Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Livestock

FSA County Committee Nomination Deadline

It is important for one to stand for what they believe in and takes an active role in one’s community. Effective leadership is crucial to any community or organization.  An effective leader understands the issues at-hand, is knowledgeable in his/her area, knows the proper ways to motivate others, embraces change, can work in a variety of settings and with a variety of personalities, and involves the group or followers in important decision-making. That being said, remember that a leader is not only a political figure or someone that is well known, but a leader can be a farmer, local businessmen/women, or anyone in a community or organization.  For those individuals desiring to take on leadership roles, consider serving on the FSA County Committee. Details for how to step into this role follow.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages all farmers, ranchers, and FSA program participants to take part in the County Committee election nomination process.

FSA’s county committees are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA and allow grassroots input and local administration of federal farm programs.

Committees are comprised of locally elected agricultural producers responsible for the fair and equitable administration of FSA farm programs in their counties. Committee members are accountable to the Secretary of Agriculture. If elected, members become part of a local decision making and farm program delivery process.

A county committee is composed of three elected members from local administrative areas (LAA). Each member serves a three-year term. One-third of the seats on these committees are open for election each year.

County committees may have an appointed advisor to further represent the local interests of underserved farmers and ranchers. Underserved producers are beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers and landowners and/or operators who have limited resources.

All nomination forms for the 2019 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA service center by Aug. 1, 2019. For more information on FSA county committee elections and appointments, refer to the FSA fact sheet: Eligibility to Vote and Hold Office as a COC Member available online at: fsa.usda.gov/elections.

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Posted in Crops, Livestock, Programming

Good farmer or a great manager?

The difference between a good farmer and a great manager often comes down to knowing the true financial position of a farm. Good records make it possible to track an operation’s true financial position. Inaccurate records can lead to misguided management decisions.

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“Good Farmer to Great Manager” Record-keeping classes will teach farmers and ranchers to keep accurate records for their operations. These classes will be held at three locations:

  • Lincoln, July 18 – 19 at the Lancaster County Extension Office
  • Bridgeport, July 25 – 26 at the Prairie Winds Community Center
  • Grand Island, July 30 – 31 at the Hall County Extension Office

Each class will run from 1p.m. until 5 p.m. the first day, and 8 a.m. until noon the second day. The course fee is $50 per participant; class size is limited to 25 people per location. Register online at https://www.regonline.com/registration/Checkin.aspx…

Keeping good records is less about using a certain software and more about gathering and organizing information, according to Tina Barret the Executive Director of Nebraska Farm Business Inc. and course instructor. “In this class, you will learn about what information you should have easily available as part of your farm or ranch records. When you have good records, everything from tax preparation, annual loan renewals, and financial analysis become much easier,” she said. “More importantly, it will allow you to make financial management decisions that improve your business.”

Posted in Crops, Programming

Weed Science Field Days

Recently I came across an article from Penn State Extension that started out, “No matter what definition is used, weeds are plants whose undesirable qualities outweigh their good points.” A basic definition I use, is “a plant that is out of place and not where it is intended to be”.  No matter how you define it, weeds continue to be a problem for many farmers across the country. Weeds usually have an abundant seed production, rapid population establishment, seed dormancy, long-term survival of buried seed, adaption for them to spread and the ability to occupy sites disturbed by human activity. Weeds reduce crop quality, interfere with harvest, serve as hosts for crop diseases or provide shelter for insects to overwinter, can limit the choice of crop rotation sequences and cultural practices and some can even produce chemical substances toxic to plants, animals or humans. For producers in the area, there are two field days approaching to help manage weeds.Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 8.21.41 PM

Growers, crop consultants, ag professionals and extension educators are encouraged to attend Nebraska Extension’s weed management field day from 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 26 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center.

The field day will include on-site demonstrations of herbicides for weed control in corn, popcorn and soybean. An early morning demonstration will focus on weed control in soybeans followed by a demonstration of projects for weed control in corn and popcorn.

According to Extension Weed Management Specialist Amit Jhala, a number of projects will be demonstrated during the field day, including weed control in XtendFlex soybean, Enlist Corn, and Alite 27 Soybean. New this year for participants, is the opportunity to learn about a research project aimed at terminating cereal rye before and after planting soybean and control of volunteer corn in Enlist Corn.  Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) continuing education units are available.

There is no cost to attend the field day, but participants are asked to register at http://agronomy.unl.edu/fieldday. The South Central Agricultural Laboratory is 4.5 miles west of the intersection of Highways 14 and 6, or 12.4 miles east of Hastings on Highway 6.

Another field day for those interested in management of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth is a Nebraska Extension field day, supported by the Nebraska Soybean Board, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 10 near Carleton. Palmer amaranth is a member of the pigweed family and is one of the most troublesome weeds in soybean fields because of its resistance to glyphosate and some other herbicide groups. Greenhouse dose-response studies have confirmed resistance when glyphosate was applied even at higher rates.

