Programming, Uncategorized

Extension’s Robust Programming

Last week I briefly highlighted areas Nebraska Extension is involved. This week’s article will touch on some of the key issues Extension focuses, based on stakeholder input. Nebraska faces critical issues we must address to make our world a better place. Many of these issues are complex, multidisciplinary, and challenging, yet they present us with great opportunities to help shape a future that is promising for our state and nation (NE Extension, 2016).” With this in mind, in order for Extension to help clients be successful, Extension faculty and staff are highly focused on specific issues in interdisciplinary teams, called Issue Teams.

IssueTeamThis list will continue to evolve over time as issues change, but currently consist of: Insect ecosystems (including pollinators), healthy lifestyles for children and youth, resistant & invasive pests, Nebraska leaders, college & career success, engaging underserved youth, climate variation, consumer confidence in food, children learning experiences, emerging technology for agriculture, efficient water use, ag producer economic viability, livable communities, STEM careers, water & soil protection, youth entrepreneurship food access and diversified ag production.

With my background in agricultural education, I will be moving towards more youth development programming related to crops and agricultural education. I am able to reciprocate youth crop/ag programming with my colleagues, as they provide programming in their expertise area in Fillmore County. This week I’d like to introduce you to my Extension colleagues serving Fillmore County and their respective regions.

Food, Nutrition & Health – Kayla Colgrove, Gage County
Beef (& Livestock) Systems – Duane Lienemann, Webster County
The Learning Child – Leanne Manning, Saline County
Community Environment (Horticulture) – Nicole Stoner, Gage County
Crops & Water – Me as I transition into more youth development; it will be the new educator in Clay County when hired.
4-H Youth Development – Me! I will also serve Clay County as I move towards more youth programming.

You might wonder how this will impact the service you receive, when in fact Extension always has had a network of faculty in these disciplines. The biggest advantage with this structure change is that faculty is more focused in their respective disciplines, thus providing clients better service and programs. It also helps clientele establish improved relationships with Extension faculty as we serve our accountability regions. Even if you do not physically go into an Extension office or use our web tools, apps or publications, it is likely the information a farmer received from a crop consultant or salesman came from UNL research or Extension programming. Food handlers at restaurants were probably trained by Nebraska Extension’s Serve Safe program and parents going through a divorce take a course taught by, you guessed it – Nebraska Extension faculty! We are sometimes referred to as the ‘best kept secret’ which is why I’m taking some time this week to share just a couple examples of programs you might not be familiar.

As it says on our Extension website, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension is a nationally respected educational leader. We work in a rapidly changing world, yet one familiar phrase seems most appropriate for Extension’s future: “The future is what we choose to make.” We have a responsibility to our clientele and colleagues to maintain high quality educational programs and a relevant and responsive organization.

Crops, Programming

Extension Programming

This is the time of year for agricultural programs for agricultural producers and if one wanted, they could go to a program almost every day of the week! For the most current or up-to-date information, go to our website, call our office at (402) 759-3712 or email me at and if we don’t have all of the details, we’ll look them up for you! In light of all the excellence UNL Extension, NRD and industry programs, I decided to give a brief recap of them.grainbin2.jpg

Field Assessments to Improve Efficiency – December 8th
This program seeks to enhance the knowledge of Nebraska corn, soybean and wheat producers on their sustainability and operational efficiency measures. Workshop participants will use a web based tool called Fieldprint® Calculator. We want growers in Nebraska to be better able to understand and communicate how management choices affect overall sustainability performance and operational efficiency of their farm operations. Locally, it will be held Monday, December 8th from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the Geneva Public Library. My colleague in Saline County, Randy Pryor is the program coordinator and is offering this free program, sponsored by Nebraska Extension to 5-10 producers.

Farmers & Ranchers College– December 11th (1-4:00 p.m.) – Bruning Opera House
Ag Outlook will feature Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus with the Dept. of AAEC, VA TECH and will discuss the wild world of global and domestic economics.  Dr. Kohl will discuss the major game changers influencing the agriculture landscape along with a quick tour of global economics and how it is influencing land values, commodities, and input costs.  Is agriculture in an asset or credit bubble?  What can you do financially in this business environment to capitalize on the economic volatility?  Dr. Kohl will give tips on management practices that will help you think globally but act locally in strategic and everyday decision-making.

Farm Bill Workshops – December 16th 9-Noon, Fillmore Co. Fairgrounds, Geneva
Farm Bill informational & meetings will be conducted in every county across Nebraska with each educational session running about 2-3 hours. Check with your local Farm Services Agency (FSA) or Nebraska Extension Service office for more details. These sessions are not required but may be helpful regarding long-term decisions.

