Posted in Programming, Youth

2020 Youth Crop Scouting Competition Virtual Competition

Nebraska Extension is pleased to present the 6th Crop Scout Design (1)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.

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 virtually this year on July 28, 2020. Teams of middle school thru high school students (those completing 7-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate. With the virtual option, there will be a limited space to the first ten teams who register.  Teams will compete in a fun, group online game instead of the written individual test. The scouting exercises will enable teams to work together via zoom. They will be given a scenario or task to complete and communicate their answers to the Nebraska Extension judge.

Clubs or other organizations may enter a team composed of three to five participants. An adult team leader must guide students through the process. 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.   Teams are 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.

Two New Opportunities For Youth This Year

Free package of study materials will be mailed to each team that registers by the deadline! When teams register, we will send one package to every team sponsor that provides an address. Study materials will include

    1. Weed, Disease & insect guide
    2. Corn and soybean field guide
    3. A magnifier for your phone camera (if funding allows)
    4. Additional promotional items

We are also providing, “Office hours with an Agronomist”. Join us for several office hours with an Agronomist. Starting soon, different Nebraska Extension agronomist/specialists will share some scouting information and answer your questions. The office hours are open to all youth in grades 7-12. No registration required. A link will be posted on this webpage on the day of the office hours that will direct you to a zoom meeting to participate.

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 15. This program is sponsored by Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association and Nebraska Extension.

Posted in Programming, Youth

Fillmore County Fair Schedule

Nebraska Extension -Fillmore County staff have been working closely with the County Fair Board, local Health Department, and 4-H Council to make decisions that will best meet local needs while complying with state/regional/local guidelines and policies.  Decisions have been made keeping local, state and federal regulation and health guidelines in mind.

Nebraska Extension is operating under:

Shows are for only immediate family members/guardians of that exhibitor in attendance at the shows. All livestock shows will be available for online viewing to the best of our abilities.  Please be respectful of our youth and realize this face-to-face option will only happen with community support and being respectful of our youth and following of public health department guidelines.

Livestock shows will be streamlined through striv and can be accessed at go.unl.edu/fillmoreshows. Other updates, including the Fillmore County Static Exhibitor Showcase, livestock programs and Champions of Fillmore County video will be available on the county extension’s website and social media. Go to fillmore.unl.edu for all of the latest updates.

2020 Fillmore County Fair Schedule

Please be advised that all schedules and guidelines are subject to change based on local health department recommendations, etc..

Shows are for only immediate family members/guardians of that exhibitor in attendance at the shows. Wrist bands are required to enter the fairgrounds.  All livestock shows will be available for online viewing on Exeter-Milligan’s Striv channel and be accessed at https://go.unl.edu/fillmoreshows.

Fillmore County Static Exhibitor Showcase, livestock programs and Champions of Fillmore County video will be available on the fillmore.unl.edu website or Fillmore County 4-H’s Facebook page.FillmoreFairPublicSched2020

Posted in Crops, Programming, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition

IMG_3105Looking 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 5th 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.

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 ENREC near Mead, Nebraska on July 28, 2020, pending directive health measures at that time. If a live competition is unable to occur, a virtual option will be conducted.  Teams of middle school thru high school students (those completing 5-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate. This year, to comply with directive health measures, the event is limited to the first five 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. Unfortunately, there will not be a regional competition 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 15. This program is sponsored by Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association and Nebraska Extension.

Posted in Crops, Programming, Youth

Tractor safety course for teens

The Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health and Nebraska Extension have announced new plans for the tractor safety training course that was originally scheduled to be held at 12 sites across Nebraska this spring and summer. The new plans are designed to protect the health of the students and trainers during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Students will take the first day of the course online through the eXtension Foundation Campus website. After successfully completing the online course and testing, the required driving test will be offered at five locations across Nebraska July 27-31, 2020.

green and yellow tractor on dirt
Photo by John Lambeth on Pexels.com

Teens 14 or 15 years of age who work on farms, or others who are interested in learning about safe farming practices, are encouraged to register for the Course. Anyone under age 14 is not eligible to take the class.

Federal law prohibits children under 16 years of age from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through the course grants an exemption to the law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with certain mechanized equipment.

