Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition – Connecting Youth with Crops

Looking 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 9th annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. Youth interested in crops can 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 Eastern Nebraska Research & Extension Center near Mead, Nebraska on August 3, 2022. The event will include both indoor and outdoor events. Teams of junior high and high school students (those completing 5-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate. This event is limited to the first ten 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. Top two teams will be eligible for regional competition held virtually 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, Ward Laboratories and Nebraska Extension.

Crops, Youth

Tractor Safety Training

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 our 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. 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.

Photo by Nicolas Veithen on Pexels.com

Students will:

  • Register for their driving exam date (Tractor and Equipment Safety Course for Young and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers), which costs $25, and
  • Register to complete the Hands-On Safety Day (or opt to complete the Online Module) prior to completing the driving exam. Individuals can opt to attend just the Hands-On Safety Day but will not receive certification.

Once a student is registered, they will be sent the course materials and online module link (if applicable). The $25 fee for the driving exam will be collected on site the day of the exam. 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). These trainings are sponsored by University of Nebraska—Lincoln Extension and Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health.

Schedule:

Hands-On Safety Days

  • May 24 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Rd, North Platte
  • May 26 – Raising Nebraska, 501 East Fonner Park Rd, Grand Island

Tractor Certification Driving Days

  • May 25 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Rd, North Platte
  • June 6 – AKRS Equipment, 49110 US Hwy 20 in O’Neill
  • June 7 – Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail #8500 in Gering
  • June 8 – AKRS Equipment, 44098 Hwy 2, Broken Bow
  • June 9 – Adams County Extension, 2975 South Baltimore Ave, Hastings
  • June 10 – Cass County Fairgrounds, 8400 144th St, Weeping Water

For more information and to register, visit go.unl.edu/tractorsafety or contact Ellen Duysen at ellen.duysen@unmc.edu

Uncategorized

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily among birds through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers. Wild birds can carry the virus without becoming sick, while domesticated birds can become very sick.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Symptoms of HPAI in poultry include: a decrease in water consumption; lack of energy and appetite; decreased egg production or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs; nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea. HPAI can also cause sudden death in birds even if they aren’t showing any other symptoms. HPAI can survive for weeks in contaminated environments.

  • Poultry owners should report unusual poultry bird deaths or sick birds to NDA at 402-471-2351, or through USDA at 866-536-7593.
  • Enhanced biosecurity helps prevent the introduction and spread of viruses and diseases including HPAI. NDA and USDA have resources available to help poultry owners step up their biosecurity efforts.
  • Know the warning signs of infectious bird diseases like HPAI. Be on the lookout for unusual signs of behavior, severe illness and/or sudden deaths.
  • Restrict access to your property and poultry.
  • Keep it clean. Wear clean clothes, scrub boots/shoes with disinfectant and wash hands thoroughly before and after contact with your flock.

If you, your employees, or family have been on other farms, or other places where there is livestock and/or poultry, clean and disinfect your vehicle tires and equipment before returning home.

Don’t share equipment, tools, or other supplies with other livestock or poultry owners.

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, making sure wild birds cannot access domestic poultry’s feed and water sources.

Report sick birds immediately to: NDA at 402-471-2351; the USDA at 866-536-7593; or your veterinarian. Early detection is important to prevent the spread of disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk to people getting HPAI infections from birds is low. No human cases of avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

All poultry entering Nebraska must be accompanied by a VS form 9-3 or Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI, or health certificate). If you are considering moving an animal into Nebraska from an affected state, please call 402-471-2351 to learn more. Nebraska poultry owners wanting to ship poultry out of state should consult the state veterinarians of the destination states for import requirements.

For more information about avian influenza, visit NDA’s website at https://nda.nebraska.gov/animal/avian/index.html or the USDA’s website https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.

Uncategorized

Progressive Agriculture Safety Day

Statistics from those impacted by a 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. Therefore, 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. The vision is that “no child become ill, injured or die from farm, ranch and rural activities.”

