Saturday, March 31, 2012


Duane A. Lienemann,
 UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County
March 31, 2012 Edition
I find myself really struggling to keep my mind on task and my eyes open as I write this week’s column. I actually have a pretty good excuse for this as I rolled in late last night after an intense couple of days at the 84th Nebraska State FFA Convention. I was privileged to join many people who volunteer their time and efforts in helping to run the convention and the accompanying agricultural education contests and leadership contest events.
I spent the first 29 years of my agricultural career on the other side of the FFA convention, coaching, monitoring and hauling kids to where they needed to be, and of course reveling in the accomplishments of my “kids”. So working the convention from another point of view is more than interesting. I had the opportunity once again to work with the FFA “Cream of the Crop” by helping with the Legislative breakfast, the State Proficiency finalist interviews and the Star State Degree finalist competition. I have now had this opportunity for several years and look forward to it each and every year. I come away every year so highly impressed with the young men and women across our state whom I get to know a little better through these highly competitive and inspirational events. I have always known the innate and developed skills of these young people because as a teacher I had the privilege to work with some of the best in the land in my ag education classes and local FFA Chapter. I have to tell you that this event keeps me grounded and reaffirms my faith in the future of agriculture and our country with the talents and skills exhibited by these outstanding young men and women.
This year’s State FFA Convention theme was “I Believe” and after witnessing more than 3550 young men and women all dressed in the Blue & Gold, with the enthusiasm, spirit and unbridled anticipation for their future that they bring, you cannot help but feel really good about our future. I too believe. I believe in the future of agriculture and the future of our state and nation under the work and determination that just oozes from these young adults. I believe in these young people and what they offer. I can tell you that our area young people represented us all very well and that they make us all proud.
I really like the reference that this year’s theme makes to one of the most important phrases in the FFA – “I believe”. Any FFA “Greenhand” member will tell you that those words have special meaning as one of the first tasks they complete as freshmen is learning the five paragraphs of the FFA Creed. Each paragraph starts with those very words. Every person who is involved in agriculture in any form should make themselves familiar with the content and meaning of the FFA creed. A creed is a foundational component for many organizations. It serves to establish collective vision and goals with the intent of providing purpose and direction to the individual as well as the organization. We all would be better served if all of us were to prescribe to the premise provided the very creed that is central to the FFA organization. In ruminating on those famous two words in reminded me of some history of the FFA creed that gives a little more perspective.
It is no secret that the FFA creed has influenced the lives of countless FFA members; however, it hasn’t received much attention in terms of its origin. Every FFA member can tell you that the FFA creed was written by E.M. Tiffany in 1928 and officially adopted by the National FFA organization in 1930. They can probably also tell you that it was revised twice to form the current version, including the big change of believing in the future of agriculture instead of how I learned it – “I believe in the future of farming.” In retrospect that change was huge because of the fact that FFA is much more than farming and encompasses so much more, all of which is personified in the differences that you see in the young people in interests, SAE programs and skill sets that each bring to a collective common focus.
In a historic aspect, it should be noted that in many organizations new members are required to recite the full creed as a prerequisite for membership, much like the FFA. What a lot of people don’t know is that there were in fact two creeds for agriculture students that pre-dated the current FFA creed. Even though the FFA didn’t allow girls in the program until the late 1960’s there was a female oriented creed that expressed the importance of women in agriculture. During the early decades of the 1900s, numerous boys and girls agriculture clubs were established throughout the country. A foundational component of these clubs was the development and recitation of a members’ creed. “The Country Girls’s Creed”, written by Jessie Field Shambaugh, was used by organizations for farm girls in the early part of the 20th century. The Country Girl’s Creed included five paragraphs, which was remarkably similar to the FFA creed written by E.M. Tiffany.
A common predecessor to the Future Farmers clubs were corn clubs established to promote the growing of corn by rural boys enrolled in vocational agriculture. Before the Future Farmers of Virginia (FFV) was established in 1925, the Boys’ Corn Clubs of Virginia existed. Edwin Osgood Grover wrote a creed titled “The Country Boy’s Creed”. These two original organization creeds were the basis for the creed that Henry Groseclose, considered the father of FFA, adopted for the Future Farmers of Virginia and was a requirement for earning the Virginia Planter degree, the highest of the three degrees in the FFV, which later became the Future Farmers of America. The FFA creed written by E.M. Tiffany is one of the premier documents in the history of the FFA. It embodies what every FFA member believes about the future of agriculture in this country. The FFA creed is cherished by all FFA members, past and present, and should be celebrated in the long history of the FFA - much like the theme of this year’s FFA Convention.-- I Believe!
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:

Friday, March 30, 2012

Johanns Sponsors Legislation Permanently Repealing Death Tax

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) is cosponsoring legislation to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, commonly referred to as the death tax. The Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act was introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and currently has over 30 cosponsors.
“The loss of a family member should not be a taxable event, and Americans should not be forced to sell the family business, farm or ranch just to pay it,” Johanns said. “Nebraskans who have worked to create a better life for their children should be able to pass down the fruits of their labor without penalty.”
This legislation would repeal the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes, currently set at a 35 percent tax rate with a $5 million exemption. Unfortunately, in 2013, the estate tax rate is scheduled to increase to 55 percent with a $1 million exemption.
According to a study by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, repealing the death tax could create 1.5 million additional small business jobs and decrease the national unemployment rate by nearly one percent.
This legislation is identical to legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Smith Applauds Passage of Responsible, Honest Budget Resolution

Washington, DC – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today issued the following statement after voting for passage of H.Con.Res. 112, the Budget Resolution introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI):
“America’s looming debt crisis is the most predictable calamity our country has ever faced and I commend Chairman Ryan for putting together a plan which avoids it. The House budget puts our nation back on a path to prosperity by meeting our fiscal challenges head-on. With our nation nearly $16 trillion in debt, Nebraskans deserve real solutions from their government, not demagoguery or political gamesmanship.
“This plan will lift the crushing burden of debt by cutting trillions in spending, balancing the budget without tax increases, and creating a long-term blueprint for economic growth. It will also ensure we carry on the uniquely American tradition of passing on a stronger, more prosperous nation to our kids and grandkids. We have a lot of work to do and I am committed to advancing these commonsense solutions so future generations have a shot at the American Dream.”

Smith Supports Nebraska & Entire U.S. Beef Industry

Washington, DC – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement in support of the U.S. beef industry after a coalition of governors toured BPI’s South Sioux City facility:
“Beef production is critical to Nebraska’s economy,” said Smith. “Lean, finely textured beef is a nutritious, safe, and affordable product which is subject to a USDA-approved, science-based process. Instead of obscuring the facts, we should celebrate our producers whose priority is the long-term safety and security of our nation’s food supply.”

Easter Bunny to be at Hastings WalMart

Saturday March 31st from 10 AM to 2 PM, and Sunday April 1st from 11 AM to 3 PM the Easter Bunny will be at the Hastings, Nebraska Walmart in front of the photo lab. You can come see him (not the cardboard cut out like last year!) and you can receive a FREE 5x7 photo of you or your  child with the Easter bunny .  So come on in, and keep Amanda busy taking pictures! Walmart  will also have package deals for  sale for $5 and $10!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dorothea L. Bourg July 4, 1925 to March 24, 2012

Roseland resident, Dorothea L. Bourg, 86, died Saturday, March 24, 2012 at her home.
Rosary will be Wednesday, March 28, 2012; 7:00 P.M. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Roseland, Nebraska.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday, March 29, 2012; 10:00 A.M. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with Father Thomas Brouillette officiating. Burial will be in Roseland Cemetery, Roseland, Nebraska.
 Memorials may be given to Sacred Heart Catholic Church for a memorial to be established.
Visitation will be Tuesday 1 P.M. – 9 P.M. and Wednesday 9 A.M. – 4 P.M. at Butler Volland funeral home in Hastings.
 Visitation will also be from 6 P.M. – 7 P.M. Wednesday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Roseland and one hour prior to mass at the church on Thursday.

