Monday, July 21, 2014

Webster Co. BBQ Contest Winners named.

The team of Alber, Sharp,and Sharp Cookers won first place in the first ever Webster County Agricultural Association BBQ Cook-off held in Bladen at the Webster County Fair Sunday.  The Big daddy’s came in second and Kinley Camp was third. 

The A.S.&S. team received the vote of the judges and was the people’s choice winner as well.

Six teams competed for the honor of best BBQ Chef of the county including a team from Texas.  Scott Bittner team captain of the Texas team said  the competition was all in good fun and he felt it was a nice addition to the fair.  He had attended the fair for the last several years because he has friends in the area.

Saturday evening each team received their beef Brisket and was free to begin cooking as soon as they received it.   The teams spent all day and night perfecting their entry.  They were advised to have it turned in and ready for judging at 6 P.M. Sunday. Each team was also required to prepare a side dish to go along with the brisket.  The Winning team served smoked mushroom with their brisket.  Another team served a smoked mac and cheese dish that received favorable comments from the crowd who got to purchase a meal of the results of the contest after the conclusion of the judging. 

Andy Alber, captain of the team of Alber, Sharp and Sharp Cookers, (the Sharps being Alber’s stepson, Ethan and Garret) said that they had been practicing for the event since Christmas time.  He said they had watched the TV show Pit Master to perfect their method and had tried out a number of recipes. Even though they won the contest Alber said he was disappointed that his entry wasn’t the best brisket he had cooked over the last several months.  Just the same Alber, Sharp and Sharp are ready to accept the title of Champion Brisket Cookers of Webster County.  Although pleased to win the grand prize, a nice grill, Alber says his team is most pleased to have bragging rights.  “It isn’t really about winning, “he said “It’s about having fun.”

The BBQ Cook off contest ended an entire day of activities which included an all-faith church service, a community potluck dinner, a gospel concert in the open-air auditorium and the ever popular 4H ice cream roll.  A full slate of activities will follow this week at the Webster County fairgrounds.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pearl Matthews May 18, 1925 to May 11, 2014

Pearl Matthews 88, formerly of Blue Hill passed away in May 11, 2014, in Des Moines, IA. Graveside memorial services will be held at the Blue Hill Cemetery on August 2nd at 10:30 a.m.
Pearl was born on May 18, 1925. She was the daughter of Ethel Reguera Jarvis and Galan Reguera. She married Virgil Matthews on Jan. 31, 1944. Pearl worked for many years at the Hastings Regional Center.
Survivors include her daughters Dolores Bayless; Gin (Dave) Harlow; Susan Hernandez; and Carol (Thayne) Matthews.
Grandchildren Kristina, Beverly, Matthew, Daniel, Allegra and Sierra. Great-grandchildren Brett, Megan, Julian, Veronica, Kiara, Lexi, Ashton and Elle. Sisters Rose (Myron) Simon and Dolores (Alfred) Blumstein along with nieces
and nephews. Pearl will be deeply missed by all of those who love her.
Proceeded in death by husband Virgil; son Virgil; grandsons Lawrence and Nathan; and great-granddaughter Ariana.
Special thanks to her friends and her caregivers at Fountain West. Memorials may be sent to the family.

Friday, July 18, 2014


July 19-27: Webster County Fair, Bladen, NE
July 19: Webster County Fair 4-H and FFA Horse Show, 9:00 am – Working Ranch Horse Competition Following
July 19-20: Webster County Ag Association BBQ Cook-Off Contest, Webster County Fairgrounds, Bladen, NE  Entry due June 1
July 20: Webster County Fair Community Church Services, Gospel Singers, 4-H Ice Cream Roll, Ice Cream Social, Barbeque Contest, Bladen, NE
July 21: Last day to comment on new EPA Clean Water Act -Waters of the US Language Change,
July 26: Webster County Fair Mud Drags, Webster Co. Fairgrounds, Bladen, NE Mike Reiman at 402-984-7716
July 29: Nebraska Manure Exposition, Lexington, NE
July 29: Webster County Fair Feedback Meeting, Webster County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Bladen, NE 7:00 pm
Aug. 1-3: Red Cloud Street Car Days, 9:00 am.  Red Cloud, NE
Aug. 3: Hastings Saddle Club Gaming Fun Show, 9 am, Adams County Fairgrounds, Hastings, NE or 402-461-6104
Aug. 16-17: Loup Valley Livestock Challenge, (County Fair Champions) Loup County Fairgrounds, Ord, NE
Aug. 16-17: Annual PVAMA Show at Crystal Lake Recreation Area, Ayr, Ne.
Aug. 20: State Fair Static Exhibits to the Nebraska State Fairgrounds, Fonner Park, Grand Island, NE
Aug. 21: West Central Crops and Water Field Day, Brule South Farm, Brule, NE Contact: Chuck Burr -  308-696-6783
Aug. 22-Sept. 1: Nebraska State Fair, Fonner Park, Grand Island, NE
Aug. 28: High Plains Nutrition Roundtable, West Central Water Research Lab, Brule, NE
Sept. 1: Labor Day
Sept. 7: National Grandparent's Day
Sept. 9-11: Husker Harvest Days
Sept. 11: National Patriot’s Day
Sept. 11: Webster County Fairboard Meeting, Webster County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Bladen, NE 8:00 pm
Sept. 13: Red Cloud September Fest, City Park and Community Center, Red Cloud, NE  402-746-2211
Sept. 22: Autumn Officially Begins - 3:44 pm CDT
Sept. 26-29: Ak-Sar-Ben River City Roundup, CenturyLink Center, Omaha, NE
Sept. 7: CASNR Reunion, UNL East Campus Union, prior to the Nebraska vs. Illinois Homecoming football game
Oct. 5: Harvest Celebration, Prairie Loft Center, Hastings, NE 1:00 – 6:00 pm, Amy Sandeen
Oct. 5: World Teacher's Day
Oct. 8: South Central Land Judging, Little Blue NRD TBA
Oct. 9-10: UNL Extension Front Door Forum - TBA
Oct. 13: Columbus Day
Oct. 13: Webster County Fairboard Meeting, Webster County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Bladen, NE 7:30 pm
Oct. 29-Nov. 1: National FFA Convention, Louisville, KY
Oct. 31: Halloween
Nov. 2: Daylight Savings Time Ends, Turn Clocks Back
Nov. 4: Election Day
Nov. 4-5: The State of Beef Conference, Sandhills Convention Center, North Platte, NE Rick Funston
Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day
Nov. 27: Thanksgiving Day 
Dec. 4: Webster County Christmas Greenery Workshop, Webster County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Bladen, NE 402-746-3417
Dec. 6: Webster County Christmas Greenery Workshop, Webster County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Bladen, NE 402-746-3417
Dec.10-12: Nebraska Cattlemen Annual Convention, TBA, Kearney, NE
Dec. 11: Webster County Fairboard Meeting, Webster County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Bladen, NE 7:30 pm
Dec. 25: Christmas

