Upcoming Events

Valentine’s Day Desserts

Baking background with a heart of flour on a wooden table with kitchen utensils, rolling pin and a red and white checkered tablecloth









Strawberry Cheesecake

Butter-flavored vegetable cooking spray

1  10-ounce package frozen sliced strawberries

1  3-ounce package strawberry-flavored gelatin

1  cup 1% lowfat cottage cheese

1/2 cup nonfat sour cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (optional)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 or more drops red food coloring (optional)

2 kiwifruits (optional)


Lightly coat a 7-inch spring form pan or deep 8-inch pie pan with cooking spray.  Thaw and thoroughly drain the strawberries, saving liquid.  Add water, if necessary, to make 1 cup of liquid.  Heat strawberry liquid to almost boiling.  Add gelatin and stir until dissolved.  Cool some.  Beat cottage cheese until smooth.  When gelatin is cool, but not firm, combine it in a large bowl with cottage cheese, sour cream, sugar, and lemon juice.  Beat until it is smooth and beginning to be fluffy.  Fold drained strawberries and food coloring into gelatin mixture by cutting a spoon through strawberries and gelatin and turning gelatin over strawberries.  Continue doing this until the strawberries are well distributed and color is even.  Don’t mix too much.  Pour into pan, cover, and chill 10 to 12 hours.  To serve, cut cake into 2-inch wedges; garnish with sliced kiwi.

Makes 12 servings.  One serving: 1 wedge 

*One serving contains: 62 calories; -1 mg cholesterol; 94 mg sodium; 12 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; -1 g fat or 4% of total calories.

Note: To reduce calories, use sugar-free strawberry gelatin.


Strawberry Shortcake 

3 cups clean, sliced strawberries

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup corn-oil margarine

1/2 cup cold skim milk

1/4 cup ice water

Butter-flavor vegetable cooking spray

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 pint heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar


Sprinkle strawberries with 1/3 cup sugar and toss lightly.  Cover and refigerate until needed.  Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and 4 teaspoons sugar in a large bowl and stir until evenly mixed.  Add maragine and cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork.  Or, you can use two knives, cutting on opposite directions.  Continue doing this until the mixture looks like coarse meal.  In a small bowl, combine milk and water and mix.  Add milk mixture all at once to the flour mixture.  Stir vigorously until dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture thickens.  Generously coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Drop dough by tablespoons onto sheet.  Lightly flour hands and pat dough into 12 shortcakes of uniform size and thickness.  Sprinkle a little sugar on top of each shortcake, using about 1/4 teaspoon on each.  Bake at 425’F. for 10 to 12 minutes.  Serve shortcake warm or cool.  When ready to serve, beat cream until almost thick.  Add confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until stiff.  Place shortcake on serving dish.  With a fork, split each shortcake and lift the top half, as you would a biscuit.  Cover bottom half with sliced strawberries and replace top.  Add more strawberries and whipped cream.

Makes 12 servings.  One serving: 1 shortcake.

*One serving contains: 229 calories; 27 mg cholesterol; 192 mg sodium; 29 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 11 g fat or 44% of total calories.  

Note: To make one large shortcake, press dough evenly into a 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan lightly coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 425’F. for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on a metal rack 5 minutes and then remove from pan.  Split carefully and fill same as individual shortcakes.  

Strawberry Shortcake (Reduced Calories, Cholesterol, And Fat.) Follow recipe for strawberry shortcake but use 2 cups of lowfat vanilla yogurt in place of 1/2 pint whipping cream.  Stir confectioners’ sugar into yogurt.  This will reduce calories to 185; cholesterol to 3 g; and fat to 5 g or 22% of total calories.

Find these recipes and more in the Auburn Cookbook.


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!




Sixth Annual Food Entrepreneur Conference scheduled for March 21-22 in Auburn















Sixth Annual Food Entrepreneur Conference scheduled for March 21-22 in Auburn

By Karen Hunley


Five years ago, the Auburn University Food Systems Institute combined its knowledge of food safety and food business to organize the first Food Entrepreneur Conference for aspiring entrepreneurs and small farmers. Food business owners, faculty members from Auburn’s College of Business, and state organizations began supporting the event and participating in speaker panels. Participation in the event has grown each year, and now food business experts and entrepreneurs from all over the state travel to Auburn each spring to give advice and share their own stories.