Dorothea was born July 4, 1925 to Michael M. & Lucille (Weber) Trausch in Adams County near Roseland, Nebraska. She graduated from Roseland High School.
She married Charles W. Bourg on January 13, 1944 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Roseland, Nebraska.
 Charles and Dorothea had 22 permanent changes of address in their first 5 years of marriage. Some of which were overseas due to Charles military career.
They settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1961 and raised their children.
They retired to Roseland, Nebraska in 1978. Dorothea was a homemaker and a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Altar Society.
Dorothea L. Bourg was preceded in death by her parents.
Husband: Charles W. Bourg – Roseland, NE
Children & Spouse: Mark Bourg – Boulder, CO
April & Randy Meyer – Blue Hill, NE
Grandchildren & Spouses: Amber & Seth Wengler – Roseland, NE
Ashley & Brad Toepfer – Hastings, NE
Daryn Bourg – Boulder, CO
Alyssa & Tyler Hansen – Blue Hill, NE
Aubrey Meyer – Omaha, NE
Andrianna Meyer – Blue Hill, NE
Alec Meyer – Blue Hill, NE
Great-Grandchildren: Lexi Wengler
Krae Ockinga
Avaley Toepfer
Logun Hansen
Cooper Wengler
Bretlynn Hansen
Neela Toepfer
Brother-in-laws & Sister-in-laws, Numerous Nieces & Nephews

Protection of hunting, fishing and trapping will be on ballot

A resolution containing a proposed amendment to the state constitution regarding the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife was passed by the Legislature March 27.
LR40CA, introduced by Omaha Sen. Pete Pirsch, places on the ballot a proposed amendment to establish that the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife is subject only to laws, rules and regulations that preserve the future of hunting, fishing and the promotion of wildlife conservation and management. If adopted by voters, the constitutional amendment would declare public hunting and fishing as the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.
Omaha Sen. Brenda Council filed a motion to return the resolution to select file for consideration of an amendment that would have struck the language pertaining to the use of traditional hunting methods. The motion to return to select file failed on a 5-27 vote and Council withdrew the amendment.
Senators passed the resolution on a 41-3 vote and the proposed constitutional amendment will be placed on the November 2012 general election ballot.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sunday Morning Spirits Sales Allowed

Lawmakers passed a bill March 27 that removes a prohibition on selling and dispensing alcoholic liquor in Nebraska on Sundays between 6 a.m. and noon.
Under LB861, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Abbie Cornett, alcohol sales during Sunday morning hours still could be restricted by local ordinances.
The bill passed on a 44-0 vote.

Monday, March 26, 2012

High school performance times at Hastings College Jazz Festival announced

(Hastings, Neb.) – The Hastings College Jazz Festival and Workshop will include performances by several high school jazz ensembles on April 2 at two locations, French Memorial Chapel (800 N. Turner Ave.) and the Masonic Center Auditorium (411 N. Hastings Ave.) These performances will be free and open to the public. French Memorial Chapel
9:00 a.m. Nebraska City
9:30 a.m. Grand Island Senior High #1
10:00 a.m. Holdrege
10:30 a.m. Grand Island Senior High #2
11:00 a.m. Centennial
11:30 a.m. St. Cecilia
12:30 p.m. Hastings Middle School
1:00 p.m. Grand Island Northwest
1:30 p.m. Hastings High School
2:00 p.m. Norris
2:30 p.m. Columbus
3:00 p.m. Pierce
3:30 p.m. Omaha Skutt Catholic
Masonic Center Auditorium
9:00 a.m. Blue Hill
9:30 a.m. Centura
10:00 a.m. Gretna
10:30 a.m. Lawrence-Nelson
11:00 a.m. Yutan
11:30 a.m. Omaha North
1:00 p.m. Lincoln Northeast
1:30 p.m. Plainview
2:00 p.m. Perkins County
2:30 p.m. Shickley
Throughout the festival, the high school students will work with the Doug Talley Quartet, a Kansas City-based jazz ensemble which has garnered national airplay for its interpretations of traditional Kansas City-style jazz. The quartet will also give a free public performance on Monday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. in French Memorial Chapel.
A spirit of excellence has long been the hallmark of the Hastings College music experience. Hastings College students and faculty have been making music from the beginning of the College in 1882. Hastings College is recognized as a National Liberal Arts College in the U.S. News and World Report annual “America’s Best Colleges” issue and a Best Midwestern College by Princeton Review. The Hastings College Department of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and also was named an All-Steinway School, one of only 82 worldwide.
The Department of Music offers a full range of vocal and instrumental opportunities for all Hastings College students. Major ensembles and small groups travel regularly, making special appearances at music conferences, schools, and churches. Vocal ensembles at Hastings College include the renowned Hastings College Choir, Men’s Chorus, HC Singers (treble voices), Spectrum vocal chamber ensembles, along with other special smaller groups. Instrumental ensembles include the Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Marching Band; Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Chamber Orchestra, Brass, and Percussion Ensembles, and the Bell Choir. The department serves as the permanent residence of the South Central Nebraska Children’s Chorale; the Nebraska State High School Honor Choir, Band, and Orchestra; and the Hastings Symphony Orchestra.
Music students can earn a Bachelor of Music degree with majors in applied performance, music education, and piano pedagogy. A Bachelor of Arts degree in music with an emphasis in performance, elementary education, music history or sacred music is also available. Hastings College offers a Master of Arts in Teaching with emphasis in music. In addition, the department sponsors student chapters of Sigma Alpha Iota, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Music Educators National Conference, and Music Teachers National Association.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

After Two Years, Health Law Still Failing to Deliver

Adrian Smith

This past Friday March 23, marked the two-year anniversary of the enactment of President Obama’s health care law, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Nebraskans often remind me of their displeasure of the process used by Congress to pass the bill. Two years later, health care costs are soaring and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is forecasting as many as 20 million Americans could lose the health care coverage they were promised they could keep.
Meanwhile, the law continues to slow economic recovery by growing government, burdening job creators, and adding to Washington’s unsustainable spending pattern. The CBO recently released new estimates of the law’s cost, showing it had doubled to nearly $2 trillion. One can assume as the years pass, this figure only will continue to increase. In addition, the CBO found that instead of lowering the cost of family premiums by $2,500 as the law’s supporters promised, the cost of health insurance will actually rise by $2,100 per family by 2016. To add insult to injury, the CBO estimates the President’s signature legislation will cost our economy 800,000 jobs. All of this at a time of record unemployment.
When you consider the nearly 2,000 waivers the Administration has issued – primarily to labor unions and the President’s political allies – it clear some of the law’s biggest advocates are the ones most actively avoiding having to abide by it. It is no surprise a recent ABC News poll found 52 percent of Americans oppose the health care law while 67 percent believe the Supreme Court should strike down either the law itself or at least the individual mandate.Over the past two years, I have voted 26 times to repeal, dismantle, or defund this misguided law – many times on a bipartisan basis. Just this past week, I joined colleagues from both sides of the aisle to repeal the health care law’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB. This fifteen-member panel of unelected bureaucrats would have the power to limit access to medical treatments by reducing Medicare reimbursements for disfavored procedures to the point where physicians simply would no longer provide them. It is a classic case of government getting between patients and their doctors. I’ve also worked on a bipartisan basis in the House to repeal the unsustainable CLASS Act and to relieve businesses of the law’s burdensome 1099 reporting requirement.
Repeal alone, however, is not enough. Nebraskans understand we need a new direction – one which respects our Constitution and does not bury future generations with more debt. We need a commonsense, patient-centered approach which promotes consumer choice and increases access to affordable care – not a law which only claims to.
Market-based solutions like those which have been proposed in the House of Representatives are the only reforms non-partisan experts have said would actually make health insurance less costly for the American people. For example, this week I voted to pass bipartisan medical malpractice reform, which would save taxpayers $45 billion and lower medical malpractice insurance premiums by an average of 25-30 percent.
I remain committed to advancing similar proposals so our health care system truly offers lower costs and increased access for Nebraska’s families, seniors, and small businesses.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County
March 23, 2012 Edition
Spring is officially here. It seems like it has been here for awhile already. Spring brings many things including the new UNL Land Value and Rental Rates information. It is out and the survey confirms what most people close to agriculture already knew. Agricultural land values across the state have shot upward in recent months, which are not unexpected news to people in this area, if they have been watching the land auctions in the area this past fall and the beginning of this year.
With the land prices in Nebraska and across the Midwest skyrocketing and volatility in the commodity markets, there are a number of questions concerning farmland values and rental rates. With the rising age of farmers across our area there is also talk of transitioning of farm land and the need for new and beginning farmers to continue the traditions of family farm in our state. There are several programs being offered in Nebraska on “Beginning Farmers” issues. Terri Post (FSA Director for Webster County) and I decided it may be a good idea to join forces and conduct a workshop and address these issues with farmers, landowners and anyone interested in these important issues. Terri had been working with a coalition and will present information on Veteran Farmers and Beginning Farmer programs and how they apply to our area landowners.
Land Value, Rental Rate, & Beginning Farmers Workshop April 4: The topics of land value, rental rates and beginning farmer programs will be addressed in a workshop that is scheduled for Wednesday, April 4th at the Blue Hill Community Center starting at 1:30 pm. There will be a variety of topics discussed at the workshop including: beginning farmer programs, land values, cash rental rates, and integrity in rental agreements as well as discussion on the importance for the land owner and the tenant to have a good relationship and an agreement that is fair to both parties. There will be an overview of economics involved in the increase in land values and prices paid for land. We will also explore what events will push against continued increase in land value and rental rates and those things that will push an increase. The new UNL Land Value and Rental Rates will be provided to attendees along with explanation on how to use the document.
According to Dr. Bruce Johnson, who conducted the survey,  preliminary results show the state's all-land average value as of Feb. 1 to be at $2,410 per acre, 31% above the year-earlier level. The annual gain is a new record in both dollar amount and percentage. Cropland especially showed significant value gains in every region of the state, with increases of 35% or more noted in several areas. Johnson indicates what a lot of us figured that a booming cash-grain economy in 2011 translated into spirited bidding for cropland and at the same time that demand was robust, the amount of land for sale in any given local area was generally minimal. In regards to transition of farm ground to new owners, the land-transfer market has been so thin that it's difficult to get a good reading on it. The survey also concluded that grazing land classes showed more modest value gains for the year, but overall for the state still showed a 19% increase for non-tillable grazing land. The tillable grazing land class, which is land considered to be potentially converted to cropland, recorded significantly higher values and larger higher percentage value gains in those areas where there are no moratoriums precluding further irrigation expansion. Reflecting the great resource diversity across the state, the per-acre values of land vary significantly. It was interesting to me that dryland cropland values show an even greater spread of more than seven-fold from west to east.
I don’t think it should surprise people that the UNL survey also reported higher cash rental rates for 2012 for all land classes, but the percentage advances of cash rents over the previous year were considerably below the land value advances. For cropland, cash rent increases usually fell in the 10% to 20% range. Dr. Johnson said it's reasonable to ask whether the gains of last year are sustainable. He said that if one assumes that farm incomes will remain at 2011 earnings levels or higher, then one may answer with a guarded yes. However, more likely is an immediate future that is economically volatile for production agriculture, triggered by weather patterns, the strength of the dollar, interest rates, international financial fallouts, and political unrest both here and abroad. He thinks that there is no question that some retreat of these value advances could easily happen in the next few years. He calls it a "reality reset." I think we all kind of figured that this land value bubble would either burst or at least hold steady eventually. The market can only bear so much and the prospects for lower crop prices lay heavily on this possibility. You can find the survey at:
Beginning Farmers Program: Nebraska continues to lead the nation with efforts to provide an incentive for owners of agricultural assets to rent those agricultural assets to beginning farmers and ranchers. The Nebraska Beginning Farmers Tax Credit program provides owners of Nebraska agricultural assets such as land, livestock, machinery, grain storage, livestock facilities or irrigation equipment a state income tax credit incentive to rent to a beginning farmer/rancher, rather than someone that is more established. Owners of Nebraska agricultural assets can earn a ten percent state income tax credit for providing a beginner a three-year cash lease, or a fifteen percent state income tax credit for providing a beginner a three-year share lease. Owners can be either individuals or business entities such as trusts, partnerships, corporations or limited liability companies (LLC). In order for owners of Nebraska agricultural assets to benefit from the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program, they must of course, be Nebraska residents. More information on this program can be found at:
  or   Enjoy this weather!!
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, March 22, 2012

