Monthly Archives: November 2019
I’ve often thought about two words the past few months: Grief and Gratitude. It’s been a hard year for many with grief coming in the form of various losses. The stories I’ve been blessed to be entrusted with this year included losses in the form of livestock, land, fences, feed, finances, crops, homes, health, relationships, family members, pets, farms, jobs…
It’s important to take the time to grieve and acknowledge the losses while not getting stuck there. I think sometimes we want to push forward and avoid the mess of grief, but there’s healing in acknowledging it. At our Extension Fall Conference, we spent time talking through 2019 and the experiences we had as Extension faculty with boots on the ground serving people. While it was uncomfortable for many, there was healing in the discussion and sharing, in the tears and triumphs of helping others during a really difficult year. I would encourage us all to acknowledge losses we’ve experienced and ultimately keep talking with others instead of isolating.
Our keynote speaker at our conference was David Horsager who wrote the book The Trust Edge. One thing he asks his audiences, “What is the most endearing quality a person can have?” What do you think? Often people say kindness, compassion, generosity, being positive, humor, etc. His company does a great deal of research and they’ve found the most endearing quality is…Gratitude…sincere gratitude. According to Oxford’s Dictionary, gratitude means “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.
There’s been a lot of research on gratitude! Harvard University shared, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.” Summarizing several studies I read, most would say finding a way to count one’s blessings or focusing on gratitude greatly improved a person’s sleep, health, attitude, focus, and relationships. Many of those studies didn’t involve individuals who struggled with mental wellness. However, one study in Indiana focused on 300 adults who suffered from anxiety and depression. The researchers wanted to see if focusing on gratitude could help with mental health concerns. Adults were split into three groups and each group also received counseling. One group wrote a letter of gratitude to someone each week (but wasn’t required to share it). Another group wrote down negative thoughts and experiences while the third group didn’t do any activity involving writing. Individuals who wrote the gratitude letters were found to have significantly improved mental health 4 and 12 weeks after starting the activity (in spite of only 23% actually sending the letters). The gratitude activity on top of receiving counseling resulted in better mental wellness for the individuals than counseling alone. Regardless of if one is in the midst of a difficult time or not, research ultimately shows the benefits of seeking gratitude!
Grief and Gratitude. With Thanksgiving this week, for what are you and I grateful? Perhaps there’s someone who came alongside you this year during a difficult time or someone who showed you an unexpected kindness that you wish to thank in some way? Perhaps you choose to make a list of things for which you’re thankful or jot a few things down each day? Perhaps you choose to write one letter or note to someone each week expressing thanks? Or perhaps your family starts a tradition of expressing gratitude in some way during Thanksgiving dinner? Additional ideas for expressing gratitude, particularly for those with children, can be found at: https://go.unl.edu/q04v. Here’s wishing everyone a blessed Thanksgiving!
Trees Hanging onto Leaves: Driving in the country or in towns I tend to observe what’s going on in the fields, but also observe what’s occurring with the trees. Right now I’m noticing many maples trees looking like mine: hanging onto a portion of greenish/gray/brown leaves. Typically my silver maples are the first to lose their leaves each fall along with a neighboring ash. But the season didn’t start off typical for them either! Some of you, like me, have dealt all year with the huge seed load produced by these and other trees this spring. So why are some trees hanging onto leaves this fall? Most likely a cold snap in early fall interrupted the normal process deciduous trees follow to prepare for winter survival. As days shorten, a layer of cells (abscission zone) form between the tree branch and the individual petioles (stems of leaves), allowing the leaves to fall from the tree. This helps protect the tree from water loss in the winter. Some tree species, such as oaks, have an adaptation to maintain their leaves during the winter called leaf marcescence. It’s unknown exactly why. The hypotheses for why oaks maintain their leaves include: better protection of winter buds, allow for trapping of snow around the tree base, and allow for a flush of nutrients when leaves drop and are decomposed in the spring. So while it’s not normal for maples, lindens, ash, and other species to maintain leaves over the winter, there’s nothing we can do about the delay in leaf drop. If the leaves don’t drop this fall/winter, they will be pushed off by new growth from buds next spring. Leaves may continue to drop this fall/winter with wind and snow events. One thing to be aware of is the potential for increased limb breakage from wind/snow events in trees maintaining heavy leaf loads.