This year one of those entrepreneurs will be Robert Armstrong, founder of G Momma’s “Southern-style bite-size cookies” based in Selma, who will be a keynote speaker at the event. This will be Armstrong’s first year participating in the conference, which is scheduled for March 21 and 22 at the CASIC building in the Auburn Research Park.

“I am excited to share the journey I’ve been on with G Mommas Cookies and hopefully I’ll share some valuable knowledge I’ve gained as well,” says Armstrong.

Armstrong says G Momma’s came about for two important reasons – his love for his “Gammy” (pronounced “Gah-mee”) as well as his desire to help boost the economy in his hometown. The melt-in-your mouth cookie recipe doesn’t hurt, either.

“Gammy would bake these little cookies for all our family ‘get-togethers’, and we would crawl all over each other to get a few,” Armstrong says on his G Momma website. “We would just keep coming back again, and again, and again. You really couldn’t eat just one!”

He also says he wants to help keep Selma alive, including its rich history connected to the Civil Rights Movements. “(Selma) has suffered from a declining economy for the last 40 years or so, and a big reason for that is young people generally don’t move back after college because the lack of opportunity,” Armstrong says. “It has always been a dream of mine to come back and help the area in some way.”

Armstrong will be joined by speakers like John Syzmanski, who works in recipe and new program development for The Kroger Company and can give the “big-box store” perspective of food entrepreneurship. Jimmy Wright of Wright’s Market will also be on hand to provide the viewpoint of a smaller, local grocer.

Audience interest in the event has grown each year, too. Last year’s Food Entrepreneur Conference was a turning point – more than 74 aspiring and current food entrepreneurs attended, and there wasn’t an empty seat in the house.

Hosted by the Auburn University Food Systems Institute (AUFSI) in cooperation with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) the event is focused on offering “real life” advice for growing a food business as well as providing an opportunity for burgeoning entrepreneurs to make invaluable business connections. Representatives from the Alabama Department of Public Health along with ACES will cover topics such as food safety, regulations, and labeling, while a professor from the AU College of Business will cover business marketing.

Past keynote speakers include Patricia “Sister Schubert” Barnes; Stacy Brown of Chicken Salad Chick, an Auburn-based restaurant that now has locations throughout the Southeast; and Chuck Caraway of Southeastern Food Group, one of Alabama’s largest food processing companies. Caraway has agreed to come back this year as a panelist; in fact, most past presenters have seemed to enjoy inspiring others to take the next steps toward food entrepreneurship and are eager to return.

Armstrong says it will be important to share with the audience not only what worked well for him when starting his own business, but also what he would do differently if he had the chance.

“I hope to impart that there really is no magic formula or secret to becoming successful in the food industry,” he says.  “It all starts with the product and from there, it’s just a lot of hard work.”

In addition to the speaker panels and the Q&A sessions that follow, participants can also choose to attend up to two specialized breakout sessions on topics such as Cottage Food Law certification, which allows entrepreneurs to operate some types of food businesses from their homes; catering/food service/bakery; USDA meat products; food trucks; maximizing opportunities for minority-owned businesses; and the innovative aquaponics industry.


Registration for the two-day event is $150 before March 14 and $200 after that date. For a full conference agenda and to register, visit https://aufsi.auburn.edu/2018-food-entrepreneur-conference/ or call Regina Crapps at 334.844.7456. Also check the AUFSI Food Entrepreneur Conference Facebook page for updates to the conference agenda and other pertinent conference information.


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!




Chicken from Farm to Table

Farmer in field with free range chicken and basket full of eggs










What’s for dinner tonight? There’s a good chance it’s chicken — now the number one species consumed by Americans. Interest in the safe handling and cooking of chicken is reflected in the thousands of calls that the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline receive.  The following information answers many of the questions these callers have asked about chicken.   Many of these calls we also get at the local County Extension Office and the USDA website is where we go for many of the questions we get also.

Chicken Inspection

All chickens found in retail stores are either inspected by USDA or by State systems which have standards equivalent to the Federal government. Each chicken and its internal organs are inspected for signs of disease. The “Inspected for wholesomeness by the U.S. Department of Agriculture” seal  ensures that the chicken is free from visible signs of disease.

Chicken Grading

Inspection is mandatory, but grading is voluntary. Chickens are graded according to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s regulations and standards for meatiness, appearance, and freedom from defects. Grade A chickens have plump, meaty bodies and clean skin, free of bruises, broken bones, feathers, cuts, and discoloration.

