Posted in Crops, Programming, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition

One of the statewide programs I coordinate is the Youth Crop Scouting Competition which engages youth in the crop sciences. It provides youth with real-world scenarios in crop production as they diagnose plant diseases, crop disorders, identify insects and weeds and other challenges producers currently face.IMG_6054.jpg

Registration is now open for the 2017 Youth Crop Scouting Competition to be held this August in eastern Nebraska. The contest is open to FFA and 4-H club members and will help those interested in crops test their skills and those new to crops better understand crop production.

To prepare for the contest youth are encouraged to learn about crop growth and development and basic crop scouting principles. If a group doesn’t know a lot about crops, they’re encouraged to ask a local agronomist to assist by providing a short lesson on crop production at regular meetings or outside of the meeting.

The crop scouting contest will be held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC, formerly ARDC) near Mead on Aug. 1. The event will include both indoor and outdoor events. Teams of three to five junior high or high school students (those completing 7-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate.

FFA Chapters or 4-H Clubs may enter a team composed of three or four 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_6093.jpg

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

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 may 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 in the Youth section of CropWatch under “Crop Scouting Competition” and in the contest flyer. The program is limited to 10 teams so be sure to register soon! Teams must be registered by July 20.

This program is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, the Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association, and Nebraska Extension.

 

Posted in Crops, Programming, Uncategorized

Nebraska Winter Wheat Field Days

Attention wheat growers!  Nebraska Extension is again hosting some wheat field days within the area in collaboration with various business and industry partners. There are 4 field days in the Panhandle area, 2 in west central Nebraska and 2 in the eastern part of the state with the closest one in our area located in Jefferson County.wheat-867612_960_720 2

Wednesday, June 7th at 6:30 p.m. at the farm of Mark Knoble will be a wheat field day. From Fairbury, head north on NE 15, turn west onto 721st Road, dive 1.9 miles and the destination is on the left. For more information, contact Randy Pryor, Extension Educator in Saline County at (402) 821-2151. For details on all of the field days and to see a list of sponsors, go to  agronomy.unl.edu/wheatdays.

Posted in Programming, Uncategorized, Youth

Nebraska Extension creating healthy environments

In an effort to promote the wide variety of programming Nebraska Extension offers, this week’s column features a brief summary from Kayla Colgrove, extension educator in the foods and nutrition area. Nebraska Extension is increasing its healthy lifestyle programming to combat childhood obesity across the state by implementing programs to improve healthy eating and physical activity patterns in youth. Extension professionals focused on food, nutrition, and health, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, 4-H and The Learning Child are teaming up to create healthier home, school and community environments to make healthy choices, the more desirable choice.

kids eating healthy
Image courtesy of USDA Ag Research Service

“There is a critical need to reduce childhood overweight and obesity rates by encouraging healthy habits,” said Nebraska Extension Educator Kayla Colgrove. “Extension programming not only improves eating patterns and increases physical activity in youth, but it also helps create those environments that support healthier living.”

Through statewide programming and dynamic partnerships, Extension team members reached over 63,000 Nebraskans with programs focused on healthy habits in 2016. The programs are designed to teach children and youth how to choose healthy food and beverages, prepare food safely, fun ways to be active, alternatives to screen time and more.

Along with the focus on community and home, Extension is also focused on helping to create a healthy environment in Nebraska schools. Recently, a collaboration between Extension, Tri County Public Schools, Nebraska Team Nutrition and several local businesses culminated in a farmers market at the school. During the lunch hour, nearly 400 Tri County students were able to sample a variety of locally grown food, including vegetables from the school’s new hydroponic garden system.

During the farmers market, Colgrove shared smoothie samples with the students that featured spinach as a main ingredient. Other samples included hummus, whole grain bread, local meats from Frank’s Smokehouse, cheese sticks from Classic Dairy and ice cream from Prairieland Dairy. The farmers market was a way to show students the different types of vegetables they could grow in their own garden. The school district’s goal is to grow vegetables that could be introduced into their school lunch program. Their hydroponic garden is soil-less, and feeds plants in water. They are currently growing heads of lettuce.

Extension is also helping Nebraska schools implement smarter lunchroom strategies. This effort is the result of a partnership between Extension, 4-H, SNAP-Ed, Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) Team Nutrition, and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The smarter lunchroom strategies provide low to no cost solutions to reduce food waste and increase the consumption of healthy foods. Extension staff provide technical assistance to schools by helping the food service staff identify and diagnose school lunchroom challenges, and develop strategies to promote healthy choices.

Additionally, school enrichment kits are available for elementary school teachers to assist in teaching nutrition and physical activity in their classrooms. The kits are designed to meet national health and state science standards. The kits include education on MyPlate food groups, basic nutrients, label reading, and planning a balanced meal. All materials needed to teach each lesson are included in the kits.

The goals of these efforts are for children and youth to increase consumption of healthy foods and beverages, engage in healthy levels of physical activity, and make the healthy choice, the more desirable choice. To learn more about Extension’s efforts in this area, watch a video at http://go.unl.edu/issue2.

For more information on foods and nutrition, contact my colleague, Kayla Colgrove, Extension Educator at 402-223-1384 or kcolgrove2@unl.edu.

Posted in Programming, Uncategorized, Youth

Progressive Agriculture Safety Day

Statistics from those impacted by aSafety_Day farm-related injury or death are sobering. Many know someone who was impacted by a farm accident that in many cases could have been prevented. This is why I feel so passionately about conducting the Annual Progressive Safety Day each year. The Progressive Agriculture Foundation provides safety and health information to rural communities that need it, which is why I’ve teamed up with them. The mission of Progressive Agriculture Days is simple – to provide education, training, and resources to make farm and ranch life safer and healthier for children and their communities.