Crisis at the Border

Rep. Adrian Smith

In recent weeks, I have heard from many Nebraskans concerned by the growing crisis at our southern border.  The problem of illegal immigration is nothing new, but this year there has been a surge of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children mostly from Central America crossing into our country. 
Families in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are sending their children alone to the United States because they believe they will have greater opportunities here.  They are also being encouraged by the belief children will be allowed to stay in the United States if they make it across the border – even if they are undocumented.  The President’s choice to not enforce certain immigration laws has only made this problem worse.
It is imperative we stop the flow of unaccompanied children to our country not only to protect our national security and sovereignty, but also to protect the children being sent here.  The border between the U.S. and Mexico is increasingly violent as rival drug cartels fight for territory and smuggling routes.  Unaccompanied children are especially at risk of being subjected to violence, human trafficking, and sexual predators.
The first step should be to secure the border.  President Obama should deploy the National Guard to help our border patrol enforce immigration laws.  The Administration has already started running commercials in Central American countries to dispel the rumors children will be allowed to stay in the U.S., and to warn parents of the dangers of attempting to cross the borders.  This is an important first step, but our rhetoric must be backed up with action.
While I and many others are sympathetic to the needs of the children already here, allowing them to stay indefinitely only encourages more to attempt this dangerous journey.  We need to work quickly to return these children to their home countries and families as quickly and safely as possible.
We need greater transparency about how many undocumented, unaccompanied children are in the country and where they are staying.  I and many others, including Governor Dave Heineman, were surprised to learn more than 200 unaccompanied child immigrants have been moved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to Nebraska.  I joined the Governor and several other members of the Nebraska delegation in writing to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to request more information so safeguards can be put in place to protect the health and safety of our communities as well as to protect Nebraska taxpayers from additional burdens.
I have also introduced legislation requiring HHS to provide states with advanced notification about the undocumented immigrant children relocated to their state.  Senator Johanns has introduced the Senate version of this bill.
I will continue to work to resolve this problem because the well-being of the children and the security of our national borders are too important to ignore.  I have heard from many Nebraskans on this issue, and I welcome your feedback, ideas, and solutions to this crisis.  

Smith Bill Would Require Advanced Notice When Unaccompanied Minors Moved to State

      Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced H.R. 5129, legislation which would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to give states advanced notice when unaccompanied minors are to be placed in a state. 
HHS recently announced more than 200 unaccompanied, undocumented immigrant minors have been moved to Nebraska this year.  However, the State of Nebraska was never given this information by HHS, and the department has not provided details about the children and where they are living in the state.
“As our nation continues to find solutions to the surge of unaccompanied children crossing our border, it is critical HHS communicate with state governments when these children are placed in our communities,” said Smith.  “States like Nebraska need this information to better anticipate the impacts on social services, school systems, community health, and state and local budgets.”
H.R. 5129 is the House companion bill to legislation introduced by Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) and co-sponsored by Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) in the U.S. Senate.  Smith’s bill was introduced with original co-sponsors Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE).  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gov. Heineman on Current immigration crisis:

Governor Heineman Makes a Statement Regarding the Immigration Crisis

(Lincoln, Neb.) Today, Gov. Dave Heineman made this statement regarding the current immigration crisis:
“I will not be intimidated by the liberal, left leaning ACLU. Calling me racist is offensive and I’m not going to comment further on it.
“I will continue to fight for Nebraskans and the State of Nebraska and our right to know the names of the unaccompanied illegal children who are being sent to Nebraska and the names of their sponsors.
“I can’t ensure that any illegal individual is not getting federal and state benefits if I don’t know who they are and if they are not in our system. I want to know who is going to pay for the education of these unaccompanied alien children that are being sent to Nebraska.
“Public health concerns have been raised about whether those coming into our country are receiving proper health screening to determine if they are carrying infectious diseases. According to a report by ABC News, the director of refugee health in the federal Health and Human Services Department has identified a breakdown of the medical screening process and there are reports of sick children. Federal public health officials are convening briefings for states on this issue.
“Even President Obama is stating, ‘Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back.’”

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fischer Cosponsors Legislation Requiring Notification to States of Unaccompanied Minors

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) announced this evening she is cosponsoring legislation written by Senator Mike Johanns to require the federal government to notify states when unaccompanied minors are placed with family members or sponsors within states:

“As we continue to seek solutions to humanely address the crisis at the southern border, the lack of information coming from the federal government is frustrating state and community leaders in Nebraska and across the country. The legislation I am supporting simply provides governors with access to information – already held by the federal government – so they can work to ensure the health and safety of our communities. I continue to believe the federal government’s focus must be on safely returning these children to their home countries and finally and fully securing the southern border.”
The bill is available online HERE.

Johanns Introduces Legislation Requiring Notification of Governors When Unaccompanied Minors Placed in State


WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R- Neb.) today introduced legislation requiring the federal government to notify state officials if unaccompanied alien children are placed in their states. Since last October at least 57,000 unaccompanied children have entered the United States illegally from Central America. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is responsible for caring for these children while they await immigration court hearings, places these unaccompanied minors in shelters or with sponsors across the country.
“States have a right to know the federal government is taking actions that impact their communities,” Johanns said. “HHS’ refusal to share with state leaders as they relocate tens of thousands of children is unacceptable. Frankly, the entire federal approach to this crisis has been misguided. Because the President has refused to address the cause of the crisis, I am working with my colleagues to develop solutions. In the meantime, it’s reasonable for states to be informed of federal actions.”
HHS recently reported that approximately 200 unaccompanied minors have been placed with sponsors in Nebraska in fiscal year 2014.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ardyce L. McKinney December 10, 1925 to July 13, 2014