Smith Announces Winners of 2012 Congressional Art Competition

Washington, DC – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE)  announced the winning artists of the 2012 Congressional Art Competition: An Artistic Discovery. Smith worked with the Nebraska Art Teachers Association to coordinate the competition.
“The future of Nebraska’s young artists is bright,” said Smith. “I am proud of the hard work of these exceptional students as well as their teachers. It is a great achievement on their part to have their artwork on display.”
The first place artwork will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Smith will display the runners-up in his Washington, D.C. and Third District offices. The Congressional Arts Caucus annually sponsors the Congressional Arts Competition for high school students from all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.
First Place: Hunter Ellis  Holdredge High School
“Acoustic” - Wall paper and Acrylic
Hunter’s work will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.
Hunter is a student of Christy Kosmicki.
Second Place:  Schyler Edgren  Holdredge High School
“Inner Beauty” – Acrylic
Schyler’s work will be displayed in Smith’s Washington, DC office.
Schyler is a student of Christy Kosmicki.
Third Place:  Adrianna Meyer  Blue Hill High School
“Nothing Left to Take Away” – Pen and Ink
Adrianna’s work will be displayed in Smith’s Grand Island office.
Adrianna is a student of Christine Lockhart-Brown.
Fourth Place: Jessica Dolan Minden High School
"Beneath the Surface” – Oil Pastel
Jessica’s work will be displayed in Smith’s Scottsbluff office.
Jessica is a student of Chris Dolan

Johanns Applauds Senate Passage of Bipartisan Jobs Bill

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today applauded the Senate’s passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives earlier this month. The JOBS Act will provide small businesses with more access to capital and relief from burdensome regulations.
“I'm pleased my colleagues came together today to support our nation’s job creators,” Johanns said. “As we mark the second anniversary of a health care law that overspends, over-regulates and imposes costly new mandates, easing regulations for small businesses is a breath of fresh air. This bill will free up much-needed capital for our small businesses and remove much of the bureaucratic red tape that prevents them from creating jobs – without adding to our debt. I look forward to its swift passage in the House and the President quickly signing the bill into law.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Walmart Gift Card Text Message Scams

In the last few days there has been a sudden increase in scam text messages referring people to a site where they can “claim a Walmart Gift Card” by entering certain private personal information. These attacks that take place through SMS Text message technologies to personal mobile phones are scams and are in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Walmart. This type of scam has come to be known as “Smishing” because of the use of SMS text technology. Similar to the way scam web sites send “Phishing” emails, scam artists have been sending text messages offering free Walmart gift cards to consumers in exchange for entering information on a mobile website. The most popular website being used recently is called “”. This site is not owned, operated by, or affiliated with Walmart. Any site can be used for this scam and users are often asked for private personal information including credit card numbers or social security numbers. Providing this type of information is very likely to lead to identity theft or credit card fraud.
These text messages and the sites being used are not from Walmart and Walmart is not associated with parties promoting this activity. Walmart will never initiate a text message where we ask for sensitive personal data like credit card information or social security numbers.
If you feel that you have been defrauded, you may want to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at   or at 1-877-FTC-HELP, or the Consumer Protection Division of your state's Attorney General's office.

Dubious Two-Year Health Care Anniversary

Senator Mike Johanns
This Friday, March 23 is the dubious two-year anniversary of President Obama signing the health care bill into law. In those two years, more information has come to light, unfortunately proving Nancy Pelosi correct when she famously predicted, "we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it." Now, thanks in part to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, we know more about what's in it: more spending; more taxes; more people added onto the unsustainable Medicaid program; more broken promises. One of the significant concerns echoed by many of my colleagues and me during the health care debate was that the true cost of the bill was shrouded by budget gimmickry. The CBO report unquestionably confirms this to be true.
The problem is that CBO only does ten-year cost projections. Such an approach ignored the fact that many of the bill's costly provisions won't take effect until 2014. As a result, the original projection included only about 6 years' worth of costs over a ten-year span. The updated report now includes the law’s first 9 years of full implementation.
The estimated cost of the bill has nearly doubled, from $940 billion in 2010 to a staggering $1.76 trillion today. Moreover, the report found that Medicaid costs are projected to be $168 billion more than previously thought as additional Americans are forced to join this broken system. This point cannot be overemphasized: for as costly as the health care law seemed two years ago, the report now confirmed it will be almost twice as much. Sadly, the law’s supporters voted for it knowing the full implementation costs were projected at more than $2 trillion, yet they plowed ahead anyway.
The report contains more troubling news. When compared to last year’s report, CBO projects that up to 20 million more working Americans will lose their employer-sponsored health care coverage because of the health care law. In addition, an estimated two million originally expected to gain coverage won’t be insured at all. Additionally, because the law’s individual and employer mandates require them to purchase or offer health insurance, these new numbers mean they’ll be faced with more fines on top of higher taxes, to the tune of at least $351 billion.
As it happens, the Supreme Court is preparing to hear a case on the law's constitutionality later this month, and will likely issue a decision in June. If it deems the individual mandate exceeds Congressional authority and strikes down the entire law, as I believe the court should, the concerns I've outlined above will fortunately never come to fruition. Yet if the law is upheld, we face a long road ahead: for our health care system, their patients, our economy, our national debt, and the prospects for job creation.
I eagerly await the Supreme Court's decision and hope the next anniversary we mark is that of the law being struck down by the Supreme Court or repealed by Congress.


