Wells County

The Cooperative Extension Service is one of the nation's largest providers of scientific research-based information and education. It's a network of colleges, universities, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, serving communities and counties across America. The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service program areas are:

Agriculture and Natural Resources
Health and Human Sciences
Community Development
4-H Youth Development

Purdue Extension is a service tailored to meet the needs of Indiana, needs we know firsthand. Our educators, specialists, and volunteers live and work in all 92 Indiana counties. We provide the link between Land Grant research and Indiana citizens. In doing that we provide practical solutions to local issues. We provide information and expertise that's available in the form you want, when you want it. That's Purdue Extension, Indiana's home team advantage.

What We Do

We improve lives and livelihoods by delivering tested and trusted educational resources. The Cooperative Extension Service is one of the nation's largest providers of scientific research-based information and education. It's a network of colleges, universities, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, serving communities and counties across America. The Purdue Extension focuses on: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Human and Health Sciences, Economic and Community Development and 4-H Youth.

Contact Us

Purdue Wells County Extension
1240 4-H Park Road
Bluffton, IN 46714
(260) 824-6412

County offices

wells County Staff

2022 Wells County 4-H Rule Book

Check out the 2022 Wells County 4-H Rule Book for updated information about your 4-H projects. There were MANY changes to project guidelines for 2022, so make sure to read carefully before you begin working on your 4-H projects!

2022 Wells County 4-H Rule Book

Green 4-H Clover

Helpful 4-H Flyers and Forms:

2022 4-H Archery Club Flyer                           2022 4-H Shotgun Club Flyer

2022 4-H Dog Club Flyer                                 2022 Alpaca Club Flyer

2022 Robotics Club Flyer                                2022 YQCA Update

10 Year 4-H Member Recognition Form         2022 Caley Memorial Application

2022 4-H Ambassador Application                 4-H Online Animal ID Instructions                     

4-H Online Rabbit ID Instructions


ServSafe Classes Offered

For more information and a list of available trainings and exams in our area visit the Purdue ServSafe link below.

Learn More Here

Wells County Newsletters

Check out Health and Human Science Newsletters with helpful articles on health, nutrition, family and finances.

The July-August 2022 edition includes the following articles:


How to Protect Yourself and Your Family From the Sun

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can be harmful to your skin. In fact, most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to UV light. UV light mainly comes from the sun. But harmful UV light can also come from tanning beds and sun lamps. There are things you can do to help reduce exposure to UV light—for yourself and your children.

Children need special attention to keep them protected from the sun. They usually spend more time outdoors and burn more easily. Babies younger than 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight. They sould also wear hats and protective clothing. Sunscreen used on babies should only be put on small areas of exposed skin.

  •  Stay in the Shade—Staying in the shade is one of the best ways to help prevent UV exposure. Try to stay out of direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV light is strongest.

° Tip: Use the shadow test to see how strong the sun’s rays are. If your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s rays are the strongest. Be sure to protect yourself.

  • Wear clothes to cover your skin—Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or long skirts cover the most skin and are the most protective. Some clothing is made with UV protection.
  • Use sunscreen and apply it correctly—Sunscreen can help protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. Use products with broad-spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays). And choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.

Be sure to check the expiration date. Sunscreen is usually good for 2 to 3 years. And don’t forget to protect your lips by using a lip balm with sunscreen.

Sunscreen needs to be put on at least every 2 hours, but check the label just to be sure. Sunscreen can wash off when you sweat or swim and wipe off with a towel. So, sunscreen may need to be reapplied more often, even if it is “water resistant.”

° Tip: Use at least 1 ounce of sunscreen (about a shot glass or enough to fill the palm of your hand) to cover your arms, legs, neck, and face.

It’s important to remember that sunscreen is just a filter. It does not block all UV rays. Use it, but take other steps to protect yourself too.

  •  Wear a wide brim hat—Be sure that your hat protects the eyes, forehead, nose, scalp, and ears. A hat with a 2 or 3 inch brim all around is best.
  • Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays—Large-frames and wraparound sunglasses protect best. Children need smaller versions of protective adult sunglasses—do not use toy sunglasses.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps—Tanning devices can cause long-term skin damage and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Even with sunscreen, you should limit the amount of time you spend in the sun. Sunscreen does not block all UV rays.

