Friday, June 29, 2012


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
 Webster County
                                 One only has to look at the past several days and unfortunately at the long range forecast to realize that most of Nebraska and particularly South Central Nebraska that we seem to be going from the frying pan, right into the fire. This whole last month has been the warmest (hottest) and I believe driest June for sure in my memory and I am certain many others. You can ascertain the forecasts via radio or television, or if you have an internet connection I suggest that you go to sites like www.accuweather.com; ; ; ; or  .  if you are brave enough to look. If you are really brave and want to learn about the USDA heat stress forecast I suggest that you go to    which shows that this weekend and the next entire week is going to be in the extreme heat range and therefore will put us in the danger zone.
High temperatures for this timeframe are expected to be in the mid 90’s to low 100’s with lows in the mid to high 70’s, so it is not going to cool much over night and humidity could be a factor as well. We could have heat index figures this next week over 100 degrees. Cattle begin to experience some level of heat stress when the heat index approaches 80 F, with most cattle severely stressed when the heat index exceeds 100 degrees. Also, when early morning temperatures and/or the heat indices are in the mid-70s, chances are cattle did not adequately cool down at night, and cattlemen should be prepared to provide as much relief to cattle as possible during the day. Producers, especially feedlots with fat cattle, need to make sure that they take some protective measures during these coming days and keep a watch on forecast to make further decisions.
Some of those decisions would be to utilize protective measures like: 1) Provide clean fresh water, as consumption of water can double during heat events. Cattle need at least 2 gallons/100 lbs/day during heat events. Additionally make sure there is adequate room for cattle drink and supply lines can provide water fast enough. 2) Shift to feeding a higher percentage of feed in the afternoon and consider lowering the energy content by 5%. 3) Provide shade if possible. UV radiation is many times the tipping point for losses due to heat stress. And 4) If necessary begin sprinkling cattle with water if signs of heat stress are evident. In an emergency, cattle can be sprayed with water to cool them down. However, once producers do that, they need to repeat or continue spraying until the heat subsides. Spraying cattle with water will allow the animal to rapidly dissipate heat through evaporative cooling processes but this may limit the animal's ability to adapt to the heat. You might also consider watering down the pens. If the pen surface is dry, wetting the pen also will provide relief to confined animals. It is always beneficial to start the wetting or cooling process in the morning before the cattle get too hot.
Another suggested heat stress mitigation tactic is to use bedding to decrease surface temperatures animals are exposed to. Generally it's thought bedding is for insulation against cold stress. However, straw can aid in breaking up or diffusing the solar heat load that often contributes to heating up dry, bare ground. The degree bedding is effective in doing this is unknown. However, if used, it is suggested bedding be placed in the pen early in the morning when the ground has cooled; otherwise, heat will be trapped in the pen surface. Also, wetting the bedding would allow for additional cooling to occur when the animal uses it. For livestock in pastures you need to provide shade and make sure that they have plenty of water.
Most cattlemen know that air flow and water are the keys to minimizing death loss. Cattle yards should be free of any structures that restrict airflow. Cutting down vegetation around pens and moving cattle away from windbreaks can all help. Building earth mounds in pens also can increase airflow by preventing cattle from bunching together. It is best to try to move cattle out of pens that have air flow obstructions, divide pens of cattle and place part of the cattle in empty pens to increase their access to water, and avoid water restriction by leasing or purchasing water tanks/tubs (feeder cattle need 20 gallons of water and about half must be available in the middle of the afternoon). It probably will not surprise you that black or dark red colored cattle are at greatest risk. It may surprise you however that naturally fed cattle are at a higher risk than conventional finished cattle. Producers should avoid handling cattle when it's hot and never after 10 a.m. Cattle body temperatures can rise an additional 0.5 to 3.5 degrees during handling.
Other heat stress mitigation strategies include: providing shade, controlling biting flies and other parasites, keeping very current on cattle marketings and being mindful of heat effects on personnel as well. An interesting educational piece on high risk cattle can be found on the internet at:   Producers can also find additional management options for heat stress in a NebGuide for Feedlot Cattle which can be found at your local UNL Extension office or on the web @
As an additional management consideration, UNL Ag Economist Brad Lubben encourages producers to carefully record any death losses resulting from heat stress and any local weather condition information that is available. There is a chance that new Farm Bill legislation slowly working its way through Congress could reauthorize both the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (for drought losses of forage/feed supplies) and could make them retroactive to the 2012 production year. So, keeping good records of any losses is still a sound practice even if the status of potential disaster assistance is uncertain. You might also want to record your hay and grass loss as compared to last year.

