Programming

Women in Agriculture Conference

During the conference, attendees can look forward to hearing from keynote speakers Kiah Twisselman Burchett, Paul Stoddard and Anne Meis. There will also be a special live performance of the one-act play, “Map of My Kingdom,” which tackles the critical issue of land transition. The work was commissioned by Practical Farmers of Iowa and written by Mary Swander, a recent poet laureate of Iowa.

The 38th Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference will be held Feb. 23-24, 2023, in Kearney at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, 110 Second Ave. New this year, a pre-conference workshop on the popular financial software, QuickBooks Online, will be held Feb. 22. This training will be provided by Mary Faber, a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor.

In addition to the keynote speakers and play, participants will select from over 20 workshop options that cover the five areas of agricultural risk management: production, market, financial, human, and legal. The conference will also offer continuing education credits for veterinary medicine professionals and certified crop advisors.

About the speakers

Kiah Twisselman Burchett is a rancher from California who is striving to inspire women to love themselves physically, mentally and emotionally — something she struggled with for years.

Paul Stoddard works in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also operates an ag real estate business and will provide the latest updates on regional, national and international events and their impact on farm operations now and in the future. 

Anne Meis is a farmer from Elgin, Neb. She previously served as the chair of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and was involved in constructing the Decade of Ag vision statement. Meis is also currently treasurer for the Nebraska Soybean Board.  

Registration opens Jan. 3. The cost for a two-day registration is $150 for participants who register on or before Feb. 8. The two-day registration fee increases to $175 on Feb. 9. The pre-conference workshop has an additional registration fee and is separate from the two-day conference registration.   To see all the available registration options, visit the Nebraska Women in Agriculture website at https://wia.unl.edu/conference.

The Nebraska Women in Agriculture program will award up to 15 scholarships to students to attend the 2023 Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference. Any student attending a four-year college/university, two-year college, a vocational/technical school, or a 4-H or FFA member may apply for a scholarship to attend. Applicants will need to prepare an essay that answers the question: “Why do you want to attend the Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference?” The essay response is limited to 3,000 characters. Applications must be submitted online by Feb.1.

More information can be found at https://wia.unl.edu/scholarships.

Livestock, Programming

Cow/Calf College Beef Seminar

The 2023 Cow-Calf College Beef Seminar is set for January 19th at the Clay County Fairgrounds in the Activities Building. Registration starts at 9:00 am with programs scheduled from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm. This year’s program is focused on strategies to manage forage resources during drought, including eastern redcedar control and adjusting pasture stocking and rental rates. The hands-on format will allow participants to engage with specialists and peers throughout the day.

Dillon Fogarty, Program Coordinator for Working Lands Conservation 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. Easter 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, Dr. Fogarty 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.

The afternoon workshop will be focused on 2023 Pasture Leases. Jessica Groskopf and Brent Plugge, Nebraska Extension Educators, will review the latest result from the Nebraska Farm Real Estate survey including cash rental rates and land values. They will also discuss leases, terminating verbal agreements, lease clauses, and landlord-tenant communication. Both landlords and tenants are encouraged to attend.

New this year: Lunch sessions will be comprised of three mini-workshops, including a Lunch and Learn with Dr. Becky Funk, GPVEC Extension Specialist, on calf resuscitation tips and an opportunity to practice assisting the cow during calving using a life-sized model. The Mobile Beef Lab will also be present, giving attendees the chance to reach inside the rumen of a fistulated steer and review the process of ruminant digestion.

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

There is no cost for the event; however, early registration is highly encouraged to allow for proper planning. Pre-registration can be made by calling the Webster County Extension office at 402-746-3417 or online at go.unl.edu/frcollege.

Programming

Land Leasing Strategies for Ag Women

The Power of Negotiation and Communication: Land Leasing Strategies for Midwestern Ag Women is coming to Geneva in January. The Nebraska Women in Agriculture program, in conjunction with Women in Agriculture programs at Purdue University and Kansas State University, will host a four-part extension workshop on the basics of land management, leasing, and conservation for landlords and tenants.

“The Power of Negotiation and Communication: Land Leasing Strategies for Midwestern Ag Women” will begin on January 18 at numerous sites in Indiana, Kansas, and Nebraska. The series will focus on writing agricultural lease agreements, landlord-tenant relationships, negotiations, and conservation practices. Workshops will be held on January 18, January 25, February 1, and February 8.

Photo by u00c1kos Szabu00f3 on Pexels.com

The workshop costs $50 per person and participants should plan to attend each session. A virtual option is available for those unable to attend a workshop site for $75 per person, although in-person attendance is highly encouraged to better network with other attendees and interact with speakers and includes a meal.

