ANR Newsletter - June July 2023
June 2023 EditionAgriculture & Natural Resources
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HAPPY JUNE DAIRY MONTH!!
THANK YOU DAIRY FARM FAMILIES
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
- Free Soil testing until funds are depleted. Limit 5 free test per
Russell County land owner and/or household.
- Remember to Like us on Facebook: Russell County Extension
Office- ANR to stay up to date on events.
- Office Closed June 19th, and July 4th
FSA Youth Loans
Finance modest, income-producing,
agriculture- related, educational project
that falls under authorized loan purposes.
• 10to 2 0years old
• Active in FF A, 4-H or Ag Organization
• Parental permission &supervision
Maximum Loan Amoun t is $5,000
For more information,p lease contact the
Columbia Service Cen ter at 270.384.6432
or stop.b y at
961 Campbellsville Rd ColUillbia, KY 42728.
To access more details online, you can go to
Russell County is now home to a
new Kentucky Mesonet Station
managed by WKU. This is a great
asset to everyone in Russell and
surrounding counties. You can
download the app on your smart
phone by searching for KY Mesonet,
or you can get all the info on your
https://www.kymesonet.org/live data. html?county= WOOD
Finding the Cause for Abortions and Stillbirths in Cattle- Why is it still so Difficult?
Dr. Michelle Arnold, UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Determining the cause of abortions and stillbirths in cattle remains a significant challenge for veterinary
diagnostic laboratories, despite vast improvements in the tests used to detect infectious organisms. Most
studies find that only 20-50% of abortion cases submitted are "solved", meaning the first initiating event
resulting in the death of the fetus was discovered and answered "why" the calf died. Diagnosis of the cause
of an abortion is exceptionally challenging because characteristic visible clues in the fetus rarely occur,
sample tissues are often rotting and unsuitable for examination, and the most important tissue for analysis,
the placenta, is seldom submitted. Instead, veterinary diagnostic laboratories can often recognize the final
mechanism resulting in death of a fetus or calf, such as anoxia (lack of oxygen) or trauma, that answers
"how" the calf died instead of "why". Veterinarians understand the limitations of abortion diagnostics and
are best suited to help the producer determine if and when an investigation is warranted and how to collect
and submit the appropriate samples. Abortion outbreaks can cause serious economic losses, so it is of value
to identify potential causes and how to reduce or eliminate them. For some producers, a single pregnancy
loss may trigger an investigation while for others, multiple losses need to occur before calling a
veterinarian. A loss of 2% for abortions is often quoted as "acceptable" but this percentage usually does not
include any unobserved early losses. Most often, a cluster of cases within a short time span is the most
important tipping point to begin an investigation. No matter the situation, the chances of a successful
diagnosis increase with the right input from the producer, veterinarian, and the diagnostic laboratory.
"Reproductive failure" is a term used when a cow fails to get pregnant, loses a calf during pregnancy, or the
calf dies within 48 hours after calving. Unfortunately, there is a lot of variation in the vocabulary used by
scientists, veterinarians, and producers for the events that make up "reproductive failure". For clarity in this
article, "embryonic death" is defined as death of the embryo up to 45 days but, with pregnancy detection
now possible much earlier, this may be classified into early and late embryonic death. These early losses
often go unnoticed and result in open females or an extended calving season. "Abortion" is defined as
expulsion of a fetus between day 42 and day 260 of gestation, a timeframe defined as when the developing
fetus could not survive outside the uterus (the limit of fetal independent viability). Females that abort from
day 42-120 generally return to estrus either without a fetus being expelled because it was resorbed, or the
expelled fetus was too small to observe. Abortions within the 120-260-day timeframe are sometimes
referred to as "observable abortions" because they are more likely to be noticed by the producer. "Stillbirth"
or "premature delivery" is expulsion of a near-term to full-term fetus that is considered "viable", so it is
developed enough to survive outside the uterus. A "stillbirth" is generally defined as death of a full-term
fetus before or during calving while a "perinatal mortality" is death immediately before, during or within 48
hours after calving. Although these distinctions may seem unimportant, they are diagnostically essential.