 Source: American Cancer Society at cancer.org




Learn about the basics of safe home canning using a pressure canner as wells as a boiling water canner. Attendees will receive lecture/resources, hands on practice, and take home product. These workshops are taught by Purdue Extension Mastering Home Food Preservation Instructors and space is limited, so sign up today at https://cvent.me/kagOyz. Cost is $50. If you have questions about registration, email edustore@purdue.edu. Classes and locations offered this summer are:

  • Columbus—Bartholomew County

        July 8, 9 AM—2 PM EST

        Contact: Harriet Armstrong



  • Logansport—Cass County

        July 30, 9 AM—2 PM EST

        Contact: Jane Horner



  • Greenfield—Hancock County

    August 2, 11 AM—4 PM EST

    Contact: Monica Nagele



  • Franklin—Johnson County

    August 9, 11 AM—4 PM EST

    Contact: Monica Nagele



  • Fort Wayne—Allen County

    August 13, 9 AM—2 PM EST

    Contact: Molly Hoag



  • Fort Wayne—Allen County

    August 15, 9 AM—2 PM EST

    Contact: Molly Hoag




Handling foods safely is much more than throwing away expired milk or washing your fruits and vegetables. While these actions are important, there are several more common food safety mistakes that can result in major consequences.

Don't be one of the 48 million Americans sickened by food poisoning each year. Avoid these 10 common yet dangerous food safety mistakes.

Mistake #1: Tasting food to see if it's still good
Never taste your food to check if it has spoiled. You can't taste, see or even smell all bacteria that causes food poisoning, and tasting just a tiny bit of contaminated food can cause serious illness. Throw away all expired food before harmful bacteria grows. Consider composting expired plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, bread and vegetarian leftovers.

Mistake #2: Putting cooked or ready-to-eat foods back on a plate that held raw meat
Never let raw meat, poultry or seafood touch cooked meat or any ready-to-eat foods, as this can cause cross-contamination. Foodborne pathogens from raw meat can easily spread to ready-to-eat foods and cause food poisoning. Always use separate plates, cutting boards and utensils to keep raw meats, poultry and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods.

Mistake #3: Thawing food on the counter
Never thaw food on the counter. Harmful foodborne pathogens multiply rapidly when foods are in the danger zone between 40°F and 140°F. Instead, always thaw foods in the refrigerator, cold water or in the microwave.

Mistake #4: Washing meat or poultry 
Never wash raw meat or poultry because the water can easily spread bacteria to your sink, countertops and other kitchen surfaces. Only wash raw fruits and vegetables.

Mistake #5: Letting food cool before putting it in the fridge
Don't leave food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours or one hour if it is over 90°F outside. Illness-causing bacteria can grow rapidly when perishable foods are left in the danger zone — between 40°F and 140°F. Always refrigerate foods in a timely matter. If you are on a road trip, tailgating or picnicking, pack perishable foods in a well-insulated cooler with ice or cold packs.

Mistake #6: Eating raw cookie dough (and other foods containing uncooked eggs and flour)
Never eat any raw eggs because they may contain Salmonella or other harmful bacteria. Instead, cook eggs thoroughly and avoid foods that contain raw or undercooked eggs. Even raw dough without eggs should not be consumed as raw flour may contain E. coli and cause people to get sick.

Mistake #7: Marinating meat or seafood on the counter. Using raw meat marinade on cooked food.
Never marinate meat, poultry or seafood on the counter or use the same marinade for raw meat and cooked food. If you marinate on the counter, harmful germs can multiple rapidly when in the danger zone — between 40°F and 140°F. In addition, if you use the same marinade on raw and cooked meats, the harmful bacteria from the raw food can spread to the cooked food. Always marinate raw meat, seafood and poultry in the refrigerator and only reuse marinade if you bring it to a boil just before using.

Mistake #8: Undercooking meat, poultry, seafood or eggs
Cooked food is safe only after it's been heated to a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria. In order to avoid eating undercooked foods, you must use a food thermometer — the only way to determine if cooked foods are safe to eat. Do not rely on sight, smell or taste to tell whether your food is done.

Mistake #9: Not washing your hands
Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places — including on your hands. Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm, running water before and after handling food.

Mistake #10: Not replacing sponges and dish rags
Ironically, sponges and dishrags are some of the dirtiest tools in your kitchen. Sponges and dishrags can hold harmful foodborne pathogens and cause a serious health risk. Always sanitize your sponges at least every other day and replace them every week or two for best protection against germs.

Source: www.eatright.org 


burning issue: green beans and botulism

How can I can my green beans safely?

Easy to grow in a home garden and delicious year-round, green beans are a popular home-canned food. Just like with any other home-canned food, it is important to always use proper procedures and follow tested recommendations. Yet we have received many concerns about canning green beans this season, including confessions of improper processing. Unfortunately, in multiple situations we’ve had to recommend discarding entire batches due to under-processing, because there is a risk of botulism from under-processed green beans.  Botulism is a potentially deadly food poisoning.

To help you prevent waste, sickness, or worse, here are our responses to the most common questions about canning green beans:

Q: I want my green beans in a boiling water bath...is that ok?

