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.

IMG_1313.jpg
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 cropwatch.unl.edu/youth/activities. For more information, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu.

Advertisements
Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Programming

On-Farm Research Conference

Farm operators and agronomists from across the state are invited to attend the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network research results update meeting at a location near them.  Producers will obtain valuable crop production-related information from over 80 on-farm research projects conducted on Nebraska farms by Nebraska farmers in partnership with University of Nebraska faculty. These research projects cover products, practices, and new technologies that impact farm productivity and profitability.onfarm

The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is a statewide, on-farm research program that addresses critical farmer production, profitability and natural resources questions. Growers take an active role in the on-farm research project sponsored by Nebraska Extension in partnership with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, the Nebraska Corn Board, the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff, and the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission.

These February programs will provide an opportunity to hear growers who conducted on-farm research share their results from the 2017 growing season. Field length replicated treatment comparisons were completed in growers’ fields, using their equipment.

Research projects to be discussed will include:  cover crops, variable rate seeding, planting populations, multi-hybrid planting, starter fertilizer, fungicide applications, alternate crop rotations, multi-hybrid planting uses, seed treatments, and sidedress nitrogen management technologies including drone and sensor based management, variable-rate nitrogen management.  Certified Crop Advisor Credits are applied for and pending upon approval.

Program Dates and Locations in Eastern Nebraska:

  • Feb. 19 — near Mead, Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 20 — Norfolk, Lifelong Learning Center, Northeast Community College, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 21 — Grand Island, Hall County Extension Office, College Park Campus, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

These programs are free and include lunch, but preregistration is requested for meal planning purposes.  To preregister call (402) 624-8030. Registration check-in begins 30 minutes before the program start time at each site. To learn more about the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network and how to participate, visit http://cropwatch.unl.edu/farmresearch.

Source: UNL CropWatch

Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Livestock, Programming

Crop Insurance, Farm Bill and More

Crop Insurance.png

Today’s farmers and ranchers not only have to be efficient with production practices, but also need to be well-informed with risk management and economics of their business. With that in mind, the Farmers and Ranchers College is offering the program, “Crop Insurance, Farm Bill Policy Update and More” at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva, NE on February 23rd. This workshop will start at 10:00 a.m. with registration at 9:45 and will wrap up at 3:00 p.m. Due to the generous contributions of many businesses and organizations, the program is free; registration is preferred for an accurate meal county by February 16th. Call the Fillmore County Extension office at (402)759-3712 or email Brandy at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu to register.

Speakers for the program will be Steve Johnson who has served as the Farm & Ag Business Management Specialist in Central Iowa for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach since 1999.  He specializes in topics related to government farm programs, crop insurance, crop marketing, grain contracts, farmland leasing and other crop risk management strategies. Annually Steve conducts more than 100 meetings, workshops, seminars and conferences across the Corn Belt with over 10,000 in attendance. Steve uses web sites such as ISU Ag Decision Maker and Polk County Extension Farm Management along with various print and electronic media. He will highlight 2017 crop supply/demand & cash price outlook, discuss 2018 crop cost estimates, planted acreage & weather outlook, highlight seasonal trends for new crop futures, learn to use a variety of marketing strategies & tools and develop & implement new crop marketing plans.

Brad Lubben, a Nebraska Extension Policy Specialist with Nebraska Extension since 2005, also teaches agricultural economics courses on campus and is the Director for the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center. His integrated research, extension and teaching interests include agricultural policy, trade policy, food policy, conservation and environmental policy and public policy.  A native Nebraskan, Lubben is dedicated to the producers and students he serves. Brad’s presentation will focus on how the current ARC and PLC program has provided substantial but declining support for Nebraska producers. He will discuss the new farm bill due to be written in 2018, but will need to reconcile several issues and budget challenges to get done on time, whether a new farm bill is completed or current legislation is extended, producers can expect a new ARC vs. PLC decision in 2019 under very different market conditions and finally how producers will also need to follow a number of other policy issues under debate in DC and beyond.

Austin Duerfeldt specializes in farm accounting, financial analysis, and taxation.  As the Southeast Regional Ag Economist, he provides educational training on grain marketing, cash rent, land valuation, financial analysis, taxes, and negotiations. He will talk about the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Farm Edition) in regards to S199A, depreciation, COOPs and other important factors that impact farmers and ranchers.

Ryne Norton, Fillmore County Farm Service Agency director will provide local FSA updates and Brandy VanDeWalle, Nebraska Extension Educator will talk about farm financial success and ways to cope during difficult times in addition to sharing resources for handling stress in challenging times.

 

Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Programming

Crop Production Clinics

The 2018 Clinics and Conference are an excellent opportunity for crop producers and agribusiness professionals can improve their profitability and sustainability. The clinics will be offered at four locations across Nebraska this January and the conference will be held over two days in Kearney.soybeans.jpg

They will feature presentations from Extension specialists and educators on soil fertility; soil, water, and irrigation management; crop production; ag business management and policy; pesticide safety; and disease, insect, and weed resistance management. The conference will also feature presentations from regional experts like Kevin Bradley from University of Missouri.