Fresh or Frozen

The term fresh on a poultry label refers to any raw poultry product that has never been held below 26 °F (-3.3 C). Raw poultry held at 0 °F (-17.8 °C) or below must be labeled frozen or previously frozen. No specific labeling is required on raw poultry stored at temperatures between 0 and 25 °F (-17.8 °C and -3.9 °C).

Dating of Chicken Products

Product dating is not required by Federal regulations, but many stores and processors voluntarily date packages of chicken or chicken products. If a calendar date is shown, there must be a phrase immediately adjacent to the date that explains the meaning of that date, such as sell by or use before.

The use-by date is for quality assurance; after the date, peak quality begins to lessen, but the product may still be used. It’s always best to buy a product before the date expires. If a use-by date expires while the chicken is frozen, the food can still be used because foods kept frozen continuously are safe indefinitely.

Hormones & Antibiotics

No hormones are used in the raising of chickens.  Antibiotics may be used to prevent disease and increase feed efficiency. Before the bird can be slaughtered, a “withdrawal” period is required from the time antibiotics are administered. This ensures that no residues are present in the bird’s system. FSIS randomly samples poultry at slaughter and tests for residues. Data from this monitoring program have shown a very low percentage of residue violations.


Additives are not allowed on fresh chicken. However, if chicken is processed, additives such as MSG, salt, or sodium erythorbate may be added but must be listed on the label.


Rinsing or Soaking Chicken

Washing raw poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. This is called cross-contamination. Rinsing or soaking chicken does not destroy bacteria. Only cooking will destroy any bacteria that might be present on fresh chicken.

How to Handle Chicken Safely

Fresh Chicken: Chicken is kept cold during distribution to retail stores to prevent the growth of bacteria and to increase its shelf life. Chicken should feel cold to the touch when purchased. Select fresh chicken just before checking out at the register. Put packages of chicken in disposable plastic bags (if available) to contain any leakage which could cross-contaminate cooked foods or produce. Make the grocery store your last stop before going home.

At home, immediately place chicken in a refrigerator that maintains a temperature of 40 °F (4.4 °C) or below. Use it within 1 or 2 days, or freeze it at 0 °F (-17.8 °C). If kept frozen continuously, it will be safe indefinitely.

Chicken may be frozen in its original packaging or repackaged. If freezing chicken longer than 2 months, overwrap the porous store plastic packages with airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper, or place the package inside a freezer bag. Use these materials or airtight freezer containers to freeze the chicken from opened packages or repackage family packs of chicken into smaller amounts. Proper wrapping prevents “freezer burn,” which appears as grayish-brown leathery spots and is caused by air reaching the surface of food.

Safe Thawing

There are three SAFE ways to thaw chicken: in the refrigerator, in cold running water, and in the microwave. Never thaw chicken on the counter or in other locations. It’s best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Boneless chicken breasts, bone-in parts, and whole chickens may take 1 to 2 days or longer to thaw. Once the raw chicken thaws, it can be kept in the refrigerator an additional day or two before cooking

Safe Cooking

All Chicken needs to be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

Grilled spicy chicken breast with herbs on old cutting board.Food background.Top view.









For more information about Food Safety and Quality contact:

Angela Treadaway (205) 410-3696 or email (treadas@aces.edu)


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!

Basic Mineral Nutrition in Forages Frequently Fed to Horses

Wild horses on the mountain














Basic Mineral Nutrition in Forages Frequently Fed to Horses

This Timely Information Sheet provides an overview of mineral nutrition of horses (Ca, P, K, Mg, Na, Cl, Fe, and Cu) and the importance of the forage nutritional analysis.

Background Information

With pasture and hay being the cornerstone of the equine diet, knowing its composition is vital to assuring our horse’s needs are being met. Unfortunately, horse owners are learning the importance of hay testing after their horse’s health has deteriorated. The nutrient content of forage is comprised of a complex interaction of factors, which include: soil fertility, texture and pH, environmental conditions during growth and hay curing, stage of growth when cut, species, and variety of forage.

