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Purdue Extension Martin County Blast August 29, 2022


Are you or do you know a youth (grades 3-12) who would be a great Purdue Extension/4-H Ambassador, serving as a peer leader for other youth at schools and community events, bringing knowledge and opportunities out to all people for 4-H?  Four to six 4-H Youth Ambassadors are being sought.  Apply by sending an e-mail to with the subject line of “Martin County 4-H Youth Ambassador” providing the following:

  • Name
  • School & grade
  • Why you want to be a 4-H Youth Ambassador
  • What the 4-H Youth Ambassadors should do in this role


The Livestock Skill-a-thon Career Development event provides a fun and educational learning event for 4-H and FFA Members on the subject areas of livestock breeds, equipment, feed, retail meat identification; quality assurance and industry knowledge. Individual members and team members from 3rd grade to 12th grade may join by calling or emailing Amy Burris (812-709-2304/ or Dena Held (812-295-2412/  Deadline to join in 2022 is Noon, Friday, September 9th

The Area Contest will be held on Wednesday September 21st in Pike County with Area Qualifiers who advance to State Contest being able to participate on Saturday, October 1st.   


Static Projects, prizes and associated awards are ready for pick up from the Extension Office now through September 23, 2022 during normal office hours, 8 am – 4 pm Monday through Friday. Individual scheduling beyond those hours is available by calling 812-295-2412 or emailing   Items not claimed by September 23rd will be repurposed or thrown away.

2023 Martin county 4-H fair – date changed!  Friday, july 7 to tuesday, july 11, 2023

Leadership 4-H Leadership Summit and Foundation Scholarship Luncheon SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29:  SAVE THE DATE

Mark your calendar and get ready to meet future leaders and National 4-H Hall of Fame inductees Dr. Norm Long and Jeff Holland. Also, enjoy lunch from a Hoosier favorite – Jonathan Byrd’s Catering!   RSVP’s due by October 14

AgrAbility National Training Workshop Encore Webinars
Register below for any or all of the webinars.
Each webinar begins at 2:00 p.m. EDT on the given Thursday. For session descriptions and more information, visit

  • September 15: "Managing Stress on the Farm"
  • September 29: "Making Lemonade When Outreach Events Hand You LEMONS!"
  • October 13: "Build Resilience into Your Farm: Let Nature do the Heavy Lifting"
  • October 27: "Low Stress Marketing for Farmers"

A question & answer period is scheduled for each presentation. To participate in any of these free webinars, click here to access the online registration form. Please pass on this invitation to others you believe may be interested. Contact AgrAbility at 800-825-4264, visit, or email if you have questions.


2022 Hoosier Hay Contest

All are encouraged to check into the 2022 Hoosier Hay Contest!  For rules and entry form go to:

Entry deadline: September 30, 2022

Overall awards given in categories of dry hay and baleage

First place: $250 and one-year IFC membership

Second place: $150

Third place: $100



The Diverse Corn Belt project—a multidisciplinary project exploring alternative crops, longer rotations, integrating livestock and perennials that could help increase resilience in Midwest agriculture—is seeking farmer input through focus groups and in-field research. The project's 30 partners are exploring diversification at the farm, market and landscape level that can broaden new opportunities for Midwest farmers and rural communities, says Dr. Linda S. Prokopy of Purdue University, who leads the five-year, $10 million project.

The study focuses on Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. The team will conduct research, extension and modeling in all three states.

"We are seeking farmer involvement at every stage of the Diverse Corn Belt project, starting with understanding how different producers define diversity, and getting their direction on the questions they want us to explore," Prokopy says. "We want to know what is working for them in the current system and what the barriers are to diversification.

"Guided by what farmers tell us they're facing and what they need, we will be exploring a wide range of approaches to diversification of production systems and markets that can help producers and rural communities become more economically and environmentally resilient in the future," she adds. "This project goes beyond delving into the production aspects of various options for diversification—the agronomics, economics, and animal productivity angles. We will also be exploring the social, infrastructure and policy changes needed to make them viable."

Help Wanted

Prokopy says farmers can participate in the Diverse Corn Belt in a variety of ways, including:

  • Focus groups, in which producers with a wide range of approaches—from traditional corn/soybean rotations to highly diversified operations—gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities posed by diversification.
  • Hosting in-field research, allowing agronomists, entomologists, hydrologists and soil scientists to study farmers' existing management systems, ranging from conventional corn/soybean rotations to more complex cropping and/or grazing programs. Host producers will not be asked to change their management; researchers will share and help interpret data produced on participating farms.
  • Joining Reimagining Agricultural Diversification (RAD) Teams, engaged conversations among producers, agricultural advisors, community leaders, and others. RAD Team members will work closely with the research team—and each other—over the next five years to share their insight on research findings, explore policy implications, and envision what the agricultural landscape of the Midwest should look like in the future.