Abortion investigations include gathering a thorough case history, and collecting samples from the dam,
fetus and placenta for examination and testing. Stillbirth investigations include these elements but must also
address non-infectious management issues such as how long the cow was in labor before assistance was
given or potential trauma that occurred during or after birth.
The causes for abortion in cattle can essentially be divided into non:-infectious and infectious. Examples of
non-infectious causes may be physical (trauma), nutritional deficiencies, genetic abnormalities that result in
fetal death, and toxic agents such as nitrates. Infectious causes include bacterial, viral, protozoa! and fungal
agents such as the BVD virus, IBR virus, the protozoan Neospora caninum and the bacterium Leptospira
borgpetersenii serovar Hardjo type hardjo-bovis, among many others. These agents either directly damage
the fetus or, more commonly, damage the placenta resulting in suffocation of the fetus from lack of oxygen
or starve it from lack of nutrients crossing to the fetus from the dam. Infectious organisms may arrive at
their destination in the fetus and placenta through the bloodstream from the dam, known as the "hematogenous route", or may ascend through the dam's vagina and cervix to reach the placenta. If the
infectious organisms colonize the placenta ( called "placentitis") and penetrate the amniotic fluid, the
infected fluid is then swallowed by the fetus or inhaled into the lungs, resulting in fetal bronchopneumonia,
gastroenteritis, and, in the case of fungi, a fungal dermatitis may develop. In addition, hematogenous spread
may take the infectious organisms through the umbilical vessels and into the fetal liver then out to other
organs by the vascular system, resulting in widespread organ infections such as hepatitis (liver infection),
interstitial pneumonia (infection within the lung tissue) and nephritis (infection of the kidneys) in the fetus.
If the fetus is not yet viable, abortion occurs. If viable (>260 days gestation) yet weak due to lack of oxygen
and nutrients or is suffering from infection, the outcome may be a premature, stillborn or weak calf that dies
shortly after birth.
Successful diagnosis of abortion involves evaluation of the case history, submission of usable samples and
accurate interpretation of laboratory results. Gathering relevant information to assess the extent of the
problem and to provide possible diagnostic clues is exceptionally important. The ages of the dams affected,
the gestational age of abortions, the estimated abortion rate, any illness or disease problem in the dams,
current diet, any recent changes including movement to a different location, new herd additions or feed
changes, vaccination status, and any history of previous disease in the herd may help guide testing and aid
in the diagnosis. The entire fetus with the placenta and a serum sample from the dam are the best specimens
to submit to a veterinary diagnostic laboratory for analysis at the time of the abortion. A complete necropsy
examination on the fetus and placenta will then be performed to determine any visible abnormalities present
and possibly establish the time of death (before, during or after birth) for the full-term calves found dead.
Tissues from the placenta and fetal organs are then submitted for histopathology, an examination at the
cellular level under the microscope. Fresh placenta and organ tissues as well as fetal stomach contents and
fetal heart blood are tested for bacterial, viral, protozoal and/or fungal agents by various methods. The blood
sample from the dam may help determine exposure to a pathogen (infectious organism) by measuring her
antibody levels but usually cannot differentiate between antibodies produced due to previous vaccination or a natural exposure. To improve interpretation, a second blood sample from the dam may be drawn 3-6 weeks later (the convalescent sample) to help identify a rising number of antibodies to a particular organism. In the same way, measuring antibody levels in fetal fluids can be indicative of an active immune response, if the fetus was old enough to
produce antibodies. By far, the most important reason for failure to diagnose an infectious cause of an
abortion is the lack of placenta submitted for analysis. It is the most significant tissue involved in abortion and without it, the odds of success go down dramatically. As mentioned previously, infection in the placenta ("placentitis"), disrupts oxygen transport, nutritional support, and the hormone and growth factors needed by the fetus. A normal placenta is thin and transparent in the areas between the dark, red-brown cotyledons Placentitis may cause cotyledons to appear discolored or rotten, with areas of hemorrhage and the tissue in-between may be opaque, reddened, and thickened. Although the placenta may be found in the pasture dirty, covered in mud and manure, frozen, and half-eaten, the superficial contamination can be rinsed away in the lab and the placenta spread out to look for any abnormal areas. Unfortunately, if the fetus and placenta were retained in the uterus for an extended time after death, the tissues may be macerated (soft), mummified (dried), or autolytic (rotten), making them difficult to impossible to use for testing.