Program topics are tailored to meet the needs of cropping systems in different parts of the Nebraska, and vary by location.

The clinics and conference will be the primary venue for commercial and non-commercial pesticide applicators to renew their licenses in the categories of Ag Plant, Regulatory, and Demonstration/Research. Private pesticide operators can also be recertified.corn japanese beetles.jpg

Dicamba applicator training will be available at the Crop Production Clinics and Nebraska Crop Management Conference by attending the Pest Management (pesticide license re-certification) sessions in the afternoon and completing the sign-in at registration

Registration is available online at http://go.unl.edu/CPC-NCMC Cost for the program is $80 for online registration and $95 for on-site registration. The fee includes noon meal and refreshments, a 2018 Guide for Weed Management in Nebraska, and the 2018 Proceedings. The clinics start at 8:45 a.m.

Dates and locations for the 2018 Crop Production Clinics are:

January 10, Gering Civic Center, Gering
January 11, Sandhills Convention Center, North Platte
January 15 & 16 , Lifelong Learning Center, Norfolk
January 18, Embassy Suites, Lincoln
2018 Nebraska Crop Management Conference Dates:

January 24-25, Younes Conference Center, Kearney

For more information, contact a local UNL Extension office or call 402-472-5411 or 402-472-5636.

Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Programming

CropWatch: Your Place for Reliable Crops Information

nature-field-sun-agriculture.jpg

CropWatch is written by Nebraska Extension specialists and educators from across Nebraska to provide timely, research-based information to help you make your farm decisions. During pesticide education sessions and other programs, I remind producers about the vast amount of resources available. We continue to reach more people each year, but we still have many producers that are not checking it on a regular basis.  I hope you’ll all make it a goal or resolution to do so in 2018!  Just a sample of some CropWatch information I included in this week’s column.

Nebraska Crop Budgetsmoney bag
The Nebraska Crop Budgets have been updated for 2018 costs and conditions, and include five new budgets relative to corn-soybean rotations. In total, there are 78 crop production budgets for 15 crops, as well as information on crop budgeting procedures, machinery operation and ownership costs, material and service prices, and a crop budget production cost summary. The 2018 crop budgets are available at cropwatch.unl.edu/budgets.

NE Extension Successful Farmer Series
The Nebraska Extension Successful Farmer Series returns January 5 with the first of six workshops to be held at the Lancaster Extension Educator Center in Lincoln.

These Friday morning workshops, held from 9 to 11:30 a.m., are organized by topic so individuals can zero in on the topic most pertinent to their needs, he said.

The cost is $5 for each session or $15 to attend all six. Handouts and materials will be provided at each workshop and CCA credits will be available. For more information, see the program brochure. To preregister, call 402-441-7180. Refreshments will be provided.

Visit lancaster.unl.edu for the link to program live-streaming.

Dates & Topics
January 5: Weather and Crops with Justin McMechan, extension cropping systems specialist; Tyler Williams, extension educator; Al Dutcher, associate state climatologist; and Brian Barjenbruch of the National Weather Service
January 12: Soil Fertility with Aaron Nygren, extension educator, and Rick Koelsch, extension livestock environmental engineer
January 19: Farm Economics with Al Vyhnalek, extension educator, and Brad Lubben, extension ag policy specialist
January 26: Corn with Bijesh Marajhan, Extension soil and nutrient management specialist; Tamra Jackson-Ziems, extension plant pathologist; and Tom Hoegemeyer, corn breeder and former professor of practice in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture
February 2: Wheat and Equpment with Paul Jasa, extension engineer; Nathan Mueller, extension educator, and Stephen Baenziger, wheat breeder and researcher in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture
February 9: Soybeans with Stevan Knezevic, extension weeds specialist; Loren Giesler, extension plant pathologist; and a representative of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Private Pesticide Applicator Trainings
Private pesticide applicators holding licenses that expire in 2018, as well as anyone seeking first-time private applicator certification, can contact the Extension office for information on pesticide safety education training sessions. About 200 statewide sessions will be held January-April. Letters to producers with a listing of the trainings should be in your mailbox soon if you need to recertify, but you can check the pested.unl.edu website for a complete listing.

Posted in Crops, Livestock, Programming

Reflections from Dr. Kohl

Those of us in agriculture are no stranger to risks involved with agriculture that are taken every day, whether it is financial, production, legal, price/market or human resource risks.  While we can’t control everything, there are measures that can be taken to protect one’s operation and reduce risk. Each year the Farmers & Ranchers College hosts Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus from Virginia Tech who does an excellent job describing global risks which affect us locally and how those risks will affect the agricultural industry.

IMG_0872
Approximately 120 people gathered for the first Farmers & Ranchers College program for the 2017-2018 programming year.

Several points I’d like to share in this week’s column are what Dr. Kohl coins as the top 40% of proactive producers or “greenliners” and the bottom 30% of producers or “redliners” and his top twelve practices observed of successful farmers and ranchers.

