Category Archives: Reflections
Thoughts for 2023 Season
A week ago I was out east visiting family. Sunshiny daffodils were blooming in medians and we saw cherry blossoms and magnolias blooming at the National Arboretum in D.C. As I look in my backyard today, green leaves of tulips and daffodils are poking through. Rye, wheat, and lawns are greening up-the green this time of year is so stark in contrast to the brown. I’m so grateful to live in a place with seasons to see creation on display throughout the year!
March flew by and April is here. Another growing season will soon be upon us. I wasn’t mentally ready for another growing season. I’ve thought a lot about this and have heard this from others as well.
I knew I needed time in March to get my mind back into facing another one. I think of so many of you and there’s not been much break. Every spare moment of a ‘decent’ weather day this winter has been spent repairing/replacing pivots, buildings, bins, homes, or dealing with livestock.
I encourage us all to take some time to reflect on the blessings we’ve been given to work in agriculture, to be stewards of this land, and provide food for our families and the world. Reflecting on my purpose, “my why” for my Extension career and how blessed I am to get to serve many in this role, has reinvigorated my excitement for a new year. Perhaps reflect on “your why”? We have, we are, and will continue to face challenges as we aren’t in control of so much, especially the weather. But producers and those in ag careers are some of the most optimistic and resilient people I know. My hope is that we can all find some renewed joy and excitement for a new growing season!
Cover Crop Termination: For those who did plant small grains, the question of termination timing always comes up. The following are some thoughts to consider for planning. The temperature and year will determine how quickly a small grain will die.
- Termination timing considerations: https://jenreesources.com/2021/03/28/jenrees-3-28-21/.
- Photo gallery: https://jenreesources.com/2022/04/03/cover-crop-termination-including-planting-green/
- Can use only 20-22 oz/ac of Roundup Powermax (even when headed). Vetch + small grain: vetch will survive the Roundup application allowing it to produce more nitrogen. Can kill with post-app containing a Group 27 herbicide (like Callisto) later.
- Clethodim vs. glyphosate: clethodim provides a slower kill allowing the rye/wheat to stay greener longer for weed/erosion control. Benefit for farmers who need to terminate prior to corn or seed corn planting. Clethodim rates: most use 10-12 oz/ac. For corn, clethodim needs to be applied to the small grain to kill it at least 7 days prior to planting corn. For soybeans, can apply anytime after planting/emergence.
- When the small grain is greater than 12”, increase gallonage to 15-20 gal/ac for better coverage.
- When planting corn green into a small grain on subsurface drip irrigation (SDI), need the ability for higher capacity well to get moisture up to the seedbed. Potential yield loss otherwise.
- When planting soybeans green, the goal is often to off-set the PRE herbicide cost with the cover crop seed and application cost. A residual is necessary at some point either at time of termination or up to a week after termination when planting soybean green. Plan on 0.5-0.75″ irrigation/rainfall to get residual to the ground, especially on small grains taller than 12”.
- For those rolling small grains, roll twice if needed. And, plan on using a variety instead of VNS in future to help with evenness of maturity.
My key points for planting green include: plan on some form of nitrogen at planting if planting corn green into a small grain, have the pivot ready to go if need moisture for the seedbed, don’t use a PRE in soybean if can’t get seed vee closed, plan to water residual application as soon as label allows to get residual to ground, and if non-irrigated, consider seedbed moisture for termination timing. Have a Plan A, B, C.
2022 Reflections, 2023 Renewed Hope
I’ve been reflecting a lot since harvest. There were many hard things, particularly in agriculture, that happened in 2022. Quick recap list were: Dec. 15, 2021 tornadoes and wind storm that began pivot destruction, dry winter and spring, high input costs and difficulty finding chemicals, wildfires, endless wind and dust storms, dry and cold planting season, numerous hailstorms, replanting crops, pivots throughout state needing replaced, drought, more wildfires, more wind, avian influenza, deep cold, and blizzards out west. There were also those who lost loved ones or had family/friends get sick or hurt. It seemed to be the year that kept on giving.
