Happy New Year! This past week I’ve received several questions about winter meetings so wanted to better clarify what to expect. Also, area winter program brochures were mailed out last week. If you no longer wish to receive this, please let us know and we’ll update our mailing list.
Risk Dial: For Extension programs, if the risk dial is ‘Red’, in-person events are cancelled. The risk dial is reset every Friday for many district health departments throughout the State. Thus, those who pre-register will be notified by Monday the following week of any cancellations and next options. This week, locally we are in ‘Orange’, so pesticide training in York on Jan. 7 and chemigation training in York on Jan. 8 (both at Cornerstone Event Center at Fairgrounds) are thankfully on! UNL guidelines require masks when the risk dial is ‘Orange’. Thank you to all who have called in to pre-register!
Crop Production Clinics: Technically these are all presented virtually whether you choose to watch online on your own or at an in-person location. I enjoy seeing people and catching up at winter meetings, so I’m grateful we still have in-person meeting options! The following website has the agendas and registration information: https://agronomy.unl.edu/cpc. There’s not an easy way to see where the in-person options are located unless you click on the ‘Register’ button and scroll. Thus, I will list them for you below. For those of you who’ve attended in the past, you know there’s two rooms which allow for various learning opportunities and CCA credits: certification/pest management room and a crop/soil/water room. When watching virtually, you will have the option to switch between the different rooms. There are specific ways built in to ensure those who need recertification and are watching virtually are accounted for and to account for those desiring various CCA credits. Some in-person locations like Hastings, Aurora, Central City are hosting both rooms. In York, on Jan. 14 and 21 at the Cornerstone building at the Fairgrounds, for specific reasons I’ve chosen to only host the pest management room. That works if you only need certification or wanted to watch only those topics. Otherwise, if you needed soil/water credits, it would work best to choose a different in-person location or watch virtually. I just wanted you to be aware of that. For the Nebraska Crop Management Conference, most of us are only able to provide two of the four rooms. When you register for CPC/NCMC this year, you will choose whether you have the weed guide shipped directly to you or to a nearby Extension Office where you can pick it up. In-person locations include:
Jan. 6: Central NE Locations: Hastings, North Platte, Kearney, Holdrege
Jan. 7: Eastern NE Locations: Lincoln, Geneva, Norfolk, Syracuse
Jan. 13: Central NE Locations: North Platte, Hastings, Central City, Holdrege
Jan. 14: Eastern NE Locations: Lincoln, Norfolk, York, Syracuse
Jan. 20: Central NE Locations: Hastings, Aurora, Holdrege, Kearney
Jan. 21: Eastern NE Locations: Lincoln, Norfolk, York
Jan. 27: Nebraska Crop Management Conference Locations: Hastings, Kearney, Seward, Holdrege, North Platte, Syracuse
Chemigation: For those desiring to apply fertilizer and/or chemicals through irrigation systems, you can obtain your initial or recertification for chemigation at an in-person training or online. The online version is also for both initial and recertification and can be obtained at: https://water.unl.edu/article/agricultural-irrigation/chemigation. There is no charge for chemigation training. For those attending in person, please pre-register and please bring a calculator (can’t use smartphone). Area January in-person trainings include: Jan. 8 at 9:30 a.m. at the Cornerstone Bldg. Fairgrounds in York; Jan. 21 at the Fairgrounds in Hastings; Jan. 25 at 1:30 p.m. at the Fairgrounds in Central City.
Crop Budgets are updated for 2021 and available at:https://cropwatch.unl.edu/budgets.
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!
This week, sharing more regarding certification trainings for ag professionals and master gardeners. Meeting in ‘hubs’ has been our vision in the midst of covid to reduce the number of people attending any one location for larger programs such as Crop Production Clinics and Nebraska On-Farm Research Updates. Example: instead of one day where 200+ people meet in York for Crop Production Clinics, attendees have the option of attending one of 6 days of central or eastern-focused Crop Production Clinics hosted by several local county Extension Offices each of those days, or they can attend virtually. As of current recommendations, if the risk dial is in the Red, we can only meet virtually.
Pesticide Training: For commercial and non-commercial pesticide applicators with the ‘ag plant’ or ‘demo/research’ categories, the Crop Production Clinics are your option for recertification. They will be virtual this year (and in person via ‘hubs’ if risk dial isn’t Red) https://agronomy.unl.edu/cpc. Initial certification is still via testing: https://pested.unl.edu/certification-and-training#commercial.
