Posted in Crops, Livestock, Youth

Celebrate Agriculture

My daughters, McKenzie and Meredith love caring for their calves, helping in the garden and learning about agriculture.

Growing up on a small farm in Saline County, I appreciate the work of our farmers and ranchers. My dad still farms and my girls enjoy visiting the farm and I hope I can instill the same hard-working values and beliefs my parents instilled in my sister and I. This is part of the reason, my husband and I have starting raising a few chickens and have bucket calves for the girls to care for. With my husband as the Fillmore Central ag education instructor and myself as an extension educator for UNL, we hope to be teaching future generations the vast opportunities available in the agricultural industry. This week marks the time to celebrate agriculture so I have included some of the Agriculture Council of America’s press release in my column this week as well as some of Extension’s work in agriculture literacy.

2017AgDay 625x90The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) will host National Agriculture Day on March 20, 2018. This will mark the 45th anniversary of National Ag Day which is celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country. The theme for National Ag Day 2018 is “Agriculture: Food For Life.”

On March 20, 2018, ACA will host major events in the nation’s capital including an event at the National Press Club as well as a Taste of Agriculture Celebration. Additionally, the ACA will bring approximately 100 college students to Washington to deliver the message of Ag Day. These events honor National Agriculture Day and mark a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us. A number of producers, agricultural associations, corporations, students and government organizations involved in agriculture are expected to participate.

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society. The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:

  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.

You might be glad to know that Nebraska Extension has a team of extension staff working on programming to educate consumers and youth about agriculture and tell the story of the American farmer and rancher. This is being done through agricultural literacy-focused festivals and programs, development of beef-booster curriculum, quality assurance programs and many others. In fact, over 26,000 youth learned about agriculture through ag literacy programs in 2017 alone and 216,000 individuals accessed web materials to teach/learn about food labeling, when food is still acceptable to eat and how to reduce food waste. Over 3,600 Nebraska youth were certified in Livestock Quality Assurance to implement good production practices ensuring animal care and well-being.

Check out the impact this group had in 2017 related to agriculture literacy. 

Posted in Crops, Livestock, Programming

Farm and Ranch Succession Workshop

Persons of all ages are invited to attend a “Farm and Ranch Estate Planning Workshop” hosted by UNL Extension.  This workshop will be held on Friday, March 23, 2018, 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM at Nebraska Extension in Saline County, 306 West 3rd Street, Wilber, NE.

Cost to attend is $20.00 per farm operation and $10.00 for each additional family member.  Please preregister by Tuesday, March 20, 2018 by calling Nebraska Extension in Saline County, phone (402) 821-2151, to ensure that there are enough handouts, food and other materials.  The registration fee will include your meal, handouts, and presentations.pexels-photo-315653.jpeg

One presentation will focus on the decisions and situations which should be addressed when thinking about how your farm or ranch estate will be passed.  Topics will include: the need for planning, proper family communications, who makes the decisions, concept of fair versus equal, preparing to meet with an attorney, and much more.  The presentation is designed to give some basic information to those that haven’t yet started to think about their succession or transition plan for their assets.

In addition, an agriculture attorney will be making his presentation to give agricultural families the basics of what they need to start planning their wills, trusts, and other end of life documents that need to be in order.  The objective is to start the process of having the farm succession or transition planned.

Allan Vyhnalek, UNL Extension Educator for Farm Succession, will present.  He was just assigned to the Ag Economics Department recently to work on farm and ranch succession and transition.  Joe Hawbaker, Omaha based attorney, will make the legal presentation.  He has worked with farmers for over 30 years and will cover the legal aspects of end of life decision making. Hawbaker will cover estate planning basics, including incapacity planning, then succession tools and how to use a decision tree.

Participants at previous events always report that they wished they would have started sooner, when asked about the value of attending the presentation.  The consequences of not having an appropriate plan in place can jeopardize the financial stability and the future of the family.  More importantly, we need to have our wishes known to others so the legacy of the farms and ranches can be passed to the individuals or entities intended.

For more information or assistance, please contact Randy Pryor, UNL Extension Educator, phone (402) 821-2151.

