Ag & Natural Resources
Noxious Weed Control is a High Priority for Powder River Extension
Leafy Spurge bio-control was initiated in 1990 with the release of flea beetles, at five sites along the Powder River. In following years, additional releases, including A. flava and A. lacertosa amounting to over 5,000 flea beetles releases at additional locations. Over the past sixteen years, forty-five landowners have collected flea beetles from sites where they are establised and have released them at new locations. In addition, many ranchers along the Powder River have incorporated sheep grazing as one of their multi-faceted control efforts of leafy spurge.In 1993, the Canada Thistle bio control agent U. cardui was also released. The Powder River Weed District is currently checking into bio control options for poisonous hemlock.Puncturevine is another weed that has increased dramatically in the county. Extension and the weed district initiated an educational and "search and destroy" program beginning the Fall of 2007, involving students and adults. The amount of saltcedar encroaching on the Powder River has increased 380% in the last decade. Extension and the Weed District applied for funding from the Noxious Weed Trust Fund in 2007, receiving $16,110 toward saltcedar control. It was matched with $26,000 from the Weed District, State Lands, and BLM. 405 acres were treated along the Powder River during the Fall of 2007. Additional funds from the NWTF were applied for in 2008.
Summer Weed Tours
Summer Weed Tours rotate to different areas in the county annually, focusing on a variety of weed pest. Private applicators receive recertification credits by attending the educational programs. In addition to providing updated information of pest control alternatives; pesticide safety; calibration; and record keeping requirements are covered.
Ag Winter Series
Programs focusing on the needs of ag producers in the area are emphasized at the annual Ag Winter Series. Extension in seven Southeastern counties work together to provide a series of topics each year that are of value to our constituents. In February of 2006, in response to a threat of trichonomiasis in the county, ninety-two cattlemen learned best management practices to protect their herds.
Keeping Our Children Safe
Farm Safety is important to Powder River Extension. The farm safety puppet show is conducted annually by older teens and presented to the Kindergarten classes at the Elementary School. The young students learn ways to keep safe while working and playing in a farm or ranch setting.
Every Time...Every Ride is a program encouraging riders of bikes, 4-wheelers, and horses to wear helmets. As a result of the educational programs, the use of equestrian helmets at the County Fair has increased by 50%.