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Crop Science Investigation

Youth interested in Crop Science Investigation are welcome from York and surrounding counties.  Please also click to view:  Crops Monthly Meeting Ideas 2018-2019.

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Youth Crop Scouting Competition — Views from VanDeWalle

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 3rd annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. Youth interested in […]

via Youth Crop Scouting Competition — Views from VanDeWalle

It’s Fair Time!

orangeout at fair

This week is the Clay County Fair! We hope you will come out to view the 4-H and Open Class exhibits, 4-H/FFA youth showing their animals, family fun night, 4-H Council Bar-B-Q, cattle sorting, mutton busting, Amanda Winter concert, mud drags, and much more! I absolutely love our fair for the focus on youth and families! I also enjoy watching the fairgrounds come alive with excitement from youth and families as they bring their projects and show them. It’s such a blessing to work with wonderful people who desire what’s best for the youth! A full schedule of events can be found at http://clay.unl.edu. See you at the fair!  (photo is of those wearing “orange out” t-shirts the last day of the fair in 2014-Photo courtesy of Tory Duncan, Clay County News).

Determining Your Needs

In the Clay County Fair Open Class flyer printed in the Clay County News, you will find the middle page pulls out and is a survey. Nebraska Extension in Clay County and our Clay County Extension Board have launched a survey to determine programming/information needs you deem critical to you and your families. We know that we provide crop, 4-H, and some horticulture programming and information, but there is much more that Nebraska Extension as a whole provides that we haven’t necessarily offered as much as we could in Clay County.

The survey is meant for those of you in Clay County, if you’d be willing to take less than 5 minutes to fill it out, we’d greatly appreciate it! You can also fill it out online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/clayext. The survey will remain open till the conclusion of the Clay County Fair on July 12 this year. Please pass this information along to Clay County constituents as we’re trying to reach as many people as possible. It really is important that we receive as much feedback as possible. It’s important as the goal is to better serve you-and we can’t do that without your input! Please do take a few minutes and complete this for us as we’ve only had a handful complete it thus far. Thank you and please encourage others to complete it as well!

National 4-H Week!

UNL Extension Office in Clay County Wearing 4-H t-shirts during National 4-H Week.

Did you know that more than 6 million young people across the United States are celebrating National 4-H Week October 6-13, 2013?!  Research has proven that participation in 4-H has a significant positive impact on young people. Recent findings from the Tufts University 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that, when compared to their peers, young people in 4-H are:

1)      Nearly 4 times more likely to contribute to their communities
2)      Two times more likely to pursue healthy behaviors
3)      Two times more likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in the out-of-school time.

4-H is the largest youth development organization in the world!  It’s a community of seven million young people across the globe learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills.  In the U.S., 4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. Overseas, 4-H programs operate throughout more than 50 countries.

To learn more about 4-H locally, contact our office at 402-762-3644 or on our webpage.  We would like to visit with you about the program and how you and your youth could become involved!  We’re always looking for potential volunteers and program ideas.  You can also learn more about 4-H at the State and National levels.

Challenge-Wear a 4-H Shirt and Post it on Facebook or Twitter:

When to Post: October 6 to 12, 2013.  Post your pictures then check back to “like” your favorite photos!  Official voting ends October 13th at midnight.
How to Enter: Post your picture via:
1)  Facebook: post to the event titled: 2013 Wear A 4-H Shirt
2)  Twitter: use hash tag #weara4Hshirt

Be sure to tag your photo with your category entry!  The picture categories:

1)      Most People in One Photo
2)      Nebraska Landscapes
3)      Fun and Food

The best picture from each category will receive a prize!

County Fair Time!

This year marked my 10th Clay County Fair.  It was bitter-sweet in a way as I have watched this group of youth from their pre-4-H Clay County Extension Office shows our Patriotic spirit!  Jenny, Deanna, Rachel, Holli, Cindyyears through graduation this year.  It’s neat seeing the young men and women they’ve become, ready to take that next step in life towards college and careers!  Rachel and Kristen, our interns, helped us greatly in different ways which was a blessing; it was another smooth fair overall!

Also bittersweet is the fact that this was Cindy Strasheim’s last Clay County Fair as a UNL Extension Educator as she plans to retire in December.  We will miss her and if you see her around, please thank her for her 29 years of dedication to the Clay County Fair and serving our constituents here!

I realize I say this every year, but we wouldn’t have fair if it wasn’t for all of our 4-H and FFA leaders, families, and youth-so thank you all for your hard work and efforts with your projects and the many ways you volunteer at fair!  Thank you to our awesome fair board who we greatly enjoy working with and who keeYouth showing meat goats; judge appreciated the quality of their meat goats.p our fairgrounds looking great!  Thank you to Deanna, Holli, and Cindy for the long Greatly enjoy working with these guys and all our Fair Board members! hours of preparation and also during fair in ensuring everything ran smoothly!  Thank you to our 4-H Council and all our Superintendents for working so hard in various capacities during fair and throughout the year!  Thank you to Tory, Kris, Teri, Karla, and Megan with the Clay County News for sticking out all the shows in the heat to cover the fair for us; we truly appreciate your support!  Thank you to Lonnie Stripe for auctioneering, all our auction buyers, plaque and award sponsors, and donors for supporting our 4-H and FFA youth!  Thank you to everyone who made the 2013 Clay County Fair a success!

