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LINCOLN – Charles “Chuck” Hibberd, retired Dean and Director of Nebraska Extension, was selected by Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC) members to receive the Council’s highest honor, the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute’s (NAYI) Award of Merit. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) oversees NAYC and NAYI.

 Since NAYI was held virtually this year, NAYC head counselors Felicia Knoerzer and Courtney Nelson surprised Hibberd earlier in the year with the award at his office on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus. The Award of Merit presentation was video recorded for NAYI delegates to view this week along with nearly 100 additional videos and resources about the ag industry in Nebraska and careers in agriculture.

 As Dean and Director of Nebraska Extension for the past seven-plus years, Hibberd led efforts to provide outreach and information to students, ag producers, and processors across the state. Nebraska Extension is housed within UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Hibberd, a Lexington native, retired June 30.

 “Chuck’s collaborative efforts, innovative style, and strong commitment to Nebraska Extension and agriculture will impact Nebraskans for years to come,” said NAYC Advisor Christin Kamm. “He is very deserving of this honor.”

Hibberd received his bachelor’s degree from UNL in animal science and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in animal science and animal nutrition from Oklahoma State University. He joined the faculty at Oklahoma State after graduation and immediately became involved in Extension programs across Oklahoma and later with programs in Scottsbluff, Nebraska and Indiana before the start of his career with Nebraska Extension in 2012.

 “During Chuck’s tenure at the Nebraska Extension, he used wisdom and teamwork to face difficult challenges, including the organization’s response to the historic blizzards and flooding in Nebraska in 2019 and this year’s efforts to respond to COVID-19,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “We will miss working with him at the Nebraska Extension. We wish him well in his retirement.”

 Also during NAYI week, the NAYC Alumni presented this year’s $1,000 scholarship award to Kelli Mashino, from Spencer, Nebraska, for her work and dedication to the NAYC and the Nebraska agriculture industry. Mashino is a senior at UNL majoring in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communication.  She is also Vice President of NAYC’s Social Media/Communications and Promotions Committee.

 The scholarship award is given annually to a NAYC member who shares a passion for agriculture with peers and the youth of Nebraska. In a welcome video to NAYI delegates, Mashino thanked the group for the opportunity to serve on the Council and also gave thanks to the many sponsors who help make NAYI possible.

 “NAYI impacts people for the rest of their lives, and I’m thankful to be a part of this year’s event,” said Mashino.

Lincoln, Nebraska, June 29, 2020 — Bruce Anderson has been making hay with the Hay and Forage Minute radio program, which airs on stations across Nebraska, since February 1991. Over nearly 30 years, Anderson, a Nebraska Extension forage specialist, has written and recorded more than 3,000 radio shows on warm-season grasses, forage quality for hay and pasture systems, and forage-livestock systems.  

 Anderson, who grew up on a small dairy farm in south-central Minnesota, started his first job out of college at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln on Sept. 7, 1979. He never left.

 “I never saw any opportunities that would provide me something that I could accomplish more there than I could here,” Anderson said.

 When the Hay and Forage Minute first started, it aired only on KRVN, which soon found a sponsor for the program. 

 “It became a no-brainer after a while,” Anderson said. “I knew it was something that could really fit and nobody else was doing it.”

 In its second year, the program expanded from the KRVN station in Lexington to stations in West Point and Grand Island. Since then, as many as 50 Nebraska radio stations pick up the program weekly.

 Anderson is set to retire on June 30, during National Forage Week.

 He said his work on the program has been rewarding.   

 “I think that it’s easy to discuss challenges that producers have — Nebraskans are good at asking questions,” Anderson said. “They recognize that there’s nothing to be ashamed of about talking about things that aren’t going well or that they want to try. I think I’ve been able to effectively encourage them to do so and be comfortable in the discussions. That has been the rewarding thing about the whole business.”

 The foundation and following Anderson has built will continue in a slightly modified program called the Pasture and Forage Minute, a Nebraska Extension production.

 Daren Redfearn, Nebraska Extension forage systems specialist, who began his graduate program at Nebraska in the early ’90s when Anderson first kicked off the Hay and Forage Minute, is one of four extension professionals who will succeed Anderson.

 “We wanted this to continue with the primary forage flavor, if you will,” Redfearn said. “When we need to step across the discipline lines, we are able to do that, as well. We hope to not leave anybody out, and we hope to draw some new folks in.”

 The other voices of the Pasture and Forage Minute will be Ben Beckman, beef systems educator; Megan Taylor, cropping systems specialist; and Brad Schick, beef systems educator. Along with Redfearn, they will produce three Pasture and Forage Minute programs per week.

 In Nebraska, the forage, pasture and grassland industry is worth $2 billion annually.

 The Pasture and Forage Minute will continue with its well-known radio spots but will expand to include an in-depth podcast to reach agricultural businesses, producers who are livestock-based with some forages, and crop producers who raise forages without livestock.

 “The thing that makes Nebraska unique is that we’ve got an awful lot of grassland in the state, in addition to alfalfa and grass hay production,” Redfearn said. “I think that’s going to open up our audience quite a bit just because of the diversity of forage management systems that we have in Nebraska.”

As for Anderson, he will custom graze cow-calf pairs on the farm this summer and garden.