According to Department of Agriculture census data from 2017, there are over 90,000 women producers and over 51,000 female landlords in the three states.

“Women represent an important and growing demographic in agricultural land management and this workshop series will teach essential management information while providing women the chance to ask questions, connect with each other and share their experiences,” said Jessica Groskopf, director of the Nebraska Women in Agriculture program.

Each state will host several satellite workshop sites with local extension personnel. Keynote speakers will be simulcast to each location and each site will provide additional speakers and hands-on activities.

Groskopf said the program’s structure is intended to strengthen networks of women in rural areas, which can provide opportunities for building trust and sharing information. “Connections are so important to women farmers,” she said. “We have seen the benefits that come from knowing your peers, having a place to share difficulties and mitigate the isolation that so many of us in agriculture often feel.”

These workshops seek to help participants increase their awareness of local land values and cash rental rates and the factors that influence them. They will also cover the importance of having a written lease and the items that should be included in it to ensure an equitable agreement for all parties. Participants will learn negotiation strategies as well as best practices to improve relationships between landlords and tenants.

Conservation programs will also be covered, so that participants will have a greater understanding of compliance requirements and increase their awareness of voluntary conservation programs that are available to them.

Registration is required by January 13th. 

2022-23 Farmers & Ranchers College Schedule

  • December 8th -“Ag Today: New Era of Prosperity or Temporary Opportunity” featuring Dr. DaveKohl. Registration will start at 12:45 p.m. and the program will start at 1:00 p.m. at the Opera House in Bruning, NE.
  • December 15th – A hands-on training workshop will teach producers about Extension’s Agricultural Budget Calculator. This program will be held at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva from 1-3:00 p.m.  Re gister by December 13th at cap.unl.edu/abc/training.
  • January 19th -Cow/Calf College Registration will start at 9:00 a.m. and the program will start at 9:25 until 3:30 p.m. at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Clay Center.

Questions on the Farmers & Ranchers College can be directed to the Fillmore County Extension Office at (402) 759-3712. To participate and register, go to the website: go.unl.edu/farmersrancherscollege.

Programming

Agriculture Today: New Era of Prosperity or Temporary Opportunity?

The 2022-23 Farmers & Ranchers College will kick off December 8th featuring Dr. Dave Kohl. Registration will start at 12:45 p.m. and the program will start at 1:00 p.m. at the Opera House in Bruning, NE. The program is titled, “Ag Today: New Era of Prosperity or Temporary Opportunity.” The business and economic landscape of agriculture can be described in one word as “anxious.”  Global trade uncertainty and the shift from fossil fuels to the green movement coupled with inflation and supply chain bottlenecks are only a few o the challenges.  However, with these headwinds, opportunities exist for those who manage the business proactively despite all the economic megatrend shifts. 

The decade of the 2020s will be one of economic and financial divide. Stimulus checks from the government along with rising commodity prices in some industries have presented profits not seen since the Great Commodity Super Cycle.  Extreme volatility and uncertainty created by geopolitics present an economic roller coaster environment for most businesses. These factors coupled with inflating costs, a shift from fossil fuels to the green movement, consumer and technology trends, and supply chain bottlenecks are only some of the challenges.  Visionary CEOs must strategically analyze the challenges and opportunities.  They must conduct both an industry and business SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in their business plan, and a pathway to remaining on the positive side of the ledger.  Don’t miss out on this engaging session that applies the big picture variables to your business, family, and personal life.   

Many in the area are very familiar with Dr. Kohl, but if you are not, here are some details about him. Dr. Dave Kohl is an academic Hall of Famer in the College of Agriculture at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.  Dr. Kohl has keen insight into the agriculture industry gained through extensive travel, research, and involvement in ag businesses.  He has traveled nearly 10 million miles; conducted more than 6,500 presentations; and published more than 2,250 articles in his career. Dr. Kohl’s wisdom and engagement with all levels of the industry provide a unique perspective into future trends.

The following week on December 15th, the Farmers & Ranchers College will be hosting a hands-on training workshop that will teach producers about Extension’s Agricultural Budget Calculator. This program will be held at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva from 1-3:00 p.m. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet to the workshop but if they are unable to do so, they are still welcome to attend. Please register by December 13th for this program at cap.unl.edu/abc/training.

Questions on the Farmers & Ranchers College can be directed to the Fillmore County Extension Office at (402) 759-3712. To participate and register, go to the website: go.unl.edu/farmersrancherscollege.