Ideally, every sample would be tested for every possible infectious agent, but financial considerations dictate selective ordering of appropriate tests, based on the case history and sample quality.
Beyond the diagnostic problems presented by poor sample quality and lack of placenta, what is often
overlooked is that sometimes a diagnosis can't be found, even from good samples. There are numerous
causes of perinatal mortality that are not related to a certain organism, or the organism is long gone due to
the lag time between infection and death. Most final abortion/stillborn necropsy reports from a vet
diagnostic lab include language regarding signs of "fetal stress" or "fetal anoxia" in the submitted animal,
meaning the fetus was not getting enough oxygen and began struggling, breathing harder and faster,
resulting in aspiration of any fluid type present in the nose or mouth down into the lungs.
"Meconium staining" is another sign of fetal stress due to meconium (the first feces) being expelled early, usually during a delayed birth, mixing with the uterine fluids and staining the calf yellow. These signs of
fetal stress may be due to prolonged stage 1 or stage 2 of labor, a very large calf, a malpresentation,
premature placental separation, and many other possibilities. Fetal anoxia may also be due to maternal
hypoxia, meaning the dam's blood is low in oxygen from a disease such as an active case of anaplasmosis
or from a toxin such as nitrate so there is not enough oxygen from the dam to support fetal life. Remember
that working with your veterinarian, submitting a fresh fetus and placenta to a veterinary diagnostic
laboratory, and providing as much information as possible to the lab is your best chance to determine an
underlying cause of why a calf died.
Preventive Practices to Decrease the Risk of Reproductive Failure:
1. Always provide good nutrition-Providing forage, supplemental feed, trace mineral and clean water
to meet nutritional needs and of sufficient quality and quantity to always maintain good body
2. Vaccinate for diseases known to cause abortion, including BVD and IBR viruses, Leptospirosis and
3. Prior to breeding season, test for venereal disease in bulls and have a breeding soundness exam
performed. Veterinarians will check scrotal circumference and the reproductive tract for any signs of
abnormalities, and the semen for motility and defects. Bulls should be monitored for excessive
weight loss and illness. Heat detection, breeding attempts, and semen quality will be reduced in bulls
that are under-conditioned or sick. Lameness and pinkeye can be important causes of poor
pregnancy rates on pasture as bulls are less likely to seek out cows in heat. Frequent observation of
bulls during the breeding season is important to detect any inability to mount or successfully breed
that might be caused by injuries to the bull's legs, back or penis. This is particularly vital in single
bull breeding pastures. Injured bulls, if detected, can be replaced before too much time is lost from
the breeding season.
4. A void contamination of cattle feed and water sources with feces or urine from other cattle, wild
animals, dogs, cats, and waterfowl. This includes surface runoff into water sources such as ponds.
5. New Purchases:
a. Buy from someone you trust-Ask for health records and a complete herd history of any
disease problems. Ask questions regarding preventive health measures such as what and
when vaccines and dewormers were given and how they were administered.
b. Quarantine all new additions away from home herds for a minimum of 30 days. Blood test
for Johne's, BVD PI, Neospora, and possibly Anaplasmosis; consult your veterinarian for
appropriate recommendations. Vaccinate and deworm while in quarantine. Best to not mix
new cattle in cow-calf herd until calving season is over. If new additions are pregnant when
purchased, strongly recommend testing their calves for BVD-PI shortly after birth.
6. Frequent monitoring of the calving process is the first step in early identification of calving
difficulty. Checking the cows that are close to calving at least twice daily and heifers three times per
day at minimum is recommended. It is best to separate the heifers from the mature cows and keep
heifers in an area where there are working facilities close by to allow restraint and assistance.