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, June 28, 2012

Gov. Heineman's Statement on Health Care Ruling

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today offered the following statement regarding the Supreme Court of the United States ruling on President Obama’s federal health care overhaul law.
“As a result of today’s Supreme Court ruling, it is now more important than ever that Mitt Romney be elected President of the United States. Obamacare will continue to dramatically increase the cost of health care.
“In overhauling America’s health care system, President Obama should have focused on controlling health care costs. The focus should be on patient-centered health care that emphasizes prevention, wellness and quality outcomes. There are many ways to achieve affordable patient-centered health care without the unaffordable, unsustainable, regulatory nightmare of Obamacare.
“To name a couple of examples, nationally, we need an efficient electronic medical system that reduces costs rather than an inefficient paper-based system. We need hospital transparency for the consumers of health care. The prices of routine medical operations ought to be posted on the Internet so that citizens can make more informed decisions. Instead, America now has Obamacare which increases taxes and continues an unfunded Medicaid expansion.
“The ramifications of today’s multifaceted Supreme Court ruling are very intricate and deeply complex. Reviewing this decision in a detailed, thoughtful and responsible manner will likely take weeks and months before a complete determination can be made on what this ruling means for Nebraska. One unexpected and convoluted element of the ruling is the unfunded Medicaid expansion is now an option for the states.
“As I have said repeatedly, if this unfunded Medicaid expansion is implemented, state aid to education and funding for the University of Nebraska will be cut or taxes will be increased. If some state senators want to increase taxes or cut education funding, I will oppose them. Again, I want to emphasize that reviewing this decision in a detailed, thoughtful and responsible manner will take time before a complete determination can be made on what this ruling means for Nebraska.”

AG Bruning Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in Health Care Reform Challenge

LINCOLN –Attorney General Jon Bruning issued the following statement on the United States Supreme Court decision to uphold the 2010 federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In an historic 5-4 vote, the high Court ruled the individual mandate was constitutional under the taxing power of Congress.
“I’m disappointed with the Court’s decision to give the federal government unlimited authority over every American’s life,” said Bruning. “Clearly the Constitution doesn’t allow Congress to dictate every detail of our lives, but that’s where this decision leads us. The federal government now has the power to direct our actions and penalize us for non-compliance.”
Along with 12 other states, Nebraska filed the constitutional challenge in federal court just minutes after the Act was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. Led by Nebraska and five other executive committee states, the lawsuit ultimately included a total of 26 states. Additionally, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) joined the lawsuit as a co-plaintiff on behalf of its members nationwide.

Smith reacts to Supreme Court Decision

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) made the following statement following the ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010:
“Although I am disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision today, I thank the Court for its consideration.
“Our health care system is broken and only will improve when Congress passes patient-centered reforms to increase access to care by lowering costs. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I look forward to continuing our efforts to find real health care solutions to benefit all Americans without tax increases and onerous government mandates.”

After Court Ruling, Johanns Urges Redoubled Effort to Repeal Health Care Law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns  issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 2010 health care law:
"The Court today ruled the health care law is the law of the land, and that's something we have to live with unless and until we repeal it, which I continue to fully support. Now we have a multi-trillion dollar bill which threatens the budgets of our federal and state governments as well as families nationwide. Even health care experts within the Administration project health insurance premiums will increase at more than double the rate under the law than they otherwise would have without it. A ruling that the law is constitutional doesn't mean it is wise or that we have to keep it on the books, and I will continue to press for full repeal."
The law is projected to cost $2.6 trillion through the first full decade of implementation. Despite this spending, the Administration's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates it will more than double the growth of private health insurance premiums:
"In 2014, growth in private health insurance premiums is expected to accelerate to 7.9 percent, or 4.1 percentage points higher than in the absence of health reform." (CMS)
Medicare Part A is currently projected to become insolvent by 2024, according to CMS. Today, the average couple pays $116,000 into Medicare over their lifetimes, and receives $351,000 in benefits. Rather than ensuring the program's long-term solvency, the health care law sapped $500 billion from Medicare to pay for new entitlement programs.
CMS additionally projected the law to increase Medicaid costs by $725 billion through 2021. Likewise, according to a Congressional committee report, the law's Medicaid expansion could mean $118 billion in unfunded mandates on states through 2023, which could result in higher taxes and cuts to state services like education and law enforcement.
The health care law created 159 new federal boards and commissions, added more than 12,000 pages of regulations to the books, and gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services more than 1,700 new or expanded powers.