March 21, 2012 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson announced that he and a bipartisan group of senators are introducing legislation to cap federal farm payments that have for years gone to large farming operations.
“For too long, mega farms have received mega payments, putting family farms at a disadvantage,” Senator Nelson said today on his weekly conference call with the Nebraska media. “Our bipartisan bill sets a reasonable threshold, capping farm payments at no more than $250,000 for any single farm per year.
“With farm income booming and our deficit far too large, the time has come to rein in these payments.”
Nelson, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, sponsored the payment limits bill with senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin both of Iowa, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
In specific, the bill reduces total payments for a married couple – including direct payments if they are continued, counter-cyclical payments, acreage crop revenue election payments and any new form of price or revenue-triggered commodity payments in the next farm bill—from $210,000 to $100,000. It also reduces marketing loan gains and loan deficiency payments from no limit at all to $150,000.
“I have believed for a long time, along with most Nebraskans, that our farm program should not encourage consolidation in agriculture and it should provide incentives to our small and medium size farms,” Nelson said. “These mega payments to mega farms do the opposite, and it’s time to end them.
“As I’ve said many times, our farm policy needs to move in the direction of crop insurance to provide the safety net farmers need, and away from direct payments.”
According to the Environmental Working Group, fewer than two dozen farms in Nebraska received payments in excess of $250,000 in 2010.
The bill also closes loopholes that allow large farms to collect far higher payments than the law seems to allow. Current rules are vague on what constitutes “actively managing” farm operations, so mega farms have collected large subsidies. Nelson said that he hopes their proposal will be included in this year’s farm bill that Congress is working on, and that a new multi-year farm bill will win congressional approval later this year.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Quote of the Day

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
Albert Einstein

Sunday, March 18, 2012

50th Observance: National Poison Prevention Week

Celebrating Thousands of Lives Saved and Poison Awareness Levels Raised
March 18-24, 2012 will mark the 50th Anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW), first established by Congress in September 1961. As one of the longest continuously running, health and safety campaigns in the United States, the key goal of NPPW is to create national awareness about the risk of injury or death due to poisoning. From unintentional child poisonings with household products to prescription medicine abuse, poisonings and poisoning-related incidents have a nationwide reach. While there have been tremendous strides and measurable success in poisoning prevention, there is still work to be done.
Child-resistant packaging on medicines and household products as well as the prohibition of lead-based paint in homes are among poisoning prevention successes, significantly contributed to improved safety. However, emerging hazards involving pest control products, prescription medicine abuse and button batteries have again reignited the need for increased awareness. In just the past year, America’s 57 poison control centers fielded 4 million calls, treating 2.4 million human poison exposures and handling 1.6 million information calls.
The Poison Prevention Week Council (PPWC), comprised of federal and private sector partners dedicated to coordinating NPPW and promoting poisoning prevention, will disseminate daily, themed messages covering the spectrum of poison-related issues and will end the safety awareness week with a conversation with the public. Consumers, community activists, victims of poison incidents and poison prevention specialists are invited to share stories, photos of preventative measures and outreach and education efforts on Friday, March 23, 2012 on the “Poison Prevention” Facebook page.
The themes for the Seven Days of Poisoning Prevention are:
Sunday: Poisonings Span a Lifetime
Monday: Children Act Fast, So Do Poisons
Tuesday: Poison Centers: Saving Lives 24/7
Wednesday: Take Your Medicines Safely
Thursday: Home, Safe, Home
Friday: Poison Prevention Superhero: Share Your Stories
Saturday: 50 Ways to Prevent Poisonings
For more information about the daily themes, to participate in the poisoning awareness events, or to find a complete list of partners involved in the PPWC, visit the PPWC website at
Public Law 87-319 (approved September 26, 1961) requested the President annually to designate the third week in March as National Poison Prevention Week. The observance, sponsored by the Poison Prevention Week Council, was designed to alert the American people to the problem of unintentional poisonings. For the past 50 years, National Poison Prevention Week has focused on preventing poisonings among children under 5 years of age.

USDA Warns of Fraudulent Letters

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2012--USDA officials learned late Friday afternoon, March 16th, 2012, that fraudulent letters are being sent by FAX to individuals and businesses in at least four states. The letters purportedly come from a USDA procurement officer and seek personal information. These letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information. The fraudulent letters bear USDA's logo and seal and are signed by an individual identified as "Frank Rutenberg" using a title of "Senior Procurement Officer". Letters have been received by FAX in Alabama, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but may have also been sent to other states. Recipients should not respond and should not supply the requested information. USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General.
If you suspect you have received such a letter or have questions please contact USDA at: or call 202-720-9448.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Johanns, Ag Committee Members: No bonuses for MF Global Executives

Washington, DC – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and members of the Senate Agriculture Committee today wrote Louis Freeh, the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of MF Global Holdings Ltd., arguing against awarding bonuses to the company’s top executives, “who should be held accountable for the failure of their company.”
“It is difficult to understand why you would even consider paying anyone a bonus while nearly $1.6 billion in customer money is still missing,” Johanns and the committee members wrote. “And it is absolutely outrageous to propose paying bonuses to the very people who were responsible for the firm’s operational, legal, and financial management at the time customer money disappeared … the failure of leadership in this case is truly unprecedented.”
Media reports suggest Freeh planned to ask the bankruptcy judge overseeing MF Global’s case to approve bonuses for several company executives.
MF Global’s bankruptcy last year, the eighth largest in U.S. history, resulted in an estimated $1.6 billion in missing customer funds. Thousands of farmers, ranchers and small business owners are still owed tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Executives of the now-collapsed firm testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee in December and indicated that they didn’t know where the money went.

2012 Unicameral Youth Legislature registration now open

High school students who want to learn what it’s like to be a senator in the Nebraska Legislature are encouraged to register for the 2012 Unicameral Youth Legislature, which will convene June 10-13.
The Unicameral Youth Legislature is a four-day legislative simulation conducted at the State Capitol Building and coordinated by the Clerk’s Office of the Nebraska Legislature. Student senators will sponsor bills, conduct committee hearings, debate legislation and discover the unique process of the nation’s only unicameral.
Students will learn about the inner workings of the Legislature directly from senators, staff and lobbyists. Bills will be based on legislation considered during the current legislative session.
Early-bird registration is available until April 1. Registration forms can be obtained from the Legislature’s Unicameral Youth Legislature page:  .  and the UNL Big Red Summer Academic Camps website
 .  The registration deadline is May 15.
The Unicameral Youth Legislature is organized by University of Nebraska 4-H and has been supported by AmeriCorp VISTA, the Nebraska Cooperative Extension and the Southeast Research and Extension Center.


Duane A. Lienemann,
 UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County
March 16, 2012 Edition
Who doesn’t enjoy this unusual late winter weather? You would think the snowbirds would be better served to be spending this time right here in Nebraska. We have indeed enjoyed and unusual winter with temperatures most certainly over average on most days. We even enjoyed a pretty good moisture event that made things look a little better from the moisture standpoint. Now all of this is great for us humans, but are there some circumstances that may make this nicety a little challenging? Let’s explore that a little bit in this week’s discussion.
Wheat Dormancy: Unusually warm weather in late February and early March coupled with good topsoil moisture can, if it hasn’t already caused wheat fields to break dormancy and start greening up. Many people bring up that this year in many ways remind you of the spring of 2007, which was a year with severe spring freeze injury. I remember that well, as I made many trips out to wheat fields looking at limp and even slimy wheat plants. Hopefully we will avoid that this year. I really hate to say this, but in some ways I think it would be much better if temperatures were a little colder.
Why would I say that? Well, plants growing at this time of year use valuable soil moisture, something we may be short of if we don’t get some good spring rains. Even though topsoil moisture is adequate in our area right now, the moisture would be better used later in the growing season. In addition, I am afraid that plants may have lost some of their winter-hardiness, which really won't be a problem if the weather never turns extremely cold again this month or if temperatures cool down gradually. Those are prerequisites if the plants are to regain some of their winter-hardiness. If the wheat is green and actively growing and temperatures suddenly go from unusually warm to extremely cold, freeze injury could occur.
I have a feeling we may also want to monitor the wheat for some other things. The warm weather could also result in early-season insect and disease problems like Army cutworms and few other insects (perhaps aphids), which sometimes become a problem in wheat fields during March, especially in environment like this. We may also want to watch for early-season disease concerns include powdery mildew and tan spot. I suggest that farmers should watch their wheat crops for insects and diseases, and if you plan to top dress with nitrogen, that you do it pretty soon, before the crop reaches the jointing stage. The longer temperatures remain above normal, the more susceptible the wheat will be to a sudden temperature drop to the single digits or below. I have looked at the long range forecasts and we may be out of the woods on that, but then I remember the April Fools’ snowstorm that hit our area several years ago.
Pink Slime: I was resisting, but just can’t on the next topic. Pink slime….Good Lord when will all of this stuff end? Even that description of the fine textured “boneless lean beef trimmings”, or LFTB, that has been used for many years, was alarming to me when I first heard it, so I can only imagine what that would sound like to a housewife or any consumer that doesn’t know better. This LFTB or misnamed as “Pink Slime” has recently came under fire from bloggers, activists and even news media. I think we need to look at this with a little science instead of emotion and hype from people that haven’t properly looked at this topic before making knee-jerk reactions and then stirring up unwarranted angst amongst consumers.
The typical beef production process results in beef trimmings, consisting of fat and meat, that frequently had been cooked down to recover the oils from the trim because it was not profitable to otherwise separate the meat from the trimmings. However, today much of these beef trimmings are sent as “USDA-approved cuts of meat” to special separation plants, where centrifuges separate the beef from the fat. The production process was pioneered by Eldon Roth, who in the 1980s founded Beef Products Inc., to produce frozen beef. In the 1990s, ironically, in the wake of public health concerns over pathogenic E. coli in beef, Roth developed a process to use a puff of ammonia gas to raise the pH and kill any pathogens that may be found in beef trimmings purchased from other meat production houses.
I believe it all started with the Jamie Oliver's “Food Revolution” film that came out of Los Angeles more than a year ago and then was picked up around the country on blogs and twitters and then on ABC news and has taken a life of its own, aided by comments from former USDA scientists whose main concern was that it technically was not “meat”. The trouble is that there were a lot of inaccuracies in Mr. Oliver’s film including his statement that: "The trimmings are full of anything from Salmonella, E-coli and stuff like that.” That is not true. It also should be pointed out that household ammonia and other household chemicals are not used in the making of LFTB as he suggests in his film. These are not “scraps of animals picked up off the slaughter house floor, laden with e-coli and all kinds of other bacteria.” You just have to love when demagogues tell half-truths or use downright deception and lies and don't respect the audience. What the industry has done is develop a way to create more human-consumable beef out of what was previously considered unfit. This lets more people eat for less, with safety as a driving factor. One other observation – LFTB doesn’t even remotely look like slime.
It is both unfortunate and a disservice to our nation’s beef producers and all consumers that media outlets starting with ABC and then on to CBS and NBC television, as well as a huge number of newspapers and magazines have resorted to misleading the American public and sensationalizing this safe, lean beef product. I suggest that you take a look “Pink Slime Is A Myth,” at:   which aims to debunk the myths spread by sensational coverage.
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