Characteristics of the top producers include being proactive by challenging themselves to improve their operation in three areas. These producers also have a sound financial system which includes accrual adjustments, knowing their cost of production for each enterprise or even better, each field.  Sound financial systems also look at trend analysis and ensure the records are in a safe and secure place (backed up, protected from cyber-attacks and in a fireproof safe). Proactive producers also have lower rental and fertilizer costs, have a third-person audit their practices and practice modest living. Understanding that a family might have to make sacrifices and pass on that new boat or trip can cut costs drastically, as they rose during the “good times”.

Now let’s take a look at the bottom 30% of producers. These producers typically overpay on marginal resources such as land. They lack financial or marketing skills. Kohl pointed out that something as simple as making one’s own spreadsheets or utilizing a solid record-keeping system is crucial to monitoring one’s cost of production and recommends quarterly meetings with your lender.  “Redliners” often do not make necessary improvements in their operation to keep with the times such as replacing worn out equipment. In fact, when operations are transitioned to the next generation, if everything is rusted and wore out, that next generation’s chance of “making it” are significantly reduced. These producers need to manage taxes, not minimize taxes. These producers often have a high cost of living and lack the ‘HUT’ principle which is to Hear what others tell you, Understand what they are saying and Take Action.

IMG_0875
College students who attended the program were tasked with asking someone for agricultural advice and Dr. Kohl had them report back to the group what they discovered.

Dr. Kohl also shared when he teaches producers strategies for success, he spends a large amount of time teaching about goal setting. Half the problem with businesses is that they don’t have WRITTEN goals. These should include business, family, personal, one and five-year goals. Balance in life is essential in every career, including farming and ranching. Making time for your spouse and other family members will prevent problems down the road. In addition to goals, he teaches producers to have a projected cash flow, break evens calculated, consider different “what-if” scenarios, updated balance sheets by Groundhog’s Day, develop a personal living budget and monitor your business with a lender or advisory team on a quarterly basis.

Dr. Kohl also provided the ten commandments of character. Character is often overlooked, but crucial to one’s integrity and success. His ten commandments of character included:

  1. Follow thru on commitments (educational program and financial statement requests).
  2. Use borrowed funds as agreed upon.
  3. Be accurate with financial statements such as balance sheets, income statement, etc.
  4. Have a willingness to sacrifice lifestyle pursuits and balance with business growth.
  5. Practice good communication of goals and in times when there are issues and challenges.
  6. There should be minimal surprise business purchases.
  7. Be willing to work with an advisory team, including a third party.
  8. Consider constructive coaching.
  9. Properly use profits, cash flows and windfalls.
  10. Utilize a network of people, peers and pursuits.

In summary, those who are unable to embrace change should open their minds and consider making changes. Kohl encouraged the college students in attendance to do an internship or take a job away from home to learn from others and bring fresh, new ideas back to the operation. He applauded those producers in attendance, as they are willing to learn and improve their business. When you graduate from high school or college, you are not done with learning and if you think you are, you will likely be left behind. This is where I’m proud to be a part of Nebraska Extension as we offer educational programs that provide research-based knowledge and our Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is a great avenue to test new practices, ideas or products.

Posted in Crops, Livestock, Programming

Ag Liens, Loans and Leases Workshop

One of the most common agricultural related questions our office receives is on cropland leases. If you have any questions similar to this, you are welcome to attend a free workshop on Ag Liens, Loans, and Leases.   The workshop will be held in Davenport, (December 13, 2017) at the Community Center. A lunch will be provided.  The workshop runs from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm.  There is no charge for the workshop.  To register (and for questions) call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258. For an accurate meal count please RSVP by Dec. 8th.

What the workshop is about?money bag.jpg

  • Liens – Nebraska’s statutory agricultural liens, from the producer’s perspective:  What are they?  How do they work? These are liens that give creditors rights in certain property, such as crops, feed and livestock, to secure payment of obligations for goods or services, such as seed, fertilizer, ag chemicals, petroleum products, veterinary assistance, cattle care, harvest work and machine repair.  The discussion will focus on identifying the liens and understanding how they work from the producer’s perspective.
  • Loans– The presentation will provide producers with an inside look at “What your lender is looking for.” The impact of Collateral, Cash Flow, Credit Score, Character and Trends on loan applications.  A brief overview of Balance Sheets, Trend Sheets and Ratio Analysis will also be included.
  • Leases– The importance of lease communications between the landlord and tenant and useful lease provisions will be discussed, along with highlights of current lease rates and trends in Nebraska.

This workshop is being presented by:

  • Joe Hawbaker, Agricultural Law attorney, with Hawbaker Law Office, Omaha
  • Dave Goeller, Agricultural Finance and Transition Specialist
  • Alan Vyhnalek, UNL Ag Economics, Extension Educator for Farm/Ranch Succession

This workshop is made possible by the North Central Risk Management Education, Nebraska Network for Beginning Farmers & Ranchers, the Farm and Ranch Project of Legal Aid of Nebraska, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s Next Gen, Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation, Nebraska Extension- Thayer Co.

Meal sponsors include Cornerstone Bank- Davenport & Bruning State Bank.