Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Livestock

Husker Harvest Days

Don’t forget to visit the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s IANR building at Husker Harvest Days! “Small Changes, Big Payback: Strengthening Nebraska’s Agricultural Economy” is the theme for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources exhibits at the farm show Sept. 12-14 near Grand Island.HDD17

Exhibits inside IANR’s Husker Red building will provide information on:

  • Strategies for managing family budgets during challenging economic times;
  • The relationship between cost, nutritional value and impact of various feed sources for cow/calf operations;
  • Understanding the county-by-county differences in the risk factors that affect crop insurance rates and how they impact profitability and management decisions;
  • How farmers can better utilize the Farm Bill safety net;
  • Benchmarking the costs of pumping irrigation water to better control input costs and make decisions related to pump efficiency and energy usage;
  • Crop production strategies that can have a positive impact on cost per acre and profit margin;
  • Using crop budgets to analyze the operating costs for a farm to become a low-cost producer;
  • The university’s annual survey of agricultural land value and rental rates in Nebraska.
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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/.
4HsupportsTX

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 Horticulture

Fall Tree Update

evergreentree.jpegExtension Educator, Kelly Feehan provided some good tips regarding trees which is listed below. The first is a question we usually receive on trees in fall/winter is yellowing of needles on evergreens. Kelly reminds us that this is a natural occurrence and we will soon see natural needle yellowing and dropping on evergreens like white pines and spruce.  This is a process where 2- to 4-year-old interior needles turn yellow, then brown, and eventually drop off.  Needle yellowing occurs throughout the interior of an evergreen from top to bottom.  For tree owners, not familiar with natural needle drop, this sudden yellowing is a concern. However, this is as natural for evergreens as fall coloring is for shade trees. The only difference is it only occurs heavily every 3 to 5 years in evergreens instead of yearly. It is natural and does not harm the tree. Check that only older, inner needles are affected. If needles on branch tips are affected, or needles that are dropping have spots or red bands on them, this could be a sign of a disease and a sample could be brought to the local Extension office for diagnosis and determine if a fungicide application might be needed next spring.

Also, if the leaves of shade trees and shrubs are off-color or have leaf spots, browning, or holes chewed into them; and you’re thinking about applying a pesticide for control, think again. Keep in mind the leaves of shade trees and shrubs will soon be naturally dropping from plants; so, is it necessary to apply a pesticide now to protect leaves that will soon be dead? Tree and shrub leaves have basically done their photosynthesis job for the year. Leaf buds for next year are formed; and photosynthetic products are stored in woody tissue for next year’s growth. Other than aesthetics, minor leaf diseases and insect chewing is not very harmful to trees and shrubs this late in the season; but a pesticide application can kill beneficial insects such as pollinators.  If the damage is unacceptable, or has occurred more than one year in a row, positively identify the cause of damage to help determine if and when control may be needed next season.

Posted in Programming, Youth

State Fair Update

StateFairWebsite
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 Crops, Livestock, Uncategorized

Ag Land Management, Back to the Basics

Anyone who owns or leases farm ground or leases it to someone else will want to attend this day-long seminar providing information and education about that ownership.  Learn management strategies for this asset by attending this seminarnature-field-sun-agriculture.jpg at the Adams County Fairgrounds, 947 S. Baltimore Ave, Hastings, NE. The event will be held Thursday, August 31st with registration starting at 9:00 a.m., program starting at 9:30 and ending around 3:00 p.m.

Participants can use this seminar to learn about: Am I keeping the farm, or selling it? How do I manage a farm? If leasing, what are key lease provisions?  What legal considerations do I have with this decision? And, how do we manage family communications and expectations when other family is involved? What does a soil test tell me?  I hear about organic or natural production; how does that vary from what my farmer is currently doing?  If corn and soybeans aren’t making money why don’t we raise other crops? What should I expect for communications between the landlord and tenant?  What are key pasture leasing considerations?money bag.jpg

“I am contacted monthly from citizens who have had their parents pass away, and now they are managing a farm for the first time in their lives,” said Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator and event speaker.  “They may have even grown up there, but haven’t been around for 30 or 40 years, and need to understand that farming practices and management concepts have changed,” Vyhnalek continued.

The workshop is designed to provide primer education for those that haven’t been on the farm much, or on the farm much recently.  It is also designed to be a refresher course for those that would like to have the latest information on land management and rental.

Pre-registration is requested by Monday, August 28, 2017.  Registration fee is $20 per person or $30 per couple.  The fee covers handouts, refreshments and lunch.  Contact Twila Bankson at the Adams County Extension Office, P.O. Box 30, Hastings, NE 68901, twila.bankson@unl.edu, or 402-461-7209 to register.

The program is being provided by Allan Vyhnalek, Aaron Nygren, and Jim Jansen, Extension Educators from Nebraska Extension.  They provide the farm land management and agronomy education in eastern Nebraska.

Posted in Crops, Livestock

The Great American Eclipse & Agritourism

Some of my summer has been spent creating lessons to accompany the solar eclipse event which will occur August 21, 2017. Over 200 Nebraska communities fall within path of totality, or the path of the shadow where observers will see the moon completely over the sun for roughly two and a half minutes.  During the total solar eclipse, the moon’s umbral shadow will fly across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina, in a little over 90 minutes. This is the first eclipse through the contiguous United States since 1979, according to NASA records.

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Photo Credit: NASA

An eclipse will only occur in the same spot once every 375 years and we are fortunate to be in the area of totality. With thousands of tourists expected to visit Nebraska to visit the eclipse, I’ve heard of people as far from Japan and Sweden coming to our area to view this amazing event. There may even be a few rural landowners wanting to capitalize on this economic development opportunity. There are a few things that David Aiken, Extension Agricultural Law Specialist has pointed out to be aware. Landowners have legal protection against tourist personal injury liability if they do not charge a fee to campers or eclipse viewers. If they do charge a fee, they must meet 2015 Nebraska agritourism legal requirements in order to reduce their injury liability risk.

In short, if you are charging people to camp on your land, you could be liable of that person gets hurt. There are ways Nebraska landowners can obtain limited agritourism liability protection such as posting your property with the specified agritourism liability signs and include the same language in any agritourism activity contract like a camping lease. The landowner must also exercise reasonable care to guard against unusual dangers associated with the property, maintain the property, facilities and equipment, train and properly supervise any employees and comply with any related state or local legal requirements (i.e. capping an abandoned well). There are other legal options as detailed in a recent University of Nebraska news release, “Great Plains’ ecotourism initiative produces liability study”.

Aiken suggests contacting your insurance agent regarding whether your current liability insurance will cover any eclipse-related incidents. Your attorney can advise you regarding agritourism liability, agritourism leases, and agritourism liability waivers.