Posted in Crops, Programming, Youth

4-H offers numerous opportunities

Any youth ages 5-18 (as of January 1st) is eligible to participate in the 4-H youth development program. Youth in Clay and Fillmore Counties  need to enroll by April 1st to take advantage of this excellent opportunity. This year, all youth will register online at  We also need caring adults to help volunteer with the program and volunteers also need to enroll online. If you have any further questions, please contact Holly at the Fillmore County Extension office at 402-759-3712 or Deanna in Clay County at 402-762-3644.cropped-n_4h-ext-3c.png

All across Nebraska 4-H youth are beginning to select their 4-H projects for 2018! Let the Nebraska 4-H Pick Your Project help connect you with projects that fit your interests and skill levels!

The interactive, web-based Nebraska 4-H Pick Your Project is found online at Use this as a guide when completing your enrollment form. Check out the curriculum and spark an interest in a new project for this year!

Locally, some programs coming up include Youth Animal Science Day and the kick-off of a Plant Science Investigation series which I’ll describe.


4-H Animal Science Day

Coming to Geneva on Sunday, March 18th is a short animal science program (FREE) which will offer a livestock judging contest, a face to face Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) program, tips for your livestock projects and other fun hands-on animal science activities. This requires a lot of planning and assistance so if you are interested in participating, sign up by March 14th.  There must be a minimum of 25 youth in order for this program to occur; invite your friends from neighboring counties too! RSVP to the Fillmore County Extension office at 402-759-3712 or by email Rachel at

PSI - Fillmore (3)
For more info, go to Fillmore County 4-H Facebook page.

Plant Science Investigation (PSI) & Community Garden

Have a green thumb?  Interested in gardening?  If you answered yes to any of those questions, join the PSI and/or Community Garden teams this year. Here’s what you can learn about in PSI:

  • Learn about the importance of agriculture and how crops are used.
  • Conduct cool, hands-on science experiments.
  • Listen to speakers and learn about careers.
  • Help conduct field plot research.
  • Become a PSI investigator and detect plant problems.

The program will kick-off in Fillmore County at the Extension office on March 9th from 2pm – 4pm. Youth in Clay County can attend the program at the Clay County Fairgrounds on March 9th from 10-Noon.  We will learn about plant propagation methods and more!

PSI Clay

If you are unable to participate in this program, there will be more opportunities through the growing season.  For youth in Fillmore County, we will continue the Community Garden  and be partnering with the Geneva Library as well. If you are interested, please let the Extension office know by April 1st.

Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Programming

Crop Scouting Training

Industry representatives and corn and soybean growers wanting to learn how to better manage corn and soybean pests should plan to attend the Nebraska Extension crop scout training for pest managers program March 13 at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead.soybeans

Experts from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will provide in-depth information on topics including: factors influencing the growth and development of corn and soybeans; corn and soybean insect management; weed control management; identifying weeds – plant morphology; using a key to identify weed seedlings; and crop diseases and quiz.

Certified Crop Advisor continuing education credits are available with 6 in pest management, 1 in crop management and .5 in fertility/nutrient management.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the workshop is from 9 a.m-5 p.m.

Cost for this training is $165 which includes a resource book. For participants attending the training only (no resource book) the fee is $50.  Fees include lunch, refreshment breaks, workshop materials and instruction manual. Registrants should preregister to reserve their seat and to ensure workshop materials are available the day of the training session. Updated reference materials are included in this year’s take- home instruction manual.

To register, visit For more information, contact Nebraska Extension at (402) 624-8030, (800) 529-8030, or e-mail Keith Glewen at

Posted in Programming

ServSafe ® Food Handler Program

ServSafeThe University of Nebraska-Extension will be offering the ServSafe ® Food Handler Program in Geneva, Nebraska. Class instructor is Amy Peterson MS, RDN from UNL Extension in Polk County. Class will be on March 13, 2018 from 1:30 – 5:30 p.m.  Cost is $20 per participant, which includes the ServSafe ® Food Handler Course Book and additional classroom materials. This training will be held at the Fillmore County Extension Office in Geneva, Nebraska. More information and the registration form may be downloaded at Participants will receive a certificate of completion after successfully passing certification.  Continuing education credit is available for dietitians, diet technicians, and dietary managers.