"We are developing a vision of a Corn Belt beyond the corn/soybean system and its infrastructure, a future that provides farmers and communities with a more profitable and resilient agriculture," notes J. Arbuckle at Iowa State University. "To do that, we're working with farmers with highly specialized systems that are prevalent today and with highly diversified farmers who provide examples of what's possible.

"Of course, context is critical, so we will also be researching ways to facilitate markets, infrastructure, social networks and policy for diverse systems, as well as modeling a wide range of systems," he adds. "This holistic approach will help us map pathways to more diverse, prosperous and resilient farms and rural communities."

The Diverse Corn Belt project is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative competitive grant. Members of the research team represent land grant institutions, federal agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Interested farmers and other stakeholders can learn more about the Diverse Corn Belt project at, and volunteer to participate at

For more information, contact:

Emily Usher (765) 496-0997;

Steve Werblow (541) 951-4212;


Indiana Hunter Education Course

Where: Faith Baptist Church, Loogootee, IN

When: Friday, September 16 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm; Saturday, September 17 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Topics: Safe Firearm Use, Hunter Ethics, Conservation Management, Game Identification, Archery, Tree Stand Safety, and more.

Classes are offered by knowledgeable and dedicated volunteer instructors and Indiana Conservation Officers. Most classes offered are 1 to 3 sessions. In order to be certified, students must attend the entire class including all sessions. Anyone born after December 31, 1986 is required to be certified in Hunter Education before they can purchase a hunting license.

For more information: Kendrick Fuhrman, Tony Mann 812 837-9536

To register:


Heartsaver CPR AED Class

When: Thursday, September 22 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, lunch will be provided

Where: Martin County 4-H Fairgrounds, Community Learning Center Room 100 & Conference Room, 2666 US Hwy 50, Loogootee, Indiana

Class is limited to 12 individuals who live or work in Martin County, Indiana. Cost is $65 per person (due at event). Pre-registration is required.

This American Heart Association course is designed for those who serve as rescuers as part of job responsibilities or for the general public and have direct access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Skills taught include CPR, AED use, relief of choking in adults, children and infants. In order to complete the course and receive the course completion card, participants must successfully complete a skills evaluation.

To register please visit: or contact 812-996-5622 or Deadline to register is September 19.


Southern Indiana Area Cattleman's Beef Tour

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Gate opens at 1 p.m. EDT

Program begins at 2 p.m. EDT

Registrations are currently being accepted for the Southern Indiana Area Cattleman's Beef Tour at the Greg & Angela Hoagland & Family Ranch in Eckerty, Indiana. The event is being organized by local area Cattleman's Associations from Crawford, Dubois, Harrison, Orange & Perry Counties in partnership with Elanco, Purdue Extension, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Superior Ag, Crawford County Soil and Water Conservation, Lost River Water Shed, Orange County Soil and Water Conservation, Farm Credit Mid-America, St. Anthony Mill and Schnellville Mill, INC.

Topics for the field day include viewing the Hoaglands’ cow herd and pastures; “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” cooking demonstration; and “Current Beef Industry Trends” with keynote speaker Dr. Robin Falkner DVM, from Elanco.

The field day, scheduled for October 1st begins at 2:00 p.m. EDT and is free to all. Ribeye dinner is included in the event. Program partner will have vendor tables setup for viewing at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

To learn more and register call Purdue Extension Crawford County at 812-338-5466 or email Molley Hasenour, 4-H Youth/Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator at


Southern Indiana Purdue Ag Center (SIPAC) Fall Field Days 2022

Where: 11371 East Purdue Farm Road, Dubois, IN 47527

When: September 10 – Invasive Species Field Day

September 17 – Pond Management Field Day

October 8 – Purdue Fencing School

For more information: Purdue Extension Dubois County 812-482-1782, Jason Tower 812-678-4427


Indiana Watershed Leadership Program

The Academy, organized by Purdue University with support from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and other Indiana conservation agencies and organizations, gives participants the chance to:  

  • Engage in basic and advanced level watershed topics covering leadership principles, conservation, education and outreach, watershed science, organization and communication, technology and GIS, stakeholder involvement techniques and policy skills
  • Meet, learn from, and engage with others who work in watershed management
  • Interact with topic experts
  • Gain strategies, skills, and resources for successful watershed management
  • Earn a Professional Certificate in Watershed Management 

Enrollment deadline: November 4, 2022

Web site: For the online application and information about the Academy, visit:


Recognition: Participants who complete all requirements earn a Purdue University Continuing Education Professional Certificate in Watershed Management.