L. Ardyce McKinney, 88, of Rosemont , Neraska , died Sunday, July 13, 2014, at Brodstone Memorial Hospital, Superior , Nebraska.  Memorial Srvices will be Saturday, July 19, 2014, at 11 a.m. at Merten Butler Mortuary Chapel in Blue Hill, Nebraska, with Pastor Ben Sipes officiating.  Private family burial will be at the Blue Hill Cemetery, Blue Hill, Nebraska.  There will be no viewing or visitation as her wishes were to be cremated.  Memorials can be directed to Blue Hill Community Foundation, P. O. Box 65, Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Ardyce was born December 10 1925 to Dick and Lillian (Brown) Johnson at Cordova, Nebraska.  She graduated from Friend High school in 1942.  Following graduation she worked at the Naval Ammunition Depot in Hastings, Nebraska.  She moved to California with her sister to await the discharge of her fiance from the navy.  While she lived there she worked at a bank.  On June 30, 1946 she was united in marriage to Vernon "Beanie" McKinney.  They were blessed with 3 children, Cheri, Jack and Jim.
For 18 years Vernon and Ardyce owned and operated the Rosemont Grain Elevator in Rosemont, Nebraska.  Ardyce worked in the office, weighing trucks, doing the bookkeeping, helping get train cars ready to ship grain and even unloading trucks at the elevator if need be.  At the same time she always cooked a delicious meal for her family, taking care of her children and keeping up with her household chores. 
Shortly after they sold the grain elevator, Ardyce was offered a job at the Commercial Bank in Blue Hill, Nebraska and she worked there until her retirement.  Ardyce was an extremely level headed and giving person, always putting family and friends first.  She was a very proud of her family especially her grand children.
Ardyce is survived by one daughter, Cheri (Ray) biltoft of Hardy, Nebraska; two sons, Jack (Ella) McKinney of Marquette, Nebraska, Jim, (Connie) McKinney of Blue Hill, Nebraska six grandsons, Jerry Smock, Brad Biltoft, Brett, Rick, Scott and Jeff McKinney; grat-grandchildren, Jayme and Payton Smock, Taryn and Owen McKinney, Rayne Biltoft, Kate McKinney and Shannon Johnson; one brother, Cliff (Marilyn) Johnson of Milford, Nebraska; two sisters-in-law, Dorothy Sawyer of Hastings, Nebraska and Eileen Fallon of Puyallup, Washington; one brother-in-law, Dick (Jo) Jarosik of Marian, Iowa; several Nieces, nephews and friends.  She was preceded in death by her jparents; husband, Vernon; sister Lorraine; brother Frank; and a nephew, Dick Friend.

Ella June Prawl January 25, 1937 to July 12, 2014

Obituary for Ella June Prawl

Ella “June” Prawl, 77, of Grand Island, died on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at Saint Francis Medical Center.
Services will be held at 10:00 am on Wednesday, July 16, at All Faiths Funeral Home. Dan Naranjo will officiate. To honor June’s wishes cremation will take place, burial of ashes will follow the service in Grand Island City Cemetery.
She is survived by her three children: daughter, Phylis and Michael Sullivan of Grand Island; son, Donald and Charlotte Prawl of Grand Island; daughter, Brenda and Keith Scott of Des Moines, IA; sister, Rose Hargis of Blue Hill, NE; sisters-in-law, Bev Eastman of Grand Island, and Bev Tjaden of Omaha, NE; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Garold and Jean Prawl of Bridgeport, NY; and many many nieces and nephews.
Grandma June will be missed by her grandchildren, Allen and Rebecca Scott of Muscatine, IA, Suzette and Eric Horne of Omaha, NE, Tabitha and Tim Crowder of Des Moines, IA, Crystal Prawl and fiancé Peter Hansen of Grand Island, Elizabeth Prawl of Grand Island, Kathrine Sullivan of Grand Island, Patrick Sullivan of Grand Island; and great grandchildren, Andrew Crowder, Olivia Crowder, Flynn Horne and Anastasia Scott.
She is preceded in death by her husband Donald Lee Prawl, sister, Anna Hartman, brothers, William and John Tjaden.
June was born on January 25, 1937 to Pete and Fannie (Goldenstein) Tjaden in Blue Hill, NE. She was a 1954 graduate of Blue Hill High School. June married Don Prawl on August 14, 1960, this union was blessed with three children. They lived in Tennessee, Maryland, and Virginia Beach before settling in Grand Island.
She loved to read mystery books and spent hours putting puzzles together. June was a huge Husker Football fan, and enjoyed spring time when the sand hill cranes returned.
Memorials are suggested to the Rowe Sanctuary.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
     I heard several farmers make the explanation – “I guess it is our turn now!” All in regards to Wednesday night’s wind, hail and thunderstorm that hit a wide portion of South Central Nebraska.  I was supporting area young people in Lincoln for the Nebraska Ag Youth Institute Banquet  as well as the newest addition to the NAYI Award of Merit recipient of which I am a proud alumnus.
A good friend of mine from Ravenna got a disturbing phone call and photo of the damage done to his house, town and obviously the crops in that area. I called home to hear the word that Blue Hill  had high winds and driving rain but not much hail  and I sighed in relief. I waited out the storm centers and headed home feeling bad for those in Gibbon and Ravenna that made the news with reports of damage done.
     Little did I know that in the morning during my usual trip to the coffee shop that I would hear horror stories of the storm that left its ugly marks on crops, pivots, buildings and even pasture in a long strip just west of Blue Hill, running a bubble or two off North and South. I, of course, had to do a tour and headed up to Highway 74 to where I first saw the damage and followed it south past Highway 4. The wheat that had been standing that day suddenly looked like it had been cut, and way to close to the ground. Cornfields and soybean fields looked like something out of a science fiction novel. Eerie sticks of various lengths and sizes, not giving credence to the glory that had been there the day before.
     Of course there were variations of damage to fields and even amount of rain that fell. I was informed of everything from “not a darn thing but wind”; to “oh an inch or a little better”; to “heck I don’t know, the gauge ran over”! I think there was on either side of highway 4 reports of 4-6 inches and by the flow of water and erosion. There are even spots along the country road where the running water left proof of its fury. So I would say that range was pretty close. I also saw some full ponds and a dam or two that broke. When was the last time we worried about that?
     Naturally I have had several queries about some things we need to look for, what we can do with these fields, and some alternatives to give us cover or protection from disease and of course weeds coming where there should be a canopy of crops. Let’s take a look at some resources this week that are available to producers who have had the misfortune to win the lottery of weather calamities. The first place I suggest is going to the UNL Extension Disaster Recovery site at  which is a great resource to check out and share with others.  This site compiles resources for crops, livestock, horticulture, families, finance, cleanup, etc.  You can also find a wealth of crop resource information at UNL CropWatch:
     It is good to have Dr. Roger Elmore back with us. Many of you will remember him from the South Central Ag Lab which closed abruptly several years ago and we lost some good people to other states and locations. Well, he is back into the IANR folds and he has been active with working with these storm decisions. He, along with other UNL Extension specialists, have been working overtime to bring information to our producers over the last several weeks and now we will have the  opportunity in this area to benefit from the expertise. You will find  several articles of work at the CropWatch site. Specific topics that are up at this time with more to come are: “Cover Crops for Storm-Damaged Fields”, which can give us some alternatives in barren, storm-damaged fields. It is proven that cover crops can help protect and nurture the soil for the next crop season. A second article on “Post-Hail Assessment: The Benefits of Patience”, will allow you to view crop photos after hail in west central Nebraska and almost two weeks later as they recover. 
     Of course the standard answer from crop insurance adjustors is that we must wait 10-14 days to make a definitive decision on the amount of damage or insurance coverage allowed.  We are seeing fields that have a good chance of coming back, including many soybean fields. Which leads me to a third article – “Soybean Storm Damage and Crop Insurance Options”, which may give soybean producers some idea of what they need to know when visiting with their crop insurer. You will be surprised what that 10-14 days can do in the recovery of corn and beans – patience is a virtue!
     Emergency Outreach Meetings Being Held to Aid Landowners with Crop Damage from Recent Storms: Be sure to mark your calendar for two meetings that will be of great help to our producers in the major area hit. The meetings both will be held in different towns on Thursday, July 17 with the first one staring at 9:00 a.m. at the American Legion Club in Gibbon, and another be held at 2:00 p.m. at the Community Center in Blue Hill, These meetings are open to the public and will be conducted in an informal, open-discussion format with experts presenting and answering questions on: replanting options; crop insurance ramifications; nitrogen capture & cycling in hailed corn; cover crops for forages/soil health; and the NRCS EQIP Storm Damage Cover Crop Initiative. Landowners are encouraged to bring in samples of their damaged crops for an assessment of the extent of hail damage and the likelihood of recovery. Central Platte NRD, UNL Extension, Green Cover Seed, Ward Lab, and Arrow Seed are sponsoring the meetings. For more information contact Dean Krull at (402) 469-0155 or Keith Berns at (402) 469-6784. I was really keeping my fingers crossed that we would be spared with our crops looking so good, but Nature rules! Please keep our farmers who have had these losses in your thoughts and prayers! Those and your encouragement might be all that some of them will have to harvest.