Registration for the ServSafe ® Food Handler Program is due by March 9, 2018. Return Registration Form & Check made out to the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension in Polk County, Box 215, Osceola, NE 68651. Questions? Please contact Amy Peterson, Extension Educator, at 402-747-2321 or email: .

Posted in Crops, Livestock, Programming

Public Forums Address 2018 Farm Bill

Producers, landowners and other agricultural policy stakeholders seeking information on the 2018 farm bill are encouraged to register for a series of five forums scheduled at locations across Kansas and Nebraska. Experts from K-State Research and Extension and Nebraska Extension will discuss farm bill issues and policy options, and gather input to share with policymakers to help inform the continuing developmentmoney bag

A new federal farm bill is due this year and is under development in Congress. With action completed on a federal budget including some agricultural programs, the farm bill process could pick up quickly with proposals and legislation fully debated in the coming weeks.The meetings will provide an overview of the current debate and current economic conditions in agriculture which help frame the discussion and will look at crop and dairy commodity programs, conservation programs, and nutrition programs and other policy issues, as well as proposed crop insurance changes.

Leading the discussion will be Mykel Taylor and Art Barnaby from Kansas State University and Brad Lubben from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Taylor is a farm management specialist with expertise in producer decision-making, including in-depth analysis of the 2014 farm program enrollment decision. Her analysis of past decisions and outlook will provide perspective on the commodity programs, the potential changes and the decisions ahead in 2019. Barnaby is a national expert in crop insurance with keen insight on the features and performance of crop insurance. His work will explore the proposed changes and the potential ramifications to the program and to producer crop insurance and risk management decisions. Lubben is a noted expert in agricultural policy with insight on both the farm bill issues and the process. He will help frame the debate and the expectations for new programs and policies to provide perspective on the broader budget and policy challenges facing members of Congress in writing the new farm bill.

Each meeting will run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with refreshments and lunch served. The closest meetings to our area include:

-MANHATTAN, KS.: March 1, Pottorf Hall – CiCo Park, Manhattan, KS     Host: Rich Llewelyn, or 785.532.1504

-MEAD, NEB.: March 5, ENREC near Mead, Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, Ithaca, NE    Host: Keith Glewen, or 402-624-8030

-HASTINGS, NEB.: March 7, Adams County Fairgrounds, Hastings, NE     Host: Ron Seymour, or 402-461-7209

The registration fee is $20 if pre-registered five days before the date of each meeting, and will increase to $30 after the deadline or at the door. The fee covers the meal, refreshments and meeting materials. To register, visit and clicking on the meeting you wish to attend. Further information is available on or by contacting the meeting host at each location.

Posted in Crops, Programming, Youth

7th Annual Innovative Youth Corn Challenge

iycc-coverAttention 4-H and FFA Youth! Do you enjoy being outside? Learning new things about crops? Considering a career involving crops, insects, diseases, soils, water or more? Do you want to help figure out how to feed our world’s growing population in a sustainable way?

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers are in high demand and will continue to be in future years. To engage youth in crop science based education, the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge (IYCC) was created as a partnership between the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Extension.  Since the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge program’s inception in 2012, 35 teams have participated in the program with 20 teams successfully harvesting and analyzing their plot data. A total of 105 youth have participated. This contest, open to 4-H members or FFA members, guides participants through all aspects of corn production, as well as agricultural careers related to corn production.

2017 participants attended the banquet in January to receive recognition for their hard work. 

Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Corn Board are offering the seventh Innovative Youth Corn Challenge contest. This contest, open to 4-H members (age 10 & older as of Jan. 1st) or FFA members (in-school members), guides participants through all aspects of corn production, as well as agricultural careers related to corn production.

As a team (2 or more participants), youth will be challenged to implement a production practice different than normal to determine if they increased their yield. Economics and sustainability of the practice will also be considered. Yields, cropping history, and production information will be collected in the Corn Yield Challenge management summary.

Cash prizes and plaques are given. First place receives $1,000, second place receives $500, and third place receives $250.  Sustainability, crop scouting and “extra mile” awards are also given as cash awards.

To participate in 2018, youth must complete and return an entry form by March 15th to the Fillmore County Extension Office in Geneva, NE. Forms can be downloaded after January 1st at For more information, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at