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 1.6 million children and adults. The Progressive Agriculture Foundation is in its 28th year of programming in the United States and 21st year in Canada.

Locally, since I have been involved with a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in Geneva, we have grown from approximately 60 participants to 140 youth from surrounding counties. This half-day event involves many volunteers and local sponsors to make the program what it is today. Every year, business staff or volunteers help teach the hands-on activities. In addition, area FFA chapters assist in delivery of sessions and guiding youth participants to each session.

Current 1st through 6th graders are invited to attend Progressive Agriculture Safety Day on Thursday, May 26, 2022 at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva, NE.  Youth will participate in a variety of events designed to help them be aware of safety in potentially hazardous situations in and around rural and agricultural settings, including electricity, disability awareness, water safety, fire safety, tractor safety, etc.  NE Extension hosts this event in Fillmore County, along with Shickley, Fillmore Central, Exeter-Milligan-Friend FFA chapters, 4-H, W.I.F.E. and Fillmore County Emergency Management. Early registration forms and $5 are due April 29th; forms can be downloaded at fillmore.unl.edu. After April 29th, registration is $10/youth. For more info or to register, call 402-759-3712 or email brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu.

Crops, Uncategorized

Private Pesticide Training Offered by Zoom for 2022

If you haven’t completed your private pesticide safety training yet, there is a zoom option approaching. Nebraska Extension will be offering five private pesticide applicator trainings via Zoom in March and April. Each one will have a different agricultural area of focus, including alfalfa, corn, soybean, pasture, and wheat. Several different steps must be met to attend these trainings.

Preregistration will be required. Registration can be completed at the following links:

Several things to know about include:

  • Training materials will need to be picked up at a county extension office PRIOR to training.
  • Nebraska Department of Agriculture paper will need to be filled out and submitted when picking up training materials. The training fee of $50 will need to be paid when picking up training materials.
  • Attend and participate in the training session where you have registered.
  • A photo ID must be presented during the training session.
  • A working web camera must be on for the duration of the training.
  • No certification will be initiated unless all seven requirements are completed. Individuals are encouraged to contact their local extension office first to see if training materials are available.

Each training will offer individuals the opportunity to pick one of the special topics. Those offered are:

  • March 28: Alfalfa: Cut, Bale, Scout Alfalfa Diseases
  • March 28: Corn: Tar Spot, Corn Rootworm Management, Herbicide Selection with Cover Crop Seeding
  • March 29: Soybean: Frogeye Leaf Spot and White Mold, Soybean Gall Midge, Dectes Stem Borer
  • March 30: Pasture:Thistle ID and Management, Calibration of Small Sprayers, Tree Encroachment
  • March 30: Wheat, Stripe and Leaf Rust, Herbicide Selection for Eastern Nebraska

For questions regarding the trainings, contact Jennifer Weisbrod, Nebraska Extension Pesticide Safety Education program coordinator, 402-472-1632 or jweisbrod2@unl.edu.

 

(Source: UNL CropWatch)

Uncategorized

Ambiguous Loss & Farming

Picture this scenario.  A young farmer in his thirties is looking forward to taking over the family farm someday. Suddenly the father is impacted by a life-changing health incident that leaves him mentally incapacitated and unable to explain the workings of the farm or other advice for the son.  Or… imagine being the wife who no longer has the same husband she once knew. While the farmer is still living and physically healthy, he is at a much lower-functioning cognitive level.  So many feelings will run through the family. Feelings of anger, guilt, frustration, sadness, and the list goes on.  Even after 5-10 years of that life-changing event, the family is still dealing with missing that person they once knew. Society might tell us to “move on” or that one should better understand how to cope in that setting, however this family is dealing with a loss.  It is the loss of the person they once knew and is coined ambiguous loss. 

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

According to Dr. Pauline Boss, University of Minnesota Emeritus Professor, “Ambiguous loss differs from ordinary loss in that there is no verification of death or no certainty that the person will come back or return to the way they used to be.” There are two types of ambiguous loss.

