Posted in Programming, Youth

Keeping Youth Safe

That, “no child would become ill, injured or die from farm, ranch and rural activities.” That is the vision for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. The Progressive Agriculture Foundation governs and secures funding solely to educate youth and families on ways to make farm, ranch and rural life safer for children and their families. The Progressive Agriculture Foundation is the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America, which Fillmore County is proud to provide one of those programs. In fact, over 400 safety days are planned across the United States & Canada reaching over 104,000 participants in 2018 alone. Since 1995, the Progressive Ag Safety Foundation and its sponsors has provided resources for over 6,972 safety days have occurred reaching nearly 1.3 million participants and over 347,000 volunteers.IMG_2378.jpg

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On May 24, 2018 Nebraska Extension in Fillmore & Clay Counties coordinated Progressive Agriculture Safety Day for 128 area youth in collaboration with the local WIFE (Women Involved in Farm Economics), Emergency Management and Fillmore Central and Shickley FFA Chapters. The event for youth who just completed 1st to 6th grades provided hands-on activities for youth on a variety of topics from knife safety to healthy lifestyles to lawnmower safety.

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This program is possible through the assistance of numerous volunteers from varying agencies or businesses including Plains Power, Nick’s Farm Store, Perennial Public Power, Fortify Group, Nebraska Extension, Shickley and Fillmore Central FFA Chapters. Sponsorship from W.I.F.E. (Women Involved in Farm Economics), Fortify, Fillmore County Emergency Management, Fortigen, Sutton Vision Center and Harre Seed. Lunch was served and provided by the Fillmore Central FFA Booster Club.

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New this year, youth learned about the severity of the opioid epidemic and were given information on its devastating effects on people. Goody bags with lots of resources and other activities were sent home with the record-breaking number of participants. Each family received a weather radio this year as well. Local coordinator, Brandy VanDeWalle attends the annual Progressive Agriculture Safety Day training and works to coordinate this collaborative event. For information on how to be involved locally in the future, contact Brandy at the Fillmore County Extension Office at 402-759-3712.

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Posted in Crops, Programming, Youth

Connecting Youth with Crops

Looking for a fun project for 4-H or FFA youth? Want to unite your club members? Running out of ideas for youth projects?  If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, help is on the way!  Nebraska Extension is pleased to present the 5th annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. Youth interested in crops have the opportunity to learn about crop growth & development and basic crop scouting principles.IMG_9071.jpg

Don’t know a lot about crops?  Ask a local agronomist to assist by providing a short lesson on crop production. You can have the agronomist meet with youth a little during each meeting or outside of the meeting. This is one way to engage those youth interested in crops.

This contest will be held at the ARDC near Mead, Nebraska on July 26, 2018. The event will include both indoor and outdoor events. Teams of junior high and high school students (those completing 5-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate. This event is limited to the first ten teams who sign-up!

Clubs or other organizations may enter a team composed of three to five 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_9110.jpg

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

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 many 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 at cropwatch.unl.edu/youth. Register at: go.unl.edu/cropscoutingregistration. For more questions, contact me at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu or (402) 759-3712.

Teams must be registered by July 18. This program is sponsored by Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association, DuPont Pioneer, Farm Credit Services of America and Nebraska Extension.

Posted in Uncategorized

Cattle Risk Management Workshop

Nebraska Extension will be hosting a risk management workshop for cattle producers on Thursday, June 7, 2018 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (formerly ARDC) near Mead, NE. Cattle producers will learn how to reduce risk exposure associated with cattle marketing and forage production to achieve a profitable outcome in uncertain times. This material is funded in partnership by USDA, Risk Management Agency.calf-brown-reddish-small.jpg

Topics covered during the workshop will include determining your production strategies for the cow herd, marketing tools to protect against price declines, and programs for protecting against weather related forage losses. Specific topics covered during the workshop will discuss new and existing marketing options, insurance options, and disaster programs available to cattle producers as well as the current and long range weather outlook.

