Nebraska Extension in Cheyenne, Kimball & Banner Counties

Training sessions for 4-H judges at Alliance, Sidney

 Nebraska Extension will offer two training sessions for 4-H judges at Alliance and Sidney in late February, providing a refresher for current judges as well as an opportunity for new judges.

The Alliance training session is Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. in the Extension Office at 415 Black Hills. There is a $10 fee. To register call Nebraska Extension in Box Butte County, 308-762-5616

The Sidney session is Thursday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. at the Cheyenne County Community Center, 627 Toledo St. There is a $10 fee. To register call Nebraska Extension in Cheyenne County, 308-254-4455.

Registration is requested at least a day in advance of each training session.

Agenda topics include Youth Development and Judging; STEAM Clothing; Foods; Ag Engineering; Photography; and Home Environment. Attendees will have a chance to become familiar with changes in projects and fair exhibits, learn how judging fits into the big picture, learn about new resources, and network with other judges. They can complete paperwork to be added to the state-wide judges list if they choose.  Sessions are also available online at

Dates Set for Panhandle Master Gardener Training Program

Nebraska Extension is offering the Master Gardener Training Program beginning in February for people who have an interest in lawn or gardens, are willing to become a trained volunteer, and who like to help people in their communities.

Weekly sessions in February and March will provide Master Gardeners with research-based horticulture education, preparing them to share their knowledge with others in the community.

The training is open to anyone who is interested in plants and is willing to volunteer. In exchange for the training, Master Gardeners are asked to volunteer to their local communities.
They work closely with Extension educators in the local office in solving problems or giving information. They also give talks or workshops to the public or write news articles about various phases of horticulture in which they are knowledgeable. Some may talk on care of house plants, others on flowers, vegetable gardening or other horticulture-related subjects.

The fee to participate in Master Gardener Training is $35 for either fundamental or proficient sessions. The cost to attend both sets of sessions is $50.  Individual sessions are $12 each.

Participants can purchase an optional Master Gardener Handbook as a reference. At the end of the training sessions, Master Gardeners are required to give 40 hours of volunteer service to their local Extension office or community. 

Anyone who is interested in participating or who has questions is encouraged to contact Gary Stone, Extension Educator in Scotts Bluff County, at 308-632-1230; Karen DeBoer, Extension Educator in Cheyenne-Kimball-Banner Counties at 308-254-4455; or John Thomas, Extension Educator in Box Butte County, at 308-762-5616.

A brochure with more information and a registration form is available on the web at or at Extension offices in Scottsbluff, Alliance and Sidney.

Please pre-register by Jan. 29 by calling the local county extension office. Residents of other states are welcome as well.

 A series of six fundamental training sessions for Master Gardeners will take place on Tuesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Alliance Extension Office, the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff, and at the Western Nebraska Community College in Sidney. This is designed for new Master Gardeners and will cover basic horticultural information. It will start on Feb. 2 and conclude on March 8. The training will be offered via the internet, with local UNL Extension Educators at each of the sites to help answer questions.

The topics include:

  • Feb. 9: Putting Perennials to Work
  • Feb. 16: Basic Botany/Plant Identification
  • Feb. 23: Weed Identification and Control
  • March 1: Communicating Important Yard and Garden Issues
  • March 8: Efficient Landscape Irrigation

 Proficient Master Gardener training sessions will be Feb. 22 and 29 and March 7, 21, and 25 at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, starting at 10 a.m. and concluding at 3 p.m. The topics are designed for advanced Master Gardeners; however, they are open to everyone.

Topics include:

  • Feb. 22: The Importance of Master Gardeners and How to Keep Track of Volunteer Hours; Right Plants in the Right Place in the Garden and Landscape; Mari Sandoz Center Plants and the CSC Campus
  • Feb. 29: Other Trees to Try – Pushing the Limit; Fruit Trees and Bushes/Urban Fruit Production and Diseases
  • March 7: How to Judge at County Fairs; Plant Health – Common Vegetable and Fruit Diseases
  • March 21: Windbreak Design and Tree Selection for the Home/Small Acreage Owner; the Pesticide Label; What Happened in 2015, a Quick Review; and Fertilizing Vegetables and Flowers in the Garden
  • March 25: TBA
Pesticide Applicator Training in Western Nebraska

Nebraska Extension will be offering training throughout western Nebraska from late January through April for licensed pesticide applicators seeking first-time certification or recertification of their license for 2016.

A license is required to use or purchase restricted-use pesticides. Extension provides training for several classes of certification, including commercial, non-commercial (such as local government or research purposes) and private applicators (such as ag producers).