The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster  County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: or go to the website at:   

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ruby A. Dotson

Ruby A. Dotson Campbell resident Ruby A. Dotson, 53, died Sunday, July 6, 2014, at Perkins Pavilion-Good Samaritan Village in Hastings. Services will be 10:30 a.m. Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Campbell with Rev. Ronald Kuehner officiating. Burial will be in the Naponee Cemetery in Naponee. Visitation will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Merten-Butler Mortuary in Blue Hill. A memorial has been established. Merten-Butler Mortuary, Blue Hill, Nebraska is in charge of arrangements.


     The 108th Webster County Fair at Bladen, Nebraska begins on Saturday, July 19 with the annual clean-up s at 8:00 am. The livestock portion of the fair starts officially at the Rodeo Grounds at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Bladen with the 4-H & FFA Horse Show which gets underway with a 10:30 am start time. The first ever open Beef BBQ competition starts that evening with check-in of teams, procurement of the beef for the contest and the official start of the preparation and cooking procedures from 5:00-7:00 pm.
     A new event this year is the All Faith Church Services  held in the open air arena on the rodeo side of the fairgrounds startimg at 10:30 am followed by a potluck or carry in dinner. To further the experience there will be Gospel Concert  starting at 12:30 pm. Please contact Pastor Dan Albers (Blue Hill and Bladen United Methodist Church) for further information.
Starting at 3:00 pm the 4-H youth can bring their favorite recipes for home-made ice cream and  participate in an ice cream roll using duct tape, coffee cans and ice to make ice cream to be judged.
     You will be able to discern the pleasing aroma of the Webster County Beef BBQ contest all day on Sunday, and will have the opportunity to participate during the judging of the BBQ presentations. Teams of “chefs” will be competing for the grand prize of a new grill and the bragging rights of being the best BBQers in South Central Nebraska. The nice part is that you can then purchase tickets for a meal which includes meat from your favorite BBQ team’s efforts. The rest of the week will bring a little different schedule of events than what has been followed in previous years. The following information will help both exhibitors and attendees prepare for the fair.  
     The youth portion of the fair continues through the week with the 4-H music contest and fashion show starting at 7:00 pm at the Blue Hill high school gymnasium in Blue Hill on Monday evening July 21.
A fan favorite, the 4-H/FFA cat, dog and exotic animal show begins at 4:00 pm in the evening starting with the dog show followed at 7:00 pm with the cat, small and exotic animal show.
Wednesday, July 23 brings the judging of the home environment, miscellaneous agriculture exhibits, foods, horticulture, photography, and other static exhibits starting that morning, with the 4-H and FFA Poultry and Rabbit show starting at 8:30 am. The First Year Bucket Calf competition will be held during the day and includes record book review, an interview and a complete bucket calf evaluation and showmanship event. Sheep, goats and hogs will be weighed in and checked in Wednesday morning, with breeding beef checked in at 6:00 pm and market beef weighed in at 7:00 pm that same evening. Please check your Webster County fair premium book for exact times for each species. Another new event for the fair this year is the 4-H & FFA Teen Youth “Beach Party” that will be held in the show arena from 8:30-11:00 p.m. to close out the evening.
     Thursday, July 24 starts at 8:30 am with the 4-H and FFA Swine Show. The swine show includes a breeding gilt class which is separate from the market swine show.  This will be followed  with the 4-H/FFA Sheep Show  at 10:00 am. The 4-H/FFA Meat Goat Show will follow Sheep Show. Once again there will be a “Best Dressed Goat” contest that will be held at the conclusion of the live show.  This usually proves to be an entertaining and fun event for exhibitors and spectators alike.
The 4-H/FFA Beef Show is split once again this year with the Beef Showmanship event beginning Thursday afternoon at 1:00 pm.
     Webster County is famous for the number and especially the quality of its beef exhibits.  This year is no exception. The top two senior and top two intermediate beef showmen will be determined at the Thursday afternoon show, but will come back on Friday morning to compete for Grand Champion Beef Showman under a different judge. The 4-H/FFA Market and Breeding Beef show will go all day Friday, July 25, starting at 8:30 a.m. with the finals of the Webster County Beef Showmanship.  The Market Beef Show will start at approximately 9:00 am and will include both the Rate of Gain and Carcass Contest results and the crowning of the Grand Champion Webster County Market Beef.
      The 4-H/FFA Breeding Beef show will begin at 1:30 pm, or ½ hour after the completion of the market beef show, depending on the heat index, on Friday afternoon.  The breeding beef show will conclude with the crowning of the Grand Champion Webster County Breeding Heifer and then the Supreme Champion Breeding Beef.  
 July 26 which will start out with the Annual FFA Breakfast which will be held in the open-air auditorium starting at 6:00 am. The annual 4-H & FFA Livestock Premium Auction and special Webster County Youth Foundation activities will be held that morning starting at 9:00 am. Premium on the Grand Champion of each species will each be sold at the beginning of the auction with the opportunity for the buyer to have their picture taken with the animal and exhibitor that they are supporting, and that picture will be given to each of them and forwarded to local newspapers.  The premium auction would then follow the procedures as it has in previous years.
     Saturday afternoon also features a very popular event each year with the Rainbow Classic where pre-4-H youth have a chance to show their pets and sibling’s exhibits in front of a dignitary judge. This fun event will start at 11:00 a.m.  The last 4-H & FFA competition of the fair is the State Fair qualifying Round Robin Showmanship event that starts at starting at 12:30 pm. The top showman in each of the large animal species will go head to head to determine who the Premier Showman at the Webster County Fair is. The winner has the opportunity to represent Webster County in the State Premier Livestock Showmanship competition.
     The last event of the Webster County 4-H and FFA Fair is a fun afternoon of activities for all ages being organized by Red Cloud and Blue Hill FFA Chapters and the Webster County Junior Leaders. The Webster County Junior Leaders will also sponsor a “Boot Scramble” each night before the rodeo with two age groups – 4 to 6 and 7 to 9. They are also planning an “Adult Boot Scramble” on Friday or Saturday evening’s rodeo.
     All exhibits should remain in place throughout the day on Saturday and through Saturday evening so that fair-goers will have a chance to see the exhibits that the youth have worked so diligently on during the year, bring to the fair for competition, and to show the public what they have accomplished. This includes static exhibits at the 4-H Exhibit Hall and the animals from the livestock barns. All non-auction exhibits will be released at 11:00 pm on Saturday night or Sunday morning before noon.
     All leaders, 4-H and FFA youth, parents are expected to return to the fairgrounds on Sunday morning (July 27) to load out the market animals for the buyers and to participate in the post-fair clean-up day. We ask that everyone grab shovels, brooms and pitchforks and and help put the fairgrounds back into pristine shape and ready for the 109th  edition of the Webster County Fair 2015.       
     The 4-H and FFA events are just a part of the Webster County Fair.  There are of course Open Class Exhibits, vendors and booths, and Midwest Amusements is this year’s Carnival. The Carnival will run from Wednesday night through Saturday night with armband night on Wednesday.  
 As always the Rodeo will be held in Webster County Fair Rodeo Arena located on the west half of the fairgrounds. It  kicks off on Thursday, July 24 with a Beef Barbeque at 5:00 pm followed by a watermelon feed, and the Rodeo Princess Contest. The Friday Rodeo is “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night with a portion of the gate going to fight cancer. It kicks off with a Pork Barbeque at 5:00 pm and ends with a dance with music provided by “DJ Bridwell Music.”  Saturday is the big day with another new event – “Webster County Fair Mud Drags” starting off at 12:00 noon. Steak lovers will have to get the South Central Cattlemen steak sandwich which will be offered from 4:00 pm until gone.  Registration for the KRVN “Endless Summer” 2014 Chevy Silverado pickup will take place between 6 & 8 pm. The rodeo will have its last go-round that night followed by the second night of dancing. There is a wild cow race each night of the rodeo and a chance to win a special Montana Silver belt buckle.
     For a more complete list of activities or any questions concerning the youth portion of the fair, please contact the Webster County extension office in Red Cloud at 402-746-3417 or check out the web site at: or  You can also find us on Facebook at “Webster County Fair & Rodeo.”