Pregnant females close to calving will show enlargement of the vulva, the pelvic ligaments at the hips will "sink in", there is enlargement of the udder, and the teats will become engorged with
Forage Timely Tips: June
Posted on June 7, 2023. in Kentucky Forage News
• Continue hay harvests. Minimize storage losses by storing hay under cover.
• Clip pastures for weeds and seedheads as needed.
• Slow pasture rotation allowing for a longer recovery period.
• Use portable fencing to decrease paddock size and increase paddock number.
• Do NOT graze below the minimum desired residual height of 4" cool season grasses.
■ When present, johnsongrass can provide high quality summer forage when managed.
• Crabgrass, a warm-season annual grass, can provide high quality summer grazing.
• Begin grazing native warm-season grasses. Start at 18-20" and stop at 8-10 inches.
Dry Weather Effects on Corn at Early Growth Stages
Chad Lee, Extension Professor, Grain Crops
The dry weather across the state is putting stress on the corn crop. The lack of water to corn before the V12 growth
stage usually results in minimal yield losses if adequate water occurs at V12 and beyond. Most of the com in
Kentucky ranges from just planted to about V9 as of June 5, 2023.
While yield losses might be minimal, some other issues can or will occur with a lack of water. Each of these
scenarios assumes that the water stress lasts for about two weeks and plants will recover on the other side.
1. Leaf rolling: The corn leaves will roll during the heat of the day to try to conserve as much water as possible.
When this leaf rolling occurs, the plant conducts less photosynthesis, causing it to produce less
biomass during the drought stress.
2. Potassium Deficiency: Potassium deficiency is a common indicator for drought stress on young com
plants. Plant tissue samples taken on V3 to V6 com last week and this week likely will show K deficiency and that K deficiency may be from the drought and nothing else. The com plant needs
water to take up K, so adding more potassium will have no effect on the corn crop if the crop does
not have water.
3. Other Nutrient Deficiencies: Water is needed for corn to take up several nutrients, not just potassium.
Potassium might be the most obvious, but a tissue test will reveal several others as being deficient as
well. A soaking rain is the best remedy for these transient deficiencies.
4. Compaction Becomes Evident: Both seed furrow sidewall compaction and subsurface tillage
compaction become more obvious in dry soils. If com in a single row or a section of the field shows
twisting and curling before other corn, compaction could be a problem. "Vertical tillage"
implements and discs often cause soil compaction at the depth they are set. In dry soils, these
compacted areas become impossible for roots to break through. Both sidewall compaction and
subsurface compaction stunt roots. Those stunted roots cannot take up as many nutrients resulting in
stunted corn plants. Timely rains are about the only in-season remedy for these soils. With the dry
weather in the forecast right now, rains might be too late to help.
5. "Floppy" corn syndrome. (Someone needs to write a "Floppy Corn" song to the tune of Adam Sandler's
Sloppy Joe chorus in "Lunch Lady Land".) The dry weather and hot temperatures can cause all roots
from one or more nodes to desiccate or dry out and die. A strong wind at this point will knock the
plants over. Corn plants from about V2 to V3 will be most susceptible this week. Corn plants in
shallow placement are more susceptible. Soaking rains to allow new root growth before any strong
winds occur is the best remedy. For more on Floppy corn, see this article. As for that song: "Floppy
corn, flop-floppy corn ... " It's in your head now, isn't it?
6. Loss of Row Number or Kernel Number: Once corn reaches V6 growth stage, the dominant ear and tassel
formation start. However, water stress starts affecting row number and kernel number closer to the
V12 growth stage. At the V6 growth stage, the corn plants have switched to the nodal root system.
This is the final stage before exponential growth. A lack of water from V7 to about V 12 could
reduce total biomass of the stem and leaves. A lack of water around V 12 will reduce kernel rows and
then kernel numbers per row on the ears.
7. Less Disease Risk: So, we are looking for a positive aspect with this one. A lack of water means foliar
disease pressure is extremely low right now. We should not be applying fungicides to VS or V6 corn
anyhow. We certainly do not need fungicide in a drought.· Kiersten Wise will have more on this
8. A Lack of Residual Herbicide Activity: Most soil residual herbicides need rainfall to activate. Scout fields to
identify which weeds are escaping and plan to spray once a rain event occurs. The weeds are not
growing well now, either. They need the rain event to be receptive to the herbicides. When applying
the herbicides, be sure to use the full adjuvant types and rates recommended on the labels. Travis
Legleiter will have more on this issue.