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Anonymous added the following comment to a February Post Open letter to the Webster County Commissioners.
“This particular blog seems a little one sided.... there is always two sides to a story. But I would agree the County Attorney is 99.9% of the problem. To many times people in this county have not been held accountable for their actions by lack of prosecution from the C. Attorney. It must be frustrating for the Sheriff's Office to do their job... only to have it all thrown out by the C. Attorney. Before condemning the whole Sheriff's Office I think maybe take a step back and look at the whole picture of what they have to deal with on a daily basis; working nights-weekends, away from their family, every Holiday, rain or snow or shine, dealing with some very stressful situations, putting their safety/life in harms way on a daily basis. Just my two cents... Thanks for sharing. “

I have several issues here that I would like to address about this. First I want to define the word blog.
1. ‘A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger
2. Using those definitions. I am going to assume that the anonymous writer of the comment meant “post”  rather than “blog“, when he/she called it “one sided”.
3. Referring to it as one sided  is only stating the obvious. It was written by the victim of a senseless attack. It was written by an individual who has, over a period of six years, been granted protection orders by judges, three different times, against an drunken individual who then again attacks him in a public setting. 

It was an open letter written to those in authority by the individual who had been attacked who believes that the government has a duty to provide protection to its citizens. When that system, that government, fails the failure can illicit anger such as was manifest in this post. It certainly wasn’t the writers responsibility to state the opinion or express the views of his attacker nor was it within his ability to know or understand his attacker. His tone was one of someone who was, for obvious reasons, very upset. He expressed himself with a great deal of passion as he often does. This post was definitely not the journalistic efforts of a reporter, who might have an obligation to state just the facts without any opinion.
4. That being said I do appreciate the manner with which this anonymous commenter expressed him/her self. After trying to post all comments for a period of time, as the “blogger” here I decided to no longer post  comments, anonymous or signed,  that are addressed to any individual. I will not be an email service nor do I feel obligated to forward emails via this blog to any individual. But I certainly welcome comments such as the one made by this commentor here.
5. I would like for individuals to sign their name to their comment, but human nature being what it is I understand their reluctance to put their name to their opinion. In today's hostile social climate it takes a degree of courage to speak up publically.
As an option I would appreciate it if posters would pick a “pen name” such as “hard hearted Hannah” or “poor Richard” and use that name on all their comments.  That might reduce the guessing by people about who is making comments.

Oil pipeline land reclamation bill advances

Lawmakers advanced a bill from general file March 15 that would address reclamation requirements following oil pipeline construction in Nebraska. LB845, sponsored by Cedar Rapids Sen. Kate Sullivan, would strengthen requirements currently outlined in the Oil Pipeline Reclamation Act.
As introduced, the bill would require that:
• genetically appropriate and locally adapted native plant materials and seeds be used based on site characteristics and vegetation as determined by a preconstruction site inventory;
• final grading, topsoil replacement, installation of erosion control structures, seeding and mulching be completed within 30 days of backfill except when weather conditions, extenuating circumstances or unforeseen developments prevent it;
• all reclamation including choice of seed mixes, method of reseeding, weed and erosion control measures and monitoring be conducted in accordance with the Federal Seed Act, the Nebraska Seed Law and the Noxious Weed Control Act; and
• all seed mixes be state-certified seeds in accordance with the Nebraska Seed Law and mulch be installed as required by site contours, seeding methods and weather conditions or when requested by a landowner.
Sullivan said the bill reflects practices already being used by large pipeline companies and would not hinder pipeline construction in Nebraska.
“It simply outlines a little more directly what reclamation efforts are supposed to include,” she said.
A Natural Resources Committee amendment, adopted 37-0, removed the requirement that a pipeline carrier ensure that all seed mixes used in reclamation are state-certified under Nebraska Seed Law.
Schuyler Sen. Chris Langemeier, chairperson of the committee, said several native prairie grass producers testified during the hearing on LB845 that the provision would hamper their ability to produce native seed for reclamation purposes in a timely way.
“It could be up to 10 years to create a state-certified seed,” he said.
Sullivan supported the amendment, saying the bill’s remaining requirements were sufficient to ensure appropriate re-seeding of areas affected by oil pipeline construction.
The bill advanced on a 39-0 vote.

Catch 'Em While You Can!

10-inch Rainbow Trout are Being Stocked Across Nebraska
If the recent warm weather has you itching to get outside, we have the perfect reason: our annual round of spring trout stockings! Hatchery trucks have been out stocking catchable sized rainbow trout in many Nebraska locations this month and we have additional locations coming up, including this Saturday's stocking bonanza.
Don't sneak off fishing by yourself either; trout fishing is a great family activity. Trout are easy to catch on a variety of baits, making them good for beginning anglers. Bait options include marshmallows, corn and nightcrawlers, but artificial flies and small spinners can also be used. Tackle is simple: a basic rod and reel, cane pole or a fly rod.
Locations stocked earlier this Month:
Bridgeport State Recreation Area (Northwest Lake)
Terry's Pit in Terrytown
Lake Ogallala
Niobrara State Park Ponds
March 15: CenturyLink Lake at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park
Windmill State Recreation Area near Gibbon (Lake 1)
Holdrege City Park Lake (North Park)
Ord City Pond (Auble's Pond)
March 16: Auburn Rotary Club Lake
Fremont State Recreation Area (Lake No. 2)
March 17: (times are plus or minus 30 minutes)
TaHaZouka Park Lake in Norfolk - 9:30 a.m.
Barnett Park Pond in McCook - 10 a.m.
Such's Lake in Grand Island - 10:15 a.m.
Pawnee Park West in Columbus - 11 a.m.
Lake Halleck in Papillion - 11 a.m.
Heartwell Park in Hastings - 11:15 a.m.
Lexington City Park Lake - noon
Steinhart Park Pond in Nebraska City - 12:30 p.m.
Holmes Lake in Lincoln - 3:30 p.m.
March 19: Stanton Lake in Falls City
Pawnee City Pond
Humboldt City Park Lake
Later March Stockings:
Rock Creek Lake in Dundy County
Scottsbluff Zoo pond in Scottsbluff
Morrill Sandpits (North and Middle ponds)
April Stockings:
Grabel Ponds 1, 2 and 3 in Fort Robinson State Park
Gilbert-Baker Pond near Harrison
Chadron City Reservoirs near Chadron (North and South ponds)
Chadron State Park Pond
Carter P. Johnson Lake in Fort Robinson State Park .
Anglers 16 years or older will need a 2012 Nebraska Fishing permit. Fishing at a state park or recreation area? You'll need a 2012 Nebraska Park permit.