Crops, Programming

Farm Bill Webinar

The 2014 Farm Bill provides agricultural producers with a variety of different programs and opportunities to participate; however, the decisions facing them have never been more complex. This bill is designed to offer more of a risk management approach to the federal farm safety net as opposed to the more traditional price and yield support. It is important participants understand how the 2014 Farm Bill works and how these programs may affect their operations. Nebraska offers some unique challenges relative to variability in the type of commodities and the practices in which they grown. In the Spring and Summer of 2014, agricultural producers will be offered an opportunity to update their base acres and program yields. It is important that they understand how these decisions work, to make a well-informed decision.

UNL Extension will be hosting a public webinar open to any interested party, to assist the producer with these decisions. The following are details on how to participate:

Name: Farm Bill Public Webinar
Start Time: 10:00 am Central Time Zone
Start Date: May 21, 2014
Duration: 2 hours

Participants will need to have adequate speakers with their computer to hear the presentation. This meeting will also be archived for later viewing; however those connecting live will have an opportunity to ask questions of the speaker. Any additional questions may be directed to Tim Lemmons, Ext. Educator, at


After the Fair….

As I write this, the 2013 Fillmore County Fair is in the books! I would like to thank all of the volunteers for making it a success, especially the Fair Board members, 4-H Council, superintendents and extension staff, Linda and Megan. Without the hard work of these people, the fair wouldn’t come together, as it takes a lot of teamwork!  Every year, I enjoy seeing how much youth have grown from year to year and the pride they have in their projects. We were blessed to have decent temperatures this year as well. The county fair is one of the most visible, if not the most visible part of a County Extension Office’s job, but our work is not done. First of all, there is all of the paperwork, etc. for getting things wrapped up and then its “back to the real” world of Extension. People often ask, what do you do now? So this week I’ve decided to share a little bit about some of the programming that resumes after fair.

Within my programming there is the irrigated crops component which involves helping producers with some of the irrigation management equipment they use – the watermark sensors and ET gage. In addition, the past 2-3 years, my role in youth crops education has taken off statewide. Some of those key programs I work with are the statewide conferences – Excellence in Ag Sciences Day which I coordinated and facilitated for Nebraska agricultural education instructors. This past year, I successfully received a $75,000 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust which has allowed me to expand the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network into the hands of teachers who in turn will teach their students about irrigation management. I continue to work with those teachers as questions, etc. arises as well as creating more online resources and curricula.

Last year, I launched the Nebraska Innovative Youth Corn Challenge which again is being funded by the Nebraska Corn Board. With eight teams participating, youth are implementing their research or demonstration to find economic, environmentally friendly ways to improve corn yields. In addition to this, I coordinate the website; more information for teachers, club leaders and youth is posted as it becomes available. The past three years I have worked with and continue to work with the Nebraska Agricultural Education Soils Project and continue to update that website and assist in coordinating curricula development on soils education for Nebraska ag teachers and others needing soils education content.

The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is a statewide program I also participate in and am working on an app which would complement this program. I work with agricultural producers in other areas as the need arises and also help clients find research-based answers to various questions they might have. During the winter months, I coordinate the Farmers & Ranchers College which is a popular regional program that reaches on average 400 people every year on risk management education. During late summer/early fall, programming plans are underway. In the winter months, I also teach pesticide safety education programs to producers who need to recertify their private pesticide applicator’s license.

Other youth programming in the areas of agricultural literacy are conducted which include, but are not limited to are Progressive Agriculture Safety Day, Ag Venture Day in collaboration with South Central Cattlewomen, local workshops, Water/Earth jamborees, etc.  The Nebraska State Fair and Aksarben are other livestock-related events I assist, but there is more to the 4-H program than showing livestock. Youth who take advantage of the numerous opportunities are actively involved in the program year-round.

There are other components I’m leaving out, but just wanted to give you an idea of some of the key programming that occurs throughout the year; of course this is just programming that I do and doesn’t even get into the programming that occurs from my other colleagues in areas of foods/nutrition, water/climate/environment, livestock, community development, other crops programming, and 4-H youth development. For more information about programs UNL Extension offers, go to, locally, or visit our Extension Facebook pages or for youth programming. You can also follow me on twitter.

Crops, Irrigation, Programming

Nebraska On-Farm Research Network

Several area Extension Educators and I have been involved with on-farm research for several years.  I’ve shared many of our Quad County On-farm Research results at meetings, in my columns and on the web.  These results are also posted on the CropWatch Website.

This year we’ve combined efforts across Nebraska and are working to investigate topics in three general areas:

1)  Irrigation – water application management in corn production

2)  Nitrogen management in corn production – both irrigated and dryland

3)  Corn population study in irrigated and dryland

If you’d be interested in any of these topics, give Gary Zoubek a call at: 402-362-5508 or email him at: or contact Keith Glewen, Extension Educator at: 402-624-8030 or email him at: They are the statewide contacts for this statewide effort.