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Mankato church is drop-off site for Operation Christmas Child

K-State crops team wins Australian competition


Mankato church is drop-off site for Operation Christmas Child
Harmony United Methodist Church in Mankato will serve as one of around 4,500 U.S. locations collecting gift-filled shoeboxes for children living in poverty overseas through the Samaritan's Purse project, Operation Christmas Child ­­ the world's largest Christmas project of its kind.
During national collection week, Nov. 14-21, Mankato residents will donate shoeboxes filled with school supplies, hygiene items, notes of encouragement and toys, such as a doll or soccer ball, for Operation Christmas Child to deliver to children in need around the world. This year, Mankato residents hope to contribute more than 300 shoeboxes toward the 2016 global goal of reaching 12 million children.
"We're excited to open our doors and join the effort to help children facing difficult circumstances around the world, by the simple act of packing a gift-filled shoebox," said coordinator Shannon Rogers of Mankato. Rogers will serve as the relay center coordinator managing operations at the drop-off location, where she hopes to receive 300 shoebox gifts to contribute toward the 2016 global goal.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, visit By going online to give the suggested donation of $7 per shoebox gift, participants can follow their box to discover where in the world it will be delivered. They can also pack a shoebox gift online and even upload a photo and note of encouragement.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 135 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.


K-State crops team wins Australian competition
Five members of the Kansas State University crops team recently returned from a study trip to Australia where they took first place in the Australian Universities Crops Competition. The event was hosted by the Australian Grain Growers organization and was held in Temora, New South Wales.
K-State crops team members making the trip were Samantha L'Ecuyer, Morrowville; Nicole Sudbeck, Seneca; Michaela Simmelink, Downs; Jessi Bramhall, Seneca; and Sarah Zerger, Cheney. The team was accompanied by Kevin Donnelly, their coach and professor of agronomy, and Kim Kerschen, academic coordinator in agronomy.
L'Ecuyer took second place overall individual in the contest. Bramhall was 6th and Sudbeck placed 10th overall in individual competition.
Teams from Iowa State University, Virgina Tech University and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville also competed, along with several agricultural universities across southern and western Australia.
Three team members ­­ L'Ecuyer, Sudbeck and Simmelink ­­ were awarded a stipend from the American Society of Agronomy to cover their travel expenses as a result of previously placing first, second and third in the U.S. Collegiate Crops contests held last November in Kansas City and Chicago. The K-State team previously participated in the Australian Universities Crops Competition in 2012 and 2014. They also placed first as a team in 2014.
The competition was held over two days at the Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre, managed by FarmLink. The contest included a seed identification section, three exams over production of selected Australian crops, commercial grading of wheat samples, a business management problem, field yield estimates and management recommendations, and a live crop, weed and disease evaluation component.
Before and after the competition, contestants toured research projects being conducted on site and at farms in the area. Learning about canola and Australian white wheat production, ryegrass herbicide resistance problems, and the use of pulse crops such as lupins and fieldpeas in crop rotations were highlights for the U.S. team.
The students also took the opportunity to learn about Australia. The trip began with visits to popular sites in Sydney, followed by a trip to the Great Barrier Reef at Cairns. They also visited the Atherton Tablelands region in Queensland to observe tropical agriculture including sugar cane production and a coffee plantation. On the trip to Temora, the group visited the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
After the competition, they toured Charles Sturt University and the Rhizolysimeter Center at Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. The trip also included with two farm visits in the Junee area featuring mixed cropping systems integrating wheat, canola and pulse crops with pasture crops supporting sheep production.
In addition to the grant funds from the American Society of Agronomy, the trip was sponsored by the K-State Department of Agronomy. The College of Agriculture also provided international travel scholarships to the Kansas State University students.

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