9. Watch the Roots this Week: Soils usually dry from the surface downward. This movement of water
can affect root development. The V9 corn should have well developed roots that are deeper into the
soil. While the V9 corn demands more water than V2 corn, the V9 roots are more likely to interact
with plant available water longer than the V2 corn this week. Emerging corn (VE) and Vl corn
demands very little water (less than 0.1 inches per day), and most soils still have enough for those
plants at the start of this week. Corn at the V2 to V3 growth stage this week may be at soil depths
without water and could lose nodal roots to the lack of water.
10. Nitrogen On Dry Soils: Volatilization losses are the greatest risk for N losses in dry weather.
Urea fertilizers on the soil surface will be actively volatilizing within 72 hours (about 3 days) after
application. Urea treated with the adequate rate ofNBPT (the active ingredient in Agrotain and other
products) will not begin volatilization for about 7 to 14 days. Urea treated with adequate rates
of Duromide plus NBPT (the active ingredients in Anvol) will not volatilize for about 14 to 21 days.
If possible, sidedress with liquid urea ammonium nitrate ( either 28% or 32% UAN). Only half of the UAN product is urea, making volatilization a smaller risk. The liquid form will soak into the soil
further reducing volatilization losses. Injecting the UAN into the soil would be preferred where
possible. Whether injected or applied to the surface the UAN will not move far until water re-enters
the soil profile. Com will not take up the N, either, until water is available, so getting the N right
next to the com plant may not be as important. Spray booms with StreamJet ( or similar style)
nozzles in between each row will apply some of the N close to the plant. A void applying any of the
nitrogen directly to the com plants. If applied this week, direct contact ofN fertilizer with com
leaves will bum the com leaves. Usually, this bum is cosmetic and does not affect plant health and
yield. But, the com crop is stressed already, and leaf rolling is limiting photosynthesis. There is no
need to add additional stress with leaf bum. If dry urea is the only option available, then apply it. If
other options are available, pursue those. Edwin Ritchey and John Grove have more on this
Lee, Chad and Carrie Knott. co-editors. 2023. A Comprehensive Guide to Com Management in Kentucky.
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Lexington.
Nielsen, R.L. 2022. "Rootless" or "Floppy" Corn Syndrome. Corny News Network. Purdue Univ.
Hanging by a Thread
By Cheryl Kaiser, Plant Pathology Extension Support, and Nicole Gauthier, Plant Pathology
Dead, curled leaves dangling by fungal "threads" are typical of a disease called thread blight. This disease
is more common in eastern Kentucky, where it has been observed on apple, cherry, and viburnum. Other
potential hosts include cotoneaster, dogwood, gooseberry, and rose. Unlike fire blight, which kills branch
tips, thread blight begins on interior portions of trees.
Thread Blight Facts
• Caused by the fungus Corticium stevensii (formerly Ceratobasidium stevensii).
• Infected leaves wilt, turn brown, and remain attached to branches by a network of fungal strands
• Silvery-tan rhizomorphs (aggregation of thread-like fungal structures) and tan to brown sclerotia (fungal
overwintering structure) develop on the surface of branches and fruit.
• Disease is favored by moist, shady conditions.
• Generally not a problem in well-managed apple orchards where a fungicide program is followed.
To prevent thread blight
• Selectively prune branches to improve air circulation and sunlight penetration within trees.
• Orchardists should follow a fungicide spray program. Thread blight can be managed with fungicides
beginning in mid-June when the fungus becomes active; studies have shown that Merivon, Pristine, and
Topsin-M can help reduce disease incidence and severity when used as preventatives.
• A void planting apple and susceptible landscape plants in low lying, shaded locations.
When thread blight is present
• Once established in an orchard, thread blight can be difficult to eliminate due to long term survival of
• Where disease occurrences are minimal. prune and destroy infected branches.
