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Extension Update from Jenny Rees

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UPCOMING EVENTS:  

Mar. 23:  Pesticide Training, 9 am, Hall Co. Extension, Grand Island
Mar. 23:  Farming with Beneficial Insects, 9am-4pm, ARDC near Mead, http://go.unl.edu/w2jt
Mar. 23:  Emerald Ash Borer Workshop, 5:30-7:00 p.m., Civic Center, Seward, no charge, RSVP to 402-643-2981
Mar. 25: Dewey Lienemann Retirement Event, 2:00 – 4:00 pm, BBQ and Dance 5:00 pm– ??? Webster Co Fairgrounds, Bladen, NE
Mar. 30:  Emerald Ash Borer Workshop, 5:30-7:00 p.m., Fairgrounds, Clay Center, no charge, RSVP to 402-762-3644
Apr. 10-12:  Water for Food Conference, Nebraska Innovation Campus, http://go.unl.edu/p9rd
Apr. 11:  Pesticide Training, 1:30 and 6:30 p.m., Hruska Library, David City,mrethwisch2@unl.edu
Apr. 12:  Heuermann Lecture “Water and Global Issues”, 4:00 p.m., Nebraska Innovation Campus or live-stream:  http://heuermannlectures.unl.edu/
May 30-21:  Youth Tractor Safety Class, 8am, Kearney Fairgrounds (308) 236-1235
July 10-11:  Youth Tractor Safety Class, 8am, Grand Island College Park (308) 385-5088.

Master Gardener Training:  Tuesday evenings 6:30-9 p.m. from February 7-March 21 at York and Clay County Extension Offices.  Please RSVP to jrees2@unl.edu or 402-362-5508 for attending in York or Deanna Peshek at 402-762-3644 to attend in Clay.

Farm Finance Clinic Sites and Dates To sign up for a clinic or to get more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

Happy Ag Day (March 21) and National Ag Week this week!  Reminder that the York County Farm Service Agency is hosting an Open House March 20-22 at the York Service Center, 419 W 6th St, York NE. This Open House is a small way of recognizing and thanking the area farmers for their contribution to our county, our state, our nation, and the entire world.  Cookies, tea and coffee will be served 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day.

The Agricultural Council of America began celebrating Ag Day in 1973 with the desire to recognize and celebrate the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives.  This program encourages every American to understand how food and fiber products are produced; value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy; and appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant, and affordable products.  More information can be found at http://www.agday.org.

Today, each American farmer feeds more than 168 people which is a large increase from 25 people in the 1960s.  Today’s farmers also produce 262 percent more food with 2 percent fewer inputs (labor, seeds, feed, fertilizer, etc.), compared with 1950.  Farm and ranch families comprise just two percent of the U.S. population.  According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, America’s rural landscape is comprised of around 2 million farms with 99 percent of U.S. farms being operated by families – individuals, family partnerships or family corporations.  Farmers on average receive only $0.13 of every dollar spent on food at home and away from home.

Regarding Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Ag reports in its “2016 Ag Facts” card that cash receipts contributed almost $23 billion to Nebraska’s economy in 2015 and 6.1 percent of the U.S. total.  Nebraska’s ten leading commodities (in order of value) for 2015 cash receipts are cattle and calves, corn, soybeans, hogs, chicken eggs, dairy products, wheat, hay, dry beans and potatoes.  Every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.22 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing and production. Nebraska’s $6.4 billion in agricultural exports in 2015 translates into $7.8 billion in additional economic activity.  Nebraska’s top five agricultural exports in 2015 were soybeans, feeds and fodders, beef and veal, corn and soybean meal.  Nebraska had 48,700 farms and ranches during 2015; the average operation consisted of 928 acres.  In 2015, Nebraska had 25 operating ethanol plants with a total production capacity of over 2 billion gallons. Nebraska ranked 2nd among states in ethanol production and utilized 31% of the state’s 2015 corn crop.  Livestock or poultry operations were found on 49% of Nebraska farms.  1 in 4 jobs in Nebraska is related to agriculture. From east to west, Nebraska experiences a 4,584 foot elevation difference and the average annual precipitation decreases by one inch every 25 miles.  Between 2007-2012, Nebraska experienced a 5% increase in the number of farms and 10% increase in the number of new farmers.

So agriculture is of huge importance to our economy!  It was interesting to see the change in some of these numbers compared to last year, a sign of the economic times we currently face in the agricultural industry.  Information is being shared each week at http://cropwatch.unl.edu/strengthening-nebraskas-agricultural-economy to help.  Please be sure to thank a farmer and those who work in the agricultural industry this week!  Without them, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the safe, affordable, healthy food supply and choice we have as consumers!

Also, Happy Spring!  Not always does the first day of spring come with so many signs of spring such as my daffodils beginning to bloom.  Reminder of Emerald Ash Borer Workshops in Seward (March 23, 402-643-2981) and Clay Center (March 30, 402-762-3644) from 5:30-7pm.  Light meal provided.  No charge.  Please RSVP at the local Extension Office.

I’ve received some questions and observations about the large buds on shade trees like maples.  Yesterday I noticed forsythia starting to bloom and my lilacs leafing out.  Early budding of shade trees and shrubs is common with above average winter and spring temperatures. Swelling of buds, or actual opening of buds, increases the risk of low temperature injury to the tree and buds. This creates concern and raises questions. Most temperate zone plants survive this well. If the buds are flower buds, the only loss for shade trees and shrubs is the loss of blooming for that year. If leaf buds are injured, this will result in delayed growth. However, otherwise healthy plants will develop secondary buds and do fine. This can be a stress for plants. Along with warm temperatures, if conditions remain dry, drought may be an added stress. We cannot do much about temperatures and swelling buds, but we can water plants in the absence of rain. Most plants are not actively growing and so a lot of water is not needed; just enough to moisten dry soil 6 to 8 inches deep.

Wheat:  I’ve received some questions about stripe rust in wheat and fungicide application.  So far I haven’t seen any rust in wheat this spring, so it would be wise to save money and use good integrated pest management practices by not using half rates of fungicides with your herbicide applications right now.  It will be important to scout fields and especially watch those that had greater vegetative growth last fall in addition to varieties that are more susceptible as we move forward in the growing season.

 

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