Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center closes office, but carries on operations; Extension learning opportunities still available online.

Due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the Panhandle Research and Extension Center will be closing its office in Scottsbluff to walk-in traffic, effective at 5 p.m. Friday, March 20, until further notice. This includes the Scotts Bluff County Extension Office.

The Extension Office’s telephone number, 308-632-1485, is still available to leave a message. Calls will be forwarded to an employee who is working remotely. Voicemails will be checked frequently and responded to. People who need to contact Extension staff should be able to continue to use telephone or email as before.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is working to ensure that all employees able to work from home plan to do so starting March 23. In response to this directive, Panhandle Center Director Jack Whittier said the center will close its offices to the public while carrying on its work, allowing faculty and staff to work from home whenever possible.

Faculty and staff will be carrying out research work and other essential functions to keep the building and activities running. Arrangements are being made to accept deliveries and mail. But the front doors will be closed.

Nebraska Extension has already cancelled all face-to-face teaching events statewide through at least May 9. However, Extension will find other ways to deliver learning opportunities to Nebraskans. Many Extension programs will be available online.

“Nebraska Extension is still open for information, consultations, and problem-solving,” as Chuck Hibberd, Dean and Director of Nebraska Extension, puts it. The entire Nebraska Extension network of professionals is available, even while changes are made in office operations.

“Our objective, first and foremost, is the safety of our university community, safety of our loved ones and safety of the broader community we call home,” UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green said in a university-wide email sent March 18. “We know that social distancing provides the best opportunity to flatten the curve on the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the impact of this disease — both in numbers and the impact on our health care system.”

Up-to-date information on cancellations, postponements, and other changes in Extension events will be posted on County Extension websites and also the Panhandle Extension Center’s website,

More information about Nebraska Extension’s operations during the Coronavirus outbreak is available at Nebraska Extension’s main website, That’s in addition to topic-specific, research-based information at a number of websites operated by Nebraska, including: CropWatch is a central resource for University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension information on crop production and pest management. Information is organized into two key areas. The CropWatch newsletter includes timely articles published to the site's home page. New issues are published weekly during the heart of the crop production season and generally biweekly during the remainder of the year. The website also includes Crop-specific production and pest management sections. Extension’s beef website focuses on providing research-based information and resources to beef producers to help them provide an economical, safe, quality product to consumers while protecting and preserving Nebraska's natural resources. The site is organized to allow producers to find information specific to an area of interest. A faculty and staff expertise directory is provided. The Food website houses information on food, fitness and recipes, educational resources, food safety and preservation, local foods, and youth/4-H as well as links to the Nutrition Education Program, Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, Meat Products, and the Food Processing Center. This website from the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources has sections on groundwater, surface water, ag production, residential water use, and UNL units that work on water issues.