Crops, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition Results

Nebraska Extension strives to recruit the next generation of agronomy professionals by annually conducting the Nebraska Youth Crop Scouting Competition. On August 3, 2022, held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, teams were able to talk with Extension staff and scout actual plots at the Research Center. This competition is a great experience for those wanting to work in many different fields of agriculture. This competition provides a fun competitive environment where teams can receive hands on learning about all aspects of crop scouting.

Receiving first place and a cash prize of $500 was Kornhusker Kids team coached by Chris Schiller. Team members were James Rolf, Logan Consbruck, Isaac Wooldrik, Levi Schiller and Ian Schiller. Second place went to Colfax Co. 4-H Team #1 coached by Steve Nelson. Team members were Josh Eisennman, Mic Sayers, Rylan Nelson, & Hayden Bailey and they received $250. Third place with a $100 cash award was Colfax County 4-H #2 team also coached by Steve Nelson. Team members were Callen Jedlicka, Cody Jedlicka, Daphne Jedlicka and Justin Eisennman.

Also participating were two teams from Johnson County 4-H coached by Jon Schmid. Team members from Johnson County #1 included Wesley Schmid, Sophia Schmid, Bo McCoy and Elliot Werner. Johnson Co. #2 team consisted of Levi Othmer and Cameron Werner. Arlington FFA also competed with Kali Agler as the coach and Aaron Fuchs, Braden Monke and Ethan Hilgenkamp competing.

An in-person regional competition will be held among Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Missouri teams at the Beck Agricultural Center near West Lafayette Indiana on September 15th hosted by Purdue Extension. Participants from Kornhusker Kids 4-H and Colfax County #1 can compete representing the state of Nebraska.

For more information on the Youth Crop Scouting Competition, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu or go to https://cropwatch.unl.edu/youth

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

Crops, Uncategorized, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Winners

Nebraska Extension has worked hard to push through the struggles of 2020 and 2021. From moving everything online suddenly to slowly brining in person events back the past two years have been roller-coaster. This year’s Youth Crop Scouting Competition was able to be held in person at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center. Teams were able to talk with Extension staff and scout real plots at the Research Center. This competition is a great experience for those wanting to work in many different fields of agriculture. This competition provides a fun competitive environment where teams can receive hands on learning about all aspects of crop scouting.  

Five teams competed in the 2021 competition.

Receiving first place and a cash prize of $500 was Kornhusker Kids team coached by Chris Schiller. Team members were James Rolf, Ethan Kreikemeier, Kaleb Hasenkamp, Levi Schiller, and Ian Schiller.  Second place went to Arlington FFA team coached by Kali Agler. Team members were Braden Monke and Aaron Fuchs, the team received $250. Third place with a $100 cash award was Colfax County 4-H #1 team coached by Steve Nelson. Team members were Hayden Bailey, Josh Eisenmann, Eliza Bailey, and Mic Sayers. 

Also participating was West Elk Creek 4-H Club coached by Jon Schmid. Team members include Wesley Schmid, Cameron Werner, Levi Othmer, Reese Badertscher and Sophie Schmid. Colfax County 4-H #2 team was coached by Steve Nelson. Team members were Daphne Jedlicka, Cody Jedlicka, and Callen Jedlicka.  

Continuing this year was an online session of “Ask an Agronomist” where Nebraska Extension agronomists and specialists presented basic information that could be as part of the competition which allowed more interaction between the judges and participants.  

An online regional competition will be held among Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky teams. Participants from Kornhusker Kids 4-H and Arlington FFA will compete representing their county and the state of Nebraska in September. 

The 2021 Youth Crop Scouting Competition was sponsored by the Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association and Ward Laboratories in collaboration with Nebraska Extension.

For more information on the Youth Crop Scouting Competition, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu or go to https://cropwatch.unl.edu/youth.   

Youth

Back to School Tips

With the school year starting, this means the busyness of afterschool activities and homework assignments will be here soon. As families are pulled in different directions for school, work and practices, time as a family comes at a premium. Making efforts to build the focus of your children could decrease time spent on homework to free up more time for family activities. Creating a permanent, designated study space is one way to build your youth’s focus. Here are a few items to keep in mind when creating the study space:

text on shelf
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Make It Work For You – Every child is different and has different needs. Some prefer a quiet corner in their room while others may prefer to be close to a parent for help at the kitchen table. Just make sure that the traffic and noise of other family members do not become a distraction.

Manage the Senses – Lighting and noise issues are very common distractions. Tired eyes have more difficulty transferring knowledge into memory. To keep sharp, make sure to provide adequate overhead lighting to limit squinting. Also, check that electronic devices like laptops and tablets are set at a comfortable level.

Make It Comfortable – Temperature and seating can make a difference in a youth’s ability to concentrate. Make sure that the study space keeps the child relaxed, but alert. It is also important that he or she has adequate space to spread out books, papers and materials to make the space efficient. While a bed may make a great space for spreading out, it may prove too relaxing. Consider a cushioned chair with generous table space. Also, it is important that the chair fit the youth. Dangling legs and hunched shoulders can create distractions as well.