The workshop does not have a cost for attending and a meal will be provided, but registration is required to ensure an accurate meal count. For more information and to pre-register by June 4, please call Nebraska Extension in Saunders County at 402-624-8030.

Posted in Crops, Irrigation

NE Ag Water Management Network

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It’s certainly proving to be a dry spring so far. One of the ways to better manage irrigation costs is through participation in the Nebraska Ag Water Management Network. In addition to saving costs and water, producers report a reduction in nutrient loss. Evaluation results have shown a one to two-inch savings of irrigation since its inception. The Network has been having significant impacts on both water and energy conservation due to farmers adopting information and implementing technologies in their irrigation management. The cost of applying an additional 2 inches of water is going to vary depending on your depth to water, system pressure, and equipment costs, but could easily run from $10 to $30 per acre.

To determine the actual cost, I recommend using the IrrigateCost app, developed by Nebraska Extension. The app, which is available for both Apple and Android products, allows users to input their specific information such as acres irrigated, pumping lift, system PSI, pump and pivot life, and inches applied as well as related costs such as for the well and engine, labor, energy, district fees, and taxes. The app then calculates total irrigation, total ownership, and total operating costs. It also breaks down costs by irrigation well, pump, gear head, pump base, diesel eirrigatecostngine and tank and system and calculates per acre annual cost and per acre-inch annual cost.

A couple of the tools the NAWMN uses are ETgages® or Atmometers which mimic crop evapotranspiration or ET and Watermark soil matrix sensors which measure soil matric potential or the energy required to remove water from the soil. These two tools have really worked well and have made irrigation management much easier than those gut feelings.  The more information you have the better decisions you can make!

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If you are in the NAWMN, and have not already installed your equipment, be sure to remember to start the soaking/drying cycle on your Watermark sensors to be sure they work! It’s also important to replace the #54 alfalfa canvas covers and wafers on a regular basis at the start of each season. For more information, go to: http://water.unl.edu/web/cropswater/nawmdn.

Once you have your ETgage out, I hope you will post your weekly readings to the Nebraska Ag Water Management Network (NAWMN) website. As a reminder, once you are on the main screen, you can login to your site by entering your site name and password and clicking on “Login.” Once you have logged in, you will be taken to your weekly data from past weeks, including last year. To enter your weekly data, click on the “Add new ETgage reading” link which will take you to the data entry page where you can enter your growth stage, rainfall, and ETgage change.

If you’ve forgotten your site name or password, please contact Aaron Nygren at anygren2@unl.edu or 402-352-3821.

Posted in Programming

Nebraska LEAD Program

Ten years ago I met twenty-nine talented individuals with a passion of agriculture through the Nebraska LEAD program. To date, I remain friends with many of them and the networking opportunities have been tremendous. The in-state seminars challenged me to think outside of the box and remain an advocate for agriculture. I could go on and on about the excellent opportunities the LEAD program has provided, but I challenge you to experience it yourself!

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These are the amazing LEAD “fellows” I’ve had the chance to meet, many of whom I remain in contact with today. 

The Nebraska LEAD Program is dedicated to building future Nebraska leaders so that our food and fiber system is preserved and enhanced. If you would like to be a part of the leadership necessary to chart the course . . . now and in the future, and you are presently involved in production agriculture or agribusiness, there will never be a better time to make application to the Nebraska LEAD Program. Fellowship applications for Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Group 38 are now available for men and women involved in production agriculture or agribusiness and are due on June 15. Up to 30 motivated men and women with demonstrated leadership potential are selected annually for the Nebraska LEAD Program. Generally the program is for people between the ages of 25-55 years of age.

In addition to monthly three-day seminars throughout Nebraska from mid-September through late March each year, Nebraska LEAD Fellows also participate in a 10-day National Study/Travel Seminar during the first year and a two week International Study/Travel Seminar during the second year.

