Weekly News Releases and Columns

January 21, 2019



 Extension Board to Elect New Officers

 The Cuming County Extension Board will hold their reorganization meeting on Monday, January 28.  The meeting will be held in the Courthouse Meeting Room beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Items of business for the meeting are election of officers, finalizing plans for Board of Supervisors luncheon, January 30 and NACEB Annual Meeting.  The full agenda for the Extension Board meeting is available for review at the Extension office.


SOURCE: Larry Howard, Extension Educator

RELEASE DATE: January 21, 2019

Nebraska Extension Offers Land Application Training in February

Turning manure nutrients into better crop yields while protecting the environment will be the focus of eight Nebraska Extension workshops across the state in February.

“The workshops will help livestock producers put to use the nutrient management planning requirements of Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality regulations and increase the economic value of manure,” said Leslie Johnson, animal manure management coordinator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Participants who attend the daylong event will receive NDEQ land application training certification.  Livestock producers with livestock waste control facility permits received or renewed since April 1998 must be certified, and farms must complete an approved training every five years.  Recertification will occur during the first two hours of the land application training.  Farm personnel responsible for land application of manure are encouraged to attend either the initial or recertification portion of the training.

 The morning portion of the workshops will consist of a two-hour program that includes updates on changing regulations and other manure management topics, such as using weather forecasting to decrease odor risk and transferring manure off a livestock operation.  All farm staff responsible for implementing the farm’s nutrient plan are encouraged to attend.

Pre-registration is required for all workshops.  The initial training workshop cost $60 per operation (includes one representative) plus $15 for each additional participant to cover local expenses, including lunch.  The recertification portion of the workshop costs $30.

 Pre-register at least eight business days before the workshop at http://go.unl.edu/lat or by using the form in the program brochure at https://go.unl.edu/lat-2019.

 The workshops are sponsored by the Nebraska Extension Animal Manure Management Team, which is dedicated to helping livestock and crop producers better utilize manure resources for agronomic and environmental benefits.

The workshops begin at 9 a.m. Dates and locations are:

  •  Alliance: Feb. 5, extension office, 415 Black Hills Ave.
  • O’Neill: Feb. 6, extension office, 128 North 6th St, Suite 100.
  • Curtis: Feb. 7, education center, 404 E. 7th St., Room 137.
  • West Point: Feb. 20, Nielsen Center, 200 Anna Stalp Ave.
  • Lexington: Feb. 20, extension office, 1002 Plum Creek Parkway.
  • Columbus: Feb. 21, extension office, 2715 13th St.
  • Wilber: Feb. 26, extension office, 306 W. 3rd St.
  • York: Feb. 27, 4-H Building, 2345 Nebraska Ave.

 For additional information on the workshops and other resources for managing manure nutrients, visit http://manure.unl.edu or contact Johnson at 402-584-3818 or ljohnson13@unl.edu.


SOURCE: Larry Howard, Extension Educator

RELEASE DATE: January 21, 2019


4-H Healthy Habits Program

If you are interested in education or nutrition, this is an opportunity to gain valuable experience. Serve as a teen ambassador for the 4-H Healthy Habits program, which encourages youth and their families to take action to improve dietary choices and increase physical fitness. You will work alongside an extension professional to deliver programs to youth all while gaining leadership skills, exploring career options, and building your resume.

Contact the Extension office for more information or to apply at 402-372-6006 or email Hannah Guenther at Hannah.guenther@unl.edu or Melissa Nordboe at mnordboe2@unl.edu.

If you are a teen within the ages of 13-18 and interested in education or nutrition, this is an opportunity to gain valuable experience. Serve as a teen ambassador for the 4-H Healthy Habits program, which encourages youth and their families to take action to improve dietary choices and increase physical fitness. You will work alongside an extension professional to deliver programs to youth all while gaining leadership skills, exploring career options, and building your resume.

Contact the Extension office for more information or to apply at 402-372-6006 or email Hannah Guenther at Hannah.guenther@unl.edu or Melissa Nordboe at mnordboe2@unl.edu.


SOURCE: Hannah Guenther, Extension Educator

RELEASE DATE:  January 21, 2019


4-H Council Elects New Officers

The 2019 Cuming County 4-H Council met for their reorganizational meeting on January 10.  Chris Schiller, Scribner was elected to a one-year term as president.  He will preside at the bi-monthly meetings of the 4-H Council as well as representing the county in any policy-making matters that come up.  Members of the board elected Kara Sweeney, Wisner to serve as vice president and Andrea Stewart, Wisner to be their recording secretary.  Dave Karnopp, Oakland was elected treasurer.  Elected as 4-H Council’s representatives to the Extension Board are Sherry Roeber, Bancroft; Karina Hasenkamp, Beemer; and Amber Buhrman, Wisner.

Other current members are Alicia Rehak, Wisner; Todd Schroeder, Wisner; Laura Ritter, West Point; Brandon Sindelar, Wisner, Reece Snodgrass, West Point and Levi Schiller, Scribner.

The 4-H Council is the policy making body for the Cuming County 4-H program and serves as the board of directors for the 4-H foundation.

The next meeting of the 4-H Council will be Thursday, March 14, at 7:00 p.m. in the Courthouse Meeting Room.


SOURCE: Larry Howard, Extension Educator

RELEASE DATE: January 21, 2019


Larry Howard

Extension Educator

Nebraska Extension

Serving Cuming County

Supplement Cows To Improve Calf Performance

As winter forage quality declines and cow nutrient demands increase, some operators may feed protein supplements to assure healthy calves and so cows will rebreed rapidly.  But protein supplements are expensive, so we usually feed only what the cow needs to stay healthy.

Research suggests that this strategy of minimizing input costs may overlook the impact supplements have on the future performance of the unborn calf. Recent research has shown that properly supplementing the cow can increase profitability of the calf that she is carrying.  In one study, steers born from cows that received protein supplement while grazing winter range produced an extra 60 pounds of carcass weight per animal compared to steers from non-supplemented cows.

In other studies, the pregnancy rate of heifers calved from cows that received protein supplements while grazing corn residue or winter range was higher than heifers from non-supplemented cows.  And steers from these supplemented cows graded choice more often.

This outcome, where supplementing protein to the cow improves the performance of her calves later in life is called fetal programming. It is thought to occur partly because cow nutrition affects development of fetal organs and muscles, which is highest during the last third of gestation.  Since most winter feeding and grazing programs use forages that are low in protein, adequate supplementing can pay big dividends.

As your cows approach calving time, don’t overfeed but also don’t cut corners on the protein.  Feed what is needed for both for the cow and her calf and you may be money ahead.


Feeding Molding Hay

Feeding moldy hay to livestock is a tough decision.  UNL Forage Specialist, Bruce Anderson states that although all hay contains some mold, when mold becomes easily noticeable the decision becomes important.

Usually, mold makes hay less palatable, which can result in lower intake or even in animals refusing to eat the hay.  Other problems from mold can occur because of mycotoxins produced by certain mold fungi.  This is a big part of the decision problem since not all molds produce mycotoxins and the amount produced by those that do is unpredictable.

Direct negative affects of moldy hay are difficult to document.  Horses may be more sensitive to mold than most common livestock.  Mold spores often contribute to respiratory and digestive problems like colic or heaves in horses.  Cattle apparently are less affected by mold, but certain molds can cause mycotic abortions or aspergillosis (a disease caused by mold).  People can also be affected by mold spores as it can cause a condition called farmer’s lung, where the fungus actually grows in lung tissue.  So try to avoid breathing in many of these spores.

The best course of action often is to minimize feeding moldy hay to more sensitive animals, like horses or pregnant cows.  This may require a keen eye or sensitive nose when selecting hay to feed each day.  Mixing moldy hay with other feedstuffs can dilute problems sometimes, but be careful that you don’t make your animals sick by tricking them into eating bad hay that they normally would refuse.

Moldy hay is a difficult problem to deal with.  Common sense and good observation often are your best decision aids.

   Food, Nutrition and Health

Hannah Guenther
Extension Educator
Nebraska Extension
Serving Cuming County

Workplace Wellness

We are entering our second week of the New Year and I have to say that mine is off to pretty good start. I set my goals on the first day of the year and I have slowly been adding to them. One of my goals that I added is to sleep more. Now if you know me at all you know that I’m already bordering hibernation status, but I am the best version of myself when I am well rested. Another area that I want to focus on this New Year is health and wellness in the workplace. As we are spending anywhere from 40-60 hours a week at our place of employment, it is so important to bring health goals not only to the kitchen, home, and gym but also to work! Today, we are going to learn all about how to practice wellness at work.

1.  Take Breaks With Your Co-Workers

I am very thankful for an amazing job with some amazing co-workers. One thing that makes our office environment so cohesive is that we make an effort to take a break together at least once each day. We step away from our respective desks to sit down and just visit. Not only does it provide a much needed mental break in the day, but it also allows for camaraderie. If you don’t have a regular scheduled break in your work day, send a poll around the office to try and find a time that works for everyone to break together.

2.  Find a Walking Path

Everyone has had that moment at work when you just need to “walk away”. Well I have literally started walking away when I reach this point when dealing with strenuous task or project. It is the perfect way for me to reset. It can be as simple as walking loops inside your office or walking stairs in the building.

Try and find a walking path that you can retreat to when needed.

3.  Ergonomics Consultation

This past week, I called the Rehab Facility at St. Francis to set up my ergonomics consultation. Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their work environment and although I felt like I was being productive at work, I was suffering from neck pain and felt cramped in my office. Terry Nelson, a Physical Therapist at the hospital, came to my office and based on my height and work habits adjusted my desk and office to fit me. His key recommendations were to make sure my computer screens hit my natural gaze, to keep everything in arms reach, to make sure the seat of my chair covered the entirety of my legs, and to take lightbulbs out of my overhead lighting to reduce the glare on my computers. If you feel like you are in need of some adjustments, call the hospital to set up your ergonomics consultation.

4.  Healthy Snacks

When you eat better, you feel better and work better. Instead of going to the vending machine for candy bars when you need a snack, pack some healthy snacks to help curve your hunger cravings and hold you over until lunch. My co-workers can attest to my practicing of this recommendation. My favorite bring to work snacks include apples, string cheese, dried fruit, yogurt, or a protein shake. I always have my backup snack as well. I keep a jar of unsalted roasted peanuts in my desk and to make sure I stick to the ¼ cup serving, I use the lid to measure the peanuts to their recommended portion.

5.  Bring Life Into Your Office

A psychological study done in 2014 did research into the “green versus lean office space”. They found that bringing in pictures, souvenirs, and living plants creates a more stimulating and creative environment in which to work. To spark ingenuity in my office, I created an inspiration board for my office that contains food pictures from magazines, drawings from charlotte, and inspirational quotes from colleagues. I look at it and reminded of what an amazing opportunity I have to share food, nutrition, and health information for my career. I also highly recommend cacti for an office plant because you only have to water them once a week.


Taking Care of Poinsettias

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

I had a client call me one September day and asked if it was time to bring her poinsettia into the light. Oh yes and by the way, she mentioned the plant had been stored in the closet for the past nine months. Hmmm… On the positive side of things, I thought it was great she was aware that the absence of light instigated the poinsettia’s coloration. Still, after 9 months with no water and sunlight, it was safe to say the plant was toast and it was best to throw it out.

How does one go about keeping a poinsettia, you ask?  First, the newer hybrids are better than ever about keeping their leaves and colorful bracts (the flowers are the tiny yellow things at the center) well into March.  So it’s no big task to keep them in a bright window with regular watering to enjoy the poinsettia for quite some time.  

Once the stems lose a lot of their leaves through senescence (the natural aging and loss of leaves) or because you forgot to water it once, you have two options for moving ahead.  One is to cut back the stems by half.  The poinsettia is a shrub, so you will get lots of new shoot growth from the shortened stems. The other option, and one that takes a little finesse, is to make it into a lollipop. Called a standard, the poinsettia can be trained into a single tall stem with a ball of leaves at the top.  A poinsettia standard is created by selecting a strong, upright stem and then removing all of the remaining stems. Encourage new growth at the top by removing sprouts along the stem.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and so do wonderfully during our hot summers.  Before moving them to their outdoor location, make sure there is no danger of a late frost and then acclimate them to the outdoors through the process of hardening off. Once outdoors, plants can be moved to larger pots, fertilized regularly and pruned according to the desired shape. 

Bring in plants before the first frost and place them in an east, west or south-facing window. Instigating the coloration of the bracts can be simple.  If room lights remain off during the evening hours AND no street or yard light leaks in through the window during the evening, the poinsettia will develop colorful bracts on its own.  Barring that, then begin the process in late September by placing the plant in a dark closet from 5:00 pm to 8:00 am and then moving it to a bright window from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day.  Once the coloration of the bracts begins, the plants can be moved and left in a bright window.

With all the wonderful color poinsettias provide, it’s a great indoor plant to grow your own fresh air!  More information can be found here:  https://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/articles/2007/poinsettia.shtml .

 The Extension Master Gardener horticulture helpline and open clinic hours are:

Mondays, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, Washington County Extension, 402-426-9455

Tuesdays, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, Cuming County Extension, 402-372-6006

Wednesdays and Fridays, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, Dodge County Extension, 402-727-2775



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