There were many blessings though too! Good crop prices and the benefit of insurance to help with homes, buildings, vehicles, crops were large blessings. Family and friends pulled together to cleanup destruction, patch homes, and get crops in the ground. For those who replanted crops, we witnessed a miracle in the fact that an entire growing season was re-started in mid to late June in two weeks! Seriously, think about that. With all the moving parts in ag, how chem was in short supply, the large area impacted, it truly was a miracle. I was so proud of how ag industry pulled together to make that happen! This year was taxing on mental health, and I heard and watched people reach out to each other to talk through the difficulties of the year. I’m also so grateful for our livestock and ethanol industries in Nebraska as markets for our crops. The feedlots were an extra blessing with the wet corn that was prematurely froze. There also was much learned, in spite of the fact it may not be what most of us set out to learn for the year!
Many of us have wanted to get to the end of 2022 and it’s now here. We each dealt with the year in different ways. Did we finish well? Each year will have its challenges and opportunities. How we choose to work through them can help us with perspective and build resilience for future hard times.
In reflecting on the way home from church one day, the word ‘character’ came to mind. 2022 was truly a character-building year!
Those thoughts were reinforced as I walked into the grocery store to find two farmers discussing the year with one mentioning the exact same thing. I googled the definition of character. It said, “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” I’ve thought about the good things built in my character from the difficulties of 2022 and also areas I need to improve for the future. Reflecting on 2022 has helped me with personal and professional goal setting for 2023.
As you reflect:
- How did your character build in 2022?
- What areas could use improvement?
- What did you learn in 2022 about yourself and the situations you went through?
- How can you use what was learned in 2022 to plan for 2023?
Wishing you and your family blessings in 2023; a new year with new opportunities and renewed hope!
End of Year Reporting: The end of the year also means report time for those of us in Extension. Each year we need to justify the things we do in trying to help people. This year, I’d particularly appreciate any comments if you felt my blog posts or farm visits helped in regards to the hail damage. I know we get bombarded with surveys! So, if you’d consider taking time for this 5 question survey I’d greatly appreciate it. For those of you who’ve responded in the past, re-reading your comments encourages me throughout the year. Thanks! https://app.sli.do/event/tPSXB8muP9hDm8M42qkRER
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. That may seem strange as the events surrounding Christmas and Easter are far more impactful eternity-wise. Yet, I just so greatly appreciate the fact that there’s a day for focusing on gratitude.
And, while I’m grateful many choose to intentionally give thanks on Thanksgiving Day, sometimes I wonder what it would look like if we chose to live with gratitude. As I reflect on this year, it just seems like there’s increasing divisiveness, uncertainty, fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. Life is so short and not guaranteed. Relationships are so important and can be fragile.
If we chose to live with gratitude, how would it change us and our perspectives? Would we be less prone to complain and get discouraged when things go wrong? Would we be less likely to argue and more likely to extend kindness and grace to others? How would it impact the divisiveness we see in our country, our communities, our families?
Gratitude can produce joy. I think that’s something we all could use more of! It can allow us to find joy in everyday moments and also share joy with others.
So how do we choose to live with gratitude? A start can be to intentionally seek at least one thing each day for which to be thankful. At first it can be difficult and perhaps awkward. For some, it’s hard to even think of one thing. Perhaps a starting point can be gratitude for one’s home, bed, food, vehicle, job, friend or family member, etc.? Over time of practicing this, one’s perspective can change to even finding gratitude as things go wrong. For example, I drive a lot and had several vehicle problems this past year. For the situations when I chose to find gratitude instead of discouragement (such as thanking God that He allowed it to happen where it did instead of elsewhere or thanking God for the times a farmer was in the area to help me), it helped my mindset and provided peace instead of being upset. I’m not good about this all the time, but it sure helps my mindset and increases my perspective when I choose gratitude even when things go wrong. Perhaps others can relate to this?
Ultimately, my hope is that we can experience more joy each day in the everyday moments as we intentionally seek to live with gratitude. And, that this joy can be extended via kindness, grace, compassion to others around us. Wishing everyone a very blessed Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Food Resources: For your Thanksgiving meal check out https://go.unl.edu/turkey-time for turkey preparation, food safety questions, recipes, and health/wellness topics!
Returning to the Farm: This workshop series is being taught for families that have the next generation of farmers and ranchers coming back to their operations. The workshop helps multi-generations traverse the challenges of successfully succeeding the operation to the next generation. The in-person session will be held Dec. 10-11 in Columbus with follow-up virtual sessions on Jan. 13 and Feb. 10. More information and registration at: https://cap.unl.edu/rtf21.