Monday, July 7, 2014

Farm Bill Tools Help Manage Risk, Guard Economy

Sen. Mike Johanns
Nebraska is no stranger to the forces of Mother Nature. From violent thunderstorms and tornadoes to blizzards to drought, we’ve seen many heart wrenching examples of destructive weather. This is especially true for our state’s ag producers, whose livelihoods are invested in land, livestock and equipment—all commonly exposed to the elements.
The impact of damaged or destroyed ag operations reaches far beyond the farm or ranch. In our state, where a third of all jobs are related to agriculture and our ag exports generate billions in economic activity, the success of our economy depends on the abilities of our producers to operate, even in the face of events beyond their control. Our ag producers are a hardy, self-reliant bunch. They don’t look for handouts and are usually the first to offer a hand when disaster strikes.  That’s why risk management programs are so important.
 This week, the Department of Agriculture announced it is moving forward with important updates to the crop insurance program, which I advocated for in this year’s farm bill. The goal is to provide greater flexibility and improved options for ag producers so they are prepared when disaster strikes, while minimizing taxpayer obligations by requiring producers to put skin in the game.
These programs are especially important for a new crop of farmers who are just starting out. For these beginning farmers one storm without a safety net could mean the end of their career. The new updates, authorized in the 2014 farm bill, will remove administrative hurdles for beginning farmers and ensure they can continue to build their operation even after damaging acts of nature.
Livestock disaster programs are critical for producers in the wake of devastating weather. Nebraska leads the nation in red meat production, so the health of our herds and the livelihood of our livestock producers are important planks to our ag economy. I was saddened to learn about livestock deaths following an early-season blizzard last year and tornadoes last month. The Livestock Indemnity Program has been reauthorized and producers are already getting needed assistance so they can continue fueling our economy. I will continue working with USDA to ensure our ag producers have access to this crucial backstop when they are in need, and that the programs are being administered correctly.
Ag producers across the state have told me they aren’t interested in government handouts, like the direct payment programs that ended with this year’s farm bill.  They just want the tools to manage their risk appropriately, and have the peace of mind that their life’s work will not be destroyed because of events beyond their control.  That’s exactly what these programs do.  They are important for our producers and they are important to grow our state’s economy. I will continue working with our farmers and ranchers to ensure they have the tools they need to be successful.