Economic Policy Update
Current State of Carbon Market Policies
Author(s): Jordan Shockley
Published: May 30th, 2023
While traveling across the U.S. discussing carbon markets with various stakeholder groups, one
frequently asked question is, "Will the government have its hands in carbon markets?" When this
question was asked at the beginning of 2022, my answer was no. The federal government was
seemingly taking a hands-off approach to carbon programs in the U.S. Well, things have changed
since then, and there are now policies that have passed or are currently being considered pertaining
to carbon markets in the agricultural sector. Two important policies in the carbon market space are
the Growing Climate Solutions Act (passed) and the proposed rule by the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) titled "The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for
The Growing Climate Solutions Act is a bipartisan bill passed in the December 2022 Consolidated
Appropriations Act, which outlines USDA's role in reducing barriers in agricultural and forestry-based
carbon credits. This authorizes USDA to set up the "Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider
and Third-Party Verifier Programs," which is a registration list for technical advisors and verifiers of
carbon credits. Part of this program will establish a list of widely accepted protocols for technical
advisors and verifiers to follow or be removed from the program if they fail to meet the program
standards. If the program moves forward, the USDA must also establish an advisory council that will
help guide the program. The majority of the advisory council will be made up of farmers, ranchers,
and woodlands owners, with participation from other stakeholder groups and organizations. While
the Growing Climate Solutions Act did establish some form of guidance and oversight of carbon
markets, it fell short of the initial proposal to develop specific protocols for a USDA-Certified carbon
credit. To date, the USDA has not implemented the program nor developed the advisory council.
On the other hand, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a rule in March 2022
requiring publicly traded companies to disclose their exposure to climate-related risk, including
disclosing their own greenhouse gas emissions (found here). So how does this impact the agricultural
sector, specifically farmers and ranchers? The proposed rule states that "a registrant would be
required to disclose greenhouse gas emissions from upstream and downstream activities in its value
chain (Scope 3), if material or if the registrant has set a greenhouse gas emissions target or goal that
includes Scope 3 emissions." Therefore, any publicly traded company that produces goods from
agricultural products and has Scope 3 emissions reduction targets would have to report emissions
from agricultural activities at the farm level. Many agricultural organizations, including most national
agricultural associations, are pushing back against the proposed rule. A letter to the SEC by the
national agricultural associations (found here) states that "the Proposed Rules would be wildly burdensome and expensive if not altogether impossible for many small and mid-sized farmers to
comply with, as they require reporting of climate data at the local level. When farmers and ranchers
cannot afford the overhead required to comply, they will have no choice but to consolidate." Also in
this letter, the national agricultural associations encourage the SEC to consider, among other things,
to "remove or substantially revise the Scope 3 emissions disclosure requirements to include an
explicit exemption for the agricultural industry." After receiving public comments on the proposal, the
SEC is considering easing portions of the proposed rule, but no new details have been released to
date, nor a final approval of the proposed rule.
Recommended Citation Format:
Shockley, J. "Current State of Carbon Market Policies." Economic and Policy Update (23):5,
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Kentucky, May 30th, 2023.
Author(s) Contact Information:
Jordan Shockley I Associate Extension Professor email@example.com
The PRIMER Method
Author(s): Steve Isaacs
Published: May 30th, 2023
The calls or emails start with, "I'm thinking about trying .... " and end sometime later with, "What do you
think?" For three decades I've fielded many of these inquiries. Extension agents get them with
incredible frequency. It's certainly a credit to the Land Grant System and the Cooperative Extension
Service that most farm magazine articles about some new topic end with, "For more information,
contact your local Extension office."
Rather than trying to be an expert on every topic, it has proved useful to provide a structure for
answering the questions and conducting some analysis. Early in my career I started using a simple
acronym, PRIMER, to guide the discussion. In 2000, my colleague in Ag Economics, Tim Woods,
and I published the "PRIMER for Selecting New Enterprises for Your Farm." In publishing parlance
this publication has "shelf life." The principles from 2000 are just as applicable in 2023.
