Tag Archives: agriculture

(LINCOLN, NE) – The John Deere agricultural dealers in the State have teamed-up to contribute $60,000 for disaster relief.  The donations are being distributed to a variety of programs aiding farmers, ranchers and rural communities.  In addition to the contributions, the dealers are each providing additional relief including much needed supplies and equipment. 


“It’s important for those facing such widespread destruction to know they have support,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Plains Equipment Group.  “The Deere dealers uniting for a common cause to help our friends and neighbors is really special, and shows the kindness of the people of Nebraska.” 


John Deere dealerships pulling together for the relief effort included Landmark Implement, AgriVision Equipment Group, Green Line, Platte Valley Equipment, Stutheit Implement Co., Plains Equipment Group, Grossenburg Implement, and 21st Century Equipment LLC.

As in life, sometimes things don’t go as planned on the farm. A prime example is when my husband and 6-year-old son recently brought home an orphaned heifer from a family friend’s herd. The calf was just a few hours old when she moved into our barn and started receiving care. It was during one of the bitter-cold weeks when farmers were working around the clock to ensure — to the best of their abilities — the health and safety of their animals. The mother didn’t make it, and without stepping in, the calf would not have survived either.

When the calf was in the barn, the boys immediately fed her, and put a heat lamp on her. Over the next few days my son, husband and I taught that calf how to drink from a bottle.

It wasn’t easy. It was cold. It required putting on extra layers and leaving the comforts of our home to trudge to the barn in the dark at times. It required waking up earlier or stepping away from a favorite cartoon or waiting to eat a meal. It required patience and strength while the calf was held and slowly, but surely, learned how to get its milk. During this time the calf was not the only one learning.

At first, my son was quite apprehensive about holding the bottle while a squirmy, hungry calf made her best efforts to fill her belly. Besides, holding four pints of milk replacer in a large bottle can be tough for a kindergartener.

Soon the calf figured out how to nurse, and my son became comfortable with feeding.

We’re at the point now that our son can take the bottle out to the barn before he leaves for school in the morning and when he gets home at night. He feeds his calf without our help. Yes, we still assist him on occasion, but our kindergartner is the one making sure the calf is fed and cared for every day. (My husband and I keep a watchful eye on him from a distance.)

When I mentioned my son’s chores and newly assigned responsibilities to a coworker recently, the response I received was, “Wow! That’s a lot for a little boy his age.”

I thought about that comment for perhaps a little too long and began to question whether our expectations of our son are set too high. In the end, I came to the same conclusion I’m sure my parents and my husband’s parents came to when we were children: it’s an appropriate age, especially for our child.

Lady Bird Johnson once said “children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.”

My son is capable of this responsibility because I know he can do it.
Even though the initial days with that little calf were trying, and tears were shed, and the “I can’t do it” statements were made, and the feedings took an extremely long time to complete, my husband and I assured our son that he was capable of handling this situation.

My husband and I are setting the stage for our son to experience grit, determination, hard work and the ability to persevere. And while living on a farm requires all of the above plus more, life in general does as well. We’re doing our part to prepare our son to face and respond to challenges in the future.

While a lot of things don’t go as planned for us on the farm, one thing will remain a constant: our children will be accountable and held responsible for tasks on our farm — even if they seem daunting for a child — because we believe our children can and will meet the expectations set for them. I have found when things don’t go as planned, we too learn new ways of doing things and find out what is possible to accomplish within the farm and within ourselves. Our son is finding this out with his calf.

Chores that once seemed daunting are now fun, he has a sense of purpose and an understanding that his calf depends on him for its wellbeing. The lessons learned in the barn on these cold mornings before school will be ones we as parents feel will help him succeed in school and life, whether he chooses to follow us on the farm or make his own path in the world.

Nebraska – For the month of March 2019, topsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 2 short, 47 adequate, and 51 surplus, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 4 short, 62 adequate, and 34 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 34 fair, 53 good, and 8 excellent.

Kansas – For the week ending March 24, 2019, there were 2.3 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Topsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 1 short, 64 adequate, and 35 surplus.

Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 1 short, 72 adequate, and 27 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 8 poor, 37 fair, 45 good, and 7 excellent.