June 28, 2012—Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson applauded today's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that the court's ruling preserves the health care security the Affordable Care Act has been providing hundreds of thousands of Nebraska families and small businesses, and clears the path for new health care improvements set to go in effect in 2014. Today's ruling ushers in a new era of affordable and accessible healthcare for all Americans.
"Today's decision by the Supreme Court preserves new health benefits that tens of thousands of children, young adults, seniors and families in Nebraska have already received under the Affordable Care Act," said Senator Nelson. "Maybe this decisive action by the high court will mark a turning point in America, where people start working together because we need to fix our economy, create jobs and bring down the deficit.
"For the tea party types who waged a political campaign against the health reform law, the court's decision that it is constitutional means they should stop discussing the issue and start offering their ideas and solutions," Nelson added. "What the Supreme Court has done today is allow the nation to move forward, so let's move forward together."
The Supreme Court today affirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and most of the law.
As a result of the court's ruling, these Nebraskans will continue to receive these benefits provided under the Affordable Care Act:
· 18,000 young adults (up to age 26) in Nebraska are now insured through their family's health care plan.
· In the first five months of 2012, 78,337 Nebraskan seniors with Medicare received free preventative care. This includes 4,795 Nebraskans who have taken advantage of the annual wellness visit provided for under the health reform law.
· $15,175,406 in total prescription drug cost savings for 24,070 Nebraska seniors with Medicare - averaging $630.47 in savings per person in 2011.
· 174 Nebraskans previously uninsured because of a pre-existing condition are now insured.
The ruling also affirms funding that Nebraska has already received under the law totaling more than $36.4 million in grants, including:
· $13.4 million to build new community health centers and update existing centers in rural and underserved areas of Nebraska
· $7.3 million in Prevention and Public Health Fund grants which support healthy living and preventative care programs in Nebraska
· $191,000 for school-based health centers, expanding care – including health screenings - to Nebraska's students
· $1.7 million for Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs, health professionals meet with at-risk families and connect them with the help they need – such as early education, health care, nutrition and parenting classes

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

LJS: Nelson says ideological court may jeopardize health care

By: Don Walton
From: Lincoln Journal Star
On the eve of the anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the health care reform law, Sen. Ben Nelson warned its possible demise would be followed by consequences detrimental to most Americans.
If the court strikes down the law or its mandate for individual insurance coverage, those politicians who celebrate the result will be responsible for jeopardizing benefits already in place for seniors, children and young adults along with future benefits, while increasing costs for insured Americans, Nelson said.
Striking down the individual mandate would likely "pave the way for a single-payer system or lead back to the dysfunctional system America had prior to the health care reform law," the Democratic senator said.
That could be the end result of a decision by "an activist Supreme Court (that) allows ideological views to override judicial restraint and impartiality," Nelson said during a conference call from Washington.
Nineteen of 21 constitutional law scholars recently surveyed by Bloomberg News said the mandate is constitutional and should be upheld, he said.
Ironically, Nelson said, the mandate now sharply opposed by Republican members of Congress "originally was a conservative idea" sponsored by Republicans and was adopted in Massachusetts and signed into law in the mid-1990s by Gov. Mitt Romney, who now opposes the mandate as a Republican presidential candidate.
The mandate went from "GOP poster child to pariah" when it became part of the health care reform law supported by President Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress, Nelson said.
If the court strikes down the mandate or negates the entire law, Nelson said, the American people should understand that "the other side broke it; they own it, including the court."
The law already provides health insurance coverage for children with pre-existing conditions, makes prescriptions more affordable for seniors, ends lifetime caps on benefits and allows young adults to remain on their parents' coverage until they are 26, Nelson said.
Other provisions become effective in 2014, he said, including extending the pre-existing conditions guarantee to adults.
"Those who are so gleeful about making this a big political issue need to face the reality that this is not a victory," he said. "It's a political victory until people understand the results."
And that would include cost-shifting to Americans with health insurance that amounts to an estimated $79 billion, he said.
"Is there a constitutional right to shift the cost to people with insurance?" Nelson asked.
Nelson said he opposes both of the avenues opened up by a court decision negating or crippling the current law: a single-payer system or a return to "the old broken health care system."
Before providing a vote clearing the way for Senate passage of the current law, he noted, he helped lead the fight against including a public option.