  • Type One: Occurs when there is physical absence with psychological presence. This includes situations when a loved one is physically missing or bodily gone. Catastrophic examples of physical ambiguous loss include kidnapping and missing bodies due to war, terrorism, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and natural disasters such as earthquake, flood, and tsunami. More common examples of physical ambiguous loss are divorce, adoption, and loss of physical contact with family and friends because of immigration.
  • Type Two: Occurs when there is psychological absence with physical presence. In this second type of ambiguous loss, a loved one is psychologically absent—that is, emotionally or cognitively gone or missing. Such ambiguous loss occurs from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias; traumatic brain injury; addiction, depression, or other chronic mental or physical illnesses that take away a loved one’s mind or memory. Psychological ambiguous losses can also result from obsessions or preoccupations with losses that never make sense, e.g., some suicides or infant deaths.

Ambiguous loss theory has long been used to support family therapy in cases such as terminal illnesses and children leaving home. However, ambiguous loss also has many applications to families in the farming industry. In the changing farm and rural landscape, loss of land, livestock, changing markets, and even relationships can be ambiguous losses that lead many to feel “stuck.” Naming the ambiguous loss and using strategies to work through it can help farm families move forward.

In my earlier example, there is a psychological absence with the physical presence that the family must understand and process. In type one, this could be from the event of a natural disaster which we see quite often in agriculture. Other types of loss include a sense of identity.  If a farmer or rancher who is so closely tied to the land/livestock suddenly is not engaged in the operation, that can leave them with a sense of sadness. Afterall, his/her whole identity had been tied to that farm or ranch. This provides implications that in a family farm going through transition, help that older farmer with continued involvement on the farm. Allow that person to serve as a coach or mentor or ask what jobs, he might be capable of still assisting.

I recently completed a training for this program and hope to provide more information and resources to Nebraska once our team is assembled. For more information on ambiguous loss, go to https://www.ambiguousloss.com/.

(Source: University of Minnesota Extension)

 
Uncategorized

Pesticide Education Program

Since I became a youth development educator, I no longer teach pesticide trainings, however I wanted to share information with producers from a column recently written by my colleague, Jenny Rees. Training options for 2022 include: in-person training via your local county Extension office (Fee $50), online training via pested.unl.edu (Fee $50), or attending Crop Production Clinics cpc.unl.edu (Fee $80). RSVP will be required for all in-person training to the county Extension office hosting the training.

One change to the training: a hard copy of the “Guide for Weed, Insect, Disease Management” will not be provided with your training materials this year and is not included in the fee cost. A weblink to view the Guide will be provided to certifying applicators. A hard copy of the Guide can also be purchased, and information will be shared when pesticide letters to applicators needed to recertify in 2022.

Due to changes in the Nebraska Pesticide Act, there are additional updates to the private pesticide safety training that may impact your operation, particularly regarding fumigation. By 2025, everyone who fumigates, needs to have a fumigation category associated with one’s pesticide license. This includes for private applicators. The fumigation category can only be obtained by purchasing the training materials from pested.unl.edu and then taking a test at an NDA walk-in testing location.

In 2022, pesticide cards (tan in color) will be printed to be thicker like a credit card since the ink would often rub off on the previous paper versions. Private applicators previously did not have categories assigned on their licenses but will in the future if they fumigate. This change will begin in phases beginning with licenses that expire in 2022. Licenses that expire in 2023 and 2024 will need to obtain fumigation certification during their pesticide renewal years.

Your new license will indicate that you received private pesticide safety training with the words “General Agriculture” and/or a code (00) printed on it. If you choose to get certified in either Soil or Non-Soil/Structural Fumigation, your license will show these as 01a and 11, respectively.

Activities that require the Soil Fumigation (01A) category include: The use of restricted use fumigants to control soil-borne insects or disease such as in potato fields or fumigation prior to planting tree nursery stock. If you wish to use soil fumigants, you will be required to pass the commercial/noncommercial Soil Fumigation (category 01a) exam to receive this certification. Training manuals are available for purchase on the pested.unl.edu website or call 402-472-1632 for more information.