During the program’s first year, a total of 2,800 participants and volunteers were reached throughout the South and Midwest and now the program impacts close to 110,000 annually. To date, the program has impacted more than 1.3 million children and adults.

2017 T-shirt DesignCurrent 1st through 6th graders are invited to attend Progressive Agriculture Safety Day on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds.  Youth will participate in a variety of events designed to help them be aware of safety in potentially hazardous situations such as bike riding, agricultural settings, electrical safety and others.  This year, youth will walk away with an emergency disaster kit to use in the case of storms and other emergencies. Registration and consent form is REQUIRED by all youth who participate. This can be found at fillmore.unl.edu or by stopping by the Extension Office in Geneva or Clay Center.

April 21st is early bird registration at only $5 per child that includes a t-shirt, lunch, snack and goodie bag. After April 21st registration increases to $10 per youth in order to participate.

This event is conducted by Nebraska Extension in Fillmore/Clay Counties, Shickley and Fillmore Central FFA chapters, 4-H and W.I.F.E. For more info or to register, call 402-759-3712 or email brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu.

Posted in Programming, Uncategorized, Youth

Tractor Safety Classes Across Nebraska

Nebraska Extension Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Courses will take place at nine Nebraska locations this year. Teens 14 or 15 years of age who will work on a farm should plan to attend.TractorCourse

Federal law prohibits youth less than 16 years of age from working on a farm for anyone other than parents or legal guardians. Certification received through this course grants an exemption to the law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with specific mechanized equipment.

The most common cause of agricultural-related death in Nebraska is overturned tractors and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Extensive training on Tractor and ATV safety occurs during in-class lessons with hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of ‘safety first’ and respect for agricultural equipment are primary goals of the course.

The course consists of two days of instruction plus homework assignments. The first day of classroom instruction includes hands-on demonstrations, concluding with a written test. Students are required to pass the test before taking the driving test on day two. Classroom instruction will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program. Students will complete homework assignments that will be due on day two. The second day will include a driving test, equipment operation, and ATV safety lessons. To receive certification, students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course.

Two locations, Gordon and McCook, will offer online course instruction to replace the first day of the two-day course. Students complete this at their convenience before attending the driving component of the course on-site.

All on-site classes begin at 8:00 A.M. and end times will vary, depending on the number of participants. Dates, locations, and Site Coordinator phone numbers are as follows: May 30 & 31 – Kearney Fairgrounds (308) 236-1235; June 1 & 2 – Auburn Fairgrounds (402) 245-4324; June 6 & 7 – Valentine Fairgrounds (402) 376-1850; June 13 & 14 – North Platte West Central Research and Extension Center (308) 532-2683; June 15 & 16 – Gering Legacy Museum (308) 632-1480; June 19 & 20 – Wayne Fairgrounds (402) 584-2234; June 22 – Gordon Fairgrounds (308) 327-2312; June 23 – McCook Fairgrounds (308) 345-3390; July 10 & 11 – Grand Island College Park (308) 385-5088.

Participants must submit registration forms to the location they will attend at least one week before the course. The registration form is available online: kearney.unl.edu. Cost of the course is $60, which includes educational materials, instruction, supplies, and lunches. For more information, contact the Extension Office of the location where student will attend.

Posted in Horticulture, Programming, Uncategorized

Extension’s Many Resources

Often times people might only directly experience one or two faucets of extension and not be aware of the multitude of other programming extension provides, some of which indirectly impacts people. One such example is the training extension provides crop consultants; while a farmer might not directly call the extension office, more than likely that crop consultant has either attended training conducted by extension or used research done by extension. Another example that impacts everyone is the ServSafe program which is a program that food-service workers attend and learn how to safely prepare food. If you eat at a restaurant, it is likely that server has learned from Extension programs through the ServSafe program. This month is no different; Extension will be offering two unique and very different programs.

Emerald Ash Borer UpdateEAB

In 2016, Emerald Ash Borer was confirmed in Nebraska resulting in many homeowners being concerned about their trees. There are two upcoming workshops planned in Clay Center and Geneva. Both of these workshops will provide information about the emerald ash borer, what to look for in your ash trees, and management decisions for homeowners to consider.

In Clay Center on Thursday, March 30th from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at the Clay County Fairgrounds there will be a program with a light supper. Please RSVP to (402) 762-3644 for planning purposes.

If you can’t make that work for your schedule, there will be a similar program on April 11th at 6:00 p.m. at the Fillmore County Extension Office in Geneva that will include an emerald ash borer update in addition to an update on ice storm damage from this winter. A $5 registration fee includes a meal and handouts; please register to (402) 759-3712 by April 10th for planning purposes.

I am Moving, I am Learning Childcare Workshop

The development of the brain in a I am moving picchild’s first five years of life clearly shapes the learning capacity they have for the rest of their life. Leanne Manning, Extension Educator in Saline County will be presenting the session “Moving with the Brain in Mind” from the I Am Moving, I Am Learning series at a workshop in Geneva at the University of Nebraska Extension Office, 1340 G Street, on Tuesday, April 18th. Participants will learn how the brain structure and functioning can be enhanced through movement and physical activity. The session will follow with “Making the Most of Your Music” as moving to music is a fun and healthy way to encourage movement and physical activity. This workshop helps early childhood programs and parents understand how music helps with physical development and ways to incorporate new vocabulary and actions into children’s music.

There is a fee for the workshop which begins at 6:00 p.m. and ends at 8:00 p.m. Registration should be turned in by Friday, March 31, to University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Saline County. Please contact our office for more information at 402-821-2151 or view details at http://go.unl.edu/imil. Space is limited.