Susan Harris, University of Nebraska Extension Educator, reports that a common cause of agricultural-related injuries and deaths in Nebraska is overturned tractors and ATVs. She emphasized that this course is designed to train students how to avoid these incidents as well as many other hazards on the farm and ranch.

The online course will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, including quizzes which students must pass to attend the driving portion of training. Once a student is registered, they will be sent a training manual, course paperwork and a link to the online course.

The onsite driving training and exam will include a driving test and equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. Students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. Instructors will also offer education about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs, utility-task vehicles (UTVs), and other off-road vehicles (ORVs).

In order to protect students and trainers, the number of students on site will be limited to allow proper social distancing. All students and trainers will be required to wear a mask at all times during instruction and driving. Masks will be provided along with instructions for proper use. Equipment, steering wheels, control knobs, hitches, will be disinfected before and after each student completes their testing. Students who have had a fever or persistent cough within 14 days of testing will be required to reschedule their driving test. Additional driving tests may be added in August to accommodate students who are unable to attend the 5 scheduled trainings.

Instructors for the course are members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, Ellen Duysen; UNMC graduate student Alyssa Damke; and Nebraska Extension educators Troy Ingram, Randy Saner, and John Thomas.

Cost of the modified course is $40 and includes educational materials, online learning link, and supplies. More information on the 2020 Tractor Safety Course can be found at kearney.unl.edu.

Driving dates, site locations, and site coordinator contact information is below:

  • July 27 – Akrs Equipment, 49110 US Hwy 20 in O’Neill, contact Debra Walnofer, 402.336.2760, dwalnofer2@unl.edu
  • July 28 – Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail #8500 in Gering, contact Stacy Brown, 308.632.1480, sbrown7@unl.edu
  • July 29 – West Central Research & Extension Center, 402 West State Farm Rd., North Platte, contact
  • Randy Saner or Vicki Neidhardt 308.532.2683, saner@unl.edu
  • July 30 – Hall County Extension, 3180 W. Hwy 34, Grand Island, contact Nancy Usasz, 308.754.5422, usasz@unl.edu
  • July 31 – Cass County Fairgrounds, 8420 144th St, Weeping Water, contact Sandy Prall, 402.267.2205, sprall2@unl.edu

For more information or to register, contact the appropriate Extension staff member above.  Visit kearney.unl.edu for a registration form.

Posted in Horticulture, Programming

Online Gardening Program

There has been a huge interest in gardening during this time period. For some people, this might be their first time with a garden and for some, we’ve been gardening for years, but are always looking for tips to improve productivity. If you fit into one of those categories, join Nicole Stoner, Gage County Extension Educator, for an online seminar about managing your backyard garden on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM.  To receive the Zoom login, contact Nicole by Friday, May 29, 2020 at nstoner2@unl.edu.

Gardening Online Program Flyer, 2020

Posted in Programming, Youth

Nebraska Extension Showcasing 4-H’ers at County Fairs

Nebraska Extension is working to make sure all 4-H’ers across the state have the opportunity to showcase their hard work come county fair time this summer. Since COVID-19 hit, rest assured Nebraska 4-H faculty and staff have been diligently working on numerous plans and options to celebrate our youth and showcase their hard work. Recently, our Dean and Director, Chuck Hibberd released an article which also describes our efforts.4h_mark1

County fair boards and agricultural societies in Nebraska’s 93 counties are determining what their county fairs will look like – or whether to have them at all — as the state responds to COVID-19. Nebraska Extension is working with these groups to design in-person or virtual 4-H experiences or a combination of both appropriate for each county.  Recommendations of both the governor’s office and Nebraska’s district health departments will determine what strategies will work best on a county-by-county basis.

“We are absolutely committed to making sure all youth who take part in 4-H across Nebraska have the opportunity to exhibit their hard work at a fair,” said Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of Nebraska Extension. “We are equally committed to protecting the health and safety of our youth, volunteers, judges and spectators.

Nebraska has one of the highest 4-H participation rates in the nation, with one in three – a total of over 140,000 — youth engaged in the program. Nebraska Extension began adapting 2020 4-H programming to virtual formats back in March, when social distancing and other directed health measures were first put in place. Locally, I’m proud to say that Clay and Fillmore Counties actually reach one in two – youth engaged in the program.