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County

June 23, 2012 Edition
I have had the opportunity for over 40 years to work with the agricultural youth of South Central Nebraska in a myriad of ways. Whether it be sports, agriculture education, FFA or 4-H, I have always marveled at the energy, their robust love for life and their affinity for life in small town Nebraska and especially in agriculture. This weekend what I have learned about these young people over the years intensified while witnessing a diverse and very talented group of 4-H kids plan, organize, set up and run a livestock show. After conceiving the idea to bring back the spirit of progress shows that used to be part of the fabric of the youth livestock programs over the last 35 years, these kids did something about it.
I am sure these young people heard from their parents or relatives involved in the livestock industry about a very successful run of a progress show that was held for 25 years in Hastings called the Twin Valley Livestock Exposition and then an offshoot, to fill the void when that show expired, to a Webster County Beef Progress Show. This was held for several years at the Webster County Fairgrounds, but it also experienced the fate of many other shows like it. It takes a lot of energy, manpower and support to do these shows, and they take their toll on volunteers who see the benefit of these shows for our agricultural oriented youth. As a result, these opportunities for young people to take part in progress shows before their own county fairs is limited because of those simple facts, and they come and go depending upon the vitality of the community and those within it. If the young people who love raising and exhibiting their livestock projects many time have to travel many miles with high expense in order to take advantage of these opportunities.
A year ago these young people took upon themselves to rekindle the interest of the collective community in providing a showplace once again for local livestock exhibitors as well as other youth across Nebraska and northern Kansas in by studying, planning, raising funds and putting together their own livestock exhibition progress show. They decided to call this show the “South Central Nebraska Livestock Exposition.” All their planning took shape and they had created their own enterprise. They gained strength and learned from their experience and decided that they could make it bigger and better, and they did just that. On June 22-23 they had their second exposition and it was a big success. But that is just a small part of the story. These young people from different families, different communities and schools, with different backgrounds all had one thing in common, they love animal agriculture. But I saw something a lot more important.
These young people exhibited more than livestock, they exhibited what we just don’t seem to see with many adults, organizations, and yes even politicians. They worked together. They formed a team, divided up responsibility and discussed and then formulated what they could do to pull off a remarkable accomplishment. They tackled what many adults would not do. They stepped outside of their comfort zone and approached individuals, businesses and organizations to help fund their extensive undertaking. What I found even more extraordinary is that they went much further than what they even knew. They did some critical thinking and most importantly developed life skills that will serve them well into their futures. I believe that life skills developed as youth have a direct impact on their eventual careers.
When youth like the Webster County 4-H Junior Leaders participate in events like their progress show, or livestock projects and team events, it helps teach and develop life skills such as a good work ethic, responsibility, time management, decision making, critical thinking, oral and written communication, record keeping, team work, and problem solving. Successfully implementing these skills in the lives of our youth better equip them for future educational and career opportunities. I think most people know that I gravitate towards the livestock end of my career choice and it is an easy thing for me, because I have found that most youth have a natural affinity to and curiosity about livestock. I believe that by using livestock as a tool, we can provide our future leaders with opportunities to develop life skills while also making them a more informed consumer. God knows that in our world we have to develop and teach agricultural literacy in order to survive in the long run. We have to have informed consumers or agriculture is on really shaky ground.
Additionally, these young people who step up to the plate, like this group of young 4-H people, may eventually seek a career in the livestock industry. Through activities like this, they will gain a great deal of knowledge and experience through the educational opportunities provided by this undertaking. Not only do these young people learn life skills they demonstrate citizenship, leadership and positive life skills and the whole collective community with the development of future citizens who positively contribute to society. Whether or not kids who grew up on a farm or ranch return to production agriculture or not, these skills are carried on into their adult lives.
These values are what make youth in agriculture the most sought after segment by employers. I have routinely over the years received questions from prospective employers of past students or 4-H and FFA members that I have had the opportunity to work with, and almost always I hear about the work ethic that is missing in so many areas across the Nation, and these employers value that attribute that our kids have. I salute the Webster County Junior Leaders for their inspiration, hard work and contributions to our community and the livestock industry. They are a sampling of what the youth all across South Central Nebraska exemplify. They make us all proud. Don’t take these kids for granted….They are our future!
The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: or go to the website at:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Johanns Writes U.S. Ag Secretary Supporting Nebraska Emergency Drought Assistance

