Posted in Crops, Livestock, Programming, Youth

Food Label “Quiz”

With the holiday season upon us, many consumers will be preparing food for family and friends. When you go to the grocery store and select food, how well do you really know your food labels?  A survey of over 1,200 Nebraskans was conducted on how people think and feel about their food. Food labels were identified as the major information source by almost 64% of respondents. This work was done as a part of our Consumer Confidence team which works to find ways to inform people about food production. Are you an able food label reader? Do you know the answers to these questions? (Answers at the end of this article.)

Photo Credit: FDA
  1. A label box of cereal starts like this: “Ingredients: Whole wheat, brown sugar, molasses….”
    Which of these ingredients is present in the largest amount by weight in this food? a. Whole wheat      b. Brown sugar    c. Molasses     d. They are present in equal amounts
  2. Two chicken broths are labeled the following: Label 1: Real herbs, real flavor, sodium free chicken bouillon and Label 2: All natural, 100% chicken bouillon
    Which label does NOT have an approved “definition?” 
    a.  Label A     b. Label B
  3. A label says, “best if used by Dec., 27, 2019. Is a “Best If Used By” date a “safety” date?
    a. Yes     b. No
  4. Which of the following foods is “hormone free”?
    a. Meat     b.  Bread      c. Peas      d. None of them are “hormone free”
  5. Which animal is raised with “added” hormones?
    pig and chicken
    Photo Credit: Microsoft Powerpoint icons

    a. Pigs      b. Chicken      c. Both of them      d. Neither of them

  6. If “bananas-A” are labeled “GMO-Free” and “bananas-B” have no GMO labeling, which is a TRUE statement?
    a. Bananas-B are a GMO food      b. Neither of them are GMO foods       c. It’s impossible to tell if bananas-B are a GMO food

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS:

  1. a. Whole wheat. Ingredients are listed by their common or usual name in descending order by weight. For example: If “whole wheat” is listed first, that ingredient is found in the largest amount by weight in the product. The ingredient listed last contributes the least amount by weight.
  2. b. Label B. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not developed a definition for use of the term “natural.”
  3. a. No. A “Best If Used By” date describes product quality, where the product may not taste or perform as expected but is safe to use or consume.
  4. d. None of them are “hormone free.” Anything that is or has been alive contains hormones, including plants. There is no such thing as “hormone free” meat or animal product.
  5. d. Neither of them. Added hormones aren’t allowed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in pork and poultry. A claim of “no hormones added” on pork or poultry must be followed by the statement, “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”  Be aware, the claim of “no hormones added” may be in much larger letters than the statement saying the use of hormones is prohibited.
  6. b. Neither of them are GMO foods. In today’s market place, you may find foods promoted as “GMO free” or “contains no GMOs.” Before you pay extra for this food, be aware it may not be made with any ingredients that contain GMOs in the first place. In other words, the same type of food without that label may also be free of GMO ingredients.

Neither banana is a GMO food and never has been! GMO foods currently available in the United States are: Corn (field and sweet), Soybeans, Cotton, Canola, Alfalfa, Sugar beets, Papaya (Hawaiian), Squash

NOTE: Not all versions of all these foods are genetically engineered. Artic apples will be available in some areas by 2017. Before being placed on the market, genetically modified foods must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information or to view a self-paced slideshow on labeling, go to UNL’s food webpage.  

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Posted in Youth

Celebrate National 4-H Week

For the 75th consecutive year, millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni across the country will be celebrating National 4-H Week during the first full week of October.

4-H alumni around the country are always the first to acknowledge the significant positive impact 4-H had on them as young people; the opportunities and experiences that 4-H4hweek_2017_logo.jpg provides youth empowers them to become true leaders. In fact, research has shown that young people in 4-H are almost four times as likely to contribute to their communities, and are twice as likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering andMath (STEM) programs in their free time.

