During the holiday season is often a time to reflect on the year. I have many blessings in my life. First and foremost, I would like to thank my family for being understanding with me as I often travel to evening meetings and conferences that pull me away from home. Secondly, I am fortunate to have great colleagues that help me out and work as a team. I’d also like to thank you, my readers, extension supporters, 4-H volunteers and others who have helped in some capacity with an extension or 4-H program. Without amazing Nebraska Extension supporters, programs wouldn’t be as successful as they are.
While I’m not one to boast, I’d like to mention that Nebraska Extension is one of the leading Extension organizations in the country! Utilizing cutting-edge delivery methods and programming ideas, we focus on critical issues identified by Nebraskans through periodic needs assessments. Nebraska Extension is nationally-leading 4-H youth engagement by reaching 1 in 3 youth between the ages of 8-18 and we have extension faculty with national and international reputations. Finally, Nebraska Extension engages a large number of Nebraskans in Extension programming every year – in fact 443,041 in Fiscal Year 2018. These are great accomplishments to look at from a balcony view, but what are some key impacts locally for Clay and Fillmore Counties?
Let’s describe some key accomplishments in Clay County. Nebraska Extension in Clay County (and Fillmore County) reaches 1 out of 2 age-eligible youth. In 2018, the Clay County 4-H program reached 65% of youth in the county. This was accomplished through the use of afterschool, school enrichment and traditional 4-H programs.“4-H involves so many different areas. Through the numerous programs and workshops offered, our family has gained interests in areas we never would have explored” according to a Clay County 4-H Parent. Over 85 youth participated in Shooting Sports training including Archery, BB Gun, and Air Rifle. Clay County has 18 shooting sports leaders, 13 of which are certified. “The 4-H shooting sports program has helped me improve my accuracy in both archery and air rifle. Throughout my years of shooting sports, I’ve made friends with fellow 4-Hers and also with my instructors” according to a youth participant.
Fillmore County Extension completed its fifth year hosting a community garden and raised over 115 pounds of produce in 2018, which was donated to senior citizens. In 2018, a Fillmore County 4-H’er (and parent) in the Nebraska Beekeepers Association youth program engaged Fillmore County 4-H with honeybee production. With support from the Geneva City Council and Fillmore County Supervisors, Fillmore County 4-H’s now have a hive north of the Fillmore County Extension office. The Fillmore County 4-H Council provided funds to start the project which has been able to educate 4-H youth and adult audiences. During honey extraction time, youth from a local childcare center even had the chance to extract honey from the frames. Over 20 frames of honey were extracted for a total of 14 gallons of honey to sell. Proceeds go back into the production of beekeeping so the project will be sustainable for the future.
The Farmers and Ranchers College is a unique opportunity to educate agricultural producers in south central Nebraska. Approximately three hundred producers participated in the 2017-18 Farmers & Ranchers College programs. Producers attending these workshops managed over 155,000 acres and managed nearly 15,000 head of beef animals. Participants surveyed indicated an average of $6.00/acre of knowledge gained from participating for a potential impact of nearly $1 million. The seventeenth annual Partners in Progress- Beef Seminar featured a variety of industry, University and agricultural organization presenters. Ninety-five percent of participants surveyed were very satisfied or satisfied with the program quality and seventy-six percent indicated that previous programming improved their knowledge of making risk management decisions.
Of course, there are numerous more impacts and programming results to report, but these are some that I decided to include this this week’s post.
Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday Season!