Private pesticide applicators with licenses expiring in 2016, and anyone seeking first-time private applicator certification, can attend these upcoming training sessions:

      Brewster, Feb. 3: 1 p.m., Blaine County Courtoom (call 308-645-2267)
      Kimball, Feb.3: 1 p.m., 4-H Building (call 308-235-3122)
      Harrisburg, Feb. 10: 1 p.m., Banner County Museum (call 308-235-3122)
      Hyannis, Feb. 10: 1 p.m., Grant County Courthouse Basement (call 308-645-2267)  
      Oshkosh, Feb. 11:
1 p.m., Wesleyan Church (call 308-772-3311)
      Rushville, Feb. 17: 1 p.m., American Legion (call 308-327-2312)
      Sidney, Feb. 17: 1 p.m., Country Inn & Suites, (chemigation training also at 9 a.m.); call 308-254-4455
      Thedford, Feb. 17: 1 p.m., Thomas County Courtroom (call 308-645-2267)   
      Bridgeport, Feb. 18: 1 p.m., Prairie Winds Community Center (call 308-262-1022)
      Mirage Flats, Feb. 24: 1 p.m., St. Peter’s Lutheran Church (call 308-327-2312)
      Alliance, March 30: 1 p.m., Box Butte County Extension Office (call 308-762-5616)
      Valentine, April 5: 1:30 p.m. CST at the Fairgrounds (call 402-376-1850)
      Scottsbluff, April 7: 1 p.m., Panhandle Research & Extension Center (call 308-632-1480)

Licensed private pesticide applicators can buy and use restricted-use pesticides in their own farming operations after completing this training.

Main topics include Nebraska's pesticide laws and regulations, the pesticide label, personal safety, the worker protection standard, environmental protection, integrated pest management, pesticides and application, application equipment, equipment calibration, pesticide drift awareness near sensitive sites like apiaries and vineyards, how to use the Driftwatch website, and control options for prairie dogs and pocket gophers, and strategies to reduce chances of developing weed populations resistant to herbicides.

To reserve space for each session, or for more information, call the local Extension office listed after each date. The cost of training is $30. Applicators whose permits are due for renewal should have received a letter from the State Department of Agriculture. They can bring that letter to the training session and avoid having to fill out an application form. 

Private pesticide licenses also can be obtained by completing an online course. Pesticide applicators can purchase access to the online course via and going to the Pesticide Education section. Cost of the course is $60. Those who complete pesticide applicator training then need to apply to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture for a three-year license card for a $25 fee.

In addition to the private applicator training sessions listed above, Extension’s Pesticide Safety Education Program has scheduled training for commercial and non-commercial applicators whose licenses expire this year, or who need to take initial training.

Recertification in several applicator categories is offered at the following locations and dates. Check with the Pesticide Safety Education Program for details, such as which categories are available at each site. Preregistration is required at

Commercial and non-commercial license, initial training all sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. at these dates and locations:

      Feb. 25, Scottsbluff: Panhandle Research and Extension Center
      March 22, Scottsbluff: Panhandle Research and Extension Center
      March 24, Valentine: Cherry County Extension Office
      April 14, Scottsbluff: Panhandle Research and Extension Center

      Commercial and non-commercial license, recertification all sessions begin at 9 a.m. at these dates and locations:

      Feb. 23, Scottsbluff: Panhandle Research and Extension Center
      March 22, Valentine: Cherry County Extension Office
      March 31, Scottsbluff: Panhandle Research and Extension Center

Commercial applicators are those using restricted-use pesticides, and in some cases general-use pesticides, on a contract or for-hire basis. Noncommercial applicators are those applying these same pesticides to sites owned by an employer or for a governmental agency or political subdivision of the state.

Commercial/noncommercial pesticide applicators with certifications expiring in April have been sent 2016 Pesticide Safety Education Program Schedule booklets that has certification information and dates. Copies of the schedule booklet are available at local extension office or by phoning UNL's pesticide education office at 800-627-7216 or 402-472-1632 or online at

Advance registration is required for all initial commercial/noncommercial applicator training and most other training sessions. A $60 fee applies for each applicator registering, regardless of the number of categories registered for. Required study materials for initial training range from $10 to $30 per manual, depending on category.

UNL conducts the training programs, and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture grants the licenses.  NDA testing is offered at initial training locations. Questions about individual applicator license status should be directed to NDA at 402-471-2351 or 877-800-4080.



Nebraska Extension in Cheyenne, Kimball & Banner Counties

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