Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Programming

Farm Bill Programs

Nebraska Extension and USDA Farm Service Agency in Nebraska will host a series of Farm Bill education meetings over the next two months to assist producers as they begin to make farm-bill related program decisions. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law last December, reauthorized the existing Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill, however producers will need to make new program enrollment decisions over the coming months.

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While the ARC and PLC programs under the new farm bill remain very similar to the previous farm bill, a few program changes coupled with changes in market conditions and outlook could significantly impact producer decisions.

“These meetings will help producers understand the programs and recent changes, as well as the decisions to be made at sign-up now and in the coming years,” said Nancy Johner, State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Nebraska. “There are some changes, such as an optional PLC program yield update, and other tweaks to the ARC and PLC programs that producers should consider as they make their selections.”

“Producers face a familiar choice between ARC and PLC, but under very different circumstances now as compared to 2014,” said Brad Lubben, Policy Specialist with Nebraska Extension. “Understanding the program mechanics, analysis and available decision tools will help producers make sound enrollment decisions with FSA.”

The joint Nebraska Extension and Nebraska Farm Service Agency producer education meetings are scheduled at numerous locations across the state from late November to mid-December in advance of the coming ARC/PLC enrollment deadlines in early 2020.

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The meetings are all free and open to the public. Advance registration is encouraged for planning purposes for materials and facilities. Attendees can register for any of the meetings conveniently on the web at farmbill.unl.edu or by calling or visiting their county FSA or Extension office. The educational programs are each set to run three hours in length, featuring information and insight from FSA specialists and Extension experts, as well as other relevant information from local agencies.

The meetings are available statewide with several locations in each region of the state. The schedule for programming closest to us is as follows:

  • Red Cloud – Community Center – November 25, 1-4 PM
  • Bruning – Bruning Opera House – December 5, 1:30-4:30 PM
  • Grand Island – College Park Fonner Park Room – December 5, 1-4 PM
  • York – York County Fairgrounds Cornerstone Building – December 6, 9 AM-12 NOON
  • Lincoln – Lancaster County Extension Center – December 16, 9 AM-12 NOON
  • Kearney – Buffalo County Fairgrounds Antelope Meeting Room – December 17, 1-4 PM
  • Beatrice – Gage County Fairgrounds 4-H Building – December 17, 9 AM-12 NOON
  • Geneva – Fillmore County Fairgrounds Ag Hall – December 18, 9 AM-12 NOON

Please check the website for updates on locations, dates and times. All times are local with registration beginning 30 minutes ahead of start. Several additional meetings also are being planned locally across the state in various locations. Keep alert to additional opportunities and details as they are developed by checking the website for information or by contacting your county Extension or FSA office.

There also are resources available online that can educate producers in their ARC/PLC decision-making process. Links to these resources are available from FSA at www.fsa.usda.gov/ne under the Spotlights section or from Extension at farmbill.unl.edu.

Source: Brad Lubben, Nebraska Extension Policy Specialist: Email: blubben2@unl.edu

Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Livestock, Programming

Free Ag Law and Farm Finance Clinics

Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers at seven sites across the state in October. The clinics are one-on-one meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.

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The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Legal Aid of Nebraska, North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Clinic Sites and Dates

  • North Platte — Thursday, October 10
  • Lexington — Thursday, October 17
  • Fairbury — Wednesday, October 23
  • Valentine — Tuesday, October 29
  • Norfolk — Wednesday, October 30
Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Programming, Youth

Youth Learn Crop Scouting Skills

group 0On July 23, 2019, the sixth annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth was held in which seven teams from across Nebraska competed. It was held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead, Nebraska on July 23, 2019. Teams of students (those completing 5-12th grades) participated by completing a written knowledge test and seven crop scouting exercises in field plots.

The purpose of the competition w­­­as to provide students an opportunity to learn crop scouting and principles of integrated pest management (IPM) for corn and soybeans in Nebraska, to obtain knowledge and skills that will be helpful in future careers and to demonstrate newer crop scouting technologies.

Results from the 2019 competition were as follows:

First place- Colfax County 4-H (R. J. Bayer, Jestin Bayer, Austin Steffensmeier, Logan Nelson, and Brad Kratochvil)

Second place – Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club #1 (Payton & Levi Schiller, Matthew Rolf, and Kaleb Hasenkamp)

Third place – Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club #2 (Landon Hasenkamp, Ethan Kreikmeier, James Rolf, and Ian Schiller)

Also participating was

Humphrey FFA with Bryce Classen, Jacob Brandl, and Mikayla Martensen

Twin River FFA with Keaton Zarek, Kyle Kemper, Jacob Czarnick, and Landon Cuba

Auburn FFA with Kellen Moody, Austin Youngquit, Braden Gerdes, and Riley Stukenholtz

Wayne FFA with Justus Greves, Noah Lutt, Tyler Reinhardt, Elle Barnes, and Alyssa Carlson

Top-scoring teams won prizes: $500 for first, $250 for second, $100 for third place. The top two teams will represent Nebraska at the regional competition held in Iowa on August 26, 2019.