Livestock, Programming

Nebraska Grazing Conference

Challenges from COVID-19 have required changes be made to many programs everywhere. This year’s 20th Nebraska Grazing Conference (NGC) will be held as a virtual event instead of the traditional in-person event.

close up photo of white and brown cattle
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

According to the website:
The online conference will be held from 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM on both Tuesday, August 11 and Wednesday, August 12. Organizers hope the online version of the conference will be a convenience to a broader audience who will be able to participate from their home or office. Opportunities for interaction among participants and to ask follow-up questions of speakers have been built in to the online event. Additionally, several watch parties have been organized around the state for groups of 25 or less to gather and participate in this virtual conference. This option may assist those who do not have stable Internet service in their area.

Watch party sites include:

  • Northeast Research & Extension Center, 1010 E Centre, Hartington, NE. Host, Ben Beckman, Beef Systems Assistant Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension, (402) 254-6821 or ben.beckman@unl.edu
  • Zion Lutheran Church, 318 E 4th Street, Ainsworth, NE. Host, Hanna Greenwell, Beef Systems Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension, (402) 387-2213 or hgreenwell2@unl.edu
  • Panhandle Research & Extension Center, 4502 Avenue I, Scottsbluff, NE. Host, Mitchell Stephenson, Panhandle, Forage Management Specialist/Extension Specialist, Nebraska Extension, (308) 632-1230 or mstephenson3@unl.edu
  • Fillmore County Fairgrounds, 641 N 5th Street, Geneva, NE. Host, Sydney O’Daniel, Beef Systems Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension, (402) 746-3417 or sydney.odaniel@unl.edu
  • Buffalo County Extension, 1400 E 34th Street, Kearney, NE. Host, Brent Plugge, Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension, (308) 236-1235 or brent.plugge@unl.edungc-schedule-2020.jpg

 

Programming, Youth

Collaboration and Teamwork

As we wrap up county fair related work and head back into other extension programming, I always reflect on the county fair experience. This year’s fair was definitely one that will go down in history.  This marks my fifteenth Fillmore County fair, although it definitely seemed like my first fair again. With the go and show livestock format and many modifications,  we started planning for many different versions of how the fair would look. Back in March, we weren’t even sure we’d be able to have county fairs. Then we had a virtual option and finally we were able to successfully have a face-to-face option.IMG_9669.jpeg

I’d like to give a huge “shout-out” to the Fair Boards for allowing us to have the youth component of the fair. This year, I relied heavily on 4-H Council members and superintendents to help us walk through a modified county fair to meet health department guidelines. This year’s fair went very well, mostly due to the amount of teamwork and collaboration observed. First of all, when it comes to putting together a fair, there are many small, behind the scenes tasks that occur. I’d like to give a lot of credit to the entire staff of Fillmore and Clay Counties. Weeks before the fair, data is entered into the computer system, stall assignments are created, awards ordered, reminders sent to exhibitors about completing quality assurance, registration deadlines, etc. All of this preparation allows for a much smoother fair during the actual week of fair.

Without the collaboration of staff, fair would not occur. Also, there is a lot of time spent from volunteers such as Council members and superintendents. From helping with winter weigh-ins to helping answer questions and attend meetings, volunteers are engaged year-round to make the program the best it can be.

An article adapted from Belgrad, W., Fisher, K., & Rayner, S. (1995) best summarizes that “collaboration and teamwork require a mix of interpersonal, problem-solving, and communication skills needed for a group to work together towards a common goal.” The best teams I have worked with put their own agenda aside and work towards the greater good for the team. This article also provides tips for how to develop a collaborative team environment. There are five themes that must be present.Screen Shot 2020-07-17 at 9.57.48 AM

The first is trust. Being honest with the team helps each other develop respect within a team. Give team members the benefit of the doubt and work to eliminate conflicts of interest. Secondly is to clarify roles. When teach team member knows their key roles, they are able to perform more effectively and can figure out ways to help each other. Next, it is important to communicate openly and effectively. Work to clear up misunderstandings quickly and accurately. Its best to over-communicate, rather than not communicate. Learn to be a good listener and recognize team member efforts. Fourth, is to appreciate diversity of ideas. Be open-minded and evaluate each new idea and remember that it is okay to disagree with one another, but learn how to reach consensus. Often times, much is learned from those who differ from you.  Finally, balance the team’s focus. Regularly review and evaluate effectiveness of the team. Assign team members specific tasks to evaluate and provide praise to other team members for achieving results.