At the field day, experiments will demonstrate how to control glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, Enlist and Alite 27 soybeans in Nebraska. Keynote speaker, Jason Norsworthy will share his experiences for management of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth. Norsworthy is a professor of weed science at the University of Arkansas. Three certified crop adviser credits will be available.

There is no cost to attend the field day. However, pre-registration is required before 3 p.m. on July 9. To register, visit http://agronomy.unl.edu/palmer.

Directions to the field day: From Geneva, go south on Hwy 81 for 14.6 miles, turn west onto Hwy 4 for 5.3 miles. For more information, contact Amit Jhala at 402-472-1534 or Amit.Jhala@unl.edu.

Posted in Crops, Programming

Weed Field Day

screen-shot-2019-05-23-at-8.21.41-pm.pngGrowers, crop consultants, ag professionals, and extension educators are encouraged to attend Nebraska Extension’s weed management field day from 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 26 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center.

The field day will include on-site demonstrations of herbicides for weed control in corn, popcorn and soybean. An early morning demonstration will focus on weed control in soybeans followed by a demonstration of projects for weed control in corn and popcorn.

“A number of projects will be demonstrated during the field day, including weed control in XtendFlex soybean, Enlist Corn, and Alite 27 Soybean,” said Extension Weed Management Specialist Amit Jhala.

New this year for participants to learn about research project aimed at terminating cereal rye before and after planting soybean and control of volunteer corn in Enlist Corn.  Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) continuing education units are available. There is no cost to attend the field day, but participants are asked to register at http://agronomy.unl.edu/fieldday.

The South Central Agricultural Laboratory is 4.5 miles west of the intersection of Highways 14 and 6, or 12.4 miles east of Hastings on Highway 6. GPS coordinates of the field day site is 40.57539, -98.13776.

 

Posted in Crops, Programming, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition

Connecting Youth with Crops

Looking for a fun club project? Want to unite your club members? Running out of ideas for club meetings?  If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, help is on the way!  Nebraska Extension is pleased to present the 6th 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.Crop Scout Design (1)

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 23, 2019. 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.

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 Iowa this year.

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: https://go.unl.edu/cropscoutingreg

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 Crops, Horticulture, Irrigation, Livestock, Programming

Ag Offers Rewards, but can be Stressful Too

Recently I presented a webinar with my colleague, Glennis McClure that reminds us of daily stress in our lives, especially for farmers and ranchers. Agriculture is a stressful occupation and while it provides numerous rewards, it does not come without challenges. Too much stress can contribute to health issues and make us more accident prone.

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The National Center for Farmer Health points out that stress is the human response to any change that is perceived as a challenge or a threat. Changes that cause worry, frustration or upheaval and seem beyond our control can cause stress. An example that hits close to home for Nebraska farmers and ranchers is the recent weather-related disasters. Attitudes, perceptions and meanings that people assign to events determine a large part of one’s stress levels.

There are many symptoms of stress that impact our body, mind and actions. For example, physical symptoms might include nausea, shortness of breath, shaky legs, headaches, and fatigue just to name a few. When under stress, some people may experience moodiness, frustration, anger, loneliness, anxiety or depression and even suicidal thoughts. Sleeping too much or too little, increased use of alcohol or drugs, withdrawal from others and exhibiting nervous behaviors are all examples of how our actions might change when stressed.

honeycrisp health illustration
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The good news is there are many ways to reduce stress. A summary of ways to decrease stress as compiled by Susan Harris-Broomfield, Nebraska extension educator includes:

  • Exercising ½ hour a day every day or every other day
  • Getting enough sleep to meet the demands of your body
  • Accepting that stress is a part of life and not dwelling on it
  • Learning to relax which could include taking deep breaths
  • Balance work and family time
  • Connect with sources of support
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Talk with a friend or counselor
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you recognize someone in distress, express your concern to them and ask about their situation. Do this in a non-judgmental way and actively listen to them. People in distress might turn to suicide and a majority of people who attempt suicide have given a clue or warning to someone. Don’t ignore indirect references to death or suicide. In fact it is a myth that talking about suicide with someone may give them the idea to carry it out. Asking someone about potential suicidal thoughts they may have or discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do for someone who is suicidal. If someone indicates they are thinking of suicide, do not leave them alone. Call for help and/or take them to a hospital or health care provider. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This hotline can be accessed day or night.

In keeping with the #NebraskaStrong idea, remember to be strong and seek out help as needed and assist others who may need help. In Nebraska, our Rural Response Hotline can be accessed at 1-800-464-0258. When a farmer, rancher, or rural resident calls the hotline and requests help with stress related issues, they are connected to an experienced staff person who is trained to help callers through the Counseling, Outreach and Mental Health Therapy program. Staff members are trained to work with individuals over the phone or in their home, providing confidential information and assistance.

A recording of the webinar, in addition to resources utilized for this program can be found at https://go.unl.edu/wellnessintoughtimes.  More resources, especially disaster-related resources can be accessed on the flood.unl.edu website. For more information, contact me at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu or (402)759-3712.