For private pesticide applicators, our goal is in person training first. Should the risk dial be in the ‘Red zone’ at the time a training is scheduled, the training will be moved to a virtual option and those registered will receive the connection information. We also have a self-study option again which is an option provided by the local Extension office for those who are uncomfortable attending in person and/or have difficulty with using computers for virtual programming. Depending on the risk dial, and also depending on the town, there may be a mask requirement in place. To follow directed health measures on meeting capacities, Pre-Registration is Required. Not all county Extension Offices are publicizing their meetings. You will need to call the County Extension Office where you’d like to attend a meeting to Pre-Register. My preference is to share my meeting dates:
York County: Jan. 7 at 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. all at the Cornerstone Event Center at the Fairgrounds in York. RSVP to (402) 362-5508.
Seward County: Jan. 18 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Feb. 10 at 9:30 a.m. all at Harvest Hall at the Fairgrounds in Seward. RSVP to (402) 643-2981.
Chemigation Training: For those desirous to apply pesticides and/or fertilizer through irrigation systems, a chemigation license is necessary. If this is your first time, it’s helpful to have the books ahead of time and you can contact the York Co. office if you’d like them. Training for our area will be conducted by Steve Melvin on January 8th at 9:30 a.m. at the Cornerstone Event Center at the Fairgrounds in York. Pre-Registration is Required to (402) 362-5508.
RUP Dicamba Training is no longer being conducted by Extension. Nebraska Department of Ag is leaving training up to the Registrants, and if I understand correctly, they will no longer require those trained to be listed on the NDA website.
Master Gardeners: If you have a strong interest in gardening and enjoy helping others, you are invited to become a Nebraska Extension Master Gardener volunteer. This program will increase your knowledge and understanding of best cultural practices for growing flowers, vegetables, turf, plant disease and insect pest identification, and much more. One area training option is through Lancaster Co. Extension beginning in Feb. 2021 via Zoom during the day. The fee is $190.00. Application deadline is Jan. 15, 2021 at: https://ssp.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_08OngDRFkSOJIRT. Please call Mary Jane Frogge at 402-441-7180 for any questions.
Current Master Gardeners can plan on recertification training via zoom on Feb. 16, 23, Mar. 2, and 9 from 6:30 – 9:00 PM.
Been getting questions on the farm bill. It’s really important that growers make appointments now at your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to complete your ARC/PLC election and enrollment forms. Deadline to enroll is Monday, March 16 for the 2019 crop year. The election can be changed up to March 16. Growers who don’t get enrolled by then will be ineligible to receive ARC or PLC payments for the 2019 crop year.
If you use a decision support tool, I’m not recommending to use the Illinois tool as it takes into consideration the life of the farm bill. This is a two-year decision, thus, the potential payment numbers tend to be skewed and makes ARC-CO look more favorable than what it most likely will be. The Texas A&M tool considers a two-year decision and that’s the tool Randy Pryor and I recommend. On my blog, there’s step-by-step screen shots to help if you wish to use the tool. You can find it and previous blog posts at jenreesources.com. In the right-hand column under “categories” select “farm bill”.
Using the tool to work through farm situations from different counties, PLC keeps beating ARC-Co for corn. There’s a separation between the price it could take to trigger ARC-Co (previously around $3.18 for many counties) vs. PLC ($3.70) for corn. I’ve also played with the historical irrigation percentage (HIP). Everytime I’ve changed the HIP % for corn (0, 25, 50, 75, 100), it doesn’t switch the potential payment decision from PLC to ARC-Co. However, when I look at soybean, it’s tended to favor PLC for a higher irrigated percentage and ARC-Co for farms with little to no irrigation. This does vary by county, so soybean can go either way. If you’re really undecided, check this for yourself. You’re only making this decision for 2 years and there may not be a soybean payment for either election. Ultimately elections are your decision and the tools and info hopefully help as we can’t predict what prices will do.
Pesticide, Dicamba, Chemigation Trainings: I’ve also received questions regarding pesticide, dicamba, and chemigation trainings. If you haven’t received a postcard from NDA to pay the $25 bill within 14-17 days after training, please call the Extension Office in the county where you took the training; they can follow-up with NDA. The postcard will have a link to pay the $25 fee online. For those who don’t like paying online, you can also send a $25 check to NDA and include the postcard. For those who attended my training when I ran out of materials, I now have more so you are welcome to stop at the York Co. Extension Office and get the study guide and weed guide.
