Cass County 4-H enrollment
It’s not too late to enroll in 4-H. Be sure to get those forms into your club leader(s) or the Extension Office. New members are always welcomed with open arms and are free to enroll at any time in the year; but if you wish to participate in the county fair, memberships are due by January 1, 2014. New Volunteers need to complete their screening by that date as well to be eligible to help within that calendar year. Let’s all get prepared and excited for a brand new year!! Feel free to contact Brittany Nieder, 4-H Educator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-380-8460 with any questions.
How to win government contracts
MO PTAC's mission is to help companies — including small, disadvantaged and women-owned firms — obtain federal, state and local government contracts. They know dealing with regulations and red tape can be frustrating. In fact, those obstacles often keep highly qualified suppliers from selling to the government.
Dealing with regulations and red tape can be frustrating. In fact, those obstacles often keep highly qualified suppliers from selling to the government.
The Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC) assist businesses — including small, disadvantaged and women owned firms — in obtaining federal, state and local government contracts. How can MO PTAC help you and your business navigate the seemingly endless labyrinth of government contracting rules and regulations? MO PTAC does it with the patience and expertise of its counselors who know the field and who can help you succeed in government contracting.
Among their many areas of specialty, the PTAC specialist can help you and other prospective government suppliers:
- Navigate lengthy and complex guidelines concerning such aspects of your business as: financial and accounting capability; ability to comply with delivery and performance schedules; integrity and ethics; audit practices; technical skills; facilities standards; and the ability to meet product or service standards.
- Research government procurement histories to determine past procurement activity by a specific government agency. Such research can help you determine if your pricing is competitive in relation to previous contracts. It can also help you identify volume requirements, previous suppliers and possible teaming opportunities.
- Prepare bids; understand forms, regulations and specifications; establish a quality assurance program; conform to packing, transportation and delivery requirements; and evaluate financial capabilities and accounting system adequacy.
- Access MO PTAC's computerized bid matching data bank. You can receive daily notifications of bidding opportunities advertised in FedBizOpps and unadvertised bid opportunities under $25,000 from major defense buying centers. Many state and local government bid requests are also provided.
- Complete registrations and certifications. Register with every governmental agency that could be a potential buyer of your products or services. Many have special certifications or registrations.
Our procurement specialists will help you in identifying opportunities and understanding the contracting process so you can take advantage of government sales dollars.
PTAC counselors can help you determine if your business qualifies for any local, state or federal certifications (small disadvantage business, HUB Zone program, Missouri Certified Minority Business Enterprise or Certified Woman-owned Business Enterprise).
Learn more about how our procurement services can help you win government contracts. Contact Traci Baldwin, Procurement Specialist at email@example.com or 816-380-8407 or the University Missouri Extension Office, Cass County Extension Center, 201 W. Wall, Harrisonville, MO 64701. 816-380-8460.
Preserving Missouri Peaches
It’s Missouri peach season! This great tasting local fruit is full of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, niacin, and soluble fiber! Enjoy these peaches fresh and consider preserving some for cold weather use!
Missouri’s early peaches are clingstone (woody center pit aderes to flesh) and mid-summer peaches are freestone (woody pit falls out easily when fruit is cut in half). Clingstone peaches are more firm and better for canning., while freestone peaches are softer, juicer and more flavorful. Avoid eating the pit; the kernel inside the pit is edible, but should be eaten only in small quantities, as it contains a toxic substance called hydrocyanic acid.
Peaches spoil very easily, even when unripe. Buy only what you can use within a few days. Choose fragrant peaches that are unblemished and not too hard – they should yield slightly to pressure of a thumb. Avoid peaches with green coloring, as they were probably picked too early and won’t ripen properly. They will also be less sweet than peaches harvested when ripe, since peaches don’t get sweeter after they’re harvested, though fruit will become softer and juicer as it matures. Look for skins that show background color of yellow or cream – the amount of red or pink “blush” on the fruit depends on variety, and is not a reliable indicator of ripeness. Watch out for dark-colored, mushy, bruised peaches that are overripe and beginning to spoil. Tan circles or spots on the skin are early signs of decay.
To prevent spoilage, don’t pack peaches too closely. Unripe peaches can be left to ripen at room temperature. This process can be hastened by placing them in a paper bag for a couple of days. Peaches will keep for 3-4 days at room temperature, and slightly longer in the refrigerator, though peaches taste best at room temp. Wash the fruit just before eating it.
To preserve by canning, peel peaches; cut in half and pit. Treat to prevent darkening. Make a light or medium syrup. For raw pack, keep syrup hot. Pack peaches in jars, pour hot syrup over peaches, leaving ½ inch headspace. For hot pack, cook peaches in syrup until peaches are hot throughout. Pack hot peaches and into jars, add hot syrup to cover, leaving a ½ inch headspace. For either method, process pints 20 minutes, quarts 25 minutes, in a boiling-water bath canner.
To freeze, peel, pit and slice fruit. Treat to prevent darkening. Sugar pack: sprinkle fruit with desired amount of sugar; gently stir; allow fruit to stand until sugar dissolved; pack fruit into freezer container leaving ½ inch headspace. Syrup pack: Prepare a light, medium or heavy syrup of your choice. Add ½ cup syrup to freezer container, add sliced fruit and gently shake to pack fruit, leaving a ½ inch headspace.
To dehydrate, remove skin and pits. Cut into ½ inch slices or circles. Treat to prevent darkening. Dry at 130° until pliable with no moisture.
For more information contact your local MU Extension Center or this faculty member directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Be Aware of the “Salty Six”
If you are keeping an eye on your sodium intake, you may think avoiding chips, French fries, and added salt to food is all you need to avoid, but wait there’s more,” shares Susan Mills-Gray, Nutrition Specialist with MU Extension. The American Heart Association recently introduced the “Salty Six” to raise awareness of commonly eaten foods that may be loaded with sodium.
- Breads and rolls – one slice can contain as much as 230 milligrams
- Cold cuts and cured meats – deli or pre-packaged meats can have as much as 1,050 milligrams
- Pizza – when meats are added to a pizza, one slice can contain up to 760 milligrams
- Poultry – avoid poultry products “enhanced” with a sodium solution. Three ounces of chicken nuggets can contain almost 600 milligrams
- Canned soup – one cup of chicken noodle soup can have up to 940 milligrams
- Sandwiches – when you combine meat, cheese, condiments and bread…that innocent looking sandwich can easily top 1,500 milligrams
Sodium overload is a major health problem in the United States. The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day – more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. That’s in large part because of our food supply; more than 75 percent of our sodium consumption comes from processed and restaurant foods.
Sodium doesn’t just affect your heart health, but your physical appearance as well. Excess sodium consumption may make your face feel puffy, give you bags under your eyes, increase swelling in your fingers and make your jeans look, and feel, tighter. “Being aware of the amount of sodium you consume is key to not only better health, but also feeling more attractive,” adds Mills-Gray.
For more information on lowering sodium in the diet, please contact your local MU Extension Center or this faculty member directly at email@example.com.
(Sources: American Heart Association; Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, January 2013)