Turkeys were all over Texas in the early 1900s. Because they were easy to hunt, the numbers dwindled to the point where there aren't nearly as many in the places that they used to be plentiful. Some people may never see one in the wild.
Texas is currently home to about half a million wild turkeys, allowing for around 100,000 to be harvested every year. These numbers aren't near where a lot of people would like to see them, however, we aren't without options to restore numbers.
Many landowners in Cass County are working to make changes to promote our turkey populations through different habitat management techniques. The key to facilitating turkey habitat is realizing that a monoculture won't cut it. When we drive around our county we seem to have two types of habitat; plantation pines or hay pasture where Bermuda or Bahai grasses are grown. These types of habitats just aren't going to work for ground-nesting birds of any kind.
When working to promote our wild turkey population, we need to consider what the hens must have to nest. Hens will be looking for an area with screening plants that are going to be around 2 ft tall or a forested area that has been burnt/cleared in the past 3 years. This will camouflage them from predators, as nesting is a huge time of predation for turkey hens. Hens will seek this out in pastures, right of ways, and clearcuts, opting to not nest in low-laying bottomland areas.
If you are interested in learning more about what you can do to promote wild turkey habitat, check out the many resources available from the National Wild Turkey Federation or reach out to our office at 903.756.5391.
There have been many times in the past year where producers have called the office concerned because they are suddenly experiencing loss in their cow-calf herd beyond what is typically expected. The first question I like to ask is "When is the last time you vaccinated your herd?" Surprisingly most people aren't following a vaccination or biosecurity protocol with their cow-calf herds which is placing them at risk of losing calves and cows. This year, I challenge our Cass County producers to adopt a New Year's Resolution of a vaccination protocol.
Always work with your veterinarian to determine which vaccines are necessary for your herd and the frequency at which you need to administer them. If you build a patient relationship with a veterinarian they are far more likely to be available when you need to them come help pull a calf in the middle of the night.
If you've never vaccinated your herd before, here are some guidelines that will help you to get started. Calves need to be vaccinated twice, starting at 2 months of age. Bulls and replacement heifers need to be vaccinated 3 to 6 weeks prior to introduction to the herd. Please make sure you are trich testing your bulls in addition to vaccinating them.
If you are calving all year long, you need to plan on vaccinating your cow herd every six months. If you have a calving season that is only once a year, then you need to plan to vaccinate them at 7 to 9 months gestation.
See the charts below for recommended vaccines and make sure to consult with your veterinarian on the plan that is best for your herd.
Job Applications- We will be using the generalized Texas Job Application for this workshop. While not all job applications will be exactly like this they will be similar. To access the job application, you need to select the link at the beginning of this section. The job application is available in word and PDF formats at that link. If you would like to type your responses to the form, you can upload the PDF into your google drive (you have one if you have a gmail address) and then use LUMIN to edit and save the PDF.
When filling out a job application it is important that you make sure it is legible and that you complete each of the sections. If there is a question that doesn't apply to you, you can simply put N/A. We will discuss what should be added in each section via our online seminar.
If you choose to print and fill out the job application by hand, you can scan it into a PDF by using the Genius Scan app on your smart phone. It can then be emailed with no risk of changes happening.
Resume- A resume is short collection of your qualifications and experiences. We organize this information in bullet points and format it so that it is easy for a potential school or employer to see how qualified you are by glancing at one page. The link at the beginning of this paragraph is a great resource and walks you through how to assemble each of the steps.
You can find easy to fill in templates. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, Google Docs, and Canva all have excellent template options.
Cover Letter- A cover letter is a short way to introduce yourself. This should be written on a template that matches your resume. There are templates available on each of the programs listed above. For an in depth break down of what you include in your cover letter, make sure that you visit the link at the beginning of this section.
Job Interview Tips and Tricks-
Make sure that you dress for success. Your outfit should be appropriate for the job. For example if you are interviewing for a job as waitstaff, your aren't going to wear a 3 peice suit. Dress pants and a collared shirt would be sufficient. When it comes to hair and make up, neat and understated is the best approach.
