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.

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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.

 

 

Posted in Crops, Youth

Bacterial Leaf Streak

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My colleague from York County, Jenny Rees provided a quick summary of bacterial leaf streak (BLS) which has been confirmed in corn in various parts of the state.  Lesions can look similar to other diseases such as gray leaf spot (GLS). The major difference between BLS and GLS is that the lesion margins of bacterial leaf streak are wavy whereas they are blunt in gray leaf spot.  It’s important to tell the difference between the two since fungicides will not control bacterial diseases.  On CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu, there is an article showing a number of corn diseases and how to identify them.  Be sure to check it out and when in doubt, you can always get a sample to your local Extension educator or the plant and pest diagnostic lab.

Tamra Jackson-Ziems also has a Youth BLS Survey and competition with cash prizes for BLS envelopeFFA Chapters, 4-H Clubs, or other youth groups that submit the most POSITIVE samples from different fields.  Groups submitting 3 or more positive samples also get a certificate identifying them as “Certified Crop Disease Detectives!”  Youth packets can be be obtained from Tamra directly by emailing her at:  tjackson3@unl.edu