Johanns, Fischer Organize Effort to Preserve Nebraska Veterans’ Acts of Valor

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns and Deb Fischer today announced an effort to honor Nebraska’s veterans by recording and preserving their stories for future generations. Johanns’ and Fischer’s staff will conduct interviews for the Veterans History Project (VHP) and technicians with StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative will also be on hand to conduct audio interviews for their archives.
Johanns said, “This past weekend we celebrated our freedom and independence, but that wouldn’t have been possible if not for the sacrifices made by the members of our Armed Forces. One of the best ways to honor them is by preserving their first-hand accounts of heroism, courage and bravery so future generations can hear – not just read in a text book – the great price paid for the liberties we often take for granted today.”
Fischer said, "As fewer and fewer members of the Greatest Generation remain, it is more important than ever to record the histories of our veterans. Their recollections illuminate both their personal heroism and the high cost of war. It is my hope that this effort to preserve their stories will enable us and future generations to honor their legacy in the years to come."
The interviews will take place July 8 – 12 at Nebraska Educational Telecommunications’ studios in Lincoln. Media interested in covering the event may contact Natalie Krings in Sen. Johanns’ office to receive more information.
The VHP interviews will be housed at the Library of Congress, along with more than 68,000 recorded stories and thousands more photographs currently in the collection. Johanns previously interviewed Nebraska WWII veteran Lt. Col. (ret) Paul Adams of Lincoln as part of the VHP effort. The complete interview and more information on participating in VHP are available HERE.
You can learn more about StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative, which collects and shares stories from veterans, service members, and military families, HERE.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Etension Educator
     Well, for me Summer is officially here now with the smell of fresh harvested wheat fields; trucks and combines traversing the roads; and of course Independence Day – the Fourth of July! Those things have always signaled to me that summer was upon us.  That means that crops and gardens are all growing with a vengeance, the climate is getting warmer (hotter) and all of the county fairs are about to start or are just around the corner. I always enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the 4th of July. Summer is the perfect time to recognize the abundance provided by America's farmers and ranchers. The firecrackers, parades, grills, town activities and yes the evening fireworks really does start out the middle of growing season with a resounding bang! Today is when we can say “Happy Birthday America!”
     When the United States of America was established 238 years ago, 13 colonies held 2.5 million people, primarily of European descent. In this mostly agrarian society, the majority of these citizens were farmers, raising livestock from imported stock, or crops introduced by the Native Americans – things like maize, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, gourds, squash, watermelons, beans, grapes, berries, pecans, black walnuts, peanuts and maple sugar. Today, the U.S. is home to nearly 314 million people, a population that embodies significantly more diversity than our forefathers could have imagined. Our agriculture has also diversified over the years, and today’s farmers and ranchers are raising an unheralded abundance and variety of food on 922 million acres of cultivated land, and in some cases, in water.  
     Firing up the grill on Independence Day is about celebrating our freedom with family and friends. And thanks to the American farmer, the 4th of July backyard barbecue doesn’t have to cost a lot. Because of the hard work, efficiency, and continual upgrading of best practices, our American farmers help keep the cost of a Fourth of July feast under $6 bucks a person, according to a recent survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
     Considering Americans spend just 10 percent of our incomes on food – the lowest of any country – we are all indebted to the “thin green line” of only 210,000 full-time U.S. farms that produce a product that is safe, abundant and uniquely American. These farmers are also critical to our nation’s “food independence.” It will become much more critical in the next 40 years, as the world population grows from 7 billion to 9 billion and demand for agricultural commodities doubles, we need practices, research and education that encourage investment and constant improvement. If done right, more nations and peoples will continue to know the happiness of a safe and reliable and affordable food supply. 
     I really liked a piece that I read a couple of days ago, which I think was attributed to Bob Stallman, President of AFBF, who basically points out something that we sometimes forget about. He reminds us that in their quest to obtain freedom the Continental Congress wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  The writer points out that nothing is more essential to life than food and, therefore, agriculture. Farmers and ranchers have a special appreciation for liberty-the freedom to be productive and profitable. Also, it's much easier to pursue happiness when you are free from hunger. 
     While we celebrate the declaration of American independence from Britain and oppression, it is also fitting to recognize how farmers and ranchers, who produce the bounty we enjoy, also give us our personal independence. Because farmers have chosen to work the land for a living, others are free to pursue other careers and interests-whatever constitutes their personal pursuit of happiness. There is much healthy debate about what we should eat, how it should be produced, etc. And it is because of our abundant food supply and farmers' amazing productivity that we are able to have those debates. If we didn't live in the land of plenty, and plenty of choices, our national conversation would be very different than it is today. If you think about it Farmer’s provide us, even those who seem to want to denigrate what we do, with sustenance and give them the time to worry about what we do and how we produce their food.
     Let's also remember to thank the farmers and ranchers who work and face risks that would keep most people awake at night, so all of us can fill our picnic plates. Since we all like to eat three or more times a day, no one is “outside of agriculture”.  We are all dependent on agriculture several times a day to be healthy and enjoy the quality of life we are all afforded here in the United States. It is clearly relevant to consider this fact on the day of our Nation’s independence; because the courage it took for people to envision what a democratic republic could look like is a similar courage farmers and ranchers demonstrate each day as they work to grow food.  In fact, nine of the fifty six patriots that signed the Declaration of Independence were farmers that owned sizable plantations. And most of the patriots who gave their lives in fighting the British and their allies were farmers. Our sustainability as a Nation, as well as our security, rests with our ability to provide for ourselves and the communities we live in. Our independence depends upon our freedom to produce!
     I believe the strength and success the people of our country have accomplished is connected with our ability to produce food and fiber. It is worth a minute of your time over this Independence Day holiday to consider this connection. We can all be thankful for both the Stars and Stripes flying on the front porch and the burgers on the grill because of our farmers!   

The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster  County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: or go to the website at:  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Trade Benefits Nebraska

Rep. Adrian Smith
Increasing international trade to boost our economy and benefit consumers is a rare bipartisan goal in Washington.  However, there is a misconception trade primarily benefits agriculture producers, and large companies.  While these groups certainly benefit from open markets, there are many examples in the Third District of small businesses, individuals, and communities who directly or indirectly profit from exports.
For example, Turkey Creek Furs in Crete is a Nebraska company which benefits from exports to China.  The company, which employs five people, purchases cattle and deer hides from small processors in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri.  They then sell the hides to a tanning facility which exports the processed pelts to China.  Even though Turkey Creek Furs does not export directly, the demand for their services and the additional opportunities they create for small processors would likely be far less without the ability to export to China.
While many think our trade relationship with China is a one way street, companies like Turkey Creek demonstrate otherwise.  Third District companies exported $1.2 billion of goods to China last year.  And exports in goods from the Third District to China have increased 33 percent since 2002.
Another example of a small business supported by trade is Brown Sheep Company in Mitchell.  Founded in 1980, this second-generation family business is now run by Robert and Peggy Wells.  As the name suggests, the company buys wool and spins it into high quality yarn.  The yarn is sold at retailers all over the United States and at 43 locations in six foreign countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Norway, and the United Kingdom.  Brown Sheep supports not only the Wells’ and several employees, but also many local wool producers.
Turkey Creek Furs and Brown Sheep Company are not alone.  Third District companies exported more than $5.4 billion of goods in 2013, supporting more than 80,000 jobs.  One of the Third District’s fastest growing export categories is agricultural and construction machinery.  Exports of these types of machines, such as center pivot irrigation systems, have increased by 21 percent since 2002.
Because of our dynamic rural economy and export market, I have invited Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to host a “Made in Rural America” regional forum in the Third District.  A forum in Nebraska’s Third District not only would be valuable to exporters, but also would highlight the importance of looking to new markets and future opportunities to grow our rural economy.  I hope Secretary Vilsack, Secretary Pritzker, and Ambassador Froman will consider this invitation.
International trade benefits all Nebraskans.  I look forward to highlighting more Third District success stories, and as a Member of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, working to expand new markets for Nebraska products.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Delegation Urges FSA to Revise Reimbursement Method for Lost Livestock During Tornadoes