Are you interested in helping understand the noise of farming? Researchers at the University of Iowa developed (and are currently testing) a ‘HearSafe’ system to measure noise exposure of farmers. The goal is to provide information about exposure to loud sounds on the farm and how to protect one’s hearing. This system will consist of a small noise monitor, smart phone, and a laptop. They are looking for farm workers to try these new devices. The research activities are short term (between 1 day and 2 weeks), equipment and training are provided, and there’s compensation for participation. Those ages 18-65, active in farm production (20+ hours per week on average), who have access to a device with high-speed internet are eligible to participate. For more information please contact Jackie Curnick at firstname.lastname@example.org or (319) 335-4425.
Nov. 25 Heuermann Lecture Focuses on Protecting Ecosystems while Advancing Agriculture: Strategies for achieving agricultural advances while preserving Nebraska’s healthy agricultural ecosystems will be discussed at the Heuermann Lecture Nov. 25. It will be held at 3:30 p.m. at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center in Lincoln and via livestream at: https://heuermannlectures.unl.edu. Following the discussion will be a showing of the documentary film “Follow the Water.” Dinner is included to those staying for the showing. The event is free and open to the public.
Panelists will include Craig Allen, professor in the School of Natural Resources and director of the Center for Resilience in Working Agricultural Landscapes; Andrea Basche, assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture; and Michael Forsberg, co-founder of the Platte Basin Timelapse Project and assistant professor of practice in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication. The film tells the story of connections between the environment and people, and a river that shaped the land. Forsberg, a conservation photographer, and Pete Stegen, a filmmaker, journeyed for 55 days through the watershed by bike, foot and canoe, gathering footage with their smartphones. A panel discussion will follow the viewing so the audience can explore the themes of the film with Forsberg and his team.
Heuermann Lectures are funded by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips. The Heuermanns are longtime university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska’s production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.
With harvest wrapping up, many of the questions/conversations this week involved economics in some way. So this week’s column will focus on upcoming learning opportunities. But before I get to that, thank you to all our veterans for your service and sacrifices! Thank you also to your families!
Ag Land Management Webinar: On Monday, November 18th at 6:30 p.m., Jim Jansen, an agricultural economist, and Allan Vyhnalek, a farm and ranch succession specialist, will lead their final ‘Agricultural Land Management Quarterly’ webinar of the year. They will provide an overview of the 2019 Cash Rental Rate Survey, conducted by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, and discuss prevented planting considerations for Farm Service Agency programs and crop insurance. The importance of landlord/tenant communication during the winter months and tips for leasing also will be discussed. The free session is open to everyone at https://agecon.unl.edu/landmanagement. The recorded webinar will be archived there, along with past sessions. There will be time for participants to ask questions at the end of the session. Questions also may be submitted in advance at https://agecon.unl.edu/landmanagement.
Dr. Kohl to present at Farmers and Rancher’s College: On December 9th Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech and popular for his insights, will be presenting at the Bruning Opera House in Bruning from 1-4 p.m. about “Agriculture Today: It is What it is…What Should We Do About It”. There is no charge for the program due to the Farmers and Rancher’s College sponsors, but please RSVP for meal at: (402) 759-3712 or online at: https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/fillmore/agriculture-0/.
Women Managing Ag Land Conference: Female agriculture landowners, farmers, and ranchers looking to increase their business management skills are encouraged to register for the 2019 Women Managing Agricultural Land conference. The conference will be held Dec. 11 at Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive in Lincoln. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from leading experts in land values, Nebraska property taxes, cash rental rates and cultivating landlord-tenant relationships. Jim Jansen, co-author of the Nebraska Farm Real Estate survey, will discuss trends in Nebraska land values. Mykel Taylor, of Kansas State University, will share resources related to negotiations and communication between landowners and tenants. Cathy Anderson, from the Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency, will discuss the 2018 Farm Bill and its implications for Nebraska agriculture. The full conference schedule and registration form are available at https://wia.unl.edu/wmal. A registration fee of $45 per person covers materials, meals, and breaks. The conference is hosted by Nebraska Extension and is inspired by Annie’s Project. In Nebraska, Annie’s Project is supported by Farm Credit Services of America. Also, a reminder that all Farm Bill information and upcoming meetings can be found at: http://farmbill.unl.edu.
Cover Crop Day: On November 20, a workshop focusing on cover crops will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Reg. 8:30) at the 4-H Building in York. Presentations from NRCS, UNL, and Pheasants Forever will cover using cover crops to address soil compaction and improve soil health; precision conservation opportunities to increase farm profitability while conserving soil, water, and wildlife; and opportunities for cover crop on-farm research and cost share options. A free meal and optional field tour is provided but please RSVP to: http://nebraskapf.com/product/cover-crop-field-day-habitat-tour/
or call the Extension Office at (402) 362-5508.