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Our LEAD group traveled to China, South Korea and Hong Kong. 

Content essential to leadership focuses on public policy issues, natural resources, community development, interpersonal skill development, communications, education, economics, and social and cultural understanding. Soon beginning its 38th year, the program is operated by the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council, a nonprofit organization in collaboration with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and in cooperation with Nebraska colleges and universities, business and industry, and individuals throughout the state.

Applications are due no later than June 15 and are available via e-mail from the Nebraska LEAD Program.  Please contact Shana at sgerdes2@unl.edu.   You may also request an application by calling (402) 472-6810.

Nebraska LEAD Program offices are in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. If you are even thinking about applying, contact me and I’d be more than happy to share my experiences with you and visit with you about this life-changing opportunity!

Posted in Horticulture

Bagworms

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One common horticultural pest our office receives questions on is bagworms. Bagworms feed on the foliage of a wide variety of trees and shrubs, but are of most concern for evergreens, especially junipers. Bagworms overwinter as eggs in their bags which are attached to tree branches. The eggs hatch in mid-May to early June. As bagworms grow, leaf fragments are added to bags which often grow to 2 inches in length by the end of the summer. The earliest signs of bagworm injury in evergreens are brown or stressed needles at the tips of branches. Heavy infestations  of older bagworms may completely defoliate a tree or shrub and if severe enough can kill the tree or shrub. Less severe injury will slow growth and stunt plants.

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To control bagworms on small trees or small infestations, remove the bags by pulling them off the branches and immersing them in soapy water. If you place the bags next to the tree, the larvae might return to the host plants. If you have bagworms in a windbreak or large tree, insecticides are most effective when applied during early bagworm development. For early season damage, insecticides from mid to late June when bags are less than ½ inch in length are effective. By late August, chemical control is no longer effective as the bagworms have ceased feeding and are enclosed within their bags.

Reduced-risk insecticides to use contain Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and insecticidal soaps are quite effective on young bagworm larvae but may require repeated applications. Additional insecticide options for bagworms include: acephate, bifenthrin, carbaryl, cyfluthrin, malathion or others. As always, be sure to read and follow all label instructions and use all insecticides with caution to avoid exposure to humans, pets, wildlife and other non-target organisms.

For more information, check out Nebraska Extension’s NebGuide on bagworms which can be accessed online through extension.unl.edu websiteor in our office.

Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Programming

Crop Scout Training

Have you ever thought about where crop scouts and agronomists receive some of their training? Nebraska Extension helps provide education for them and others; one opportunity will be coming up on May 9th. The course is from 8:55 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the University of Nebraska’s Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead. The training course is scheduled for industry representatives and corn and soybean growers wanting to learn how to better manage corn and soybean pests.nature-field-sun-agriculture.jpg

Keith Glewen, extension educator who coordinates the program said, “The training is designed for entry-level scouts who are working for crop consultants, industry agronomists or farm service centers in Nebraska and neighboring states”. The training course is also ideal for growers who scout their own fields or are interested in improving productivity, as well as for students being employed by agribusinesses. The day-long event provides participants practical/working knowledge and better accuracy in field scouting. Topics include: corn and soybean insect Scouting, identification and management; crop diseases; identifying weeds – plant morphology, using a key to identify weed seedlings; nutrient deficiencies in corn and soybeans; and understanding corn and soybean growth and development.

The cost for the program is $165, which includes lunch, refreshment breaks, workshop materials and instruction manual. Updated reference materials are included in this year’s take-home instruction manual.  For those attending the day-long training without the resource book, the fee is $50. Attendees should preregister to reserve their seat and to ensure workshop materials are available the day of the training session.

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

For more information or to register, contact Nebraska Extension at (402) 624-8030, (800) 529-8030, e-mail Keith Glewen at kglewen1@unl.edu, or online at https://enre.unl.edu/crop.