For more information, please contact Sara Peel,

Small Ruminant Lunch & Learn Webinar: Fencing & Housing for Sheep and Goats
When: September 22, 2022 at 12:00 pm EST
The webinar is free. To join go to:

The sands of Mars are green as well as red, rover Perseverance discovers Geological discoveries hint at conditions when life arose on Earth – and possibly on Mars

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The accepted view of Mars is red rocks and craters as far as the eye can see. That’s much what scientists expected when they landed the rover Perseverance in the Jezero Crater, a spot chosen partly for the crater’s history as a lake and as part of a rich river system, back when Mars had liquid water, air and a magnetic field. 

What the rover found once on the ground was startling: Rather than the expected sedimentary rocks – washed in by rivers and accumulated on the lake bottom – many of the rocks are volcanic in nature. Specifically, they are composed of large grains of olivine, the muddier less-gemlike version of peridot that tints so many of Hawaii’s beaches dark green.

Planetary scientists Roger Wiens, professor of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences, and Briony Horgan, associate professor of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences, in Purdue’s College of Science, were instrumental in the discovery and analysis of this data, recently published in a suite of papers in the journals Science and Science Advances.

Wiens led the design and construction of Perseverance’s SuperCam, which helps analyze the rock samples and determine their type and origin. Horgan helped select Jezero Crater as the rover’s landing site and now uses the Mastcam-Z cameras on Perseverance to put its discoveries into geological context.

“We started to realize that these layered igneous rocks we were seeing look different from the igneous rocks we have these days on Earth,” Wiens said. “They’re very like igneous rocks on Earth early in its existence.”

The rocks and lava the rover is examining on Mars are nearly 4 billion years old. Rocks that old exist on Earth but are incredibly weathered and beaten, thanks to Earth’s active tectonic plates as well as the weathering effects of billions of years of wind, water and life. On Mars, these rocks are pristine and much easier to analyze and study.

Understanding the rocks on Mars, their evolution and history, and what they reveal about the history of planetary conditions on Mars helps researchers understand how life may have arisen on Mars and how that compares with early life and conditions on ancient Earth.

“One of the reasons we don’t have a great understanding of where and when life first evolved on Earth is because those rocks are mostly gone, so it’s really hard to reconstruct what ancient environments on Earth were like,” Horgan said. “The rocks Perseverance is roving over in Jezero have more or less just been sitting at the surface for billions of years, waiting for us to come look at them. That’s one of the reasons that Mars is an important laboratory for understanding the early solar system.”

Scientists can use conditions on early Mars to help extrapolate the environment and conditions on Earth at the same time when life was beginning to arise. Understanding how, and under what conditions, life began will help scientists know where to look for it on other planets and moons, as well as lead to a deeper understanding of biological processes here on Earth.

The search for life is one of Perseverance’s main goals and one of the reasons it landed in Jezero Crater in the first place. Discovering the potential for habitable environments in something as uninhabitable as Jezero Crater’s aged lava flows raises hopes for what lies in the sedimentary rocks the mission is examining now.

“We’re excited to see even better results about organics and ancient habitable environments,” Horgan said. “I think it’s really setting the stage that Mars is this watery, habitable place, and all the samples we’re getting back are going to help us understand the history of ancient microbial life on Mars.”

The equipment and innovative instruments are helping the rover carry out its mission in a way no other rover yet has, emphasizing the need to land on the planet so scientists can examine and understand what’s really going on.

“From orbit, we looked at these rocks and said, ‘Oh, they have beautiful layers!’ So we thought they were sedimentary rocks,” Horgan said. “And it wasn’t until we were very close up and looked at them, at the millimeter scale, that we understood that these are not sedimentary rocks. They’re actually ancient lava. It was a huge moment when we figured that out on the ground, and it really illustrated why we need this kind of exploration. The tools we have on the rover are vital because it was impossible to understand the origin of these rocks until we got up close and used all our amazing microscopic instruments to look at them.”

More than 40 co-authors were listed in the suite of papers from national and international facilities, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Horgan, Wiens and their collaborators at Purdue will continue to analyze and guide Perseverance’s discoveries and insights into Mars’ history, just as Purdue scientists continue to help analyze rocks from the Apollo moon missions that put both the first and last humans on the moon.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

Media contacts: Brian Huchel,,
Brittany Steff,

Sources: Briony Horgan

Roger Wiens

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