Activities that require the Non-Soil/Structural Fumigation (11) category include: The use of solid or gaseous restricted use fumigants in burrows, buildings, chambers, vaults, tents, vehicles, railcars, or other vessels. The application can be for protection of commodities from insects, vertebrate animals, or pathogens that cause disease. For example, fumigation of stored grain (flat or silo storage), fumigation of rodent burrows (moles, gophers, etc. because fumigating burrow, not soil), fumigation of logs or other wood materials (under tarps or in chambers), fumigation of structures for termites or other wood destroying insects. If you wish to use non-soil, structural, or rodent burrow fumigants, you will be required to pass the commercial/noncommercial Non-Soil/Structural Fumigation (category 11) exam to receive this certification. Training manuals are available for purchase on the pested.unl.edu website or call 402-472-1632 for more information.

Activities that require a pesticide license but do NOT require fumigation categories include: the use of restricted use pesticide mists, smokes, fogs or other aerosols that are NOT labeled as fumigants. Examples of these are ‘gopher gasers’ and other products that aren’t labeled as fumigants. They typically have a smell to them whereas fumigants don’t.

This is all new for 2022 and will most likely be confusing. Please contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 402-471-2351 with any questions if the fumigation activities you are doing involve a fumigation license.

REMINDER: Cow-Calf College on January 25th

Cow-Calf College is gearing up to be hosted January 25th at the Clay County Fairgrounds from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm in the Activities Building. Registration starts at 9:00 a.m. This year’s program will be offered in a hybrid format through zoom & attendance in person. A lunch will be provided to those who register, and the program will conclude with a coffee shop panel where participants can ask questions directly to specialists as well as the opportunity to win a variety of door prizes.   

Pre-registration a week in advance is highly encouraged to allow for proper planning. Pre-registration can be made by calling the Fillmore County Extension Office at 402-759-3712 or Clay County Extension Office at 402-762-3644 or online at go.unl.edu/frcollege. To participate via zoom, register at go.unl.edu/onlinecowcalfcollege.

Uncategorized

New Year’s Resolutions

If you are like many nearly half of the American population, you probably have a New Year’s Resolution set for the new year, while 38% of Americans absolutely never make New Year’s Resolution according to research by University of Scranton, 2016. A majority of those resolutions are self-improvement or education related resolutions (47%), weight related (38%), money related (34%) or relationship related (31%).  University of Southern California’s John Monterosso who is an expert on psychology and neuroscience of self-control offers insight on how to achieve setting those resolutions.

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

Monterosso suggests thinking of a resolution as a special kind of plan and visualizing your future-self. If you have already made that resolution or still working to tweak it, he suggested keeping the following in mind:

  • Failed resolutions are not harmless. Most people don’t like to fail; in fact, it hurts our confidence and can actually lead to worse behavior. Keeping this in mind and accepting the fact that one might not have accomplished all that was planned is important. If you get off track, you can always start again and don’t have to wait until a new year.
  • Resolutions work by linking single decisions to a bigger picture. For example, if you have a goal of quitting smoking or eating unhealthy foods and let a craving lead to poor decisions, you might think, “it’s just one cigarette or just one meal of fried foods” which may or may not lead to the continuation of a bad habit. If one takes a resolution seriously, think about the health consequences and the potential “relapse” that could occur.
  • Consider being less ambitious in your resolutions. We tend to be overly confident when making a resolution and think we can change our behavior overnight. While it is good to be confident with your goals, be careful not to make overly ambitious goals. For example, if you plan to work out one hour/day every day of the week and have an already packed life with a career, community obligations and a family, consider starting at 20 minutes/day and work up to more minutes if time allows. Setting a good resolution requires being realistic.
  • Resolutions should not be vague. If you set a resolution of “eating healthier.”  What does that mean?  Does it mean drinking 64 oz. of water/day?  Does it mean to include a fruit or vegetable at every meal?  Write down a SMART goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based.
  • The New Year is a fresh start.Setting resolutions/goals at the first of the year helps us “clean the slate” and put past failures away. It gives us a sense of confidence and optimism. Capitalize on that.
  • Even successful resolutions can be mistakes. If youset restrict your diet to the point of starvation or over-exercise to the point of hurting yourself, you must be able to adapt, know yourself and use common sense and wisdom to correct the resolution.