Weekly reports will begin April 1st for the 2019 season.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is updating its scrapie regulations and program standards. These updates include several major changes, which are needed to continue the fight to eradicate scrapie from American sheep flocks and goat herds. Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy disease that affects the central nervous system in sheep and goats, and is eventually fatal.

The changes APHIS is making today to update the program are supported by the sheep and goat industry and incorporate the latest science to provide APHIS with increased flexibility as we work together with producers to get rid of this disease.

Scientific studies show that sheep with certain genotypes are resistant to or less susceptible to classical scrapie and are unlikely to get the disease. Because of this, APHIS is changing the definition of a scrapie high-risk animal so that it no longer includes most genetically-resistant and genetically-less susceptible sheep. These animals pose a minimal risk of developing or transmitting scrapie, and by no longer considering them high-risk, they will no longer need to be depopulated or permanently restricted to their home farm.

The updated regulations and program standards will give the agency’s epidemiologists and leadership more flexibility to determine flock designations and deal with scrapie types that pose a minimal risk of spreading, including Nor-98 like scrapie. It also allows APHIS to determine – based on science – that additional genotypes are resistant without going through rule making. This will allow science and experience to guide decision-making as we identify fewer and fewer cases and move toward eradication.

APHIS is also updating specific identification requirements for goats and certain recordkeeping requirements for sheep and goats, which will provide increased animal disease traceability. Traceability is provided for certain classes of sheep and goats by the scrapie program, but strengthening traceability – particularly for goats – is important. This rule will bring goat identification and record-keeping requirements up to the level of the sheep industry, improving slaughter surveillance. Official identification will now be required for goats 18 months of age or older and for all sexually-intact goats under 18 months of age moving for purposes other than slaughter or feeding for slaughter, with some exceptions. Both industries will see recordkeeping changes. Sheep and goats moving in slaughter channels will now be required to have an owner/shipper statement. This statement must include group/lot identification, unless the animals are individually identified with official tags.

APHIS proposed updates to the scrapie regulations and program standards in September 2015 and accepted comments for 90 days. APHIS carefully reviewed the comments and made adjustments to the rule and program standards to address the concerns raised.

Click Here to read the rule in today’s Federal Register.

It takes effect 30 days following publication in the Federal Register, with one exception. States will need to meet scrapie surveillance minimums to maintain their consistent-state status in the eradication program. If a state does not meet the sampling requirements at the end of Fiscal Year 2019, it must provide APHIS with a plan within one year for coming into compliance and be in compliance within two years of the effective date of the final rule.

The American Sheep Industry Association is working with Dr. Cindy Wolf of Minnesota and Dr. Jim Logan of Wyoming to pull together more information on how these changes will affect American sheep producers. Look for additional materials from ASI in the week to come.

The recent flooding has impacted many of our colleagues, students and communities. To meet immediate needs, the University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska at Omaha will open a Flood Relief Donation Management Center.

Donations will be accepted from the public beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 26. Anyone impacted by the floods may come to the center for aid beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 27.

“We want to provide an inclusive, safe and effective way for our university and medical center community to contribute to the relief effort,” said Pat O’Neil, assistant dean for finance and administration in the College of Allied Health Professions, who is directing the effort at the request of UNMC and UNO Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.

“Having a single secure site and a clearly defined list of needed supplies will optimally assist those in need and minimize waste,” Dr. Gold said. “We will continue to assess the needs as the recovery progresses and support those impacted across all aspects of our core mission.”

The Flood Relief Donation Management Center team will be helped by the Field Innovation Team (FIT), a non-profit relief organization whose non-crisis mission is to teach communities and individuals how to be resilient against disasters. FIT representatives will be here the week of March 25 to help UNMC/Nebraska Medicine and UNO set up and manage the donation center on the UNMC campus.

“We’ll be strategic in the donations we accept to ensure that we’re being good partners in the relief effort,” O’Neil said. “For that reason, our call for donations will be coordinated with other local agencies.”