Victim Protection Act Update

After countless hours spent working on advancing LB804, the Victim Protection Act, we have some exciting news for NFOA members. All of your hard work contacting Senators, educating friends and family, making donations, and spreading the word has paid off! Today the NFOA was joined by the NRA in an agreement with several Senators on the Judiciary Committee. The agreement amends the original bill and advances the most important provision of the Victim Protection Act, civil immunity, out of committee and into the general assembly for all Senators to debate and vote on.
While the Committee Amendment negotiated by Senator Lathrop removes the second and third provisions we’ve been fighting for: ability to presume that someone who isn’t supposed to be in your house and who has entered with force is there to do harm to you or your family and extending the ability to use force to defend yourself while in your vehicle or any other place you have a right to be, we still see this as a big win in the fight to protect Nebraskans who are the victims of violent criminals. Much like our concealed carry permit system, to make progress we sometimes need to continue to take small bites to get what we want. This is the first bite to making sure criminals do not have more legal protections than the victims they attack.
This amended version of LB 804 was voted forward by the Judiciary Committee today and should be reported to the entire Legislature tomorrow.To get this portion of the bill moved forward the NFOA, the NRA and Senators Fulton and Lautenbaugh had to promise to support the amendment and not try to amend this negotiated version, so the NFOA as an organization will not be taking a stance on any amendments that others may bring forward. Stay tuned and keep active with your NFOA and we’ll continue to keep you updated as the amended LB804 advances through the general assembly on its way to becoming law!
Andy Allen
President, Board of Directors
Nebraska Firearms Owners Association
Association Address
P.O. Box 419
Syracuse, NE 68446
Contact Persons:
President NFOA


March 15, 2012 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson continued to fight for the renovation of the aging Omaha VA Medical Center and development of the national veterans’ cemetery in Eastern Nebraska, as he received updates on those projects from U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and other top VA officials. “Nebraska’s veterans are very interested in knowing the site for the veterans’ cemetery in eastern Nebraska. They ask me, when they come in to see me, where it is going to be. It’s been a little awkward to say, ‘I know it is, I just don’t know where it is.’ I’m glad the location will soon be fully disclosed,” Senator Nelson said today during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs budget request for Fiscal Year 2013.
In response to Nelson’s request for an update on the veterans’ cemetery, VA Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs Steve Muro said a site has been selected and it will be publicly revealed by the end of this month. He said the location could not yet be publicly identified because the VA is still working out a final purchase price for the land. Once that is done, the VA will be able to publicly announce the site selection.
“It’s a beautiful site. I have been on it. It will well serve our veterans there for many years,” Muro said.
Senator Nelson has been working to establish a veterans’ cemetery in eastern Nebraska since 2007, when he began working with the Sarpy County Board and Omaha City Council to build federal support for the project. He introduced legislation to authorize the cemetery in 2009, and money to fund its design was appropriated in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.
“Establishing this national veterans’ cemetery in eastern Nebraska will ensure that the 172,000 veterans in the region will get the recognition they deserve and the honor of a final resting place in a national veterans cemetery,” Nelson said. “I am glad this project is moving forward and veterans will soon know the cemetery’s location.”
Nelson also asked VA officials about progress being made towards the renovation of the aging Omaha VA Medical Center.
“I’ve often said that we need to be as good at taking care of our veterans as we are at creating them, and the commitment to improving the Omaha VA Hospital is another example that caring for America’s veterans remains one of the nation’s highest priorities,” Nelson said.
Secretary Shinseki repeated that the project is a priority and that much of the Omaha Medical Center Campus will be replaced. He acknowledged that aging heating, electrical, air conditioning and plumbing systems create safety hazards at the existing facilities.
“This is a major project that we are committed to in terms of assuring that veterans in Nebraska and in the region have access to safe and high-quality health care,” Shinseki said.
VA Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel said the design of the new Omaha VA Medical Center facilities will be completed in 2013 and, assuming there is money in the budget, construction could begin in Fiscal Year 2014.
Currently, the VA is using $56 million of its existing major construction funding to perform planning and design work for the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System hospital in Omaha.
The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System serves veterans in Nebraska, western Iowa and sections of Kansas and Missouri. The Omaha VA Medical Center offers both inpatient and outpatient primary and specialty care services. It has dual affiliations with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Creighton University.
Since 2008, Nelson has led bipartisan efforts to address the needs at the Omaha VA Medical Center, working with the Nebraska congressional delegation and two presidential administrations.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gov. Heineman Encourages Nebraskans to Be Prepared for Severe Weather

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today is encouraging Nebraskans to be prepared for severe weather. The spring and summer months are the most vulnerable times for severe weather outbreaks.
“Last year Nebraska saw record flooding along the Platte and Missouri Rivers,” said Gov. Heineman. “Promoting preparedness for flooding and severe weather can help prevent serious injury and loss of life and property across our state. We encourage everyone to take steps to ensure their families, homes and businesses are prepared for a possible emergency.”
Flooding, thunderstorms, tornados and lightning are all potential hazards facing Nebraska. Last year was a record-breaking year for tornados across the United States with more than 1,700 tornadoes being reported. There were more than 1,000 weather-related fatalities across the nation as well as more than 8,000 injuries. In Nebraska, there were nearly 20 tornadoes on June 20 alone. Planning and preparation are crucial during severe weathers months.
“This year Nebraska had its first-ever confirmed tornado in the month of February,” said Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy. “We need to let this be a reminder to be prepared. The devastating impacts of extreme events can be reduced through improved readiness.”
“Individuals need to recognize hazards and be prepared to act appropriately,” said Al Berndt, Assistant Director of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. “In this day and age there is no reason to be unaware of approaching severe weather.”
Weather radios, phone apps, private company alerts, local, television, radio and the weather service, are available to provide information on approaching severe weather. Nebraskans are urged to find a trusted source and use it to stay informed.
Gov. Heineman proclaimed March 19-23 as Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Tax exemptions proposed for public properties

Property owned by governmental entities for public use would be exempt from paying property taxes under a bill advanced from general file March 14.
Currently, a government entity wishing to issue tax-free bonds without a public vote must form a nonprofit leasing corporation. The corporation issues bonds and purchases the property. Ownership remains with the corporation until the bonds are paid off, at which time the property title is transferred to the government entity.
LB902, introduced by Omaha Sen. Burke Harr, would exempt such properties from paying property taxes. Purchases made by the leasing corporations also would be exempted from sales and use taxes. Harr said the bill codifies what already is standard practice.
“This clarifies what is current law,” Harr said. “It returns Nebraska back to the way things were intended to be.”
A Revenue Committee amendment, adopted 39-0, would enforce the sales and use tax exemption prospectively. The exemption would have been applied both prospectively and retroactively under the original bill.
The amendment also would extend the sales and use tax exemption to joint entities or agencies and includes an emergency clause.
Senators advanced the bill to select file on a 38-0 vote.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lawrence Tornado of 1990

On March 13, 1990, an early season outbreak of tornadoes ripped across the interior United States. A total of 59 tornado touchdowns impacted the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Of the 59 tornadoes, 44 of the tornadoes occurred in Nebraska and Kansas. The more well known tornadoes on the 13th include the Hesston, Kansas F5 tornado, and the Lawrence, Nebraska F4 tornado.    adic complex tracked northeast for 124 miles, setting a record for the longest track tornado in the state of Nebraska.
As widespread as the outbreak of tornadoes was on the 13th, experiencing tornadoes in March is typically not a common occurrence. Historically speaking, in Nebraska, 57 tornadoes have been reported in March since 1950. Tornadoes have been reported during March in just 12 different years since 1950. The majority of those 57 tornadoes occurred in just three years: 16 tornadoes occurred in 2007, 15 in 1990, and 8 in 2009. Based on the data, since 1950, the average number of tornadoes in March is about 1.
Since 1880, only one other March tornado event seems to compare in intensity to March 13, 1990: The "Palm Sunday" tornado outbreak on March 23, 1913. Several tornadoes devastated the Omaha area on that fateful day. 103 people were killed, including 94 in Omaha. At least 600 homes were destroyed in Omaha and another 1,100 damaged. There were no less than four F4 tornadoes reported.
Meteorologically, several ingredients need to come together to for weather conditions to be conducive for tornado development. On March 13, 1990, a strong surface low pressure was located in north central Kansas. The low pulled unseasonably warm and most air north into the south central Nebraska and north central Kansas. Surface dewpoint temperatures rose to above 60 degrees in eastern Nebraska while surface temperatures topped 70 degrees in northern Kansas. A surface dryline, or push of dry air from the west southwest, bulged into north central Kansas, and was part of the spark to ignite the explosive instability in place. Typical of strong March weather systems, while central and eastern Nebraska and Kansas were impacted by severe weather, the Nebraska panhandle experienced heavy snow, ice and wintry weather conditions. Some areas of the Nebraska panhandle measured up to 8 inches of snow. Blizzard-like conditions were reported
Now, let's look back at the facts and impacts of the F4 Lawrence tornado, on March 13, 1990:

Highlights of the "Lawrence Tornado":
•124 mile path from 3 miles south of Red Cloud to 3 miles east of Schuyler. Longest path tornado in Nebraska recorded state history
•Total of 9 injuries. No fatalities occurred.
•Rated an F4 on the original Fujita Scale. Winds estimated between 207 mph and 260 mph.
•Estimated width of 1200 feet, or about 1/4 mile.
•In Webster County, 7 farms damaged. One farm was "wiped out".
•In Nuckolls County, 53 homes damaged in Lawrence, included eight which were destroyed. Eight more farmsteads were hit in rural areas.
•In Clay County, one business was destroyed, 11 were damaged, 20 farms were hit and 49 homes were damaged in Sutton.
•In Fillmore County, power lines and trees were damaged in the extreme northwest corner of the county.
•In York County, about a dozen farms were hit. One farm house 4 miles west of McCool Junction was destroyed. Near Waco, 57 train cars were derailed. The roof was torn from a motel at the Interstate 80 interchange south of York. An estimated 10,000 geese were killed by the storm.