An important component of the forage analysis often overlooked is the quantity of minerals. Minerals in forages can vary significantly with soil mineral content, plant species, stage of maturity at harvest, harvest conditions etc. Consequently, forages should be sent to a laboratory for mineral analysis. The forage analysis will include the following minerals required by horses: Ca (calcium), P (phosphorus), K (potassium), Mg (magnesium), Na (sodium), Cl (chlorine), Fe (iron), and Cu (copper). Providing minerals at less than the recommended quantities can result in a dietary deficiency whereas providing minerals in excessive quantities can result in toxicity. Mineral requirements of horses can be found in Tables 1 and 2. For further reading and requirements for special cases, the National Research Council (NRC) 2007 has a publication entitled Nutrient Requirement of Horses available for purchase (https://www.nap.edu/catalog/11653/nutrient-requirements- of-horses-sixth-revised-edition).


Macromineral Content in Forages

It is useful to know approximate mineral percentages of legumes versus grass hays when making a decision on the type of forage to be fed. Ca content is 1.3% and 0.6% in legumes and grasses, respectively. P content of most forages is approximately 0.25-0.35%. Mg is approximately 0.25-0.3% and 0.20-0.25% in legumes and grasses, respectively. K ranges 2.0-3% and 1.5-3% in legumes and grasses, respectively. There is less than 0.5% Na in all forages. Cl is between 0.5 to 1.0% in legumes and grasses, respectively. Note: Fe and Cu are reported in ppm, or mg/kg. Fe is approximately 150 mg/kg in legumes and 50 mg/kg in grass. Cu is very low in many forages and ranges from 9-11 mg/kg.


Deficiencies and Toxicities

High quality forages are typically adequate in Mg, K and S. Magnesium is a vitally important ion in the blood; it participates in muscular contraction and it is also a cofactor in several enzymes. In rare cases, deficiency of Mg may lead to hypomagnesaemia, which is associated with loss of appetite, nervousness, sweating, muscular tremors, convulsions, and mineralization of pulmonary artery caused by deposition of Ca and P salts.

While K deficiency in adult horses is rare, young foals may become deficient in K as a result of persistent diarrhea and this in turn tends to precipitate acidosis. Adult horses that are exercised strenuously are also at risk of deficiency due to the resulting spontaneous changes in plasma K. The Na and Cl requirements are met by providing salt. However, a performance horse that sweats a great deal may require K, Na and Cl supplementation to replace excess mineral loss via the sweat.

A critical consideration in mineral nutrition of the horse is the calcium to phosphorus (Ca:P) ratio. The functions of calcium and phosphorus are considered together because of their independent role as the main elements of crystal apatite, which provides the strength and rigidity of the skeleton. The elements of bone are in a continual state of flux with Ca and P being removed and redeposited by a process that facilitates the reservoir role and enables growth and remodeling of the skeleton to proceed during growth and development.

The Ca:P ratio should be approximately 2:1 with twice as much Ca as P; with acceptable ratios ranging from 1.5 to 3:1 in the young growing horse and 1:1 to 6:1 in the mature horse, assuming that adequate levels of P are provided. A ratio less than 1:1 where the P content actually exceeds that of the Ca content, even if the absolute amounts of Ca and P are adequate, will result in interference of the bioavailability of Ca which can cause orthopedic or bone disorders, especially in young, rapidly growing horses. The Ca and P content in forages can be variable.  Legumes typically have higher Ca concentrations than grasses whereas grains are usually high in P and low in Ca. Consequently, it is important to know the Ca and P content of all feedstuffs to ensure that the appropriate Ca:P ratio is achieved.

Copper is involved in cartilage formation and development and is of particular concern in growing horses. Since 1989, several studies have found that low Cu diets are associated with an increased incidence of developmental orthopedic disease in growing horses. Iron is used in formation of hemoglobin, which involved in oxygen transport in the body. Fe deficiencies are rarely reported and most forage sources meet the daily requirements of horses.