Give your self plenty of time if you don't know where you are going. Make sure that you will arrive at least 15 minutes early. When going to a job interview, make sure that you have a copy of your cover letter and resume, so that you can hand your interviewer a clean crisp copy.
When you enter the room, make sure to shake hands and introduce yourself. Always be very polite to everyone in the office. At the beginning of the job interview, it is likely that they will ask you to tell them about yourself. First impressions are everything, so make sure that you know the story you want to tell.
When we think about job interviews, we tend to focus on how they will be asking you questions to determine your suitability to the postition. You need to be prepared to ask several questions about the position as well if given the opportunity. You can bring them with you on a list, so that you can show how prepared you are and how seriously you are taking the opportunity.
Letters of Recommendation- A additional item that you can include with your materials is a letter or letters of recommendation. When choosing someone to ask for a letter of recommendation, you need to make sure that you are choosing someone who knows your skills and your work ethic. You also need to give them at minimum 2 weeks to complete the letter. Many times, when someone writes a letter of recommendation, they will seal the enevelope, so you may not get to know what they write.
March 27th- Orientation and overview of the workshop process
March31st- Email Job Applications in PDF format to Jessica.Rymel@ag.tamu.edu
April 3rd- Email Cover Letters and Resumes in PDF format to Jessica.Rymel@ag.tamu.edu
Job Interviews will be conducted via Zoom. Students will be asked to supply us with 3 potential dates and times. We will then schedule them.
All of these materials will be looked over and constructive feedback will be provided. I hope that each of you are able to take advantage of this unique opportunity to develop skills that could benefit you greatly in the future.
Our 4-H year is off to a very busy start! This email contains lots of important dates, deadlines and additional information so please share it with those who need to know. I will be sending this out via 4-H connect as well, however, we still don't have everyone registered, so PLEASE pass this information along.
PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED IN 4-H CONNECT. WE ARE IN A NEW 4-H YEAR SO IF WE HAVEN’T DONE THIS--- YOU AREN’T A 4-H MEMBER.
Cass County Cattlemen’s Association Steer and Commerical Heifer Validation will take place on September 25th at the Expo Center in Atlanta.
Rabbits for the Cass County Junior Livestock Show will be picked up at the Extension Office (227 Rush St, Linden, Texas) on September 30th.
Chickens for the Cass CountyJunior Livestock Show will be delivered on 10/1. We don’t have the locations for this yet.
Major Show Goat and Heifer Validation will take place at the Expo Center on 10/22 at 4 pm. If you are validating a heifer you need to make sure that all tattoos are in place prior to validation. You also need to have emailed a color copy to Jessica.Rymel@ag.tamu.edu prior to this date.
I will need all spring major show livestock entries to the office by November 4th.
If you need to be excused from school for a livestock show, you must send me the dates (two week prior would be awesome). Once your school official has signed off on the form I need a copy of this form back, showing that you are indeed eligible to compete.
If you are participating in a HORSE or SHOOTING SPORTS project, you need to make sure that your club manager has a copy of the 4-H Waiver on file prior to practice. (http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/19-20_TX4H_Waiver_Idemnification.pdf
County Shooting Sports Round-Up is taking place on 10/26/2019. Registration is now open. You can register via the link found below. We will also be taking orders for additional shooting sports round up t-shirts. They are $10 each if you are not competing.
There is a hay judging contest on 10/10 at 2 pm. Please send me an email if you are planning to participate.
The District 4 Horse judging workshop registration opens on October 1st. The date of this event is November
Photography entries for district contests are due on 4-H to connect on November 1st. I need to have all pictures submitted to the office on November 8th. These need to be mounted and labeled.
County Wide Events:
One Day 4-H will take place on 10/5. Please join us on this day and bring a friend who isn’t in 4-H. We will have free 4-H enrollments on this day.
We are ordering Cass County 4-H T-Shirts. T-shirt orders are due to our office by 9/24. Shoot me an email and I can invoice you if that is easiest. These are $12.50 each.