I would certainly like to take some time this week to thank the entire Clay and Fillmore county staff for the hours of time spent. Without the entire staff working together, fair would be miserable.  Also, I’d like to thank the 4-H Council members who have so freely given of their time during the whole year with various tasks and take time away from their own family to help make the fair a success. Of course, livestock superintendents put in a large amount of time during the fair during check-in, the show, loading animals, etc. Special thanks to the fair board for their support of the 4-H program and the countless hours they spend setting up for events, etc. Businesses and financial donors help provide youth with incentives for their projects. There are so many other individuals and businesses who are helpful and do things without any recognition and to all of you, thank you!

I’d also like to thank everyone for allowing me the chance to be a “mom” on Fillmore County beef show day and help McKenzie get her three calves ready.  It was valuable time I was able to spend teaching her and being able to create memories. One of the best quotes someone once told me has stuck with me: “It’s better to be a part of the solution, rather than a part of the problem.” I saw a lot of sportsmanship being conducted in a positive manner this year which is refreshing at a time when so many people in our country, find things that are wrong and focus on those. Congratulations Clay and Fillmore County 4-H and FFA programs on a great county fair!

Source: Belgrad, W., Fisher, K., & Rayner, S. (1995). Tips for Teams: a Ready Reference for Solving Common Team Problems. McGraw-Hill: New York.

Programming, Youth

2020 Youth Crop Scouting Competition Virtual Competition

Nebraska Extension is pleased to present the 6th Crop Scout Design (1)annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. Youth interested in crops have the opportunity to 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 virtually this year on July 28, 2020. Teams of middle school thru high school students (those completing 7-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate. With the virtual option, there will be a limited space to the first ten teams who register.  Teams will compete in a fun, group online game instead of the written individual test. The scouting exercises will enable teams to work together via zoom. They will be given a scenario or task to complete and communicate their answers to the Nebraska Extension judge.

Clubs or other organizations may enter a team composed of three to five participants. An adult team leader must guide students through the process. 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.   Teams are 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.

Two New Opportunities For Youth This Year

Free package of study materials will be mailed to each team that registers by the deadline! When teams register, we will send one package to every team sponsor that provides an address. Study materials will include

    1. Weed, Disease & insect guide
    2. Corn and soybean field guide
    3. A magnifier for your phone camera (if funding allows)
    4. Additional promotional items

We are also providing, “Office hours with an Agronomist”. Join us for several office hours with an Agronomist. Starting soon, different Nebraska Extension agronomist/specialists will share some scouting information and answer your questions. The office hours are open to all youth in grades 7-12. No registration required. A link will be posted on this webpage on the day of the office hours that will direct you to a zoom meeting to participate.

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 and Nebraska Extension.

Programming, Youth

Fillmore County Fair Schedule

Nebraska Extension -Fillmore County staff have been working closely with the County Fair Board, local Health Department, and 4-H Council to make decisions that will best meet local needs while complying with state/regional/local guidelines and policies.  Decisions have been made keeping local, state and federal regulation and health guidelines in mind.

Nebraska Extension is operating under:

Shows are for only immediate family members/guardians of that exhibitor in attendance at the shows. All livestock shows will be available for online viewing to the best of our abilities.  Please be respectful of our youth and realize this face-to-face option will only happen with community support and being respectful of our youth and following of public health department guidelines.

Livestock shows will be streamlined through striv and can be accessed at go.unl.edu/fillmoreshows. Other updates, including the Fillmore County Static Exhibitor Showcase, livestock programs and Champions of Fillmore County video will be available on the county extension’s website and social media. Go to fillmore.unl.edu for all of the latest updates.

2020 Fillmore County Fair Schedule

Please be advised that all schedules and guidelines are subject to change based on local health department recommendations, etc..

Shows are for only immediate family members/guardians of that exhibitor in attendance at the shows. Wrist bands are required to enter the fairgrounds.  All livestock shows will be available for online viewing on Exeter-Milligan’s Striv channel and be accessed at https://go.unl.edu/fillmoreshows.

Fillmore County Static Exhibitor Showcase, livestock programs and Champions of Fillmore County video will be available on the fillmore.unl.edu website or Fillmore County 4-H’s Facebook page.FillmoreFairPublicSched2020

Crops, Programming, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition

IMG_3105Looking 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 5th annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. Youth interested in crops have the opportunity to 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 ENREC near Mead, Nebraska on July 28, 2020, pending directive health measures at that time. If a live competition is unable to occur, a virtual option will be conducted.  Teams of middle school thru high school students (those completing 5-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate. This year, to comply with directive health measures, the event is limited to the first five 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. Unfortunately, there will not be a regional competition 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 and Nebraska Extension.