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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.

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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.

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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)

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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. 

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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)

 
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Making Contributions During the Holidays

The holiday season gives youth and adults an opportunity to stop and reflect on events of the past year, one’s beliefs and values, and what gives life meaning and purpose. For the last 21 months, the global pandemic has given many young people and adults the opportunity to re-evaluate what is important to them. As 2021 draws to a close, it is a wonderful time to reflect and act in ways that provide contributions to others.

Photo by Lena Khrupina on Pexels.com

Research has found when we feel we have made a difference in the lives of others, it often gives our own life meaning and purpose. Even small acts of kindness can provide great life satisfaction. By serving others in a positive way, one can gain a deeper sense of perspective. When considering ways to contribute, make sure to ask a few questions. Does this opportunity align with my values, budget, and time capacity? Below are some tips to help you and the young people in your life make meaningful contributions this holiday season.

  • Become a Volunteer – This requires giving your time, talents, and energy to a cause without receiving money. Volunteering can be an individual or family activity. It can be a great way to meet new people and strengthen existing relationships. Taking the initiative to address a need in your community can give you a sense of accomplishment. Depending on the task, volunteering can help you or a young person build self-confidence and improve one’s physical health. This holiday season, look for places to volunteer like a food pantry, school, animal shelter, or a youth program like 4-H Youth Development.
  • Raise Funds – Raising money can build momentum around a cause in your community. It is important to support something that aligns with your values. Many organizations rely on the generosity of others to assist them in their work through financial contributions. These funds go toward needed items, services, and programs. Raising funds for others can teach children, youth, and you to appreciate what you have and understand that at any age you can share your resources with others.
  • Be an Advocate – By bringing awareness to a topic you are passionate about helps other people learn more about an issue which, in turn, can lead to additional support now and in the future. For example, you might want to raise awareness about issues of hunger and poverty in your community or highlight the need for safe places for children and youth to gather.
  • Express Gratitude – Gratitude is expressing a feeling of appreciation for something or someone that has added goodness to your life. It costs nothing and the advantages can be life changing. The benefits of gratitude can bring us happiness, reduce anxiety and depression, and strengthen our immune system. It can help us to sleep better, be more resilient, and strengthen our personal relationships. Showing appreciation can have a lasting impact on others. Take time to say “thank you” to a friend, neighbor, or family member for all they have done this past year.

Contributing this holiday season can lead to meaningful events throughout your life and have a lasting impact on you, your family, and your world. Remember to always ask the question, what can I do to contribute to others and in my community now and in the future?

More information and resources about youth social-emotional development can be found on Nebraska 4-H’s Supporting Young People page or by contacting local county Nebraska Extension offices.

Article written by Dawn Lindsley, Nebraska Extension Educator

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Communicating During the Holidays

The challenges that we have all faced since the onset of COVID-19 are still present. The holiday season is upon us, and this year could be more stressful than previous years given the current challenges and events of 2021.  As individuals and families plan holiday gatherings, many are wondering how hot topics about politics, health, wealth, or a favorite sport team will come up in conversation.  Additionally, children and young people may experience a variety of emotions during the holidays and have a difficult time expressing themselves in words which lead to misguided behaviors and hurt feelings.  Whether it is an adult chat after a holiday meal or a conversation with children after opening presents, using good communication skills can prevent misunderstandings and avoid hurt feelings.   Below are some strategies to help youth (and adults) communicate throughout the holidays.

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  • Engage in active listening.  In responding to children and adults, engage in active listening.  Listening is the key.  Allow the person talking to finish. If you desire more information, ask questions to gain understanding instead of jumping to conclusions.  Simply, say, “Tell me more.” Use “I” statements instead of making comments like “you never help clean the house.” Passing judgement, interrupting, name calling, and yelling will close the door on future conversations and can contribute to a lifetime of hurt.
  • Engage in conversation with your children.  Be intentional about taking the time to talk with your children.  Simply, ask them about their day or what is bringing them joy, happiness or what they are finding difficult.  If not meeting friends and family in-person, schedule a virtual meeting for children to interact with grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other extended family members over the holidays.  These social interactions can help young people feel valued and supported.
  • Acknowledge your child’s (or other’s) feelings.  Simply ask them how they are feeling. As an adult check-in with them daily about what feelings they are experiencing.  As your child is sharing their feelings with you, make sure you are listening and not passing judgement.  Try as best as you can to keep the lines of communication open.  As an adult be a good role model and take the time to express your own feelings with family members.  Showing youth how to show and communicate one’s feelings in a healthy fashion provides a positive example for young people.  Allow this to be a time to share differing viewpoints in a healthy manner, while acknowledging differences among family members may always exist.
  • Respond with empathy.  Offer words of encouragement and support.  Think about how you would want others to respond if they were listening to you.  Use words like “that might be hard” or “I haven’t thought about it that way.”
  • Stay calm.   If conversations do get heated remember that it is important to stay calm.  It is okay to take a short walk or remove yourself from the situation for a minute or two so that you can calm down and regain your composure. 
  • Remember the “big picture”.   The reality is that we all need to support one another to make it through life.  Friendships, family ties, and community connections are what make life worth living.  Getting upset about politics, religion, or long-time family issues will not be helpful, instead, it can create divisions that take a lifetime to heal.  Choose your words wisely. 

These communication strategies can be helpful in family gatherings, chatting with the teenage neighbor, lifelong friends, or with Santa at the mall.  Take this holiday season to use words of love, joy, and peace.  More information and resources about youth social-emotional development can be found at http://www.4h.unl.edu/supporting-young-people-through-change or by contacting your local county Nebraska Extension office.

Article Written by Kerry Elsen, Extension Educator- Buffalo County

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Christmas Tree Selection

Extension horticulturist, Nicole Stoner shared some tips on selecting the perfect live Christmas tree. If you have heavy ornaments, consider a Fraser Fir, Scotch pine, blue spruce or Black Hills spruce because they have stiff branches that hold ornaments better. If you’d like a Christmas tree scent, consider a Balsam Fir. If you prefer softer needles, go with a White pine.

Photo by Vladislav Murashko on Pexels.com

Stoner also said, when choosing your tree, assess the tree condition. Walk around the tree to look for holes in the branching. Slightly tug on the needles that are on the tree to ensure they are tightly attached to the tree and have some flexibility. Also, give the tree a good shake, if green needles fall off or if it has a lighter green color that is not a fresh tree, choose another. Brown needles will naturally fall from the interior of the tree, that doesn’t mean there is a problem with it.

Finally, she provides some tips for home care of a real tree. When you take your tree home, place it immediately into the tree stand with plenty of water. If the tree was cut within the past 12 hours it doesn’t need to be recut but if it has to sit longer than 12 hours prior to placing it in the stand, it will need to be recut to improve water uptake. Place the tree in a stand that holds at least 1 gallon of water and be sure to add water daily. Research has shown that additives and water alternatives are not as effective as plain water in maintaining a tree through the holiday season.

Keep the tree away from sources of heat to reduce water consumption and help reduce fire hazards. Christmas trees rarely start fires in our homes, but they need to be watered to help them retain their color and keep your floor from getting too messy from fallen needles.