Table 1. Daily Nutrient Requirements of Horses (adapted from 1989 NRC for horses)
Item Weight (lb) Ca P Mg K Na Cu Fe
Maintenance lb g g g g g mg mg
880 16.0 11.2 6.0 20 6.7 67 268
1100 20.0 14.0 7.5 25 8.2 82 328
1320 24.0 16.8 9.0 30 9.7 97 388
Preg. mare
9 mo. 880 28.3 21.4 7.1 24 6.6 66 331
1100 34.6 26.2 8.7 29 8.1 81 405
1320 40.9 31.0 10.3 34 9.6 96 479
10 mo. 880 28.8 21.8 7.3 24 6.7 67 336
1100 35.2 26.7 8.9 30 8.2 82 412
1320 41.7 31.6 10.5 35 9.7 97 487
11 mo. 880 30.6 23.2 7.7 26 6.7 67 335
1100 37.4 28.3 9.4 31 8.2 82 410
1320 44.2 33.5 11.2 37 9.7 97 485
Lactating mare
Early lact. 880 44.8 28.9 8.7 37 8.8 88 440
1100 56.0 36.1 10.9 46 10.9 109 544
1320 67.2 43.3 13.0 55 12.9 129 647
Late lact. 880 28.8 17.8 6.9 26 8.1 81 403
1100 36.0 22.2 8.6 33 9.9 99 496
1320 43.2 26.7 10.3 40 11.8 118 590
Working horse
Light work 880 20.4 14.6 7.7 25 20.5 68 273
1100 25.0 17.8 9.4 31 25.1 84 335
1320 29.6 21.1 11.2 37 29.7 99 396
Moderate work 880 24.5 17.5 9.2 31 22.8 76 303
1100 30.0 21.4 11.3 37 27.8 93 371
1320 35.5 25.3 13.4 44 32.9 110 439
Intense work 880 32.7 23.3 12.3 41 28.2 94 376
1100 40.0 28.5 15.1 50 34.5 136 460
1320 47.3 33.8 17.8 59 40.8 136 545


Table 2. Daily Nutrient Requirements of Growing Horses (adapted from 1989 NRC for horses)
Age Ca P Mg K Na Cu Fe
Mo g g g g g mg mg
18 21.2 11.7 5.3 17 6.4 64 318
4 34.2 19.0 3.7 11 5.0 50 248
6 29.4 16.3 4.0 13 5.2 52 259


Prepared by: Courteney Holland, Extension Equine Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, Auburn University, AL. January 2018. CMH – 2018.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) is an equal opportunity educator and employer.






4-H News and Updates!










4-H Agriknowledge Team

This group of youth have worked extremly hard on gaining a base knowledge of animal science.  Each participant has processed a lot of information on Livestock Breed Identification, Retail Meat Identification, Feed Identification, Livestock/Meat Equipment Identification.

The team entered a 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl & Skillathon competition in January at the Alabama 4-H Center.  They all walked away with a handful of ribbons to show for their hard work and efforts.  We are so proud of them and thanks to Mr. Ricky Colquitt for pouring out a lot of time and support into each of these participants.

If you would like to join the team please contact:

Ricky Colquitt (205-669-6763) or email (colqurw@aces.edu)  



Winter Competitve Events Spotlight!

















Senior I








Senior II










1,2,3,4–H club in action!


On September 30, 2017 the 1,2,3,4-H club went to Wendy’s in Chelesa and held a fundraiser to purchase Red Wagons for Children’s Hospital. It was from 11am-3pm at the Chelsea location. Wendy’s donated 15% of the customers purchase and then they matched the final total. The 4-H members of the 1,2,3,4-H club did a wonderful job and will be able to purchase several wagons to donate to Children’s Hospital. We are so proud of them. What a job well done!







Mid-Winter Teen Leadership Retreat


Learn about new and exciting opportunities in 4-H.   Reach out to other youth.  Learn valuable leadership skills.  Help others through community service.  Motivate senior 4-H’ers to stay active on the local level.  Make the best…better.

Age: Midwinter Teen Leadership Retreat is for enrolled,
senior (ages 14 to 18) 4-H members only






What Is Chick Chain?

The 4-H Chick Chain Project teaches young people recommended management practices for growing and raising chickens. Participation will help you do the following:
• develop poultry management skills
• learn to produce healthy chickens
• develop awareness of business management
• develop record-keeping skills (income and expenses)
• contribute to your home food supply
• realize the pride of accomplishment

Who Can Participate?
Any young person age 9 through 18 as of January 1 of the project year can participate. You do not have
to be a current 4-H member; however, you will need to complete a 4-H enrollment form if you are not a member.

Click here to view full Production Manual:http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/4/4HYD-2044/4HYD-2044.pdf

Want to enroll in 4-H click here: https://www.4honline.com/

For more information please contact the Shelby County Office (205) 669-6763 or email Charity Battles at caw0046@aces.edu.


Summer Camp 2018











Registration is OPEN!!

Shelby County Dates: Session 3 (June 11-13, 2018)

Rate for 4-H Summer Camp

$106 per person*

Camp rate includes three days/two nights lodging, six meals, 3 snacks, a summer camp t-shirt and lots of summer fun! Contact the Shelby County office at 205-669-6763 or email our 4-H Foundational Regional Extension Agent Charity Battles at (caw0046@aces.edu) for  any additional information, registration, etc.

