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.

 

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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 Horticulture, Programming

Lawn & Garden Tips

Some of the most frequent calls we receive in our office is lawn and garden questions. Nebraska Extension horticulturist, Nicole Stoner will be in the area with the program, “Lawn & Garden Tips”. This class will discuss water use in your lawn, problems that develop from improper irrigation and diseases found in lawns and vegetable gardens. The course will be in Geneva at the Fillmore County Extension Office on Wednesday, June 5th from 6-7:30 p.m. with a $5.00 which includes light refreshments. Preregister by May 29th to 402-759-3712 or brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Sleepless in Nebraska

With planting and other field work underway, farmers put in lots of long hours. This week I’ve decided to share some information that not only applies to farmers, but anyone who might be working long hours or simply isn’t getting enough sleep. My colleague, Susan Harris-Broomfield has written the following article with some interesting facts and tips on getting more sleep.

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How much sleep did you get last night?  If you live in Nebraska, there is about a 30% chance that it was less than seven hours and not enough for a body to recharge all its parts. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made it official:  Sleep Deprivation is a public health problem.  Fifty years ago, Americans slept an hour to an hour and a half more than they do today.  Some might be proud of accomplishing more in a day and sleeping less, but they should consider how the body deprives itself of crucial processes when that happens.  While proper nutrition and activity rank right up there, sleep performs magic that no other body function does:

  • Sleep flushes diseased and damaged bits of toxins and waste from our brains. It also performs a process called consolidation, which cements information learned throughout the day into the brain and retains it.
  • Sleep plays a role in metabolism and helps control hunger hormones.
  • Sleeping triggers tissue growth that heals injuries and creates virus-fighting cells to boost immunity to illness.
  • Creativity, energy levels, and positive moods increase with sleep, while it also fights stress.
  • Muscles and organs rebuild critical cells during sleep.

Sleep is the single most effective way to reset body functions for good health.  Going without it means risking a whole slew of body breakdowns, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and even obesity.

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One of the main symptoms of all sleep problems is daytime sleepiness. Sometimes sleep deprivation will show itself in other ways, such as irritability, confusion, memory loss, concentration problems, or depression.  This can be deadly for farmers and ranchers using heavy equipment, handling chemicals, or working with livestock.  A study from colleagues at UNMC (Siu et al., 2015) involved farmers performing four balance tests using a pressure mat for several weeks.  As sleep time decreased, they became less stable – 7.4 times worse when they slept less than their average weekly hours the night before the test, and that was still with at least five hours of sleep!  In another study, adolescent youth on farms were significantly more likely to get injured if they slept less than 9.25 hours per night (Stallones et al., 2006).

It is crucial for farmers and ranchers to respect the need for adequate sleep and make it a priority in daily routines.  A few ways to achieve better quality sleep include the following:

  • Go to bed, and more importantly, get up at the same time every day. Use the alarm clock the right way:  NO snooze button.  Get up and get out on time.
  • Sleep in a room temperature of 60 to 68 degrees.
  • Turn off all devices so there is no lighting up, dinging, vibrating, or ringing. Phone alarms still work in silenced or airplane modes.
  • Allow eyes to take in plenty of bright light first thing in the morning and avoid it in the evening. Lower lights in the house after the sun goes down.
  • Consider a sleep study either in-home or at a clinic or hospital near you. Ask your physician.

For program information about sleep deprivation, and how to conquer it, contact Nebraska Extension’s Rural Health, Wellness, and Safety Educator Susan Harris-Broomfield:  susan.harris@unl.edu or (308) 832-0645.

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.

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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.

Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Livestock, Programming

Nebraska LEAD Program

Eleven 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!Fruit Market pic

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.

orange and and brown chess pieces
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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.

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 39th 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!