WASHINGTON – Nebraska’s Congressional delegation today wrote to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to correct the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) method for calculating livestock disaster payments in light of the devastating tornadoes in Pilger and surrounding areas last month. The 2014 farm bill reauthorized the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) to provide relief for producers who suffer livestock deaths as a result of natural disasters.
Producers who lost livestock during the June tornadoes discovered USDA is using outdated data when calculating reimbursement, resulting in reduced payments of up to $330 per head. The letter urges FSA to use current market values, which more accurately reflects the intent of the 2014 farm bill.
A copy of the letter can be found below:
July 2, 2014 
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
We write to request that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) revise its methodology for calculating payment amounts for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).
During the week of June 16, 2014, tornadoes devastated the town of Pilger, Nebraska and severely damaged crop and livestock operations in the surrounding area.  Producers who had livestock killed by the tornadoes have sought relief from the LIP program that was recently extended by Congress with passage of the 2014 farm bill.  But after producers read the payment schedule produced by FSA, they realize they will receive much less from FSA than they are entitled to receive under the statute.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 states that “payments to an eligible producer on a farm… shall be made at a rate of 75 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the date of death of the livestock, as determined by the Secretary.”  However, the rule implementing LIP states that “The LIP national payment rate for eligible livestock owners is based on 75 percent of the average fair market value of the applicable livestock as computed using nationwide prices for the previous calendar year unless some other price is approved by the Deputy Administrator.”
These are clearly not the same standard.  We appreciate that FSA may have some constraints on availability of appropriate data, but it is clearly unfair to producers who expect relief based on the plain language of the law to then find out that the relief received will be significantly less than 75 percent of the market value of their livestock.  For example, according to the LIP fact sheet published by FSA in April, the payment rate for feeder steers weighing 800 pounds or more is $1,149, but data from the Agriculture Marketing Service indicate that 75 percent of the average value of an 800-900 pound steer was approximately $1,278 the week before the tornadoes hit Pilger, a difference of $129 per head.  Moreover, producers also experienced losses for cattle that were at their finished weight of approximately 1400 pounds.  Using the data from the Agriculture Marketing Service, 75 percent of the average value for a finished steer was $1,479, for a difference of $330 per head.
Therefore, we request that you direct FSA to calculate relief for livestock producers based on market values that more accurately reflect the plain reading of the statute.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Birthdays

July 1 Tom Johnson,  Carrie Kort, Ardyce Burge
 July 2 Joni Mack Danville, Shirley Kort,  Teresa Hafer
July 2 Alan Jordening (1953),  Connie Meyer (1957)
July 2 Glenda Shaw
July 3 Keith Waechter,  Rita Grigg,  Dakota Jameson
July 4 Travis James
 July 5 Cal Burge,  Jolene Hafer
 July 6 Tracy Premer
July 7 Mike Dack,  Kevin Willems,  Rosella Harrifeld
July 7 Keri Schunk, James A. Buschow (1967)
July 8 Marilyn Hubl
July 9 Matt Thramer
July 10 Addie Long
July 11 Kelly Skrdlant
July 12 Shirley Wademan
July 14 Evelyn Rose,  Dale Myers (1948) Matt Moorman (1973)
 July 15 Sam James
July 16 Ken Peil, Abbey Meents Lienemann
July 17 Brittanie Berns
 July 18 Irene Ensign, Patricia A. Kranau (1943)
July 19 Rick Myers,  Steve Hubl
July 20 Jason Bostock, William Bostock, Mark Berns
July 22 Norman Jordening,  Mike Kort, Gary Schmidt, Cissy Boutin
July 23 Amber Wengler (1981), Andrew S. Piel (1986),  Janice L. Krueger (1935)
July 24 Adam Kearney, Tara Alber, Tessa Alber, Doris Hartman
 July 24 Brenda Cook (1963), Chyanna Sharp (1994)
July 25 Deana GRoves (1960), Victoria Schwab, Leland L. Ostdiek (1935)
 July 25 Sarah Lynn, John Weddingfeld, Charissa Willicot
July 26 Joyce Lampman (1948), Dale Kuhn (1937) , Tylynn Dodson (1994)
 July 31 Sara Alber, Mike Karr, Illa Mae McConkey

Friday, June 27, 2014

IRS Investigation Requires a Special Prosecutor


Rep. Adrian Smith
The investigation into allegations the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative groups for political purposes recently took a surprising turn.  The agency now claims it lost two years of e-mails from former IRS official Lois Lerner because her computer hard drive malfunctioned and was recycled.  The agency’s failure to immediately report these alleged technical problems to congressional investigators does not lend the IRS any credibility with the American people.
These suspicious claims have rightfully received much attention.  The potential destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice must be investigated because it adds to a serious crime the Ways and Means Committee has already referred to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution.  The seriousness of these allegations, the evidence uncovered so far, and now the appearance of misconduct require a special prosecutor to further the investigation.
Abuse of the tax code for political purposes by the IRS, the most feared and powerful agency in the federal government, is simply unacceptable.  It goes against everything we expect from a government of, for, and by the people.  The IRS has an important mission, and it must do its job fairly and without bias.  Even the suggestion of impartiality at the IRS could undermine the agency’s ability to operate.
Through the investigation by the Committee on Ways and Means we now know the targeting was directed primarily at conservative groups.  Of the 298 applications for tax-exempt status held up by the IRS, 83 percent were conservative-leaning, and 10 percent were liberal-leaning.  We also know Ms. Lerner helped coordinate the targeting as head of the Exempt Organizations Division.  We don’t know who, if anyone, told Ms. Lerner to act but this practice was not the work of low-level employees in the Cincinnati, Ohio office as originally reported by the IRS.
When the IRS first admitted to improperly scrutinizing political groups more than a year ago, there was bipartisan outrage and broad agreement the situation must be fully investigated and never allowed to happen again.  President Obama even said “I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives.”
Recently, some of my Democratic colleagues have been more interested in seeing this investigation go away, and have criticized our efforts as political theatre.  If they truly believe this to be the case, these individuals should support our calls for an independent prosecutor in this case.  Many Democrats joined with Republicans in voting for a resolution calling on the Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor; however, the Department has so far refused to do so.
Regardless of the party in power, no one deserves to be singled out by the IRS for their First Amendment rights to free speech and expression.  It is critical we find out what happened so the responsible parties can be held accountable, the credibility of the IRS can be restored, and we can implement reforms to make sure this never happens again.  