Teams were expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields. This included crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; disease, insect and weed seedling identification; etc.

corn growth staging, maturity, development 2
Kornhusker Kids team determine the corn growth during the program.

More information about the crop scouting competition are available online at cropwatch.unl.edu/youth. Click on the link that says, “Crop Scouting Competition”.

This program was sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, the Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association and Farm Credit Services of America in collaboration with Nebraska Extension. If you know of a company or you would are interested in sponsoring the 2020 program, please contact me at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu.

Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Livestock

Stress is a Part of Life

First of all, I’d like to give a shout-out to the many volunteers who helped contribute to a successful county fair!  Without great volunteers so freely giving their time and talents to the youth in the 4-H program, 4-H would not be the success it is! I would like to personally thank all of the extension staff, fair board members, 4-H Council members, superintendents, and other volunteers for their dedication to the 4-H program. Fair can be a stressful time; however, when we don’t lose sight of its purpose can create long-lasting and positive memories.

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Speaking of stress, this week I’ve captured a few stress relieving tips to consider as summer comes to an end and youth will be in school. Stress is a part of life; we can’t live without it, but sometimes we feel that we can’t live with it!

Stress comes from many sources: a family crisis such as death, divorce or long separation; It might be from overloaded schedules; maybe expectations that cannot be met or unexpected circumstances; A loss of job, health, home or friendship; it can even come from a happy event as marriage, the birth of a child, or moving into a new home. Regardless of the cause, the following are three ways you can manage your stress: alter it, avoid it, or accept it.

Alter your life by removing the source of stress. Some stressors can be relieved by better planning or organization in your life. Simple things like having emergency supplies on hand, not shopping at the busiest times of the week, or organizing your work space can each be stress relievers. If morning schedules are tight, lay out children’s clothes or set the table for breakfast the night before.

Avoiding stress is another management strategy. Learn to say no, when an addition to your schedule will only add to your stress. If you are stressed by long waits, plan something to do (like reading a book) while you wait for an appointment. If there is too much tension in your home or office, go for a walk to clear your mind and relieve the tension.

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

Find a way to accept the stressors that we have no control over. Talking to a trusted friend will help you put things in perspective. Keeping in good health by eating well, getting enough sleep and keeping a routine are essential. Look for the good. Even in the worst of circumstances, there are things that can bring a smile to your face, reasons to be thankful, and opportunities to help others.

Source: How to Manage Daily Stress@ by Dr. Herbert G. Lingren, Extension Family Scientist, NF98-388.

Resources for Nebraska Farmers, Ranchers, and Their Families
We hope you reach out if you are feeling stressed.

  • Rural Response Hotline: The hotline offers access to many attorneys, financial advisors, professional counselors, mediators, clergy, and others. There are 167 behavioral health professionals working with the Rural Response Hotline.  Ask about no-cost vouchers for counseling services. 800-464-0258
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: A national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 800-273-8255.
    – Crisis Text Line: Free, 24/7 support for those in crisis, connecting people in
    crisis to trained Crisis Counselors. Text GO to 741741
  • Veterans Crisis Line: Connect with this resource to reach caring, qualified responders within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves. 800-273-8255, Press 1 or Text to 838255
  • Negotiations Program: Mediation services for agricultural borrowers, creditors, and USDA program participants. Free one-on-one education on agricultural financial and legal matters. 402-471-4876
  • The Boys Town National Hotline: Not just for boys. For all teens and their parents, this hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with specially trained counselors. A TDD line is available (1-800-448-1833), allowing counselors to communicate with speech-impaired and deaf callers. 800-448-3000
  • SAMHSA National Helpline: Free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral in English and Spanish for individuals and families experiencing issues with alcohol, prescription drug, or other substance abuse. 800-662-HELP (4357)

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
We care about you!

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.

houses in farm against cloudy sky
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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.

Posted in Irrigation, Programming, Youth

Irrigation Lessons for Youth

With my agricultural education degree, I enjoy creating lessons and activities for youth and often able to utilize that background by creating lessons for others. With Nebraska ExtensionScreen Shot 2019-06-07 at 2.36.33 PM.png as a leader in irrigation management and development of the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network, it is only fitting for Nebraska Extension to provide youth education related to irrigation.

With that in mind, a series of lessons have been created to accompany the recently developed Agricultural Water Management Guide. This online magazine-type resource introduces readers to irrigation and its use and benefits to Nebraska crop production. This guide serves as a resource for anyone wanting to learn more about irrigation management. It has embedded videos and links for further information, making it interactive. Teachers or informal educators can utilize the guide as an informative reference for themselves or encourage youth to read it themselves.

To compliment the Agricultural Water Management Guide, six lesson plans with activities have been created. Each lesson has learning objectives, careers associated with the topic, educational standards and hands-on activities related to irrigation. A basic ag water management lesson helps youth understand basics principles of soil and water management. Other lesson plan topics include: irrigation management planning & tools used, center pivot irrigation, furrow irrigation, subsurface drip irrigation, and variable rate irrigation. Extension has also developed YouTube videos to compliment these lessons in the classroom.

These materials can all be found on Nebraska Extension’s CropWatch website at cropwatch.unl.edu/youth and click on the irrigation lessons tab.