If you attend a face-to-face dicamba training through Extension or Ag Industry, please bring your pesticide applicator card as a pesticide applicator number is needed for registration. If you are a new applicator this year, you will write “pending” on the registration form. There is no charge for dicamba training, and the same training can be completed online at: https://pested.unl.edu/dicamba. Watching it at home as a group doesn’t work well because only one applicator number is entered to watch the training; there’s no way to add additional ones. Each person would have to be on his/her own device watching the training. Allow one week for your name to be added to NDA’s dicamba certified applicators on their site at: https://nda.nebraska.gov/pesticide/dicamba.html. Download the excel spreadsheet under ‘dicamba applicator training’ and make sure your name is listed. Then print the spreadsheet and keep it for your records.
For those recertifying for chemigation, you are allowed to watch the modules and take the test at home this year at: https://water.unl.edu/article/agricultural-irrigation/chemigation. This is only for recertifications. Initial certifications can watch the modules from home but still need to take the test at an Extension office. Anyone seeking initial or recertification is also welcome to attend face to face training.
Often the phrase “there’s always next year” is heard when hard times hit individuals. This speaks to the optimism many have! 2019 has been challenging for many, perhaps also cumulative from previous years. There’s no promise of life being easy on this earth; it’s broken as is everything in it. Challenges, adversity provide potential to build something rich and lasting-things like one’s faith, relationships, and character. As we enter this new year, may we seek to live life with purpose, focus on the important things, and dig deep/come alongside others in the midst of difficulty. Wishing everyone a blessed 2020!
Extension Survey: Being funded by tax payer dollars, Extension employees need to justify the work we do in reports. Whether you only interact with me by reading this column or have asked me horticulture or ag related questions, I’m asking for your feedback. Please go to: slido.com, join with code 4EXT and fill out a quick, anonymous, 7 question survey for me! Thank you!
Winter Programs: Those in agriculture in this part of the State should have received (or will soon receive) a mailing from your local Extension Office that shares our winter program brochure, a pesticide letter, and additional program flyers. Following is what’s happening the week of January 6th.
Landlord/Tenant Lease Workshops: These 3-hour workshops will cover: ag finance and the real estate market; current trends in ag finance across Nebraska; negotiation skills for effectively managing land leases; and more. No charge. Jan. 7, 1:30 p.m., Extension Office in Seward (402-643-2981); Jan. 8, 9 a.m., 4-H Building in York (402-362-5508); and Jan. 15, 1 p.m., Fairgrounds in Clay Center (402-762-3644).
York Ag Expo: Come out to the York Ag Expo at the Holthus Convention Center January 9th and 10th! The Expo features a number of vendors and free ag appreciation lunches both days catered by Kerry’s. On January 9th, I’m providing private pesticide applicator training at 9:30 a.m. and on January 10th, chemigation training is provided at 9:00 a.m. You can find more information at: https://yorkchamber.org/event/ag-expo/. RUP Dicamba training is not offered at the Expo. You can complete that at other face to face trainings or online at: https://pested.unl.edu/dicamba after Jan. 1.
Private Pesticide Training: Training dates/locations are available at: go.unl.edu/2020pat. Cost for face to face training is $40. Options for initial license include attending a face to face training or taking the online course (cost $75) at pested.unl.edu. Options for renewal include: attending a face to face training, taking the online course, or attending a Crop Production Clinic (Beatrice Jan. 10, York Jan. 14, cost $80) or the Nebraska Crop Management Conference in Kearney (Jan. 22-23) agronomy.unl.edu/cpc.
Chemigation Training: To apply chemicals/fertilizer through irrigation systems, chemigation certification is needed. View dates/locations for initial and recertification training at: go.unl.edu/2020chemigation. Those recertifying may also complete the training and test online without testing with Extension: https://water.unl.edu/article/agricultural-irrigation/chemigation. Wait till after Jan. 1, 2020.
Annie’s Inspired Workshops: These provide women involved with agriculture an opportunity to network and learn together while having fun! All workshops have a hands-on component and will be held from 6-8 p.m. beginning with a light meal. Cost is $5 per person per session. Join us for Beef 101 at the Polk County Fairgrounds in Osceola, Jan. 6th! Please RSVP: (402) 367-7410 or (402) 362-5508.
Good Farmer, Great Manager is taught by Tina Barrett, Executive Director of Nebraska Farm Business, Inc. The difference between a good farmer and a great manager often comes down to knowing the true financial position of a farm. This class will be held in York from 1-5 p.m. Jan. 23 and Jan. 24, from 8-Noon at the 4-H Bldg at Fairgrounds in York. The course fee is $50 per participant; limited to 25 people. Learn more and register at: https://wia.unl.edu/GFGM. Tina shares more at: https://youtu.be/LaVZRPzG1HM.