Johanns Welcomes Sallie Atkins to His Staff

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today announced that Sallie Atkins will be joining his staff in Nebraska on April 2 as an Outreach Coordinator and Constituent Services Representative. She will be based in Johanns’ Kearney office, but spend a majority of her time in communities across north-central Nebraska and throughout the state.
“Sallie is well known and respected across the state for her tireless work in areas ranging from promoting Nebraska agriculture to ensuring the success of the State Fair,” Johanns said. “I’m pleased she will be joining my team, and I know she will be a valuable asset as we continue serving Nebraskans from Omaha to Scottsbluff.”
Atkins has been active with numerous agriculture and education associations, including serving as the Executive Director and Chairman of the Nebraska Beef Council and on the board of the NEBRASKAland Foundation. She also served on foundations for the Nebraska 4-H, Future Farmers of America and Nebraska Rural Radio Association. Atkins received the Nebraska Volunteer of the Year award in 2011 for her work on the State Fair.


Senator Ben Nelson

Most of us dread seeing a letter from the Internal Revenue Service, unless it’s a refund check. But the IRS sent me some information recently that is good news for taxpayers – free help filing income taxes, and I wanted to pass it on to my fellow Nebraskans.
It’s called IRS Free File IRS Free File which provides free access to brand-name tax preparation software—offering taxpayers step-by-step help to prepare and e-file their federal taxes online. With April 15 approaching, this tax-filing help may be useful.
Through IRS Free File, all taxpayers who made $57,000 or less in 2011 are eligible to use this site to prepare and e-file their federal tax returns. About 100 million Americans—or 70 percent of taxpayers—are eligible.
Public – Private Partnership
IRS Free File is made possible through a public-private partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a coalition of tax software companies.
Since its inception in 2003, IRS Free File has offered 70 percent of taxpayers free access to leading commercial tax preparation software.
To begin, taxpayers should visit the IRS Free File website— —and click on the “Free File” icon on the right side of the screen. Users can access a list of Free File Alliance members and either choose the one that fits their needs, or utilize the “help me find a company” tool. After selecting a tax software company, users will be transferred to the company's website to prepare, complete and electronically file their federal income tax returns. The service is also available in Spanish.
Free File Alliance members have worked with the IRS to strengthen the Free File program, and taxpayers have reported that it is user-friendly and efficient. Responding to a 2009 IRS survey, 96 percent of users said they found Free File easy to use, while 98 percent said they would recommend the program to others.
About the Free File Alliance
The Free File Alliance, a coalition of 14 key tax software companies, has partnered with the IRS since 2003 to help low- and middle-income Americans prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns online. The Free File Alliance says it is committed to giving 70 percent of Americans free access to the industry’s top online tax preparation software. More than 33 million returns have been filed through IRS Free File since its inception.
As long as we have to pay taxes, the government should make it as quick, easy and painless as possible. Free File does that, and I applaud the IRS for taking this initiative by partnering with private industry. I hope by providing this information, Nebraskans will be able to take advantage of the program.

New standard for educational accountability would measure progress

Schools would be assessed on student progress rather than solely on universal benchmarks under a bill advanced from general file March 13. LB870, introduced by York Sen. Greg Adams, would broaden the criteria used to assess a school’s effectiveness. Adams said the proposed changes would provide a more accurate picture of how a school is performing.
Schools currently are held accountable for students’ results on content area assessments. LB870 would add additional measures, including student growth and improvement and graduation rates. Schools would be required to annually report the data.
Educational accountability mandated under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation is a reality that must be dealt with, Adams said.
“We may not like the method [proposed by No Child Left Behind], but there has to be accountability,” Adams said. “We can sit back and complain or we can take steps to make the Nebraska system better.”
An Education Committee amendment, adopted 38-0, incorporated provisions of several bills heard by the committee. The amendment would:
• add language that would make data collected by the statewide accountability system available to all citizens;
• require that all probationary teachers — regardless of school classification — be evaluated once per semester; and
• provide stronger authorization to the state Department of Education to create and support career academies.
Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford spoke in support of the amendment, saying the creation of career academies will benefit students who may not follow a traditional educational pathway. The provisions originated from LB1144, a bill he introduced.
“I’m thoroughly convinced that if we can move forward with career academies, we’ll increase the confidence of kids that feel the system has given up on them,” Ashford said.
Senators advanced the bill to select file on a 36-0 vote.

Karen B. White March 9, 2011

Karen B. White , 62, of Blue Hill, died March 9, 2011.   Karen was the wife of Larry White.

Details will be added as they become available.

Main Street Media Acquires Blue Hill, NE Leader

posted: 2/27/2012
by: Press Release
W.B. Grimes & Company
Main Street Media (MSM) has added the Blue Hill (Neb.) Leader its stable of community newspapers, all of which are located in a three-state area consisting of Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.
Rollie Hyde, of W. B. Grimes & Company represented the sellers, Darren and Cassie Ivy. The Ivy’s will continue to publish their other nearby properties including the Doniphan (NE) Herald.
Blue Hills is the fourth Nebraska newspaper to become a member of the MSM group. The others are located in Red Cloud, Franklin and Alma.
Jack Krier, president of MSM, in announcing the purchase of the Leader stated: We are very pleased to add the Leader to our list of publications, and are very confident it will continue to be a leading source of information for Blue Hill and the surrounding community.
The acquisition brings to 26 the number of community newspapers owned by MSM. In addition to the newspapers, the firm also owns six shoppers.
Kansas newspapers owned by MSM are located in: Phillipsburg, Smith Center, Lebanon, Downs, Cawker City, Osborne, Plainville, Ellis and Russell.
Missouri newspapers owned by MSM are located in: Carrollton, Lexington, Higginsville, Norborne, Alma, Glasgow, Windsor, Cone, Alma, Glasgow, Windsor, Cole Camp, Lincoln, Osceola, Rich Hill, Appleton City and Humansville.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Doug Talley Quartet to headline Hastings College Jazz Festival

 During the Hastings College Jazz Festival and Workshop on April 1-2, high school students from across Nebraska will have an opportunity to work with and enjoy a performance by the Doug Talley Quartet, ( )  Kansas City-based jazz ensemble.
The quartet, which has garnered national airplay for its interpretations of traditional Kansas City-style jazz, will also give a free public performance on Monday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. in French Memorial Chapel (800 N. Turner Ave.)
“This quartet came to our festival about six years ago and really did a great job, both as clinicians and performers,” said Dr. Marc LaChance, Professor of Music at Hastings College and the festival’s director. “Good performers aren’t always good teachers, and good teachers aren’t always good performers. When you find people that do both well, you have them back.”
Throughout the festival, the high school bands will perform and then receive immediate feedback on their performance from the clinicians.
Attendance for this year’s jazz festival is higher than Dr. LaChance can recall in his 12 years at HC.
“I’m especially happy about the number of bands which haven’t attended before, or at least not recently,” Dr. LaChance said.
High school bands currently scheduled to participate in the festival and workshop are as follows:
Blue Hill
Columbus High School
Grand Island Northwest
Grand Island Senior High (2 bands)
Hastings Middle School
Hastings Saint Cecilia
Hastings Senior High School
Lincoln Northeast
Nebraska City
Omaha North
Perkins County
Skutt Catholic
A spirit of excellence has long been the hallmark of the Hastings College music experience. Hastings College students and faculty have been making music from the beginning of the College in 1882. Hastings College is recognized as a National Liberal Arts College in the U.S. News and World Report annual “America’s Best Colleges” issue and a Best Midwestern College by Princeton Review. The Hastings College Department of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and also was named an All-Steinway School, one of only 82 worldwide.
The Department of Music offers a full range of vocal and instrumental opportunities for all Hastings College students. Major ensembles and small groups travel regularly, making special appearances at music conferences, schools, and churches. Vocal ensembles at Hastings College include the renowned Hastings College Choir, Men’s Chorus, HC Singers (treble voices), Spectrum vocal chamber ensembles, along with other special smaller groups. Instrumental ensembles include the Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Marching Band; Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Chamber Orchestra, Brass, and Percussion Ensembles, and the Bell Choir. The department serves as the permanent residence of the South Central Nebraska Children’s Chorale; the Nebraska State High School Honor Choir, Band, and Orchestra; and the Hastings Symphony Orchestra.
Music students can earn a Bachelor of Music degree with majors in applied performance, music education, and piano pedagogy. A Bachelor of Arts degree in music with an emphasis in performance, elementary education, music history or sacred music is also available. Hastings College offers a Master of Arts in Teaching with emphasis in music. In addition, the department sponsors student chapters of Sigma Alpha Iota, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Music Educators National Conference, and Music Teachers National Association.