In no particular order of importance, but it makes the acronym easier to remember, the letters
Profitability is definitely important unless you want to subsidize the enterprise or call it a hobby. Those
are clearly options, but it's best to know if revenues exceed costs. The publication has two
worksheets to help address Profitability.
Resources may be the limiting factor. Or, they may be the reason for considering the enterprise in the
first place if there are underutilized resources available. The second statement on the call is often,
"I've bought this land ... " There's one worksheet to help address the Resource question.
Information is the element that may have changed the most in twenty-some years. The internet has
proliferated into the source of all knowledge, it seems. Quantity and quality are different things.
There's another worksheet that inquires about several types of Information, the sources, and the
Department of Agricultural Economics I agecon.ca.uky.edu I 1
Marketing is often the most daunting task for many new endeavors and an area for which many are
woefully equipped or inclined. There are lots of questions to ask (and answer). There are four
worksheets for this important task.
Enthusiasm is the E because Entrepreneurship was too hard to spell, but either way it's important for
a new enterprise. This single worksheet really gets at the Why ... why would you start this, and just as
important, why would you stop. But, why would've messed up the spelling of PRIMER, for sure.
Risk is what you have when you're not sure, and that's what initiated the call in the first place. Risk
can take a lot of forms. The final worksheet asks how certain you really are and anticipates what
might go wrong.
PRIMER was designed to ask the questions, not answer them. That's often frustrating for those who
call wanting easy or simple answers. Sometimes the answer is, "I don't know." Or, 'Tm not sure." Both
of those responses may be useful. They can tell us something about the difficulty or uncertainty of the
new endeavor. The questions that can be answered can serve as the guide to a successful new
That's what "I think about it."
Recommended Citation Format:
Isaacs, S. "The PRIMER Method." Economic and Policy Update (23):5, Department of Agricultural
Economics, University of Kentucky, May 30th, 2023.
Spring Tornado Safety
By Jane Marie Wix - National Weather Service Jackson, KY (in coordination with Kentucky Emergency Management)
Each year, the United States experiences an average of 1,200 tornadoes. Many strike rural areas and
cause little damage, and most have paths well under one mile in length and winds under 100 mph.
However, a few tornadoes can become large and violent, with wind speeds approaching 200 mph,
tracking tens of miles and leaving swaths of destruction and death. In Kentucky, tornadoes have
occurred during every month of the year and at every hour of the day. However, they occur most
frequently from March through June and typically between 3 and 10 PM. Nighttime tornadoes are often
more dangerous as they are harder to see and most people are sleeping.
So what do you do if there is a tornado? How do you stay safe?
Before a Tornado
• Have a family tornado plan in place and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year.
• Have a predetermined place to meet after a disaster.
• Learn the signs of a tornado: dark, greenish sky; large hail; dark, low clouds; and loud
• When a tornado watch is issued, practice your drill and check your safety supplies.
• Increase your situational awareness by monitoring the weather on weather.gov, watching
local TV, or listening to NOAA Weather Radio.
• Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (e.g.,
mattress, helmets, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc) in or next to your shelter space, ready
to use on a few seconds notice.
• Tornado rule of thumb: Put as many walls and floors between you and the tornado as
• If you are planning to build a house, consider an underground tornado shelter or an interior
• In a mobile home: GET OUT! Go to a neighbor's house, underground shelter, or a nearby
permanent structure. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes.
During a Tornado
• Wear a bicycle or motorcycle helmet to protect your head and neck or cover your head with
a thick book.
• In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some type of
sturdy protection (heavy table or workbench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping
bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, dressers,
etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush
• In a house without a basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest
floor, in a small interior room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior
hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down. A bath tub
may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself
with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in
case the roof and ceiling fail.
• In a car or truck: If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly
and safely as possible - out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your
head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or
other cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the
roadway, leave your car and lie in that area. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges.
• In the open outdoors: lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your
head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can.
After a Tornado
• Remain calm and alert, and listen to the radio or TV for instructions from authorities.
• Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
• Carefully render aid to those who are injured.
• Stay away from downed power lines.
• Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects.
• Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings.
• Do not use matches or lighters, there might be leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks