Posted in Crops, Programming, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition

One of the statewide programs I coordinate is the Youth Crop Scouting Competition which engages youth in the crop sciences. It provides youth with real-world scenarios in crop production as they diagnose plant diseases, crop disorders, identify insects and weeds and other challenges producers currently face.IMG_6054.jpg

Registration is now open for the 2017 Youth Crop Scouting Competition to be held this August in eastern Nebraska. The contest is open to FFA and 4-H club members and will help those interested in crops test their skills and those new to crops better understand crop production.

To prepare for the contest youth are encouraged to learn about crop growth and development and basic crop scouting principles. If a group doesn’t know a lot about crops, they’re encouraged to ask a local agronomist to assist by providing a short lesson on crop production at regular meetings or outside of the meeting.

The crop scouting contest will be held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC, formerly ARDC) near Mead on Aug. 1. The event will include both indoor and outdoor events. Teams of three to five junior high or high school students (those completing 7-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate.

FFA Chapters or 4-H Clubs may enter a team composed of three or four participants. An adult team leader must accompany each team of students. Team leaders could be FFA advisors, crop consultants, extension staff, coop employees, etc.IMG_6093.jpg

Top-scoring teams win prizes: $500 for first, $250 for second, $100 for third place. The top two teams will be eligible for regional competition in August at Indiana.

Teams will be expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields. This includes crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; disease, insect and weed seedling identification; etc. Other topics may include but are not limited to pesticide safety, nutrient disorders, and herbicide injury.

More information about the crop scouting competition and instructions on how to register a team are available online in the Youth section of CropWatch under “Crop Scouting Competition” and in the contest flyer. The program is limited to 10 teams so be sure to register soon! Teams must be registered by July 20.

This program is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, the Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association, and Nebraska Extension.

 

Posted in Crops, Programming, Uncategorized

Nebraska Winter Wheat Field Days

Attention wheat growers!  Nebraska Extension is again hosting some wheat field days within the area in collaboration with various business and industry partners. There are 4 field days in the Panhandle area, 2 in west central Nebraska and 2 in the eastern part of the state with the closest one in our area located in Jefferson County.wheat-867612_960_720 2

Wednesday, June 7th at 6:30 p.m. at the farm of Mark Knoble will be a wheat field day. From Fairbury, head north on NE 15, turn west onto 721st Road, dive 1.9 miles and the destination is on the left. For more information, contact Randy Pryor, Extension Educator in Saline County at (402) 821-2151. For details on all of the field days and to see a list of sponsors, go to  agronomy.unl.edu/wheatdays.

Posted in Livestock, Uncategorized

2017 Summer Grazing Tour

Mark your calendars for the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition (NGLC) –Nebraska Extension joint Summer Grazing Tour scheduled for June 13, 2017 in south central Nebraska. The tour will involve two Nebraska grazers with three stops including the Bruning Cow Camp near Reynolds, John Lange Land and Cattle near Belvidere and Bruning Family Farms Headquarters near Bruning.Calf Baby Farm Mother Cow Cattle

Stop I — Reynolds, NE – Bruning Cow Camp

  • Started in the 1950’s with the first purchase.
  • Currently 2100 acres of native grass pastures with 60 acres of prairie hay grown. Cross fenced with 50 paddocks- none larger than 80 acres. All served by well water and tanks with 5 wire barb wire fences and corral systems.
  • Rotationally grazed from May 1-November 1 using approximately 6-7 aces per Spring cow/calf unit.
  • Reseeded farming area to Big and Little Bluestem, Side Oats Gramma, Indian Grass and Switch Grass. One area seeding with Intermediate Wheat Grass.

Stop 2 — Belvidere, NE -Lange Land & Cattle, LLC Angus

  • Larry and Rosalie Lange purchased this 320 acres in 1970.
  • In 2004, John Lange installed NRCS EQUIP water tanks and fencing.
  • In 2016, two small pivots were reseeded to grass and more cross fencing is planned to utilize the irrigated grass with the native pasture.

Stop 3 — Bruning, NE – Bruning Family Farms LLC Headquarters

  • Currently 300 acres of irrigated cool season grasses with approximately 20 paddocks- mostly 10-20 acres.
  • Figure approximately 1-2 acres per pair, mostly Fall calving cows.

Preregistration is $20 per person (pay at the door) and includes an evening steak fry provided by Bruning Family Farms. Preregistration is required for meal counts by contacting the Nebraska Extension Office in Furnas County (308 268 3105) by Tuesday, June 6. You can also contact Erin Laborie, Nebraska Extension Beef Systems Educator at erin.laborie@unl.edu. Tour starts with registration beginning at 7:30 AM at the Fairbury Livestock Auction (if coming from the east) and at 8:30 AM at the Bruning Cow Camp south of Reynolds (if coming from the west).

The Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition is an independent organization of ranchers, interest groups, and agencies whose mission is to collaborate on projects that improve the management and health of Nebraska grazing lands and ensure long-term stability of rangeland resources. The NGLC is funded through grants from the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

Posted in Programming, Uncategorized, Youth

Nebraska Extension creating healthy environments

In an effort to promote the wide variety of programming Nebraska Extension offers, this week’s column features a brief summary from Kayla Colgrove, extension educator in the foods and nutrition area. Nebraska Extension is increasing its healthy lifestyle programming to combat childhood obesity across the state by implementing programs to improve healthy eating and physical activity patterns in youth. Extension professionals focused on food, nutrition, and health, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, 4-H and The Learning Child are teaming up to create healthier home, school and community environments to make healthy choices, the more desirable choice.

kids eating healthy
Image courtesy of USDA Ag Research Service

“There is a critical need to reduce childhood overweight and obesity rates by encouraging healthy habits,” said Nebraska Extension Educator Kayla Colgrove. “Extension programming not only improves eating patterns and increases physical activity in youth, but it also helps create those environments that support healthier living.”

Through statewide programming and dynamic partnerships, Extension team members reached over 63,000 Nebraskans with programs focused on healthy habits in 2016. The programs are designed to teach children and youth how to choose healthy food and beverages, prepare food safely, fun ways to be active, alternatives to screen time and more.

Along with the focus on community and home, Extension is also focused on helping to create a healthy environment in Nebraska schools. Recently, a collaboration between Extension, Tri County Public Schools, Nebraska Team Nutrition and several local businesses culminated in a farmers market at the school. During the lunch hour, nearly 400 Tri County students were able to sample a variety of locally grown food, including vegetables from the school’s new hydroponic garden system.

During the farmers market, Colgrove shared smoothie samples with the students that featured spinach as a main ingredient. Other samples included hummus, whole grain bread, local meats from Frank’s Smokehouse, cheese sticks from Classic Dairy and ice cream from Prairieland Dairy. The farmers market was a way to show students the different types of vegetables they could grow in their own garden. The school district’s goal is to grow vegetables that could be introduced into their school lunch program. Their hydroponic garden is soil-less, and feeds plants in water. They are currently growing heads of lettuce.

Extension is also helping Nebraska schools implement smarter lunchroom strategies. This effort is the result of a partnership between Extension, 4-H, SNAP-Ed, Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) Team Nutrition, and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The smarter lunchroom strategies provide low to no cost solutions to reduce food waste and increase the consumption of healthy foods. Extension staff provide technical assistance to schools by helping the food service staff identify and diagnose school lunchroom challenges, and develop strategies to promote healthy choices.

Additionally, school enrichment kits are available for elementary school teachers to assist in teaching nutrition and physical activity in their classrooms. The kits are designed to meet national health and state science standards. The kits include education on MyPlate food groups, basic nutrients, label reading, and planning a balanced meal. All materials needed to teach each lesson are included in the kits.

The goals of these efforts are for children and youth to increase consumption of healthy foods and beverages, engage in healthy levels of physical activity, and make the healthy choice, the more desirable choice. To learn more about Extension’s efforts in this area, watch a video at http://go.unl.edu/issue2.

For more information on foods and nutrition, contact my colleague, Kayla Colgrove, Extension Educator at 402-223-1384 or kcolgrove2@unl.edu.

Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Livestock, Uncategorized

Census of Agriculture

According to a news release from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), America’s farmers and ranchers will soon have the opportunity to strongly represent agriculture in their communities and industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them.

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Photo Credit: pexels.com

The Census of Agriculture is the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the United States, according to the NASS administrator Huber Hamer.  The Census of Agriculture highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and other topics. The 2012 Census of Agriculture revealed that over three million farmers operated more than two million farms, spanning over 914 million acres. This was a four percent decrease in the number of U.S. farms from the previous census in 2007. However, agriculture sales, income, and expenses increased between 2007 and 2012. This telling information and thousands of other agriculture statistics are a direct result of responses to the Census of Agriculture.

Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a Census of Agriculture in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture report form by visiting http://www.agcensus.usda.gov and clicking on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button through June. NASS defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year (2017).

For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture and to see how census data are used, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 727-9540.

Posted in Programming, Uncategorized, Youth

Progressive Agriculture Safety Day

Statistics from those impacted by aSafety_Day farm-related injury or death are sobering. Many know someone who was impacted by a farm accident that in many cases could have been prevented. This is why I feel so passionately about conducting the Annual Progressive Safety Day each year. The Progressive Agriculture Foundation provides safety and health information to rural communities that need it, which is why I’ve teamed up with them. The mission of Progressive Agriculture Days is simple – to provide education, training, and resources to make farm and ranch life safer and healthier for children and their communities.

During the program’s first year, a total of 2,800 participants and volunteers were reached throughout the South and Midwest and now the program impacts close to 110,000 annually. To date, the program has impacted more than 1.3 million children and adults.

2017 T-shirt DesignCurrent 1st through 6th graders are invited to attend Progressive Agriculture Safety Day on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds.  Youth will participate in a variety of events designed to help them be aware of safety in potentially hazardous situations such as bike riding, agricultural settings, electrical safety and others.  This year, youth will walk away with an emergency disaster kit to use in the case of storms and other emergencies. Registration and consent form is REQUIRED by all youth who participate. This can be found at fillmore.unl.edu or by stopping by the Extension Office in Geneva or Clay Center.

April 21st is early bird registration at only $5 per child that includes a t-shirt, lunch, snack and goodie bag. After April 21st registration increases to $10 per youth in order to participate.

This event is conducted by Nebraska Extension in Fillmore/Clay Counties, Shickley and Fillmore Central FFA chapters, 4-H and W.I.F.E. For more info or to register, call 402-759-3712 or email brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu.