Local Interest

By Tammie Ostdiek
Extension Educator – Food, Nutrition and Health

Preparing for holiday meals this year may look different for many people, as we consider celebrating in smaller family groups due to COVID-19. Some people may be preparing turkey for the first time. Follow these basic turkey recommendations for food safety. 

Things to do ahead of time:

Gary Stone, Nebraska Extension Educator
Crops & Water Team

The wildfires that took place late this summer and early fall in Colorado and Wyoming are almost completely controlled, but they still might affect agriculture throughout Nebraska next growing season, and for years to come.

Why? Both of these fires as a whole or in part affect the Upper North Platte River watershed. Causes are uknown at this time for the Cameron Peak fire, west of Fort Collins, Colo., and the Mullen fire, west of Laramie, Wyo.

Dave Ostdiek, Communications Associate UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center

The COVID pandemic of 2020 has contributed to increased food insecurity for many Nebraska families.

In response, communities have pitched in to help. And some of the donated food is produce that has been grown this year at community gardens around Nebraska, which leverage local volunteers with grant funds from Growing Together Nebraska (GTN), part of Nebraska Extension’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) program.

Aaron Berger, Extension Educator In many areas of Nebraska, drought conditions have resulted in reduced forage production on rangeland and pasture. This is resulting in a shortage of feed for many producers and a need for forage between now and when cornstalks are available for grazing. Windrow grazing annual forages allows producers to cut the crop at an optimum time for quality and increase harvest efficiency through strip grazing the windrows.

By Gary Stone, Extension Educator Invasive Resistant Pest Issue Team

Last year in another state, 14 horses died and another 100 were sickened from hay that contained blister beetles. Usually Blister beetles are not a problem, but growers should be aware of the insect and what to scout for in their fields.

The Pest: The blister beetle (scientific name Epicauta spp., order Coleoptera, family Meloidae) includes several species: ash-gray blister beetle (Epicauta fabricii), black blister beetle (Epicauta pennsylvania), three-striped blister beetle (Epicauta vittata), and spotted blister beetle (Epicauta maculata).

Anyone who receives a package in the mail with unsolicited seeds from China is encouraged not to plant them, but to contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) office in Lincoln.

According to John Thomas, Nebraska Extension Educator based in Alliance, Extension has been receiving some inquiries about the seeds, and has received the following guidance from the Lincoln APHIS office:

Anyone receiving the seeds should call the Lincoln APHIS office at (402) 434-2346 for additional instruction.

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