AG Bruning Fights to Protect Billions in Ethanol Sales from Unconstitutional Regulation

LINCOLN - Attorney General Bruning and six other states today filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opposing enforcement of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). In December 2011, the Eastern District of California found the regulation violated the dormant commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution by discriminating against out-of-state ethanol.
“This regulation directly threatens $1.3 Billion in ethanol sales from Nebraska alone, and untold billions across the Midwest,” said Bruning. “We will continue to fight California’s unconstitutional attempt to limit fuel markets by discriminating against Nebraska corn and ethanol producers.”
California’s LSFS mandates annual reductions in the “carbon intensity” for gasoline and other transportation fuels sold in California. The regulation assigns higher carbon intensity scores to corn ethanol produced in Nebraska and other Midwestern states compared to identical ethanol produced in California.
In January 2012, California appealed and requested a stay of the district court’s decision at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. If granted, the stay by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would allow California to continue enforcement of its unconstitutional law pending appeal.
Nebraska was joined by Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota in opposing the stay of the district court’s decision.

Gov. Heineman to Host CO & KS Governors and View Sandhill Cranes

Governors to Meet and Discuss Eco-Tourism & Economic Development
(Lincoln, NE) Gov. Dave Heineman announced today he will host Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado for an upcoming visit to Nebraska on Friday, March 23. The Governors will meet to discuss common efforts and issues related to eco-tourism and economic development.
“I look forward to welcoming my fellow governors to our state to see the crane migration and discuss eco-tourism,” said Gov. Heineman. “Eco-tourism is vital in Nebraska where 97 percent of the land is privately owned. Forging partnerships with private land owners is critical in providing access to our many attractions including beautiful landscapes and bountiful hunting opportunities.”
Catherine Lang, Director of the Department of Economic Development added, “More and more travelers are interested in ecotourism. Nebraska offers a rich and diverse landscape that appeals to a variety of travelers from hunters to bird watchers. We are always striving to keep Nebraska beautiful and attract tourists to enjoy our state.”
According to statistics gathered by the Nebraska Division of Tourism and Travel in the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraskans and visitors to Nebraska together made more than 19 million trips in the state in 2010 to destinations 100 miles or more away from home. Travelers spent nearly $4 billion in Nebraska during 2010 on day trips more than 100 miles away and trips with overnight stays. Annual spending on these trips has increased by $2.3 billion since 1990. Jobs attributable to travel in Nebraska totaled more than 45,000 in 2010. For trips by visitors, the leading states of origin were Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Missouri and South Dakota.
In addition to discussing tourism efforts, the governors will have the opportunity to view the world-renowned migration of the sandhill cranes, a significant eco-tourism attraction in Nebraska.
From mid-February to mid-April each year, visitors to the Platte River valley in south-central Nebraska can enjoy the migration of 90 percent of the world's sandhill cranes. Approximately 500,000 sandhill cranes gather each year en route to their summer breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska and Siberia.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Byron E. Koepke March 5 1944 to March 5, 2012

Byron E. Koepke, 68, Lincoln, died Monday, March 5, 2012, at Clark Jeary Retirement Community in Lincoln. Byron was born on March 5, 1944, to Harold J. and Eda M. (VanBoening) Koepke in Hastings. He was baptized and confirmed in Trinity Lutheran Church, Blue Hill. He graduated from Blue Hill High School in 1962. He attended classes at Kearney State College until his education was interrupted by being called to serve his country from March 19, 1968 to October 23, 1969 in Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star. When he returned he enrolled at the University of Nebraska Lincoln and obtained his degree in Agronomy and Soil Science in 1971.
He married Yvonne Chapman and to this union one son was born. He lived in Montana, Southern Colorado and Alaska. During the time he was in Alaska he and a co-worker were often dropped from a helicopter to map the tundra and spent weeks camping in remote areas. He also lived in Eritrea in East Africa for a short time. Their goal was to improve the water quality. He enjoyed his opportunities to fish, had good gardening abilities and more recently his young grandson was the focus of his attention.
Bryon is survived by son, Brent (Lindsey), Lincoln; sister, Lamira Karsting, Blue Hill; brother, Kenneth (Gerry), Grand Island; grandson, Bode; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother-in-law, Dean Karsting.
Services were Saturday, March 10, 2012, 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, Blue Hill, with Rev. Joshua Lowe officiating. Burial with military rites by A.L. Shirley Post #176 was in the Blue Hill Cemetery. There will be no viewing or visitation. The remains were cremated. Memorials to Trinity Lutheran Church, A.L. Shirley Post #176 or the donor's choice.


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County
March 8, 2012 Edition
It is time to revisit the ill-thought out US Department of Labor proposed changes to rules under the Child Labor Act for Agriculture. In all fairness the proposed changes to the law were made after citing the injury and fatality rates for children working in agriculture is four times greater than kids working in non-agricultural jobs. What they don’t understand is that those of us in agriculture understand that risk, but still choose to live and work in agriculture. I don’t think they understand that we also work hard in educating and training in safety in these jobs. This is an example of suits in Washington trying to determine what is best for us, as if we are not smart enough to make our own decisions.
After reviewing more than 10,000 comments that were sent in after the word got out on the proposed changes, the DOL announced last month that the agency had expanded its parental exemption language. I was hopeful that those comments had made a difference. The DOL changed the proposed rule with an exemption, that will apply in situations in which a parent "or person standing in place of the parent" is part owner of a farm as a partner or officer in a corporation which owns the farm "if the ownership interest in the partnership or corporation is substantial." Hopefully you understand what they are exempting. I am not all that sure. While the announcement that DOL would reconsider the rule was good news, it concerns me that the DOL is still moving forward with many provisions that would have a direct and potentially detrimental impact on farm and ranch families. I am convinced they're still turning a deaf ear to our concerns in farm country about proposed child labor in agriculture restrictions ---and they still think that the Nanny state knows better.
As far as I am concerned, they are pulling the same thing they did when they introduced the proposed rule changes right during harvest last year -pick a time when farmers are busy. Maybe they won’t notice! It seems to me that this “change to the proposed changed rules” is nothing more than throwing crumbs our way to make us think they heard our comments and are going to take our advice. I am afraid that they will lull the ag community to sleep on the broader issue on the remainder of their rules that are still going to take effect. They most likely are waiting to make their final ruling during – you guessed it -- planting season, when they know farmers will be busy once again and away from the news, television or internet.
The main bulk of language changes still affect children under 16. According to DOL officials, they are not talking about kids who are 16 years or older who are employed on any farm, whether a family farm or a corporate farm. However, the rule would prevent children under age 16 from operating most power equipment on farms. The rule does include exclusions for children are working on their family's farm operation or taking classes in a vocational program. The rule largely would apply in situations where there is an employer-employee relationship involving a farmer and a child. They also indicate that they are not talking about neighbors helping neighbors in need or kids participating in 4-H or FFA. They say that a child of any age could, for example, assist a neighbor to round up loose cattle that have broken out of their fencing because that would not establish an employer-employee relationship. Still, other prohibitions would prevent children from working with livestock, timber, manure pits, grain bins or pesticide handling or working in places higher than 6 feet off the ground.
According to the DOL official, the regulation would not apply for kids raising livestock for 4-H or FFA. I would like to see that in writing. I don’t think they really understand how SAE’s in FFA or projects in 4-H work. Further, children under age 18 would be banned from working in areas involved with storing, marketing or hauling raw farm materials. So children could not work in grain elevators, silos, feedlots or stockyards. It sounds to me like there could still be restrictions on not allowing a neighbor kid to help on the farm or to help with livestock or driving a tractor or a small piece of farm equipment. There still is no clarification either on kids that work with detasseling crews. Also there is no word on the training or how kids can get permits. I still look for this action to undercut programs like 4-H and FFA in farm safety, tractor and equipment safety training programs and replace them with some sort of national DOL program. Look for unreasonable regulations and numbers of hours in training, classroom and lab. Don’t be surprised if it is so burdensome that parents and kids will elect not to do it. Look for the lines at Wendy’s, Burger King or McDonald job window get even longer.
If I were a betting man, I would bet that we won’t see much change at all in the proposed rules. After all, we are not cerebral enough to understand what is good and bad for us. I believe that the agricultural community must continue to speak out against these rules and pressure DOL into taking another look before impacting the next generation of U.S. agriculturalists. To me the DOL’s proposal looks more like the continual efforts of animal rights groups to undermine and attack agriculture rather than a valid labor or safety concern. I would like to know who is really behind this thing.
This is a proposal that undermines the ability for us to manage our own farms, to develop a pool of young people who want to grow up and be farmers and ranchers. It is something that if you care about the future of rural America, if you care about the future of agriculture, we all have got to make certain the Department of Labor is not successful in allowing these rules to take effect. We can no longer afford to have our heads in the sand. We have to take a stand. We need to get on our phones and write letters to our US Senators and Representatives. Why would we just sit idly by and allow other people that don’t know, or care what we do, make our decisions for us, and ultimately affect our very way of life?
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: