Weekly News Releases and Columns

March 18, 2019


Extension Board to Meet

The Cuming County Extension Board will meet for their March meeting on Monday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Cuming County Courthouse Meeting Room. The agenda for the meeting is available for review at Nebraska Extension in Cuming County.


SOURCE:  Larry Howard, Extension Educator

RELEASE DATE:  March 18, 2019



Larry Howard

Extension Educator

Nebraska Extension

Serving Cuming County

Historic Week of Flooding

This past week has been historic and one that has caused issues related to the flooding in many areas of the state of Nebraska.  Communities across this great state have and are coming together to help our neighbors in need.  We need to give a big thank you to the first responders – Police, Fire, Rescue and the many volunteers and organizations who have assisted in so many ways and are still doing so.  The clean-up and work will continue long into the future.

For those that are affected by the weather catastrophe, please know that our thoughts are with you. With stressful situations like this, check-up on neighbors and friends. Help is available and there is always someone who is willing to listen. Keep in mind that there are many resources to assist those that need it through this difficult time.

 Some of the resources are:

 1. Nebraska Extension Flood Resources ( flood.unl.edu ): This web page provides information on assessing crop damage after a flood, well water safety, managing a septic system during a flood, preparing a home that will flood, clean up after a home is flooded and more.

2. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture website with Nebraska Blizzard/Flooding Resources http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/resources/  This site has links to many of the resources that will be helpful.

3. With several concerns about livestock losses due to weather and flooding. There are several programs through the FSA that can assist. Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) is a program that financially assists producers when they suffer loss of livestock due to adverse weather. As producers assess their individual situations, whether it be the blizzard in the West or the flooding in the East, here are a couple of key things to keep in mind:

a) If you have suffered a loss of livestock, you need to report those losses to your FSA county office within 30 days of when those losses become apparent. This 30-day notification window is critical. **A phone call to the county office works for this notification. - Keep in mind, outside of the immediate situations, some producers had some extreme weather in February where folks suffered livestock losses, so depending on when those losses occurred in February, that notification window is closing.

b) Documentation of losses also is critical. FSA will need some sort of supporting evidence of your losses, and this can include things such as: veterinarian certification, other independent third party certification, rendering receipts, dated photos or video. Those things are an important part of the application process.

c) FSA will also need to know the type or weight of the animals lost. Adult animals, so bulls and cows, vs. calves or yearlings, are broken out differently in the LIP program, so that part of the record is important.

d) Information about the specific weather conditions that caused the losses also is important.

 4. Hay and Forage Hotline  402-471-4876

5. Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund https://www.nefb.org/get-involved/disaster-assistance

6. Nebraska Farm Hotline/Rural Response Hotline, 1-800-464-0258

7. Nebraska Counseling, Outreach and Mental Health Therapy (COMHT) Program, 800-464-0258 - Offers no-cost vouchers for confidential mental health services for persons affected by the rural crisis

8. Nebraska Extension publication “Staying Connected During Tough Times” https://go.unl.edu/fw5h  This has a listing of many of the Hotlines that are available.

9. www.211.org  is a nationwide service that connects people with local resources either online or by calling 2-1-1

There are many more resources available for those who need them. While you may feel overwhelmed at this time, remember that during any crisis it is important to seek and ask for help, pull together, keep lines of communication open, and take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Feel free to contact any of us in Nebraska Extension and we will do what we can to assist.

   Food, Nutrition and Health

Hannah Guenther
Extension Educator
Nebraska Extension
Serving Cuming County

Come To the Table

These are the words that I grew up hearing every night and I mean every single night. Family dinners were a pivotal part of my childhood and regularly enforced by my mother that some nights those four faithful words weren’t even uttered until 9:30pm when everyone was finally home from practices, meetings, and other extracurricular. After complaining about eating so late, my mom would always fire back with “In Europe, they always eat after 9pm – I am making you an international eater”. I have to say (as I many times do) that my mother was totally right and definitely onto something with her forceful push of family dinners. Studies have shown that sitting down to the evening meal can help improve relationships, vocabulary, and diet. Today, we are going to dive into the importance of family dinners, some simple ways to make them more enjoyable, and finally some fool proof 30 minute meals that will help you get dinner on the table…before 9:30pm.

With the rise of cell phones, social media, as well as hectic schedules, family dinners have slowly declined by more than 30% over the past decades as was found by the American College of Pediatricians. The article goes on to say that there are some key hindrances of times, scheduling, and food preparation that are getting in the way of getting us to the table that many of us in the modern world can relate too. But finding the time to come to the table is so important because family dinners have been found to benefit family relationships as well as body image. Teens who regularly joined in for a meal as a family were found to have better grades and this could be from the development of vocabulary that comes from dinner conversation. Family dinners have also been found to improve overall diet quality and body image. Children are 35% less likely to engage in disordered eating when they eat regular family dinners. This could be from the fact that they grow up with a positive attitude and outlook of food through positive dining experiences.

So how do you make family dinners fun and less like a chore? One of the best thing you can do is initiate table conversations. Throughout high school, family dinners included myself, my mother, my stepdad, and my seven step siblings. With high school hormones and that much youth pulled up to the table, you can imagine that things could get a little rowdy but honestly they never did. I attribute our family fun to table questions. My step dad would always have us go around and share a question that we all had to answer. It could be a simple as “what was your favorite part of the day?” to as off the wall as “if you could only have one super power what would it be?” The best part about them was it kept the conversation going and it allowed us to gain insight and learn about one another every time we sat down to the table.

For many, dining as a family is off the table but not for a lack of trying! With work, afterschool activities, and meetings galore, it can leave a mere 30 min available make dinner. Here are some of my favorite dinners to make when caught in a time crunch:

1. Breakfast: Our family is big on breakfast and I whip it up quickly! I scramble up some eggs, and whip up a small batch of pancakes. One of my favorite hacks is adding cooked bacon or sausage to the sandwich batter. They’re sweet/salty and the perfect breakfast for dinner.

2. Salmon. If I have salmon on hand, I can have dinner ready in 20 min. I season salmon with oil, salt, and pepper. I then put it in a cold oven. I preheat the oven to 425 and set the time for 20 min. When the timer goes off the salmon is perfectly cooked! Pair with some brown rice and your favorite steamed veggie and you’ve got a meal!

3. Grilled Cheese: This is always one of those meals that I think to myself, why don’t I make this more! To elevate this family favorite, we like to add marinara sauce or pesto with mozzarella cheese. This is a fun twist on a delicious sandwich.


It is easy to put family dinners on the back burner, but it is truly worth it to invest the time and energy to sit down and enjoy a meal with the ones you love.

Resources: https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/parenting-issues/the-benefits-of-the-family-table


What Kills Trees

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Assistant Educator

 Trees in native undisturbed sites live, on average, to be about 150 years old.  Downtown trees have a life expectancy of 7-17 years; suburban trees 30-40 years; and rural trees 60-70 years.  Why is there such a difference in life expectancy between trees in native sites than those in disturbed sites? Certainly there are acute factors, like hail, herbicide drift and insect infestations that can kill trees but the chronic issues overwhelmingly pre-dispose trees to shortened lifespans.

While difficult to see, pre-disposing effects are basically unhealthy environments. This leads to unhappy trees with dysfunctional roots.  Some common pre-disposing factors include:

 ▪Trees are planted too deep

▪Grade changes around existing trees

▪Soil compaction

▪Trees are overwatered

▪Exposure to long term drought

▪Live in confined root spaces

▪Have girdling roots

▪Are not winter hardy

▪Are not adapted to growing in soils with a high pH.

 Most of us do not recognize a tree in decline until 12-20 years after the tree has been planted. Amazingly enough, unhappy trees will grow but lack the energy to really thrive. Too often, this means conditions are not reversible and the problem cannot be remedied.  What tree owners do notice are acute conditions—leaf scorch, chlorosis, early leaf shed, smaller leaves and reduced tree stability—symptomatic of the larger problem of unhappy trees with dysfunctional roots.

Trees have a limited ability to adapt to adverse growing conditions. Those living in adverse conditions are subject to a decline spiral, succumbing to short term “problems” that healthy trees growing in good environments can readily withstand. If we select, plant, and manage trees with the intention that they not only survive but thrive, many tree problems are preventable, resulting in longer lived trees.

Check out Cornell’s Woody Plant Database to search for trees and shrubs suited to specific conditions:  http://woodyplants.cals.cornell.edu/home .


 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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