We are hosting a Rummage Sale as a county fundraiser on 10/4-5. We are taking donations for this event and will need help working on this event. Please bring all donations to the office.
We are sponsoring a community service project. We are taking donations for the area foster closets. All donations can be brought to the office.
We will be celebrating 4-H Week on October 8th at the Cass County Commissioners Court. We invite ALL 4-H MEMBERS to be in attendance. If you are planning on coming and need a school excuse, please let me know as soon as possible.
Club Manager Information:
We will have a club manager training on 10/21. Please let us know if you will be able to attend.
Please remind 4-H members that we take submissions for the 4-H newsletter during the last week of the month. We would love to have articles and pictures from the kids.
Our next PAC Meeting is October 28th at 5 pm. We need to make sure that we have a quorum at this meeting. We only have them every other month now.
If you ordered 4-H Shirts from the district office, I have those available for pick up now.
Please continue to submit your monthly documents before the end of the month so that I can report on all of these activities. I also need sign-in sheets for any practices, project meetings, etc.
I will be going on vacation on October 13th- 20th. If you need anything during this week, please contact Karen or John as I will be out of pocket.
The following update will have information that relates to the Banquet, Awards, County Wide Activities, and potential Program Area Committee Bylaw Updates.
We are currently taking orders for lamb and goat tags for the spring major shows. These tags are $17 each. Do not forget that if you are showing at the major shows you must have completed quality counts prior to entry submission.
The banquet planning meeting that was scheduled for August 1st has been cancelled. We will meet again to discuss the banquet on August 22nd at 5pm in the Extension office. Everyone is welcomed, but this is especially important for the kids on county council or kids interested in serving on county council. The theme is Glow Crazy with 4-H and we will have a baked potato bar and glow in the dark cup cakes. We have 3 amazing volunteers who are making cupcakes for us. The office is providing the potatoes, plates, cutlery and tea. We have asked each group to provide assigned items. Please get with your club manager and see what you can bring. This will be an evening to recognize our 4-H members who go above and beyond but also to celebrate and bring all of the kids together.
Awards given at the banquet will be different that what has been done in the past. We will be recognizing completed project areas. To signify completion, a 4-H member needs to have submitted a record book. These record books do not need to be perfect, however they do need to have evidence that the 4-H member was active in that project area. Being active in a project area is more that attending one event; it needs to be a sequence of events that can demonstrate evidence of growth. I know that things have not been done this way previously, however I also want to make sure that we are recognizing the very hard work that a lot of our 4-H members do while they have also progressed in their project areas. It would not be fair for a child who worked hard and completed or organized several activities in their project area to recieve the same recognition as a child who participated in one activity. This is also a way to encourage completion of record books that will need to be available whenever it is time for scholarship applications. At the club level, if you would like to recogonize the 4-H members for each of the activities they have participated in, that is certainly your perogative and a great way to show encouragement to 4-H members who are still exploring their interest areas. If you are concerned about kids not getting recognized, we are still taking record books, we have created a mock record book with a step by step how to guide, and have several additional resources available. You can even bring your 4-H member to the office and I will personally help them get it done.
The county council had their first meeting yesterday evening. I am so grateful and excited to see what the three young ladies who attended will develop this year. They have already committed to provide free bottled water at our promotional booth at the Veteran's Salute in Linden in September.
In addition to the Veteran's Salute, we are planning on hosting a rummage sale in October in conjunction with Treasure Trails. The county council would like to also sell baked goods. If you have any old trash that might be someone else's treasure, please consider donating it to this effort! We do not have the date for the rummage sale yet, however we are going to start collecting items now. We are also looking for volunteers to help work this event.
The 4-H program area committee met on Monday of this week. They elected officers and recommended some bylaw changes. Please look at the bylaw changes and if you have an opinion or a concern, let your club's representative know. We will vote to adopt these changes at the August Meeting.