No. Green beans are a low-acid food and require the higher temperature from a pressure canning process for a pre-determined length of time in order to destroy the potentially deadly bacterial spores of Clostridium botulinum, unless they are adequately pickled. The ONLY processing we can support for non-pickled green beans is under pressure, using the directions and steps found on our website at https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_04/beans_snap_italian.html

Q: My neighbor gave me green beans that were canned using the oven method…is it safe for me to eat them?

A: No. Using the oven method is NOT a recommended method of canning for green beans or any other food. It is dangerous because dry heat is slow to penetrate into jars (so recommended process times would not be enough), temperatures inside ovens vary (so a standard process time would be indeterminable), and no reliable, research-based safe process times have been developed for oven canning.  There are also stories that jars heated in a dry oven could explode or break more easily than with recommended canning procedures.

Q: Last month I force cooled the pressure canner with my last batch of green beans, but now I think that may not have been a good idea…what should I do?

A: We recommend that the jars of beans be discarded. This is the safest option when home-canned foods are suspected of being spoiled or improperly canned.  The cool-down time of a pressure canning process is calculated into the overall heat treatment required to destroy dangerous bacteria (Clostridium botulinum). So, if you do not let pressure canners cool down naturally and slowly to 0 pounds pressure, the jars did not receive a complete canning process.  These jars are therefore considered to be under-processed, which means it is not safe to store them at room temperature.

If it had been less than 24 hours, you could have refrigerated the jars immediately and eaten them within one week or frozen the green beans for longer term storage.  Instructions for discarding suspect jars or detoxifying and cleaning unsealed spoiled jars are available on our website: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/general/identify_handle_spoiled_canned_food.html .

Q: Last night I pressure canned my green beans using USDA recommendations, but this morning I noticed that 3 of the jars did not seal…can I re-process them?

A: Yes, if the jars received a proper pressure canning process but simply did not vacuum seal, then you can re-process them within 24 hours. Remove the unsealed lids and check the jars for nicks. Replace the jar if needed, and replace the lid with a new, properly prepared lid. Repeat the canning process, using the same processing time for this second process. Another option is to refrigerate the jars and eat the beans within a week, or to freeze the green beans for longer term storage. If more than 24 hours had passed, then we would recommend that you discard the beans.

There are cases of botulism from under-processed home-canned green beans and other vegetables.  These two short reports document that this is hazard to be taken seriously.

Source: https://nchfp.uga.edu


pressure canner testing

Pressure canner testing is now available again at the Wells County Extension Office.

Drop off your dial gauge pressure canner at    the Extension Office M-F, 8AM—4:30 PM. We will call you to pick it up once it’s been tested.

Canners can be dropped off at the Wells County Community Center, 1240 4-H Park Road, Bluffton.

Cost for the inspection is $5.00.


A PDF version of this newsletter is available HERE.

News Notes for Parents is a newsletter geared towards parents with children ages 8 and under. You will find articles about parenting, early childhood education, nutrition and much more.

In the May 2022 issue of News Notes for Parents, you will find the following articles:

How to Prevent 7 Picnic Food Safety Mistakes

When you're relaxing with family and friends, it's easy to get caught up in the fun and accidentally
cross-contaminate food, or forget to pack enough ice to keep your cooler cool. One small error can sicken your whole crew, making you one unpopular host! One in six Americans gets sick every year from foodborne pathogens. Reduce your odds of foodborne illness by avoiding these seven common picnic food slip-ups.
Picnic Error: You Didn't Start with a Clean Slate - Before you pack for your picnic,sanitize your cooler and wash reusable bags.
Picnic Error: You Cross-Contaminated - Bring two sets of utensils: one for handling raw meats and one for serving cooked meat.
Picnic Error: Your Cooler Lost its Cool - Even an insulated cooler can't keep food cool enough on its own.
Picnic Error: You Repurposed Ice - If you're bringing ice to use in beverages, pack it in a separate sealed bag.
Picnic Error: You Didn't Bring a Food Thermometer - Meat needs to be cooked to certain temperatures to control harmful bacteria.
Picnic Error: You Let Food Sit Out - Keep perishable picnic food out of the danger zone— a temperature range between 41°F and 135°F.

Click here to view full article.


What to do When Your Preschooler Lies

Children lie for many reasons. Sometimes for pretending, but other times on purpose. Keep in mind lying is normal for preschoolers. How you handle it now, though, will affect how they behave as they get older.

  • Explain what lying is and tell them how you feel about it.
  • Teach your child the difference between what is real and what is not.
  • Discuss different types of lies with your child. Hurtful lies are different from lies people tell to be polite.
  • Talk with them about what makes it hard to tell the truth sometimes.
  • Have realistic expectations. If you expect them to be perfect, they may lie to gain your approval.
  • Avoid labeling your child as a liar.