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator

     What a difference a year can make; and what a difference some rain will make!  I have to admit while driving to my office this morning I did some windshield touring of our fields and pastures. I cannot believe how things look so much different from even 6 weeks ago, let alone a year ago.  How long has it been since we have seen water in the terraces or even the road ditches?  How long has it been since we have actually seen some grass showing itself in our pastures and hay fields?  The quick answer is – “a heck of a long time” in the agriculture world!
     It was not that long ago when we were talking a third year of drought, short grazing season and wheat that would be lucky to make 20 bushels.  That has changed considerably and I would say that even though we are early in the production year, things are definitely looking up.  I would say our wheat yield potential has doubled over the past 4-6 weeks and the cows are as content as I have seen them in a very long time. I think we all need to tip back our hats and offer up a prayer of thanksgiving to ‘the good man upstairs’ for giving us this reprieve and hope for a good cropping and grazing year.
     I do know that some of our friends and neighbors paid the price with wind and hail and your heart has to ache for them, but I know they are happy for those that avoided those acts of nature.  They know that we live and work in a climate that can change at as fast as a jackrabbit can shift directions when chased. It is part of what we do and where we live. We are a resilient people who are generous – especially when it comes to pulling together and helping those in need. That was evident when you hear stories from Hildreth, Franklin, Wilcox, Red Cloud, Beaver Crossing or Pilger to name just a few.  
     When thinking of just that, it occurred to me how lucky we really are to be from this part of the world, even with the headaches and heartaches we occasionally experience. In my daily reading I came across something that really resonated with me.  I am not sure who the author is, but found several renditions as I looked for credits. This particular piece has 20 ways that you can tell you grew up on a farm. I know some of you have probably seen this but it took my fancy and quite honestly, I can relate to most of these. It is entitled appropriately: “You know you grew up on a farm when!”
      1) You give directions not by streets, but by fields, farmsteads and land marks. Paved roads and road signs – what are those? 2) You know how to drive on gravel and minimum maintenance roads. Ice, snow or mud – no problem! 3) You were driving Tractors before your feet could hit the pedals. That’s where you learned to drive. 4) Your homepage on your computer is the weather channel and everyone knows to be quiet when the weather comes on the evening news. Your radio is permanently tuned to KRVN and you wait for the markets or auction reports! 5) Forget ladders; you would rather use a tractor and loader to clean those gutters, trim trees and hang decorations. 6) You plan events around planting, county fair and harvesting. A wedding during any of those times – forget about it! 7) Automatic transmission, no thanks! You were driving stick-shift by the 3rd grade! 8) You can fix anything with some elbow grease, bailing wire and a holstered pliers. 10) Most of your wardrobe came from your family’s seed or feed dealer; and if not from that source -- the area Farm/Ranch Supply Store. 11) You learned quickly where your loyalty would be – Green or Red? And that is not a sports team! 12) You know the difference between bales – big rounds and small squares. 13) You can drive down the road and tell what crops and what stage they are in with a sideways glance. 14) A neighbor is in need; so you, and everyone you knew, was there to lend a hand! 15) You learned to support your Church, school and community – come hell or high water! 16) You learned not to measure distance in miles, but in minutes or hours. 17) You knew the pedigrees of your animals better than you did your own. 18) You still wave at everyone you meet in your vehicle. You can’t seem to resist. 19) You still use the terms “Howdy” and “You Bet”! 20) You know where your food comes from, after all, you raised it and grew it!
     I hope you noticed the 14th and 15th lines.  They are what made me think of why we are so lucky to be living where we do. To have the friends and neighbors we do. It is why I am so proud of my rural roots and the people that have the same passion that I do for this way of life, even with the little bumps in the road that all of us experience. I think it would be fun if all of you who read this would respond to my email address at and give me your take or simply give me a call. Maybe we can add to that list with ones that this writer or writers missed, never experienced or never thought about. What about growing up on a farm made you what you are today? I am already thinking of a couple of things, I hope you will too. I think this would be fun and educational, as well as a chance to think about our upbringing and how it has contributed to making us what we are today.
     I believe that the experiences we have growing up has a huge impact on what we do and who we are later in life. I think of my experiences in the old Ash Grove District 22 one room school house that my siblings and I and all our young neighbor friends attended, or the uplifting messages and spirit I received in the old country Pleasant View Christian Church that our family attended along with other families who carried the same beliefs that we did.  Both are gone now, but the memory and impact lives on in my daily life. I am proud of being born and raised on a farm. I cannot think of a better legacy from which to spring! God has blessed our farms, our farmers and the people who grew up on farms!      

The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster  County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: or go to the website at:  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fischer Supports Legislation to Help Americans Get Back to Work

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today voted in favor of bipartisan legislation, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, to provide men and women with the skills they need to find good-paying jobs. Fischer cosponsored the legislation and released the following statement:

“I’m pleased the Senate came together to pass legislation that will help equip unemployed Americans with necessary training to pursue more job opportunities so they can provide for their families. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act improves the efficiency of job training and workforce development programs by enhancing the role of states, reducing burdensome federal requirements, and cutting waste and duplication. With nearly 10 million Americans still looking for work, these are exactly the type of constructive, bipartisan proposals the Senate should be focused on.”
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act:
  • Eliminates 15 duplicative and ineffective programs;
  • Bolsters state and local decision-making by reducing federal mandates, specifically 21 rules for state and local workforce board composition;
  • Provides greater flexibility to governors to set aside funds for new state and local job training initiatives;
  • Strengthens program accountability by reducing federal funding for state and local boards that fail to meet performance standards;
  • Requires all workforce programs to undergo independent, third-party evaluations every four years and focuses reporting requirements on employment outcomes; 
  • Empowers governors to reorganize or consolidate local areas that are low-performing in order to better meet regional economic needs.