Keep It Organized – Another way to increase the efficiency of the space is to keep all supplies and materials readily available and easy to find. Any time spent looking for the lost blue marker is time spent away from the task and an opportunity for further distraction. Organized space provides a launching pad for organized study. Keep clutter at a minimum using cubbies, canisters and boxes. A calendar, planner or to-do list can also keep homework assignments and activities prioritized and on track for on-time completion.

Limit Distractions – While the computer and television can be excellent sources of educational content, they also provide limitless distraction. If the child believes they can focus better with a little background noise, try some recorded music and save the favorite show as a reward when they can spare his or her attention.

Make It Your Own – If the child is expected to spend considerable time in the study space, let him or her decorate the space with posters, pictures or artwork. These items could provide creative inspiration for the child’s next essay or art project.

This article comes from a series of resources developed by Nebraska Extension, 4-H Youth Development Professionals. Learn more about 4-H at 4h.unl.edu, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Nebraska4H/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nebraska4h. For more information, contact the author – Jennifer Schoen (jschoen4@unl.edu), Extension Educator.

Youth

Back to School – COVID Style & Impact on Mental Health

As August is on the horizon, that means kids will be going back to school and families will be settling into new routines. As a parent of two girls, I completely understand the disappointment of summer coming to a close, but also the excitement of what a new year at school will bring. The year 2020 has provided everyone with many challenges and doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. As students and teachers prepare for the 2020-2021, things will certainly look different. Whether it is kids, teachers and staff wearing masks in the classroom or changing the way classes are done and extra sanitization, it will take a while for everyone to develop these new habits.MentalHealthSocialGraphics2

With any change, there is usually some who suffer from anxiety. I can certainly attest to the anxiety experience this spring with the uncertainty around spring/summer programming and county fair. A new survey commissioned by National 4-H Council and conducted by the Harris Poll, finds that 7 in 10 teens are struggling with their mental health in the wake of COVID-19. This survey conducted in May 2020 was among the first to examine the impact this unprecedented health crisis has had on U.S. teens. In 2019, the World Health Organization announced suicide as the third leading cause of death in teens 15 to 19. With today’s added stressors of a global pandemic, economic downturn and recent conversations on racial injustice, teens are seeking out new ways to cope.

This survey polled over 1,500 youth between 13-19 years of age from across the United States and key findings include:

  • 81% of teens say mental health is a significant issue for young people in the U.S.
  • 55% of teens say they’ve experienced anxiety, 45% excessive stress and 43% depression
  • 71% of those surveyed say school work makes them feel anxious or depressed
  • 65% say uncertainty about the future makes them feel anxious or depressed
  • Teens also reported feeling more pressured to hide their feelings rather than do drugs.
  • 67% feel pressure to keep feelings to themselves
  • 67% pretend to feel better to not worry anyone
  • 65% deal with feelings on their own

46% of teens reported social media as their most common outlet for learning about coping mechanisms for mental health and 43% follow or support someone on social media who openly talks about their mental health issues.

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82% of teens are calling in America to talk more openly and honestly about mental health issues in this country. 79% of teens surveyed wish there was an inclusive environment or safe space for people in school to talk about mental health. Finally 70% wish their school taught them more about mental health and coping mechanisms.

This important information is working to be addressed by 4-H, powered by Cooperative Extension which features a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation. 4-H has helps youth develop good decision-making and strong interpersonal skills which are key to holistic well-being and aims to help young people build a firm foundation on social-emotional health.

In addition to keeping youth safe by social distancing, disinfecting, etc. it will be important for parents to consider how youth might be dealing with the pressure of catching up. Some students might have lost a lot of progress and not have had adequate support at home for a variety of reasons. The American Academy of Pediatrics also reminds parents to ensure your child has had their annual exam, is caught up on immunizations and students at a higher risk medical conditions might need to continue distance learning or have other accommodations.

With the previous statistics discussed providing youth adequate behavioral health and emotional support will be very important. Children rely on parents and trusted adults for their safety and reassure that you are there for them and your family will get through this together. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also suggests to answer questions about the pandemic simply and honestly. Talk with kids about how people are getting sick buy emphasize that hand washing, wearing a mask and limiting large crowds of people will help them stay healthy. Also recognize and acknowledge your child’s feelings. Keep in touch with friends and family; many people got very creative this spring with video chats. Also, look to the future and tell them scientists are working hard on a vaccine and ways to treat those who get ill.  The AAP suggests offering extra hugs and saying “I love you” more often.

As a parent, school administrators, teachers and staff are working hard to make the school year a positive and safe one for youth. As adults, it is important to model good behavior for your children and be flexible. Everyone is learning how to navigate through this pandemic together and remaining calm and keeping a positive is best for everyone.

For more information on strategies for returning to school during COVID-19, go to healthychildren.org and for more information on the Harris Poll commissioned by the National 4-H Council, go to: https://4-h.org/.

 

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