*Cost does not include transportation to camp.

A recap of what is needed:

-Enroll in 4-H Online (if your child is not currently enrolled in a 4-H club)

Want to enroll in 4-H click here: https://www.4honline.com/

-Register for 4-H Summer Camp in 4-H Online

-Complete and turn in physician referral form

-Turn in blue form

-Pay $25 before March 1st or pay full amount of $106 online

Click here for a full details: http://www.aces.edu/4-H-youth/4H-Center/camp/index.php


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!



Alabama Extension Offers Tax Bill Workshops for Farmers









Alabama farmers can learn more about how the new tax law affects them individually and their farming operation at tax bill workshops from Alabama Extension’s Agribusiness Management Team. After the training, famers will be better equipped to navigate the new tax provisions.

Dr. Robert Tufts, an Alabama Extension farm management specialist and attorney, will conduct the workshops at 13 locations during February and March from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Three exceptions include the Feb. 1 Fairhope workshop from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additionally, the March 1 workshop in Opelika will be from from 8:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., while the Shorter workshop lasts from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The workshop will highlight estate tax changes, individual tax changes and business tax changes in the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The workshop will also include a comparison of pass-through entity taxes to C-corporations taxes using case studies showing effects on small-, medium- and large-sized operations.


A complete workshop agenda and location schedule is available by visiting the following link: http://www.aces.edu/agriculture/business-management/taxes/.

There is a $15 registration fee per individual or $50 for any person requesting continuing education credit. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Continuing education credit will also be available for accountants, attorneys, foresters and professional logging managers.

To register online and pay via credit card, complete online registration here. Participants may also call the local contact to register by phone and pay at the door.

Tax Bill Workshop Locations

Feb. 1 — Baldwin County
1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center
8300 State Highway 104
Fairhope, Alabama
Contact : Ken Kelley
(251) 238-0373

Feb. 6 — Sumter County
ALFA Environmental Hall
University of West Alabama – Rodeo Drive
Livingston, Alabama
Contact: John Ollison
(205) 652-9501

Feb. 12 — Henry County
Wiregrass Research and Extension Center
167 AL Highway 134 East
Headland, Alabama
Contact: Jessica Kelton
(334) 693-3800 

Feb. 13 — Coffee County
5 County Complex
1055 East McKinnin Street
New Brockton, Alabama
Contact: Gavin Mauldin
(334) 894-5596 

Feb. 15 — Escambia County
Grace Fellowship Church
1412 East Nashville Avenue
Atmore, Alabama
Contact: Anthony Wiggins/Ken Kelley
(251) 867-7760

Feb 19 — Lauderdale County
Lauderdale County Extension Office
802 Veterans Drive
Florence, Alabama
Contact: Heidi Tilenius
(256) 766-6223

Feb. 20 — DeKalb County
Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center
13112 AL Highway 68
Crossville, Alabama
Contact: Robert Page
(256) 201-2465

Feb. 22 — Talladega County
Talladega County Extension Office
130 N. Court Street
Talladega, Alabama
Contact: Henry Borough
(256) 362-6187

Feb. 26 — Marion County
Marion County Extension Office
372 7th Avenue Southwest
Hamilton, Alabama
Contact: Lisa Murphy
(205) 921-3551

Feb. 27 — Dallas County
Black Belt Research and Extension Center
60 County Road 944
Marion Junction, Alabama
Contact: Jamie Yeager/Ken Kelley
(334) 872-7878

March 1 — Lee County
8:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Lee County Extension Office
600 S. 7th Street, Suite 4
Opelika, Alabama
Contact: Tara Barr
(334) 749-3353

March 1 — Macon County
1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
E.V. Smith Research Center
4725 County Road 40
Shorter, Alabama
Contact: Jessica Kelton
(334) 693-3800

March 8 — Tuscaloosa County
Courthouse Annex
2513 7th Street
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Contact: Lisa Murphy
(205) 349-4630

More Information

For additional questions about the program email Robert Tufts (tuftsra@aces.edu) or call (334) 734-2120.


Image by photofriday/shutterstock.com.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!

Cold Snap Won’t Faze Insect Pests










If the recent cold snap had hopes of an insect-free season springing to mind, think again.

Even after a week of frigid temperatures—uncharacteristic even for Alabama winters—insects will likely survive.