In Nebraska, more than 25,000 youth are enrolled in 4-H and 12,000 volunteers are involved in 4-H. In addition, approximately 56,000 youth participate in Nebraska 4-H school enrichment experiences. One of the most anticipated events of National 4-H Week every year is 4-H National Youth Science Day, which sees hundreds of thousands of youth across the nation taking part in the world’s largest youth-led science challenge. The exciting theme for this year’s challenge is Incredible Wearables.2017-09-29_1343

On Wednesday, Oct. 4, youth will use the engineering design process to build a prototype wearable technology that will gather data to help solve a real-world problem. Wearable technologies are now used in industries around the globe, from education and sport, to health, fashion, entertainment, transportation and communication. To learn more about National Youth Science Day, please visit http://www.4-h.org/nysd/.

About 4-H: 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower six million young people through the 110 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension in more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower one million young people in more than 50 countries. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/4H. For Nebraska 4-H, go to 4h.unl.edu.

Posted in Crops, Youth

Making One Agronomist at a Time

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Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club of Cuming County and Colfax County 4-H represented Nebraska in the regional youth crop scouting competition on August 28, 2017.

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In late August, seven Nebraska youth traveled to Indiana to participate in the 2nd Annual Regional Youth Crop Scouting Competition held at Purdue University’s Beck Ag Center near West Lafayette, Indiana.  These youths scouted six fields for diseases, insects, abiotic/biotic disorders, weed identification and crop growth stage and development. Teams from Iowa and Indiana also competed. Nebraska teams ranked 3rd and 6th respectably. Between all three state competitions, 195 youth competed from Nebraska, Iowa and Indiana. Top two teams from each state competed at the regional competition. Congrats to all of the youth who not only networked with agronomic professionals, but also gained the most by improving life skills related to a potential career path. Next year’s regional competition will be hosted by Nebraska Extension.

While this is one program, which impacts a very small percentage of youth, it is very important to start training the next generation of ag leaders to feed our growing population. In fact, globally there is an effort to encourage youth in agricultural positions. According to the U.N. International Labor Organization (a specialized agency of the United Nations), globally there will be about 74.2 million unemployed young people (ages 15-24) in 2017 which is an increase of 3.8 million since 2007. While it is troublesome that those graduating high school and/or college are unemployed, this could present an opportunity for those in the agricultural industry. If we can create programs which spark an interest in agriculture, there is potential to attract youth to the agricultural industry.

Getting over the stigma that agriculture is a back-breaking with little room for advancement, while in fact it is quite the opposite. As educators, we should be promoting agricultural careers as “intellectually stimulating and economically sustainable” according to foodtank.com. Programs designed to encourage young people into agriculture are in numerous countries across the world including the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project in the U.S., a variety of USDA initiatives and programs like Farm Africa for youth in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda or the International Fund for Agricultural Development Rural Youth Talents Program in South America. If you know of a young person undecided in his/her career path or a youth who is passionate about agriculture, let them know of the bright future and opportunities available in agriculture.

For more information on how to engage youth in crops, visit our UNL CropWatch site at http://cropwatch.unl.edu/cropwatch-youth.

Posted in Crops, Livestock, Youth

Hurricane Harvey’s Impact on Agriculture

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If you are connected with social media, you might have seen the video or pictures of cattle being moved by horses down the streets of Texas to higher ground. You might have seen pictures of destroyed cotton crops, grain bins and flooded farm houses. Prior to Hurricane Harvey, farmers worked around the clock to harvest their cotton and ranchers worked to move livestock to safety. For many cotton farmers, they were looking at record yields and Texas A&M AgriLife Extensionreported that at least 1.2 million beef cows graze in the 54 counties on the disaster list as of this article. Texas rice producers had already harvested about 75 percent of their rice, but wind and water likely damaged storage bins leading to more crop losses.

Of course, time will tell how the actual economic impact of this storm, not to mention the impact of fuel prices. The great thing about the agricultural community is that we stick together and help one another during these difficult times. Many local people gave money to assist our Kansas neighbors following widespread fires. Now, farmers and ranchers in Texas could use assistance. There will be a lot of fence to repair, buildings, bins, and just help restore these farm and ranch family’s lives. So how can you help?  There are many options. A close and local option is to give blood!  Some other ways to help include:

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agents have set up the following Animal Supply Points and are requesting square bale horse quality hay, various types of hay for cattle in round or square bales, all-stock feed and range cubes/protein supplements at this time. They are not currently taking donations for fencing supplies. Before collecting or delivering donations, contact the AgriLife Animal Supply Point Hotline at 979-845-7800 to confirm needs and delivery.

