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 – from the agricultural community to sectors as diverse as nutrition, health care and technology. From border-to-border Nebraska Extension is making an incredible impact on the success of our state – its youth, its families, its farms and ranches, its communities and its economy. These are broad program 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 2020, the Clay County 4-H program 254 youth participated in School Enrichment lessons at all four elementary/middle schools in the county. Also, 1 in 2 age-eligible youth participate in Clay County 4-H Youth Development Programs. Fifty-five youth participated in spring/summer virtual educational youth workshops and 64 youth participated in 4-H afterschool programs. To support beef producers, the annual Cow/Calf College provides cutting-edge research practices for producers to consider in their operation. Since its inception in 2001, over 1,275 producers have participated.
To support ag, people need to know where their food comes from. Fillmore (& Clay) County Extension staff held the 23rd AgVenture Day in collaboration with the South Central Cattlewomen. This year, 154 fourth graders participated in the ag literacy program virtually due to COVID-19. Since 1997, AgVenture Day has taught over 4,000 youth just that. Also, 1 in 2 age-eligible youth participate in Fillmore County 4-H Youth Development Programs. In 2020, 609 youth were reached through school enrichment programming. With the Farmers & Ranchers College, over 260 people learned how to improve their risk management decision-making, understand financial documents and production costs. Over 260 people participated managing over 120,000 acres and nearly 22,000 head of livestock for potential impact of $1.7 million based on information gained from the programming.
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 column.