 Learn more HERE.


Butterfly Pretzels

Wash your hands before you begin

It’s like it happened overnight! Do you have a toddler that used to eat
anything and now they’ve turned into a picky eater? You might find your
toddler sniffing their food and turning up their nose at anything that looks
“weird” or, in their words, “yucky.” That’s where these easy toddler snacks
come in. These Butterfly Pretzel Snacks are a good source of protein, fiber,
iron, and potassium! Try making them with your toddler!
What you’ll need: celery, peanut butter, raisins, and pretzels
Directions: Spread peanut butter onto a piece of celery. Then add a line of
raisins. Lastly, add two pretzels for wings!

Source: thenerdswife.com/easy-toddler-snacks.html

A PDF Version of News Notes to Parents is available HERE.

The June/July 2022 issue of the Wells County 4-H Newsletter includes the following information:

  • 10 Year 4-H Members - We are excited to recognize you for your accomplishments as a 10 year member. Teh 10 year 4-H member form can be found on our website (one was mailed out to you on April 27th). The form can be dropped off, mailed or emailed to Linda, lbushee@purdue.edu, by JUNE 17th.
  • 4-H Junior Ambassador applicants must gbe in grade 7, 8, or 9 as of January 1, 2022. Ambassador applicants must be in grade 10 or above as of January 1, 2022. Applications can be found on the Purdue Extension website. Interviews will be held Monday, July 13th at 6:30 PM in the Community Center at the 4-H Park. Applications are due at the Extension Office by June 24th. 
  • The Caley Memorial Award will be given to two 4-H members in Wells County who have shown outstanding qualities in the area of leadership, citizen ship, sportsmanship, and personality in their community, church, school and 4-H activities. Applications can be found on the Purdue Extension website and are due June 30th. 
  • YQCA will need to be completed for all 4-H members showing livestock. In-person workshops require online registration of $3 and the online training requires online registration of $12. The new YQCA website is yqcaprogram.org.
  • 2022 4-H Rule books are now available for purchase at the Wells County Extension Office. The cost is $7 for pages, binder and dividers; $3 for just the pages. The full electronic version of the Rule Book can also be found HERE.
  • Fair Entry - All 4-H projects must be entered into Fair Entry by July 1st at midnight. By entering into Fair Entry, you will speed up the project check-in time at the fair, and assist the volunteers who organize the judging, shows and auction. Only enter exactly what you are bringing to the fair. If you are asked for a description of your project, please put it in. Please hit submit at the end. If you do not hit submit, your registration is not complete which can casue confusion at check-in.
  • 4-H Record Book Signing - June 25th from 9 AM - 12 PM - the township club leaders will be available to sign record books so you can receive your completion certificate. Help will also be available during that time to purchase foam posters and poster sleeves and work on Fair Entry.
  • Indiana State Fair (July 29 - August 21) Information:
    • All horse & pony, goats, beef cattle, dairy cattle, llama & alpaca, sheep, swine, rabbits, cat, dog and poultry that will be exhibited at the Indiana State Fair must be entered in Exhibitor's Corner by July 1st. Exhibitor's Corner opened on May 17th and can be found HERE
    • The 2022 Indiana State Fair Entry book has been posted HERE
    • NEW for 2022! 4-H exhibitors in the beef, dairy, swine, sheep, dairy goat, boer goat, and meat goat departments are required to complete the new 4-H Animal Affidavit & Animal Husbandry Form. You can find the form HERE.

PDF version available here.

Upcoming Wells County and State Extension Events

State Extension Events

Purdue Extension.
Indiana agriculture advocates honored for leadership, passion

Indiana agriculture advocates honored for leadership, passion

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Purdue University, aerial view in the summertime
2022 Hovde Award nominees sought

Purdue University is accepting nominations for the 2022 Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence,...

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small farm field day
Register to attend upcoming small farm educational field day

Connect with other small farmers at the Small Farm Education Field Day on July 29 presented by...

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Purdue Fruit, Veg, and Hemp Field Day on Thursday July 21, 2022 at the Purdue Meigs Ag Center
Registration open for Purdue Fruit, Vegetable, Hemp Field Day

Purdue specialists invite small- and large-operation farmers and growers to attend the Purdue...

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Capital Comments, Indiana state capital in background
Inflation and Indiana School District Budgets

The inflation rate in May was 8.6 percent, the highest since the bad old days of the Great...

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gardening hands holding onto weeds
Free Purdue weed science field day for farmers

Join Purdue experts for the Purdue Weed Science field day on June 30 beginning at 8 a.m. (ET) at...

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