A New Day: Texas Agricultural Education Disaster Relief Fund 

This fund will help FFA chapters and agricultural education programs rebuild following natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. Donations to this fund will be dispersed via an application process directly to the programs and chapters affected by the storm. More more information, go to https://www.texasffa.org/NewDay.

Texas 4-H Relief Support Campaign for 4-H Programs Affected by Hurricane Harvey

The Texas 4-H Youth Development Program and the Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation are facilitating a monetary campaign to directly support 4-H clubs and county programs in the hurricane zone. The website is https://texas4hfoundation.org/.
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STAR Fund

The STAR Fund is used to assist farmers and ranchers in rebuilding fences, restoring operations and paying for other agricultural disaster relief. If you’d like to help farmers and ranchers impacted by floods, wildfires, tornadoes or other natural disasters. To donate to the STAR Fund, go to https://www.texasagriculture.gov and search for the STAR fund.

Of course, there are many other organizations and ways to help. This will take a long time for all of the victims to rebuild their lives. Keep them in your thoughts and do what you can to make a difference.

Posted in Programming, Youth

State Fair Update

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Check out the State Fair website for the entire schedule!

The 148th Nebraska State Fair is underway and will run through Sept. 4 in Grand Island.  and celebrate the people, products and talent of the state. Thousands of youth who participate in Nebraska 4-H – sponsored by Nebraska Extension will share what they’ve learned throughout the year. Note this year some of the grand marshals in the parades are from our area. On Aug. 31, Dick and Deb Hoarty from Fillmore County will be serving as Grand Marshals. Deb is a long-time Fillmore County Fair Board member. Dewey Lienemann is the grand marshal for the Sept. 1st parade. Dewey is a long-time educator, both as an ag teacher and extension educator in Webster County. Congratulations to these local folks!

The static exhibits are already judged and on display. To review state fair results, go to http://www.nebraska4hresults.com/. Congratulations to all of the youth for the fine job they did with their exhibits! Good luck to all of the animal exhibitors Labor Day weekend!

Visitors can download the 4-H at Nebraska State Fair app to keep track of events, results and exhibit maps. The app can also be used to play the Seek and Scan game, which allows visitors to scan symbols on signs next to static exhibits to display videos.

For more information on the Nebraska State Fair, including schedules, visit http://4h.unl.edu or http://statefair.org.

Posted in Youth

Nebraska State Fair

The 148th Nebraska State Fair will be Aug. 25 to Sept. 4 in Grand Island and celebrate the people, products and talent of the state. Thousands of youth who participate in Nebraska 4-H – sponsored by Nebraska Extension will share what they’ve learned throughout the year.statefair17.png

A new display at Raising Nebraska this year is “The Amazing Egg,” an interactive experience in which visitors can discover the intricate structure of an egg, get an extreme close-up look at the surface of a shell and manipulate a virtual yolk. Visitors will learn how often a chicken lays an egg, how many eggs a chicken lays in a year and why some eggs are brown and others are white.

Visitors can download the 4-H at Nebraska State Fair app to keep track of events, results and exhibit maps. The app can also be used to play the Seek and Scan game, which allows visitors to scan symbols on signs next to static exhibits to display videos.

For more information on the Nebraska State Fair, including schedules, visit http://4h.unl.edu or http://statefair.org.

I wish all 4-H and FFA exhibitors the best of luck!

Posted in Programming, Youth

Summer Can Stress You Out

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My daughter showed a bucket calf as an “official”       4-H’er!  I’m proud to say that she didn’t care whether she received a red ribbon in horticulture or a purple on her calf, she just had fun!
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My youngest created memories with “Grandpa Beek” (my Dad) at the fair. That is what matters!

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.

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.

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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.

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.