Anyone interested in donating items is encouraged to check the list of requested items, as it is subject to change. At this time, the following donations are requested:


Safe Recovery Pack/Personal Protective Equipment

o                  Respirators/N-95 masks

o                  Work gloves

o                  Goggles

o                  Foot covers

o                  Tyvek suits

o                  Hand sanitizer

o                  Other protective items


Cleaning Supplies

o                  Bleach

o                  Cleaning supplies/SOS pads

o                  Dish soap

o                  Disinfectant wipes

o                  Disposable gloves

o                  Buckets (five gallon)

o                  Mops

o                  Wet/dry vacuums

o                  Detergent

o                  Paper towels

o                  Toilet paper

o                  Trash bags

o                  Masks

o                  Heavy-duty garbage bags

o                  Shovels


Personal Hygiene

o                  Shampoo

o                  Soap

o                  Towels

o                  Toothpaste

o                  Toothbrushes

o                  Deodorant

o                  Feminine hygiene products

Donations may be by dropped off at UNMC General Supply (Annex 22), 601 S. Saddle Creek Rd., in Omaha, beginning March 26 and weekdays thereafter from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Donors will receive a receipt for their tax-deductible donations.

Community members may come to the center during open hours to request needed supplies, access an array of community resources and safety information. Supplies requested by other relief agencies will be distributed to those agencies.

The Flood Relief Donation Management Center also will collect monetary donations, which will be used to meet any needs that are not satisfied by material donations. Credit card and cash donations can be accepted on site. A website for monetary donations is being established; details will be available soon.

The center will be open to those seeking aid beginning Wednesday, March 27, and weekdays thereafter, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Feed a Bee, the national pollinator forage initiative by Bayer, today announced it has reached its goal of awarding grants supporting diverse forage for honey bees and other pollinators in all 50 states. The 50th recipient awarded recently wasGateway to the Arctic Camp in Talkeetna, Alaska.

Dedicated to service and agriculture, the nonprofit camp teaches the significance of serving those in need and the value of hard work through fun activities involving sustainability, farming and environmental stewardship. This summer it will dedicate an entire field as forage for bees and other pollinators where campers of all abilities, including those with special needs, will discover the connection between honey bees and the crops they pollinate.

“We’re proud to have awarded more than $650,000 for pollinator-focused planting projects over the last three years,” said Dr. Becky Langer, project manager, Bayer North American Bee Care Program. “We’re now connected to nearly 170 organizations all over the country who are thinking critically about how to diversify forage for pollinators, have put that plan to action and, equally important, have integrated educational components encouraging their local community to get involved.”

“The Feed a Bee grant is a welcomed and powerful resource to continue our forage efforts at the farm,” said Raymond Nadon, executive director, Gateway to the Arctic Camp. “We’re committed to teaching Alaskans of all ages about the important role of honey bees and other pollinators in our ecosystem, and their connection to our food supply.”

Experts agree that one of the major health challenges facing honey bees is a lack of forage and habitat. Launched by the Bayer North American Bee Care Program in 2015, Feed a Bee has provided funds and sponsored educational activities encouraging people to get involved in meeting this need. To date, those efforts have led to the distribution of more than 3 billion pollinator-attractant wildflower seeds across the country.

In addition to Gateway’s efforts in Alaska, other groups awarded funding for their pollinator efforts include the Living Coast Discovery Centerin San Diego, which is establishing a native pollinator garden, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which is planting pollinator-attractant wildflowers on former cropland and oil fields. Other recipients include additional nonprofits, growers and grower organizations, beekeepers and beekeeper groups, businesses, schools, clubs, gardening groups, government agencies, and more.

Feed a Bee proposals and grant submissions are selected by a steering committee comprised of independent educators, researchers and scientists. Members include:

  • Billy Synk – Project Apis m.
  • Dan Price – Sweet Virginia Foundation
  • Diane Wilson – Applewood Seed
  • Doris Mold – American Agri-Women
  • Keith Norris – The Wildlife Society
  • Barry Neveras – Massey Services
  • Nicole Hindle – Ernst Seed
  • Vince Restucci – R. D. Offutt Company
  • Richard Johnstone – IVM Partners
  • Scott Longing – Texas Tech University
  • Scott Witte – Cantigny
  • Zac Browning – American Beekeeping Federation; Project Apis m.; Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund

Feed a Bee, an initiative launched by the Bayer Bee Care Program, continues the company’s 30-year history of supporting bee health. For more information on Bayer bee health initiatives, please visit: http://beehealth.bayer.us. You can also follow and share with us on Twitter @BayerBeeCare, on Facebook at facebook.com/BayerBeeCareCenter and view photos on Flickr.


