Ask the Experts Spring/Summer 2015


bigqHow does lighting affect how people eat?



Researchbigawithcolon shows that the color of light can affect how much people eat, but the effect differs between men and women. When compared to white and yellow lighting, blue lighting significantly decreased the amount of food men consumed but not women. However, the overall flavor intensity and overall impression of the food were not significantly different among the three lighting colors.


Based on these results, it’s possible that blue lighting could be used to reduce overeating for obese men, without making the meal seem less attractive.

Because obesity has become a global epidemic with significant health problems and economic burdens, it may be valuable to try this simple and cheap strategy to help decrease excessive food consumption. However, since the present research offers only a first step in understanding the effect of lighting color on food consumption, further studies should be conducted to confirm our findings.

The study was based on 62 men and 50 women who were asked to consume a breakfast meal of omelets and mini-pancakes under one of three different lighting colors: white, yellow and blue. During the test, the perception of the food’s appearance, willingness to eat, overall flavor intensity and overall impression of the food, and meal size (the amount of food consumed) were measured.

Han-Seok Seo

Meet our Expert

Han-Seok Seo, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science, Fayetteville

Seo directs the Sensory Service Center and the Sensory Science Research Program in the Food Science Department. The center’s task is to conduct basic and applied research to better understand the roles of sensory aspects in food perception and acceptance as well as in quality of life. He also teaches courses in sensory evaluation of food.


smallerQI want to make changes in the way I handle my finances. How do I start?



Start by giving yourself a financial checkup. There are three simple ways to benchmark financial well-being:

  • Net Worth – Net worth is the total of all assets minus the total of all liabilities. It’s the dollar value of everything you own minus everything you owe or your total debts. Net worth should be positive and increasing each year. A form to calculate net worth can be found on my website at — type “net worth” into the search box.
  • Debt to Income Ratio – This ratio represents monthly debt payments — excluding mortgage — divided by net monthly salary. Debt payments include credit card minimum
    payments, car payments or other monthly consumer debt. A lower ratio is better than a higher ratio. Less than 10 percent is best. More than 20 percent could be a sign of trouble. Use the online calculator at to explore repayment plan options.
  • Credit Score – Credit scores usually range from 300-850. The best scores are in the mid-700s and higher. If   you haven’t seen your score in a couple of years, it’s worth checking. Fees to check are usually less than $15. Companies may try to entice you to sign up for a fee-based credit monitoring service. Most consumers don’t need this, so be careful to only purchase the credit score. Some consumers may have a lower score because they haven’t used credit. This is often the case for young adults who are just starting their financially independent lives. The benefit of a higher credit score is that consumers can save thousands of dollars in interest because they qualify for lower interest loans.

– Laura Connerly

Meet our Expert

Laura Connerly, Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Economics, Cooperative Extension Service

Connerly has been with the Cooperative Extension Service since 1990, starting as a county agent, before taking her current post in2005. She is the author of numerous publicationson managing finances and is a familiar face to television views for her weekly segmentswith financial advice.


smallerQWhat is SAM and what do I need to know about it?


smallerASAM stands for “System for Award Management.” It’s a system that tracks money the federal government pays to individuals, farms, businesses, government agencies, nonprofit organizations or private sector firms. This money includes grants, subsidies or even federal disaster funds. Anyone who conducted business with the federal government was required to register in multiple databases to receive payment. Now, with SAM, there is just one.

Before registering with SAM, individuals or corporations must have a nine-digit DUNS, or Data Universal Numbering System identifier. DUNS numbers are a means of identifying business entities by specific location. The DUNS number can only be obtained through Dun & Bradstreet.

Although the registration requirement went in to effect in 2012, Hall said that it has taken until 2014 for agencies serving rural businesses and landowners to begin implementing the SAM registration requirement.

– Bobby Hall

Meet our Expert

Bobby Hall, Instructor, Community and Economic Development, Cooperative Extension Service
Hall has worked for extension since 1987, starting as an agent in Phillips County, and was Dallas County staff chair before moving to CED. He now serves as director of its Leadership Arkansas, or LeadAR, program.

smallerQHow can ranchers fight bovine respiratory disease in stocker cattle?


smallerAstocker cattle



Bovine respiratory disease is estimated to cost the U.S. cattle industry more than $2 billion due to cattle deaths, poor performance and treatment costs.

Research shows that prevention may be the best medicine when it comes to calves at high risk for BRD. In four years of on-farm demonstrations in Nevada County, Division of Agriculture personnel showed that use of metaphylaxis — administration of medication to a whole group of livestock to minimize or eliminate an expected disease outbreak — held losses to low levels.

In 2011, 104 calves purchased at auction were treated on arrival at the farm. Only 3.8 percent of the calves were treated for BRD and there were no deaths reported. In subsequent tests involving 290 calves, researchers reported low loss rates again.

In fall, when calves are at higher risk, the pull rate for treatment ranged from 17.6 percent to 20 percent, with death losses held to between 0.9 and 3.7 percent when administrated in fall when risks are higher. In spring, when the risk was lower, the pull rates were below 4 percent.

–Paul Beck


Meet our Expert

Paul Beck, Professor, Department of Animal Science, Southwest Research and Extension Center/Livestock and Forestry Research Station
Beck’s research emphasizes management and nutrition of beef cattle grazing complementary forages systems. He joined the faculty in 1997. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from Oklahoma Stat University and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Arkansas

Have a Question for our Experts?
Send questions to:


Division of Agriculture Communications
Cooperative Extension Service
2301 S. University Ave., Little Rock, AR 72204

A sampling of questions will be answered in each issue.
Questions may be edited for space and clarity.

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