Change 1- Article 6 Voting Procedures and Quorums
In an event that an electronic vote is required on a time sensitive issue, the agents will send out a link to all of the voting PAC members. The agents will also contact via text or phone call each of the committee members to ensure that they are aware of the time sensitive vote. The vote will end once a clear majority has been established.
Change 2- Article 5
The program area committee shall meet every other month.
As summer is coming to an end, our 4-H calendar is filling up quickly. Please make sure to read carefully as to not miss any important deadlines.
If you have an animal project for Cass County or for Major Shows, it is time to schedule project visits. Send me an email to set a time up. Ideally these need to happen once every 4-6 weeks, but that is super hard to fit into all of our schedules. Let schedule them early to get them taken care of.
I am currently taking orders for lamb and goat tags for spring major shows. If you plan on taking a lamb or a goat to spring major shows, I need your tag order and payment of $17 by August 30th.
Today, July 25th at 3pm, there is a shooting sports county round up planning meeting at the new extension office. Please join us if you have any interest in helping us to plan this event.
Friday, July 26th we are hosting a show goat clinic at this office at 4 pm.You do not have to bring your goat, but you are welcomed to if you want help learning to brace, etc.
Monday, July 29th is the July Program Area Committee Meeting. Each 4-H Club should have representation present. Youth are welcomed as always.
Tuesday, July 30th there is a County Council Interest meeting. If you are interested, please attend. This is open to EVERYONE and will start at 5pm.
Wednesday, July 31st is the deadline to register for the District 4 4-H Boot Camp. This is a great experience for both 4-H members and adults, so if your schedule allows, please make plans to attend.
Thursday, August 1st is our Re-Grand Opening at the new extension office. It will take place from 8am to 10:30 am.
Tuesday, August 13th at 5:00 pm there is a new/revitalized 4-H Club meeting at Dark Horse Coffee. If you are interested in seeing what this group will have to offer, feel free to join! They will be taking part in Linden Pride at 5:30.
Thursday, August 15th is the deadline for Fall Stock Show Entries. These include East Texas State Fair, Four States Fair, and the State Fair of Texas. I need all competed paper copies and payment turned in to the office by this date.
Thursday, August 15th at 5:30 pm we are hosting a show rabbit clinic. If you would like to come and learn about how to get a leg up on your rabbit project please join us.
**** We are still accepting recordbooks for project completion recognition at the county 4-H banquet. We also reopened county level award applications, so please fill these out and get them turned in. We will award applications until August 2nd. We are also still accepting letterman jacket applications. Don't let these opportunities pass you by! If you have any questions about the requirments for these, please let me know!****
The last week of June, I was honored to get to attend another Path to the Plate University Training. This training took me to the Panhandle of Texas where I was able to learn about the agriculture industry that is so prevalent there. When I returned to East Texas, I was able to attend a Wildlife Management training, which has given me lots of ideas for future programming in our county. I look forward to sharing more about our steps in this direction soon.
July is a busy month for our office as we wrap up the 4-H year and begin planning for the next. We will have program planning meetings this month. If you have ideas for programs you think would be successful, feel free to give our office a call. We are always in need of passionate volunteers that wish to work in youth development or agriculture and natural resources.
July 24th the Extension office is hosting a Show Goat Clinic at 4pm. If you have a youth interested in a meat or dairy goat project, please feel free to join us.
In addition to educational programs, we are currently in the midst of two applied research projects. We have set traps for the moths that produce the dreaded Fall Army Worms, in hopes that we will be able to give our producers a leg up if treatment becomes necessary. We are also working to test different methods of capturing swarming honey bees. Following the 4th of July Holiday, we will be setting mosquito traps to determine if Cass County is home to the mosquito that is likely to transmit the Zika Virus. If you would like more information on how to become involved with either of these projects, please reach out to our office.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service---LINDEN, TX
The Cass County AgriLife Extension Service has been inundated with emails, phone calls, and office visits concerning some creepy crawling visitors that are making appearances across the county. The culprit impacting homeowners is a common one: Centipedes. The common house centipede is normally a beneficial insect because they feast on other unwanted bugs.