“Fairs may look different than they have in the past with social distancing, different arrangements for livestock shows, and the possible option for virtual shows; we also know that the fair experience is an important part of a 4-H’ers summer,” Hibberd said. “We are excited to be able to make that happen.”

Additional information for county fairs will be available as details are finalized.  Please be patient with our staff and council members as we work through options.

Posted in Horticulture, Programming, Youth

Biggest Grower Youth Competition

Nebraska Extension and the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture have launched a new student gardening competition to take place this summer. The Biggest Grower competition offers Nebraska high school students the opportunity to learn how to start their own garden and small growing operation. Students will plant, grow, cultivate, harvest and distribute their own fresh specialty crops in a garden space or in containers. Participants will be placed in virtual teams with one team chosen as The Biggest Grower and each team member will be awarded a $50 Amazon gift card. Additionally, one high school junior or senior will be awarded a College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Department of Agronomy and Horticulture scholarship of $1,000.

The goal of this competition is to help increase awareness in growing food, improve personal wellness and community involvement, explore opportunities in entrepreneurship and expand the availability of specialty crops in fresh food drought areas.  Stacy Adams, an associate professor of practice in agronomy and horticulture and a Nebraska Extension specialist is in charge of the program.3EC4F63F-DE54-490B-92DE-378D19986434_1_105_c.jpeg

This project can expose Nebraska youth to the fundamentals of plant production and demonstrate career opportunities in agriculture. Funding is provided through the Nebraska Specialty Crop Block Grant Program as a means to enhance the competitiveness of non-commodity specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, nuts and ornamentals.

This competition is beneficial for both rural and urban students; growing specialty crops can expand income potential for farmers as well.

The Biggest Grower competition is free to Nebraska high school students entering the ninth through 12th grade this fall 2020. Nebraska Extension and a university horticulture student, who will be a personal garden mentor, will work with each student virtually on a weekly basis. Participants will be randomly placed into 10, statewide virtual teams of 10 gardeners. These teams will compete over the summer to find out which team is The Biggest Grower.

Students can register at https://agronomy.unl.edu/the-biggest-grower.

Each participant will use an existing garden space at their home or they can choose to grow in pots as a container gardener. Competition garden space as a backyard gardener is limited to 80 square feet, maximum. Participants will complete the activities assigned by the garden mentor and will be given a toolkit consisting of a hand spade, weeding tool, seeds and starter plants.

Participants will be asked to participate and complete the following:

  • 10 weekly activities.
  • develop and cultivate specialty crops in their backyard or container garden.
  • record productivity data in the growers’ leaderboard.
  • record the amount of harvest consumed.
  • record the amount distributed.
  • participate in virtual The Biggest Grower Day hosted by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture on June 26 from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln East Campus.

High school junior and senior participants, who want to be eligible for the scholarship award, will be asked to write a 350 to 500-word essay on how The Biggest Grower competition affected them and their community, or the use of specialty crops in their future. Students must also enroll in one of four majors within the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture in CASNR at Nebraska.

The competition will begin May 25 and end Aug. 7. After all the data is entered and the essays are reviewed, The Biggest Grower team and the scholarship winner will be announced Sept. 4. Complete application guidelines and more information may be found online.

Source: IANR News & Stacy Adams, Associate Professor Nebraska Extension/ Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

3EC4F63F-DE54-490B-92DE-378D19986434_1_105_c.jpeg

Posted in Programming, Youth

May Youth Project Workshops

Pick a Project Fridays Square_EDIT.pngClay, Fillmore, Nuckolls, and Thayer counties are hosting a “Pick A Project” Zoom workshop series to encourage local youth to practice their fair project prowess and to learn how to make (or at least get started on) projects for County Fair 2020. We encourage youth ages 8-18 to register for one or all four of the workshops. Even though COVID-19 disruptions have limited in-person programming, we’re excited to inspire 4-H members to practice experiential learning and learn to do new projects.

Register by visiting https://go.unl.edu/4hpickaprojectfridays.

May 8 – Heritage

Join Nuckolls/Thayer 4-H Educator Kylie Kinley as she explores the Heritage project. We’ll peer into the past and brainstorm what historical stories or family heirlooms would make quality projects for fair. Supplies: Pencil and paper, potential heirlooms, family photos, list of family members for family tree drafting.