Bayer is committed to bringing new technology and solutions for agriculture and non-agricultural uses. For questions concerning the availability and use of products, contact a local Bayer representative, or visit Crop Science, a division of Bayer, online atwww.cropscience.bayer.us.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Rain storms expected later this week could lead to another crest along the Missouri River and its tributaries just as residents are cleaning up from this spring’s flooding.

National Weather Service hydrologist Kevin Low said that more than an inch of rain is expected to fall in Nebraska and Iowa later this week.

Low says the storms between Wednesday and Friday could create a 1-foot rise in the level of the Missouri River around Omaha and cities downstream starting next weekend.

But it’s not yet clear how much additional flooding that rise could create.

LINCOLN, NE – As the flood water recedes and snow melts, farmers and ranchers are getting a better look at the amount of damage their operations have suffered from last week’s extreme weather events.

One of the more significant losses experienced by landowners has been livestock death. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has assistance available to help landowners cope with the aftermath of livestock death.

Through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program, commonly referred to as EQIP, farmers and ranchers can apply for assistance to properly dispose of dead livestock. Applications are being accepted now through July 1, 2019.

NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “This was an unprecedented and devastating event for Nebraska. Some ranchers are dealing with hundreds of dead animals. This is not only damaging to their bottom-line, but if these animals are not disposed of properly, there could be negative impacts to water quality and other natural resources. NRCS conservationists are available to provide technical and financial assistance to help producers dispose of livestock carcasses in a safe manner.”

Producers who have not already disposed of livestock can apply for EQIP now. Producers can then get a waiver to allow them to begin working to dispose of deceased livestock before having an approved EQIP contract.

“Typically, producers cannot begin working on an EQIP practice before their EQIP contract has been approved. But since this situation is so time-critical, NRCS is encouraging producers to sign up for EQIP first, then submit a waiver to go ahead and begin animal disposal prior to having their EQIP contract approved,” Derickson said.

Producers in the area who suffered other damages due to the blizzard and flooding – such as damaged fencing, water sources, or windbreaks – may also seek assistance from NRCS through general EQIP funding. The sign-up period for general EQIP is continuous and has no cut off application date.

Derickson said, “NRCS is committed to helping producers get back on their feet after these extreme weather events while also ensuring Nebraska’s natural environment remains healthy and productive.”

For more information about the programs and assistance available from NRCS, visit your local USDA Service Center orwww.ne.nrcs.usda.gov.

Governor Laura Kelly yesterday toured counties damaged by flooding in Kansas and Nebraska with Maj. General Lee Tafanelli from the Kansas National Guard, Deputy Director Angee Morgan from the Kansas Department of Emergency Management and Acting Director Earl Lewis from the Kansas Water Office. They flew by helicopter to Leavenworth and then up the Missouri River Basin surveying the damage and relief efforts.

Kelly signed an executive order yesterday easing motor carrier regulations to expedite emergency relief and restoration. Last week, the governor issued a state of disaster emergency declaration for several counties affected by flooding. Local, state and federal partners will continue to work together to address the needs of communities and rural areas.

With the Federal Reserve hinting at leaving interest rates unchanged in 2019, the farm economy has one less chance for deterioration. Low-interest rates have been cited as the reason the current farm economy has not reached the crisis seen in the 1980s.

Politico reports that while farmers are having losses, those losses don’t compare to the 1980s when interest rates were between 10 and 20 percent, compared to the five or six percent rates seen today. Despite declining farm income and low commodity prices, the low-interest rates are keeping land values strong.

The Federal Reserve bank this week signaled interest rates will not likely be raised in 2019, veering away from the previous plan that included two interest rate hikes this year. Chairman Jerome Powell noted that there is “major uncertainty” regarding the U.S. economic picture, suggesting that the outlook is overall positive, but growth “is slowing somewhat more than expected.”