Dusk at the end of entry night of fair.

Blurry pic but youth competing in Beef Team Fitting Contest.  So cool how youth from different clubs throughout the County are brought together to work together on teams!

Adorable kitchen set made from recycling a tv stand by a 4-Her!  Would love to make something like this sometime!

Roasting marshmallows for smores at Family Fun Night :)Family Fun Night at the Fair-beautiful evening and lots of activities for kids of all ages!

Youth Discover Crop Science

An excellent opportunity for youth to become detectives and have fun while learning about crops and science! Consider having a youth you know attend this Big Red Camp and learn more about agriculture careers!  There are also scholarships available to attend!

Views from VanDeWalle

Are you interested in science, agriculture, plants, crops, insects, or diseases? If so, join our team of detectives to solve crop-related problems in the Crop Science Investigation (CSI) Big Red Camp! Become a detective while participating in hands-on sessions to learn about and increase your knowledge of crops, science, and agricultural careers. Youth detectives will interact with agronomic professionals across Nebraska to solve experiments in: nutrient management; managing disease, insect and weed problems; water management; crop production, and much more! Do you have what it takes to become a CSI detective?

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There are a variety of careers related to plant sciences such as:Agricultural Communicator; Agronomist; Crop Consultant; Crop Insurance Adjuster; Educator; Co-op Manager; Farmer or Rancher; Farm Credit Banker; Field or Lab Researcher; Plant Breeder; Soil or Water Conservationist; Seed, Fertilizer, or Chemical Sales; or Technical Representative.

Scholarships are available in the amount of $300 to participants who…

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Farming Fun

County Fair-Special Time of Year

Fair time is a special time of year. It’s the one time in the year where people from all parts of the county come together for the youth. Yes, there’s healthy competition involved, but 4-H and FFA are building life skills in our youth. Families congratulate each other and are excited for a youth’s job well done. It’s the one time in the year where people from all parts of the county come together for the youth.  

It’s always fun for me to watch the fairgrounds come alive Wednesday night as youth bring in their static exhibits and livestock entries. People are smiling and most youth-particularly the younger exhibitors-are excited. Many people, including me, checked the weather forecast throughout the fair in hopes of rain. This is the first fair in a long time that it didn’t rain Wednesday night or anytime during the fair. Thursday is a busy day with exhibits being judged, livestock being weighed in and the beginning of livestock shows. Something I always enjoy is family fun night on Thursday night. Clouds appeared and families enjoyed kiddie games, shelling popcorn, an obstacle course, and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Friday and Saturday continued with the remaining livestock shows and plenty of heat. Sunday brought a fun beef-fitting contest where youth of various ages and clubs worked together. It also brought smiles watching the young children tell their stories and show animals in the Rainbow Classic, watching all our top showmen compete in the Round Robin Showmanship Contest, and wonderful support from all our buyers at the Livestock Auction; we’re thankful for your support.

While probably most people are hot and tired by fair’s conclusion Sunday evening, it’s always a little saddening to me to watch the fairgrounds become empty so quickly again. Deanna and Holli in our office spend a great deal of time preparing for it as do all the youth, parents, grandparents, and 4-H leaders; thank you for all you do and the time you all invest in our youth! Thank you to the Fairboard members who spend countless hours preparing the Fairgrounds and always take care of things during fair with a smile-no matter how often they have to plunge the toilets! Thank you to 4-H Council for your help on various committees, your work with the food stand and BBQ, and for all you do. Thank you to all our superintendents and to all our volunteers; without you our 4-H program and fair wouldn’t be possible. Thank you to Tory and the Clay Co. News for all your support and coverage of our fair. We have something so special in our county and I truly feel blessed to work in Clay County! We may not have big-time entertainment at the fair, but I love our fair. I love how the focus is on our 4-H and FFA youth and families; many other counties would love to have that. Our numbers and entries are similar to counties much larger than us and I appreciate the quality brought to the fair each year from our youth. Thank you to everyone for making the 2012 Clay County Fair a success! 

Crop Science Investigation Camp

This is the first year we are doing a Crop Science Investigation (CSI) Big Red Camp for youth! We’d encourage any youth who enjoy plants, science, and agriculture who are 15-18 years old and who are interested in having fun learning about these topics to check this out! Big Red Camps are open to youth in any State. Please help spread the word!

Views from VanDeWalle

Are you interested in science, agriculture, plants, crops, insects, or diseases? If so, join our team of detectives to solve crop-related problems in the Crop Science Investigation (CSI) Big Red Camp! Become a detective while participating in hands-on sessions to learn about and increase your knowledge of crops, science, and agricultural careers. Youth detectives will interact with agronomic professionals across Nebraska to solve experiments in: nutrient management; managing disease, insect and weed problems; water management; crop production, and much more! Do you have what it takes to become a CSI detective?

There are a variety of careers related to plant sciences such as: Agricultural Communicator; Agronomist; Crop Consultant; Crop Insurance Adjuster; Educator; Co-op Manager; Farmer or Rancher; Farm Credit Banker; Field or Lab Researcher; Plant Breeder; Soil or Water Conservationist; Seed, Fertilizer, or Chemical Sales; or Technical Representative.

Scholarships are available in the amount of $300 to participants…

View original post 172 more words

Animal #Ag & Welfare

On Tuesday last week I attended the Animal Welfare and Current Industry Issus for Livestock Producers seminar in Lincoln.  I’ve attended several of these seminars in the past year to increase my understanding of how people in groups who attack animal agriculture think.  Please check out this resource page from UNL Extension containing fact sheets and taped seminars on animal welfare topics.  A survey done by K-State showed that 66% of those surveyed had not been on a farm in the past five years where eggs, meat, or milk were produced.  While we live in a rural area, this very much still applies to rural Nebraska.

Dr. Candace Croney from Purdue University spoke about her experiences with the ballot initiative in Ohio.  She shared much about the way people think about animal welfare issues.  We have what’s considered the “Disney effect” which influences the way we view animals.  I would venture to say we all watch Disney movies or have given a stuffed toy to someone.  Think about it; the animals in those movies can talk, show emotion, and don’t eat each other.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those movies; I’m just saying they personify animals which can influence how we view animals.

I grew up on a farm and we had many farm dogs over the years that we loved and cared for but they lived outside.  I never would have imagined I would have two inside dogs now that I’m married.  But those dogs have become like family to me as they have been here for me every time my husband has been gone with the military.  Croney said, “Animal welfare issues aren’t really about animals; they’re about what animals represent to us.”  Picture in your mind a dog and a pig.  Croney says, “The question for many people is how can you love the one and eat the other?”  To me, it’s simple.  I believe God created animals to provide our needs-food, shelter, clothing, and companionship.  But for those who really struggle with this question, there are two options available to them to help ease their conscience.  1-They can donate to a cause that portrays itself as helping animals to make themselves feel better or 2-There is a free option of voting for ballot initiatives when they come up in the State.  Please don’t think Nebraska is immune!  There’s already a group within Nebraska who is working with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).  For those of you who don’t know, HSUS is not your local animal shelter.  It’s an organization out to ban animal agriculture as we know it.  If you don’t believe it, read their information.  The other important thing to note in their information is their goal to divide sectors of production agriculture.  For example, organic vs. conventional ag or various ag commodity groups against each other.  We’re watching this unfold before our very eyes in Nebraska right now.  It’s very important that all sectors of agriculture stand together!

There’s been an effort to educate via social media.  Croney pointed out that often we are talking to ourselves; preaching to the choir.  We need to be reaching outlets that consumers are using such as Food Websites and TV programs.  Common Ground is one organization that is doing this through farm wives and moms sharing their stories with consumers in local grocery stores.  Ultimately, we need to learn how to engage in conversation.  Our message has often been “we provide safe affordable food for our families and the world”….we need to understand that consumers and those concerned about animal rights also have a compassion for animals and a concern for knowing how they were raised.  While there are always a few bad apples in any industry, most livestock producers take care of our animals before we take care of ourselves.  We need to listen to the concerns expressed by individuals and address their concerns by explaining why we do the things we do.  

There’s so much more to share; these issues affect consumers as well as our producers!  For now, please consider attending a local event to be held March 12 at 6:00 p.m. at the Sutton Community Center in Sutton.  Dewey Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator, will be presenting on “Protecting Animal Agriculture-Animal Rights & Other Issues”.  The meeting is being sponsored by the Sutton Chamber of Commerce and Ag Committee in addition to area Cattlemen Associations, Breeders & Feeders, and Ag Producer groups.  Please pre-register to Tory Duncan at (402) 773-5576 ccntory@gmail.com or Todd Mau at (402) 773-5224 todd@toddstrailers.com

Also, a reminder about the Cornhusker Economics Conference to be held February 29th at the Clay Co. Fairgrounds.  There’s truly something for everyone involved with production agriculture whether livestock, crops, marketing, or cash leases.  There is a $25 registration fee.  Perhaps check with your financial institution to see if they will offer a scholarship to attend this beneficial conference.  Please RSVP to me by Feb. 22 at jrees2@unl.edu or (402) 762-3644 so we can get a meal count. 

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