Ag Budget Calculator (ABC) User’s Workshops (For New and Advanced Users): It’s important to estimate cost of production for our agricultural enterprises, but now with the volatile input and crop prices, it’s even more critical. Knowing your estimated cost of production can assist you in making important management decisions. Ag Budget Calculator (ABC) is one tool to help you enter this information for your ag enterprises. There’s guided virtual workshops from now through February that allow you to be in the ABC program entering your data as instructors demonstrate how to use it and answer your questions. More info. and registration at: https://cap.unl.edu/abc/training.
My Prayer for Afghanistan
God, I’m so grateful that we can come before Your throne to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. My heart is so broken for the situation in Afghanistan…I’ve struggled for words. The news…the photos and video footage…all just glimpses into the horrible truth that lies there. I’m just so grateful when there’s nothing else I can do that I can come to You in prayer for this situation.
Please God, be extra close to the women, children, all those individuals who helped our military, all those who converted to Christianity, all those who may in the future, all the Americans trapped there. I can’t imagine what they’re all going through…can’t imagine what they’re facing and fearing…Please help them to know You can be their refuge and strength, helper and deliverer in the midst of all the turmoil. Help them to experience Your love, peace, comfort in this midst of this storm. Please be with all those helping with evacuations, all the pilots in the rescue efforts and the trauma they must be facing and living with, all their families who are supporting them…I just don’t have words…as I cry out with tears, I just can’t imagine this entire situation. Please God, raise up leaders in Afghanistan willing to fight for their country to take it back. Thank You God for being a God who knows, sees, hears!
And God, my heart goes out to all our military members and their families…the sacrifices made, the prices paid, all those still serving there aiding in evacuations. So many different experiences and perspectives. Please God, be with them all. Help each one, especially now, not to isolate, but to reach out and talk to someone. Help them to find peace in their purpose even now. And please God, protect our military members who will be the last out whenever that occurs.
God, I don’t understand Your sovereignty yet I’m so grateful You’re in control and I’m not. I’m so grateful Jesus already defeated death and the grave and will one day reign victorious! Please let me…let all who put our hope and trust in You rest in that hope…for that’s the true hope we have in the midst of so much brokenness on this earth. I’m so grateful You allowed me to live in the U.S…so blessed to live in this Country…broken, but still the greatest nation in the world. Please God, heal our land and divided nation. Please be with all our Government leaders, help them seek Your face and give them wisdom and discernment. Please continue to be with our military and their families.
Thank You God for how You’re working…in the ways we can and cannot see. Thank You for the comfort You provide when I come to You in pouring my heart out to You! I thank You for all this and pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.8/16/21. Updated as I continue to pray. Shared in the event it could help anyone else and for those who’ve asked for thoughts. Ultimately, we can pray and we can reach out to veterans and their families to see if they would like to talk.
Driving to look at some on-farm research fields in Seward county last week, I came over the hill to see the flags lining Highway 34 at the cemetery. This time of year, when flags are set out lining streets in towns and at cemeteries, never ceases to get me. In that moment, with chills and tears, I said a prayer of gratitude for our Country, for our beautiful flag, for our freedoms and those who gave all for my freedom, and for living in this great Country. In spite of everything going on in the world, and in spite of how differently people view freedom and what’s happening, we still are so blessed to live in this Country! Many service members recall their battle buddies who never came home with them. Many military families throughout history have walked alongside the families left behind. Freedom truly is not free! So this Memorial Day, may we remember and be grateful for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, may we remember and be grateful to those families left behind, and may we keep praying for our Country and leaders, military members and their families.
Alfalfa weevils have been heavy this year. For those with alfalfa, you may have noticed the tops of your plants turning a grayish/brown color. The culprit is most likely alfalfa weevil larvae. They are green caterpillars with a white stripe down the back and dark head. They are often hard to find as they will go down to the crowns of plants in heat of day. By the time you read this, the alfalfa will most likely be put down. What you may observe: once the alfalfa is put down, the weevil larvae will continue to feed. The area under the windrows will turn brown as they feed on the regrowth. As soon as the alfalfa is baled, we’d recommend using an insecticide to kill the larvae and allow the alfalfa to regrow. I’m still seeing all stages of larvae in the field. Highly effective insecticides for alfalfa weevil control include those that are pyrethroids (active ingredient ends in “thrin”, such as Permethrin) and products containing indoxacarb (e.g., Steward). Each field situation may be different, though, so watch the regrowth. If it’s greening up and you’re not finding weevil larvae, they may have pupated and treatment may not be necessary.