Centipedes can have a 1-6 year lifespan. They lay their eggs during the warm season and love to make their home in leaf litter, soil, and other decomposing organic matter. We are seeing more of these centipedes than normal due to an increase in their ideal environment due to the higher than normal rainfall. These insects prefer humidity and moist environments.
The centipedes we are seeing very rarely get larger than an inch and a half and will quickly die once they make their way into a home environment, however that doesn’t mean that we want them inside or swarming our patios and porches. Preventing them from joining you in your home only takes a bit of effort.
The first step to preventing the overpopulation of centipedes is to create a form of mechanical barriers. Start by developing a barrier of gravel between your flower beds and your home. Following this, homeowners are encouraged to seal areas and stuff all weep holes with steel wool. To further prevent centipedes, make sure to turn your flower bed mulch as often as possible to help them disperse excess moisture that will encourage centipede habitation. Homeowners also need to be sure to move ideal hiding sites, such as firewood piles, far from their residence.
If these methods don’t show improvement, perimeter sprays are advised. Plant based sprays can be effective if they contain the following: d-limonene, rosemary oil, clove oil, thyme oil, or sesame oil. Chemical bases sprays with the active ingredients of cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, permethrin, bifenthrin, cypermethrin, or carbaryl will also be effective. These types of sprays can be found at your local hardware or home improvement store. If you choose to use a spray method, pay very close attention to the label instructions. The pesticide user is always responsible for the proper use of pesticides as well as their intended and unintended impacts. In addition to spraying the home perimeter, homeowners should also make it a point to treat wall voids with borax or diatomaceous earth.
Hopefully these methods will alleviate our centipede issue. The Cass County Extension office is always here to serve the people of Cass County, so don’t hesitate to contact us.
I am working on setting up pheromone traps to determine the number of moths that are present in the hay fields in our county. These traps will be placed at the south west corner of the property and checked weekly to determine how many of the moths that produce army worms are present. This information will be record to aide us in alerting producers and avoiding potential loss.
In addition to trapping the moths, we will also be sweeping the hay fields where the traps are located. This will alert us to the presence of the actual army worms that are potentially detrimental to the hay fields or pastures in our area. Below are examples of army worms. The first two are fall army worms, the other is an example of a specimen that is an army worm of a different variety. You will also not the parasites that are residing on the third image. We hope that this research will lead to tried and true methods that will allow for producers to limit the damage caused by these pests.
I will be traveling for the vast majority of the month of July. I will be best reached via email. If you need immediate or timely assistance please give the office a call.
We are accepting letterman jacket applications.
June 24th is Heifer and Goat Validation for the Fall Major Shows and Steer Validation for all Major Shows. It will start at 7 am and end at 10 am.
June 24th is also our monthly 4-H Program Area Committee Meeting. This meeting will start at 5 pm. It will be held in our new office which is located at 227 Rush Street in Linden Texas.
If you are planning to show rabbits at the Cass County Junior Livestock Show, please let me know as soon as possible. I have to have these entries submitted by July 1.
We had some amazing record books submitted and some still trickling in. If you submitted yours by the deadline, they have been judged and are ready to be picked up and edited. If you are planning on competing at the District Record Book Competition, you need to make sure to enter via 4-H Connect by July 5th. We will take your record book to the competition.
We will have our 2018-2019 4-H Banquet Planning Meeting on July 15th in the office at 5 pm. We will decide on our location, theme, and food at this meeting. If you are interested please make sure to attend. This is a great way to get some "leadership" experience for next years record books.
If you are interested in showing a goat, we are going to be having a show goat clinic at the office on July 26th. We will talk about both dairy and market goats.
If you have interest in any other animal projects but need guidance please reach out so we can help you get started.
If you are interested in serving as a County Council Officer, we will have an informational meeting on July 30th at 5 pm at the extension office. This opportunity is open to all 4-H members from grade 6-12.
Please let me know if you have any questions or have a club event taking place that you would like me to broadcast.
I have the best job in the world targetting community issues and solving them with community based education, geared specifically towards Agriculture and Natural Resources.