In summary, Monterosso suggests that done correctly, “resolutions play a role in great human achievements.”

Extension’s Help with Resolutions

As stated above, almost half of resolutions made include education or self-improvement. If you need any educational resources or materials on nearly any subject, Extension has resources. Whether it is information on a website, talking with an extension professional, utilizing an app from your smart phone, attending a face-to-face program, participation in a webinar or many other avenues, Extension works to solve complex problems for clients. If you haven’t been to Extension’s website recently, I encourage you to go to extension.unl.edu. There you will find an abundance of resources on topics such as food, nutrition and health, cropping & water systems, community vitality, community environment, learning child, beef systems and 4-H youth development. Consider attending a program or utilizing a resource to help you achieve a resolution or goal you may have.

For a list of extension programs in the area, visit our websites at fillmore.unl.edu or clay.unl.edu or call your local extension office.

Livestock

Cow-Calf College on January 25th

Cow-Calf College is gearing up to be hosted January 25th at the Clay County Fairgrounds from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm in the Activities Building. Registration starts at 9:00 a.m. This year’s program will be offered in a hybrid format through zoom & attendance in person. The focus of the 2022 Cow-Calf College will start with an in-depth look at easter redcedar control in the morning, an update by beef cow-calf specialist, Kacie McCarthy and a special presentation by Tom Field focusing on ways to engage youth in the beef industry.  

This year’s program provides plenty of flexibility as if you are only interested in learning about eastern redcedar control, come to the morning session and leave. If you are interested in bull management and strategies for transitioning the next generation of beef producers and professionals, you can attend the afternoon session. It will also be offered in-person and available via zoom.

Dillon Fogarty with UNL’s Department of Agronomy and Horticulture will provide an in-depth look at eastern redcedar control and management. Woody plant encroachment by species like eastern redcedar threatens the productivity and profitability of Nebraska’s grasslands. Eastern redcedar encroachment can result in up to a 75% reduction in forage production along with additional impacts to grassland resources. In the eastern redcedar control workshop, we will cover new guidelines for tackling woody plant encroachment. This will include the development of management plans, effective integration of management tools, and use of new rangeland monitoring platforms. 

Kicking off the afternoon will be Kacie McCarthy, UNL Beef Cow-Calf Specialist who will explain “Preparing your Bull Battery for the Breeding Season. Learn on maintaining body condition, nutritional needs, evaluating fertility, managing social dominance, providing proper female: bull ratios and more.  

The next decade will be characterized by the battle for talent – those industries and businesses that are successful at attracting, retaining, and growing human talent will have competitive advantage. Developing a talent plan is as important, if not more so, than any other area of focus for management.  The session will center on understanding the value of generational strengths, developing a succession plan, and developing a coaching culture. Tom Field, PhD serves the people of Nebraska as the Director of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and holder of the Engler Chair in Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.  An enthusiastic advocate for free enterprise, the potential of young people and opportunities in both agriculture and rural communities, Tom is an internationally recognized educator and innovator who can connect the dots between people, industries, and ideas. 

A lunch will be provided to those who register, and the program will conclude with a coffee shop panel where participants can ask questions directly to specialists as well as the opportunity to win a variety of door prizes.   

Pre-registration a week in advance is highly encouraged to allow for proper planning. Pre-registration can be made by calling the Fillmore County Extension Office at 402-759-3712 or Clay County Extension Office at 402-762-3644 or online at go.unl.edu/frcollege. To participate via zoom, register at go.unl.edu/onlinecowcalfcollege.