Nebraska Land Link provides opportunities to connect land seekers with retiring landowners. Land access is one of the biggest challenges facing aspiring and beginning farmers. For some landowners, they simply do not have the next generation available to take over their operation. Nebraska Land Link is a project of Nebraska Extension’s Farm and Ranch Succession and Transition program and Nebraska Women in Agriculture. When you apply to Nebraska Land Link, either as a land seeker or a landowner, Nebraska Extension personnel will work to match your application with the most compatible counterpart. Using the answers you submit and offer in a potential interview, Nebraska Land Link matches are based on the shared values, interests and skills of both parties, so that a mutually beneficial and satisfying partnership can be forged over the course of the transition plan. You can learn more about the program at: https://farm.unl.edu/landlink and watch a short 3 minute introductory video at: https://go.unl.edu/8sv6.
Ash Trees Losing Leaves: The past few weeks I’ve received questions about ash trees losing leaves. Because of the weather conditions, anthracnose on shade trees, including ash, is fairly prevalent. It’s crazy how I didn’t take any pictures when looking at any of these trees…but what you will see are small dark spots on the leaves. The leaves may curl and turn yellow-green in color before dropping. There’s nothing you should do and a new flush of leaves will appear in time.
York Co. Progressive Ag Safety Day has been postponed to June 14, 2022.
Dealing with Conflict Dynamics for Farm and Ranch Families Course: Conflict and tension often arise in family farms and ranches. This new course strives to provide Nebraskans with tools to build a better culture. Participants will gain the skills and resources necessary to overcome the conflict that may be hampering their family and business relationships. The course will be taught by renowned farm family coach Elaine Froese and hosted by Nebraska Extension’s Women in Agriculture Program. The Conflict Dynamics Training is a three-part course that will be held virtually from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Central time on June 15, 22 and 29, via Zoom. An internet connection is required, and participants should plan on attending all three sessions. Participants in this course will take a Conflict Dynamics Profile assessment to measure their personal conflict behaviors. The profile will help participants understand how they respond to conflict, what triggers can escalate conflict and how to manage conflict more effectively. Froese will then guide participants through a discussion on how to deal with conflict and tension on the family farm or ranch. The course fee is $35 per participant and the class size is limited to 20 people. Registration closes June 11. Because of the sensitive nature of the course, it will not be recorded. Registration is open at https://wia.unl.edu/conflict-dynamics.
There’s perhaps a certain anticipation to see the end of each year and the dawning of a new one. That speaks to optimism and hope many have.
While covid changed many things in 2020, there’s many positive things that happened too. One has been watching families, communities, and neighbors rally around each other as hard times and losses were realized. I hope that’s something that never changes within our communities. Both personally and professionally, covid also provided an opportunity for increased focus and intentionality on what was genuinely important in my life. Perhaps for others as well?
In Extension, and most likely for all, the challenges forced us to stretch, learn new technologies, and think outside the box more. For example, video production via smartphones out in the fields, pastures, and feedlots exponentially increased and more of my colleagues learned video production/editing. The 4-H, Family, and Food/Nutrition teams brought many virtual learning opportunities to family living rooms and provided fitness challenges for families. We also made some changes for county fair that worked better. Being forced to think outside the box was beneficial in many ways!
I’m also so grateful for my administrators allowing and trusting me to do my job in serving people in the midst of covid. That may sound strange to say, but I have colleagues in other states who weren’t allowed to leave their homes for work…essentially research shut down and anything done Extension-wise happened virtually. So I’ve been incredibly grateful that much of my job remained the same with field visits and conducting on-farm research studies!
As we approach a new year, how can some of the challenges and positives of 2020 impact our 2021? Are there things in our lives that aren’t necessarily bad, but are keeping us ‘busy’ and taking time from the more ‘important things’? What realistic yet necessary goals should we individually set for 2021? Here’s wishing you a blessed 2021!
Business IQ may be one key to success in the 2020’s: This may perhaps help with some goal setting. In a recent webinar, Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus Ag and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech, shared a ‘Business IQ’ spreadsheet with 15 key performance indicators ranging from knowing cost of production and having a written marketing plan to one’s attitude. It’s an assessment where farmers (or any business owner) can honestly score oneself. He then suggests to write down 3 areas to continue and 3 areas to improve (no more than three each). I’m unsure I can share it on a website, but am willing to email or print a copy if you’re interested.