On-Farm Research Searchable Database: A helpful resource to view studies growers’ peers have conducted with the economics provided can be found at https://resultsfinder.unl.edu. It’s a little picky based on the words one chooses, but has a lot of great info. Also, for anyone interested in conducting studies involving anhydrous with and without inhibitors this fall or spring, I have on-farm research protocols developed, so please let me know.
This would be a very helpful conference for any woman currently managing land or interested in learning more about managing land in the future. Great networking opportunity as well!
There are many women whether by choice or chance who manage agricultural land. For some, it is their livelihood and business. Other women might have inherited land from a family member and there are also women who just want to learn more about the agricultural business in partnership with a spouse or family member. No matter what the circumstance, Nebraska Extension will be providing a program to equip women with necessary management skills.
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A recent news release came out which shared that any female agriculture landowners, farmers, and ranchers looking to increase their business management skills are encouraged to register for the 2019 Women Managing Agricultural Land conference. The conference will be held Dec. 11 at Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive in Lincoln.
The first-ever Women Managing Agricultural Land Conference will allow women to build relationships with each other, attend workshops and gain…
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York County Corn Grower Plot Results and Banquet: The results of the York County Corn Growers plot can be found at: https://jenreesources.com/2019/11/03/2019-york-county-corn-grower-plot-results/. Special thanks to Ron and Brad Makovicka for their dedication and work in hosting! Also appreciate all the seed companies who participate! The York County Corn Grower’s Banquet will be held Tuesday, November 26 at Chances ‘R in York with social at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased from any York Co. Corn Grower director or at the York Co. Extension Office.
Fall Nitrogen Application: With November here, a reminder to check soil temperatures before applying anhydrous ammonia to crop fields. Soil microbial activity and the rate of conversion of ammonium to nitrate is very low when the soil temperature is less than 50oF. Thus, apply fertilizer-N (and manure) when the soil temperature at the 4” soil depth is below 50°F and trending cooler. Daily and weekly soil temperatures (taken 4” below the surface of bare soil) can be found at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/soiltemperature.
Extension Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Specialists Javed Iqbal, Charlie Wortmann, Bijesh Maharjan, and Laila Puntel shared additional considerations for fall Nitrogen application in this week’s CropWatch: Apply anhydrous ammonia rather than other N fertilizers; Limit fall application of N to silt loam, silty clay loam, and finer textured soils; Use nitrification inhibitors to slow the conversion of ammonium to nitrate, especially on sand-dominant soils; Avoid fall application on wet soils; and Consider applying a lower base rate of nitrogen in the fall and plan on applying the rest at planting, or as a side-dress application.
On-Farm Research Protocols are available for anyone interested in fall vs. spring nitrogen management studies, inhibitor studies, or other potential on-farm research studies by contacting your local Extension educator. For growers within the UBBNRD interested in on-farm research studies that have a water quality focus, you may be eligible for additional support through the UBBNRD. In some instances it may cover district staff and equipment use; in others, it may cover a portion of the costs of lab analysis of soil, plant tissue, or water samples. If you’re a grower interested in this type of study, please contact the UBBNRD or your local Extension Educator to talk through your study idea and for additional information.
Farm Bill Meetings: Joint Nebraska Extension and Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) producer education meetings are scheduled at 28 locations across the state from late November to mid-December in advance of the coming ARC/PLC enrollment deadlines in early 2020. The meetings are free and open to the public. Advance registration is encouraged for planning purposes for materials and facilities. Attendees can register for any of the meetings conveniently on the web at farmbill.unl.edu or by calling or visiting their county FSA or Extension office. The educational programs will feature information and insights from FSA specialists and Extension experts, as well as other relevant information from local agencies.
Nearest locations for this area of the State include: Nov. 25. Community Center, Red Cloud (1-4 p.m.); Dec. 3 ENREC near Mead (9-Noon); Dec. 4 Ag Park in Columbus (9-Noon); Dec. 5 College Park in Grand Island (1-4 p.m.); Dec. 5. Opera House, Bruning (1:30-4:30 p.m.); Dec. 6 Fairgrounds Cornerstone Building York (9-Noon); Dec. 16. Extension Office Lincoln (9-Noon); Dec. 17 Fairgrounds 4-H Bldg. Beatrice (9-Noon); Dec. 17 Fairgrounds in Kearney (1-4 p.m.).