May 15 – “Coffeecake 201”

Join Clay County 4-H Associate Holli Alley from her kitchen as she bakes coffee cake for the Cooking 201 project. Youth will learn basic baking techniques to perfect yummy coffee cake for the county fair.

May 22 –  “T-shirt Rags to Riches”

Fillmore County 4-H Assistant Rachel Adams will show youth how to use old t-shirts that would normally be used as rags to make a one-of-a-kind rug. Don’t know how to sew? No problem! We’ll use a braiding technique to craft our rugs. This will not be a project we will get done in an hour, but you can work on it in your spare time. Supplies: Old T-shirts cut into 1 ½ inch strips. Around 10 XL shirts or the equivalent would be a good place to start. Avoid too many seams in your strips. You will also need scissors (fabric scissors would work best).

May 29 – World of Weedsplant-148601_1280.png

Join Fillmore County Extension Educator Brandy VanDeWalle & Todd Boller, county weed superintendent, as they explore common weeds and even start you on an exhibit for county fair. Create a Weed Display, which allows original and creative exhibits that contain educational information about weeds, such as interesting information about a weed species, the effects of weed control, herbicide-resistant weeds, what makes a weed, or uses for weeds. Supplies needed: 1-3 weeds to identify, sheet of paper and pencil to brainstorm a poster idea. (Optional: poster board & supplies to get started on a poster.)

Posted in Programming, Youth

Tractor safety course to teens across Nebraska

Members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health will provide a tractor safety course in May and June of 2020 at 11 sites across Nebraska in partnership with Nebraska Extension. The course provides extensive training on tractor and all-terrain vehicle safety with a variety of hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of ‘making safety a priority’ and respect for agricultural equipment are primary goals of the course.TractorCourse

Teens 14 or 15 years of age who work on farms, or others who are interested in learning about safe farming practices, are encouraged to register for the Nebraska Extension Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Course. Anyone under age 14 is not eligible to take the class.

Federal law prohibits children under 16 years of age from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through the course grants an exemption to the law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with certain mechanized equipment.

Susan Harris-Broomfield, University of Nebraska Extension Educator reports that a common cause of agricultural-related injuries and deaths in Nebraska is overturned tractors and ATVs. She emphasized that this course is designed to train students how to avoid these incidents as well as many other hazards on the farm and ranch.

Cost of the course is $60 and includes educational materials, instruction, supplies, and lunch. The first day of class will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, hands-on participation, concluding with a written test which students must pass to attend the second day of training.

The second day of training will include a driving test and equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. Students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. Instructors will also offer education about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs, utility-task vehicles (UTVs), and other off-road vehicles (ORVs).

Instructors for the course are members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., Ellen Duysen, MPH; UNMC graduate student Alyssa Damke; and Nebraska Extension educators Troy Ingram, Randy Saner, Chandra Giles, and John Thomas.

Classes begin at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m., depending on location, and end times vary depending on the number of participants.  If classes do not fill to the minimum of 10 participants, an option will be offered to do Day 1 training online and Day 2 in person.

Dates, training site locations, and site coordinator phone numbers are below:

  • May 21 & 22 – Weeping Water, Fairgrounds, (402) 267-2205
  • May 26 & 27 – Ord, Fairgrounds (308) 728-5071;
  • May 28 & 29 – Wayne, Fairgrounds (402) 375-3310
  • June 1 & 2 – O’Neill, Plains Equipment, (402) 336-2760
  • June 3 (first day is online) – Gordon, Fairgrounds, (308) 327-2312
  • June 4 & 5 – Ainsworth, Evangelical Free, (402) 387-2213
  • June 9 & 10 – Geneva, Fairgrounds, (402) 759-3712
  • June 11 & 12 – North Platte, West Central Research, Extension and Education Center, (308) 532-2683
  • June 16 & 17 – Kearney, Buffalo County Extension Office (308) 236-1235
  • June 18 & 19 – Hastings, Adams County Extension Office (402) 461-7209
  • June 29 & 30 – Gering, Legacy Museum (308) 632-1480.

For more information or to register, contact the appropriate Extension office above. The registration form is located at kearney.unl.edu.