He also shared two poll results. In the first, 976 ag lenders were polled in the summer of 2020 on “Characteristics That Are Important to Agricultural Producers for Resiliency & Agility”. The top three answers included: knowing cost of production (62%); executing a marketing risk management plan (58%); and strong working capital (41%). In the second, 300 Kansas farm and ranch women selected their top three “Specific Actions You Are Taking in Your Business, Family & Personal Life for Resiliency & Agility”. Their collective top three answers included: Reexamining goals-business, family & personal (68%); Building cash and working capital (41%); and Refining family living budget (39%). If you’d like to learn more, his recorded presentation is available till January 10th at: https://go.unl.edu/dec10recording.
Extension Survey: It’s also that time of year for annual reporting. If you could please help me out by completing this 5 question anonymous survey, I’d appreciate it: https://app.sli.do/event/s8g48y8z. Thank you!
Reflections & Thanksgiving 2020
This article has been on my heart for several months. It’s reflections from a compilation of conversations. Honestly, it’s been a hard year at times for most, if not all people. Interweaving this with Thanksgiving, there’s perhaps a variety of thoughts, perspectives, and feelings as we approach the holiday. It may be tempting to want to skip it and perhaps be easier to complain than find gratitude or feel thankful!
The challenges with COVID, markets, livestock harvesting facilities, trade, weather impacts to crops, online schooling and virtual meetings, societal and family tensions and divisiveness, the election, and many businesses and farm operations hurting financially added much stress to 2020. (Insert a deep breath after reading all that!).
With these above-mentioned challenges come the feelings and realities experienced. I’m so blessed with individuals’ trust through conversations and the vulnerability in sharing…conversations around mental wellness, stress, family and financial struggles…
So many hurting. So many conversations involving hurt, anger, regret. Common threads have included ‘just wanting to be seen’, ‘be heard’, ‘be appreciated’, ‘be useful’.
We often don’t know what’s going on in others’ lives. If you are struggling right now, please know you’re not alone and there is ALWAYS hope and help! Please do reach out to someone. It would be wise for us all to program the following in our cell phones: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 and Rural Response Hotline: 800-464-0258.
This isn’t a direct quote but had recently read something along these lines: Why is it that we often wait till people’s funerals to share gratitude of how a person impacted us? Made me think.
For me, perhaps a blessing this year is a renewed realization of how quickly time passes and each day is not guaranteed. Been processing and praying through all this.
Who are the people who’ve positively impacted my life that I need to tell?
Who are the people in my life I tend to take for granted and don’t thank enough?
Who haven’t I connected with recently?
Who could benefit from intentional encouragement during life’s difficulties right now?
Perhaps questions others wish to consider?
We may never know how greatly a smile, kind words, a visit, a genuine ‘thank you’ can impact another person’s life, especially since we often don’t know the struggles others are experiencing. But these simple acts may just help someone in the midst of a dark or difficult time. They may also save a life.
Last November I mentioned 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.
A simple way to start is to write out or send a text each day of 3-5 things for which you are grateful. If that’s hard, start with one! For example, what are the ordinary every day things we take for granted (ex. bed, food in pantry, vehicle, etc.)? I’ve found the written account helps me with remembering my blessings and is encouraging to re-read in the difficult times. And, over time, it becomes easier to find gratitude even in the things that go wrong! I’ve also found one of the best ways to help my heart when feeling down is to find a way to encourage someone else. Additional ideas for expressing gratitude, particularly for those with children, can be found at: https://go.unl.edu/q04v.
My hope and prayer in writing this is that we seek kindness, seek connection, choose to more intentionally seek gratitude, and share with others how they’ve positively impacted our lives. Also hoping something shared here helps if you find yourself struggling today. Wishing everyone a very blessed Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Food Resources: For your Thanksgiving meal check out https://food.unl.edu/article/thanksgiving-central for turkey preparation, food safety questions, recipes, and health/wellness topics!