Dr. Xing Ping Hu, an Alabama Extension entomologist said insects are not usually susceptible to cold temperatures.

“Some crops, fruit trees and even livestock animals may fall prey to cold weather, but insects can survive even record cold,” Hu said.

Insects Are Always Adapting

“Insects have been around for ages and have survived a wide range of weather conditions,” Hu said. “They have developed strategies for surviving even in the coldest temperatures by entering diapause—ceasing to feed, grow or reproduce—by hibernating in protected sites, by burrowing deep down into protective sites—such as leaf litter or the ground—or by sneaking into human-built structures.”

Hu said some insects also find shelter in hollow logs. Over time, some species will develop a higher tolerance, and in some cases—a resistance–to colder weather.

Cold Weather No Match for Many Insects

Alaska and Minnesota are prime examples of the adaptive nature of the insect. These states, known for brutal winters, also have ruthless mosquito populations in the summer.

“Both states are also known for active mosquito populations during the summer,” Hu said. “In fact, mosquitoes are far more susceptible to the lack of spring rainfall than they are to prolonged and unusually cold weather.”

Furthermore, the recent cold snap was not cold or long enough to make a noticeable difference in insect populations.

“Fire ants need two weeks of temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit to have any effect on the number of ant colonies,” she said.

Common Household Insects

Aside from mosquitoes and fire ants, other urban insects Alabamians are familiar with—termites, cockroaches, wasps, bedbugs, flies, fleas, and various ant species—are also resilient.

“Most insects have a breaking point, but cold weather typically is not one of them,” Hu said.

Termites avoid freezes by burrowing deep into the ground, underneath fallen logs and rocks. Their activity slows during winter but rarely completely ceases.

Cockroaches living inside homes or other structures have no problem at all with the winter. Roaches living outside survive freezing temperatures by hiding in safe and warm places such as organic litters, inside fallen-logs, or composters with basic necessities: food, warmth and a hiding place.

While most wasps die off in the fall, a few will move into sheltered spots to ride out the winter.

“They usually go dormant until the spring,” Hu said. “Bees stay inside their hive and keep themselves warm by fluttering their wings. The queen always remains at the center to increase her chances of survival.”

Bedbugs never leave the house. Inside homes with temperatures above 65 degrees, they are active through the winter. Bedbugs are dormant in temperatures below 65 degrees.

Houseflies rarely survive freezing temperatures outside, but they live well with adequate protection and food sources. Cluster flies also overwinter in protected locations, such as a wall void in the home, and emerge on warm days.

Most fleas survive cold temperatures by sticking with warm-bodied host animals.

Ants live in groups called colonies. They fend off freezing cold by clustering together, sealing the entrances to their nests and entering a dormant stage.

More Information

For more information on insects, visit www.aces.edu.



Photo by Oleg Doroshin/shutterstock.com.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!

Winter Hair Coats & Blanketing

Horses On Rural Farm Wearing Winter Coats In Daytime













 Winter Hair Coats & Blanketing

This Timely Information Sheet provides an overview heat regulation in horses and blanketing tips.


Hair Coat

Most horses have the capacity to grow a winter hair coat that will keep them sufficiently warm in the coldest weather. Winter hair growth is triggered primarily by the change in photoperiod or day length, and the winter coat starts to enter in mid to late August. While the process is directed by the change in daylight, external temperatures will also play somewhat of a role, in that a horse that is blanketed early will not develop as thick a coat. If a horse is blanketed in the fall to maintain a slick hair coat for fall and winter shows, the winter hair that grows in will be shorter than it would be if the horse were left unblanketed.

Once a horse’s winter hair coat is in place, the body heat will be trapped by the hair as it “fluffs up” providing warmth. Most horses can withstand even the coldest, snowiest weather without additional protection, provided there is shelter from rain and wind. A wet, flat hair coat will lessen the ability of the hair to “fluff”, thus lessening a horse’s ability to stay warm, resulting in more energy used to try to regulate body temperature. This energy will either come from nutritional sources, or directly from body stores, resulting in weight loss if added feed is not provided.

Effects on Energy Requirements

Forages (hay) or other fiber sources actually produce additional heat when digested by the horse and hence are the best feeds to increase in cold weather. Horses require 1-2 percent of their body weight in forage for optimum health. To maintain adequate body heat, the average horse needs an additional 2 pounds of forage per day for every 10 degree change below 40 degrees

Fahrenheit, or the lower critical temperature (see Tables 1 & 2).

