to use the project to influence future curricula for elementary schools and other initiatives.

“For those in agriculture, it is easy to have a singular perspective about plants, but when the list is considered, impacts are incredibly extensive,” Bumgarner explains. “There is a selection on the list for those interested in plant sciences, ornamental horticulture, forestry and wildlife, environmental studies, natural resource economics, and so much more.”

Pulte adds, “People see more plants than any other organism in their lifetime. Plants have the ability to influence you in a variety of ways: mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Bringing an awareness to a sort of plant-blindness is at the heart of this project.”

The influence of particular plants has varied with societal changes. Bumgarner continues, “Some plants that were lucrative for agricultural producers may not be important anymore and vice versa. For example, a relative newcomer on the agricultural scene in Tennessee, soybeans entered into wide-scale production only in the past half century or so. Today soybeans thrive in Tennessee fields and the crop is among the state’s most valuable commodities.”

Because the list had to be balanced, both beneficial and negative aspects of nominated plants were considered.

Bumgarner comments, “We did look at popular row crops, but there are invasive plants on the list, and some with complex or negative aspects of their histories.”

The project broadened from an exploration of Tennessee life to cultivating an appreciation of nature. Pulte expounds, “Every one of the plants on the list has shaped the lives of those who call this state home. Plants do make it possible for us to live here on Earth. Even the air we breathe is made possible because of plants.”

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

Budget-friendly shopping tips

By Sarah Ransom

We all make trips to the grocery store. Some of us visit the farmers market, and some just grow their own food in gardens and greenhouses. Living in rural areas, we have a wider variety of options when it comes to food availability. However, just because it’s available doesn’t mean it’s always affordable for the families needing to feed their members.
There are some easy tips to keep in mind when it comes to grocery shopping and trying to stretch your dollars.

•Meal planning is key. Planning out your meals on a weekly basis is helpful. If you get really motivated, you can plan on a monthly basis. If you know what your food budget is for the month, divide that by the weeks, and you will know what financial resources you have to work with to feed your family. As you make your meal plan, be sure to check the sale papers and prepare your meal around what has the best price option for your family. Many groceries stores and retail chains will match sale prices – so be sure to ask.
Look for coupons. While ten cents may not seem like a big deal on its own, when you add it with a bunch of others you can save several dollars, which means significant savings over the course of a month.

•Check prices. There are several ways you can save on pricing outside of coupons. One way to do this is to check between fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. Choosing canned or frozen fruits and vegetables can help save money during times when fresh foods are not in season. Canned and frozen options have many of the same nutrients and can be found lower costs when foods are not in season. Be sure to check the unit pricing on the foods you are purchasing. Sometimes selecting smaller or larger quantities can be cheaper. Also, do not be afraid to eat the store brand, they are frequently made by the same companies but offered at a much-reduced cost.
Before shopping, be sure to check your pantry, freezer, and fridge before purchasing new foods. Having a few staple items on hand can help stretch the food you are buying. Beans, rice, and potatoes are just a few things that provide a lot of nutrients while staying on a budget.
Lastly, check into your local resources. The Farmers Markets provide matching SNAP dollars, which can allow you to maximize dollars for some fresh foods. Food banks also help offer some staple items to complete your meals with vital nutrients. Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t eat good, well-balanced meals.

Winter gardening tips to prepare for Spring

Winter is the best time to plan for the Spring season. Performing maintenance and prepping both your plants and yourself makes for a successful season.

The days are shorter, the wind is cold and plants are dormant. But this is one of the best times to start planning for spring! We should be preparing for another successful season of gardening in winter.

Here are some tips to consider:

• Start by cleaning and sharpening your garden tools so they are ready for spring. Make sure to store your tools indoors to avoid them rusting. Drain garden hoses and store them away to avoid freeze damage. Sharpen hand pruners, loppers, saws, and make sure to oil moving parts.

• Make a note of tools and supplies you will need for the next growing season and get a head start on purchasing them while there are holiday discounts.

• Prepare to prune trees and shrubs during their dormant winter season. Cutting into live tissue during the winter will help prevent the spread of diseases such as fire blight, which is a bacterium that can be spread on pruning tools in warm wet weather.

Removing dead branches in the winter will allow for good wound closure when spring arrives. Make sure you know how to properly prune. Remember, once you cut it off, you can’t glue it back on.

• Scout the landscape for signs of insects and diseases. Look for egg masses on trees and shrubs.

• Plan your vegetable garden for the coming year, keeping in mind the need to rotate crops. Keep a record of your garden plans for each year to see what is growing well and what struggled. Also keep track of varieties of plants you are growing.

• Read seed catalogues to familiarize yourself with new plant varieties and determine which will work for your climate, and site conditions.

•Learn more about gardening by attending Extension…..sponsored workshops or webinars. Yes, you can learn lots sitting at home this winter watching lectures that broadcast live over the internet (webinars) or previously recorded lectures that are archived.

For further information or to find out about different online trainings, contact your local Extension Agent, Rick Thomason at rthomaso@utk.edu or call at (423)-727-8161.

Source: Gardening Prep during the Cold Winter Months from Penn State Extension Service https://extension.psu.edu/gardening-prep-during-the-cold-winter-months