For every difficult thing faced in life, because of my faith in God, I believe good can come. And, I’ve personally experienced good in my life. That doesn’t mean that being in the midst of difficulty isn’t hard or doesn’t stink-that’s just not real nor honest. I’ve thought about some good things we’re experiencing now in the midst of this virus. Families are spending more time together (even though that can also be challenging); technology allows people to stay connected and for distance teaching, meetings, worship services; there may be an increased appreciation of gathering together face to face when we’re allowed in larger groups again; there’s a surge of creativity and innovation in recreating/renovating business and in helping others; and, we may be tired of technology desiring more face to face interactions in the future!
This week I heard the term ‘physical distancing’. That sounds much better to me than ‘social distancing’. One good thing about technology is the ability to keep in touch. We can’t control many things that appear to be crashing around us, and we are all making choices as a result. One choice, in the midst of ‘physical distancing’ I’d encourage us to consider, is to continue being social in reaching out to family, friends, neighbors. That could be through various technologies or writing letters, sending gift boxes, etc. I believe we were created to live in community, not isolation. So please keep checking in with and reaching out to each other! There are also many resources for hope and help. No matter what you fear or face, you are never alone!-Jenny
#NebraskaStrong means having the strength to ask for help. Please keep talking and coming alongside each other!
- Nebraska Farm Hotline/Rural Response Hotline: 800-464-0258
- Nebraska Family Helpline: 888-866-8660
This week is the anniversary of the 2019 Bomb Cyclone. Perhaps you’ve thought of that, perhaps you haven’t. I think this event for Nebraskans will forever be etched in our minds. Some may be reflecting on last year’s calving season being exceptionally difficult in February. Some lost additional animals to the blizzard/flooding in March. Some experienced flooding in our homes, fields, property. Some of us housed family/friends. Many of us found different routes with closed roads. Many of us helped others in the aftermath and/or donated money/supplies. Recovery is a process; a year later, recovery is still in process for many in our State.
Traumatic events, whether this one or others we experience in life, can conjur up a variety of feelings within us. Whether anger, sadness, fear, overwhelmed, relief, gratitude, or others, it’s important to honestly acknowledge our feelings. Children may not always know how to express their feelings, but having them draw pictures and talk about them can help. Michelle Krehbiel, Extension Youth Development Specialist, shares that acknowledging feelings is part of the recovery process. She also shares a number of other things to consider in the recovery process. These include:
“Engage in healthy ways to cope with stress (exercising, reading, journaling); Being gentle with oneself (show yourself kindness, reflect on how far you’ve come); Accept kindness and help of others (allow others to help and show you their care and concern); Use your social support system (talk with trusted friends/family/members of faith community); and Help others (volunteering can aid healing).” You can read more at: https://disaster.unl.edu/disaster-anniversaries.
What Michelle shared regarding ways to aid in recovery is so true for me. Regardless of the traumatic or difficult things in life, it is important to acknowledge our feelings, talk with others, and find positive ways to manage the stress. I know managing stress and the feelings associated with negative stress aren’t things that most in our farm community wish to talk about. Yet it’s so important.
I shared some of this during pesticide trainings this winter as well. I know it’s uncomfortable to talk about, yet we may not know what others are going through. I would encourage us to keep checking in with each other. If you’re struggling, please reach out to someone; you do matter! If you wish to talk to someone anonymously, the Rural Response Hotline 800-464-0258 offers free counseling, financial, and legal services. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255. I’m so grateful for those who’ve trusted me with their stories/struggles and I’m so grateful for those who have listened to and helped me! It takes courage, strength, and vulnerability to share and seek help; that is also being ‘Nebraska Strong’.
ARC-IC: I haven’t talked much about ARC-IC as an option for the farm bill. However, for those who had farms with 100% prevent plant or significant corn or soybean yield losses in 2019, it may be something to consider. I wrote a blog post sharing more at: https://jenreesources.com/2020/03/06/arc-ic-and-illinois-tool/.
Nebraska Soil Health/Cover Crop Conference Presentations: If you missed the Feb. 13th Soil Health/Cover Crop Conference or were unable to attend, the recorded presentations can be viewed at: https://go.unl.edu/n55x.
Nebraska Department of Ag (NDA) Pesticide Number: NDA no longer has an 800 or 877 phone number. If you received a post card for your $25 bill for pesticide training this year, it has an 877 number on the back. Please do not call that number as a scammer has picked it up. You can reach NDA at (402) 471-2351.
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!
UNL Thanksgiving Food Safety Resources: https://go.unl.edu/ji8p
UNL Thanksgiving Food Preparation Tips: https://go.unl.edu/7rwi