Given the use of nutritional reserves for temperature regulation, there are some horses that have the potential to benefit from blanketing, including geriatric, sick, very young, or very thin horses, or horses that are moved to cold climates before they have fully developed an appropriate winter coat for conditions. Other examples include horses that continue to work in the winter

and those that are body or trace clipped or kept under lights likely need the additional protection that blankets provide.

Blanket Management

If a horse is turned out in winter weather for extended periods, it is important to use a waterproof blanket and to make certain that the blanket continues to provide protection underneath. If blankets become soaked, they should be removed and replaced with a dry blanket, especially if the horse becomes wet underneath.

Horses should be checked daily and blankets should be removed regularly to assess body condition. A horse’s body condition score should remain at 5 or 6 with additional feed provided should it drop below 5.

Blanketing fit is very important! Horses can develop rub marks or sores where the straps securing the blanket fit improperly. If the horse is continuously blanketed the blanket should be removed regularly to inspected for damage and reposition due to twisting. Make sure blankets are kept dry and do not put a blanket on a wet horse; wait until the horse is dry before blanketing. Or take a wet blanket off a horse to keep it from becoming chilled. Days that the temperature becomes warm remove the blanket so the horse does not sweat and become wet under the blanket. Air out the blanket and dry out the horse’s hair coat.


Prepared by: Courteney Holland, Extension Equine Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, Auburn University, AL. January 2018. CMH – 2018.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) is an equal opportunity educator and employer.









State’s Fruit Growers Understand Managing Cold Weather










Alabama fruit producers are keeping their eyes on the thermometers, but professionals with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System say producers are used to dealing with cold weather.

Dr. Edgar Vinson, an Alabama Extension fruit specialist who works closely with the state’s peach producers, said most are not worried about the frigid weather.

“This season’s cold weather has kept peaches and other tree fruits dormant,” Vinson said. “When trees are dormant, cold damage is less of a threat.”

Cold is Important

Peach trees and most deciduous fruit trees need cold to produce a good harvest.

Jim Pitts with Auburn University’s Chilton Regional Research and Extension Center said getting adequate chill hours is critical for peach production.

“Trees accumulate chill hours between 32° and 45° F,” said Pitts. “Currently, about 90 percent of peach trees in the state have gotten adequate chill hours.”

Pitts said Chilton center researchers have logged about 800 chill hours.

“We would like to get 1,000 chill hours,” said Pitts. “Additionally, we would like to see it stay cool for another month. Right now, it won’t take much warm weather to get trees to break dormancy and start moving toward bloom.”

Icy Satsumas

Concerns are higher along the Gulf Coast where satsumas are raised. Satsuma, a type of mandarin (a classification of citrus) similar to a tangerine, is one of the more cold vulnerable tree fruits raised in Alabama.

James Miles, a regional Extension agent based in Mobile, said producers were proactive in guarding their investments.

“Growers used overhead irrigation to ice the trees. Growers that initiate this technique are committed to keeping the system running until all the ice has melted. This could easily be two to five days.”

Miles said using irrigation to put a protective ice layer on the trees is one of the most common freeze protection measures that citrus growers use for prolonged freeze events.

Safeguarding Strawberries

Strawberries are vulnerable to cold, but Doug Chapman, a regional Extension agent in north Alabama, said strawberry producers have their crops covered with floating row covers.

“Most growers use one layer of row covering, but some producers are adopting a practice used further north—covering strawberries with two layers of covering,” said Chapman. “Using two covers allows growers to protect plants and to capture ground heat and keep it in the plant canopy at night.”

Growers who use two covers peel the top layer back during the day to allow for better light penetration and gas respiration for the strawberry plant. The top cover will be returned at night.

Snow and Ice Threat to Greenhouses

While producers who raise their crops outdoors may not be overly worried, it’s a different story for those raising crops such as strawberries, lettuces and tomatoes in greenhouses, said regional Extensioncommercial horticulture agent Chip East.

“The cold weather is eating into their profits because they are spending more dollars to keep greenhouses at the correct temperatures.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, East said, even worse is snow and ice.

The extra weight of snow and ice can easily cave in a greenhouse, destroying the crop inside as well as the house.

“Growers can’t risk their investment both in the plants and the actual structures. They will be raking and sweeping the snow off those greenhouses.”


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!