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)  sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging prompt action on the Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) Committee’s request to “authorize emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in all counties that meet the appropriate drought conditions and to give prompt consideration to future requests.”
Johanns said, “USDA’s State technical committee has looked at the conditions and recognized the serious need. It’s my hope Secretary Vilsack will swiftly approve the request to open this land. I expect more of these requests to come in as the summer progresses and will continue monitoring the situation to ensure our farmers and ranchers receive the assistance they need."
Producers in Morrill and Sheridan counties have requested early release of CRP acres for haying and grazing as a result of drought conditions. Other counties are in the process of gathering data and could make similar requests to state FSA offices.
CRP lands are voluntarily set aside for conservation purposes. The lands can be released for haying and grazing after the primary wildlife nesting season which typically ends July 15. Nesting, however, occurred earlier than normal this year due to a mild winter and warm spring. Nebraska is requesting to allow grazing immediately. This authority has already been approved in Wyoming which has the same typical nesting season dates.
The Nebraska FSA Committee has five members representing a variety of agriculture operations in Nebraska. The members are appointed by the Administration. The USDA State Technical Committee is chaired by the State Conservationist and includes the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, various other state agencies, agriculture producers, and land and wildlife management experts.

Monday, June 25, 2012


By  Senator Ben Nelson
Nebraska is an agriculture state. Our economy and thousands and thousands of jobs depend on how well agriculture is doing and much of agriculture's health depends on what's in the Farm Bill, which is why it was so important that the Senate passed a new one before the current bill expires on September 30, 2012.
How important is agriculture to Nebraska? Let me count just a few of the ways. According to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska ranks first in the nation in the production of such commodities as red meat, Great Northern Beans, and even popcorn. We're the second largest ethanol- producing state in the country and rank third in corn for grain production.
Cash receipts from all commodities contributed more than $17 billion to Nebraska's economy in 2010, which is 5.5 percent of the nation's total.
Providing Farmers and Ranchers with Stability
Nebraska's farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers deserve the certainty and stability a new Farm Bill will provide so they can plan for next year and beyond, and we got it thanks to the hard work and willingness to work together by the Agriculture Committee, on which I serve.
It was important that everyone put aside the political game-playing and that we worked through dozens of amendments. In the end we were able to get a strong bipartisan vote of 64 to 35 to pass a five-year Farm Bill that streamlines and simplifies farm programs through 2017 and ends outdated subsidies while protecting America's food, fuels, and fiber supply.
An Example on How to Cut the Budget
The Farm bill actually cuts the federal deficit by $23 billion as it ushers in a new era. Its budget-minded reforms and swapping of government subsidies for new crop insurance programs will benefit Nebraska's more than 47,000 farms while strengthening the safety net for tough times.
It ends direct payments to farmers, expands insurance to compensate for disasters, cuts about $4 billion from the Federal Food Stamp program and finally ends farm payments to millionaires.
The bill includes several Amendments I authored including extending the current grandfather clause allowing rural communities over 20,000 to tap into funding for USDA Rural Development Housing Loans. In Nebraska, this will allow cities like Columbus and Norfolk to remain eligible for the loans.
Advancing America
The U.S. House should take notice of the Senate's strong bipartisan effort to further agriculture, and pass its Farm Bill soon. What we did in the Senate is how the system is supposed to work. Advancing America took a front seat to promoting partisan gridlock and that's good for the country, especially states like Nebraska where agriculture plays such an important part in our lives.

125 Years of Service

Weekly Column

This week marks the 125th Anniversary of the United Way program in America, and I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the great work being done by the organizations here in Nebraska. There are 17 United Way organizations throughout the state working tirelessly to improve the lives of those around them.
For the past 125 years, United Way has mobilized resources and community volunteers to identify and meet the needs of the communities they serve. Thanks to the leadership of local United Way organizations, our communities are better able to address serious social issues.
The programs they support help those experiencing hunger, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and many more challenges. United Way organizations in Nebraska provide leadership and a helping hand throughout the state by supporting local charities like Big Pals, Little Pals; TeamMates; Teens for Christ; Center for Survivors; senior centers, and other worthwhile programs.
I’ve had the privilege of working with United Way and the agencies they support during my time in public office and have seen firsthand the successes achieved by this organization right here in Nebraska. I couldn’t be more proud of their work for our fellow Nebraskans.
United Way of Western Nebraska, for example, just last week held its annual “Day of Caring,” in which almost 100 community volunteers participated in more than a dozen community improvement projects. These volunteers spent the day assisting five nonprofits in the Scottsbluff area. The chapter will soon begin their “Stuff the Bus” campaign, which solicits school supply donations from individuals within the community to give to children whose families cannot afford to purchase their own supplies. “Stuff the Bus” filled 150 backpacks last year, helping many Western Nebraska children experience a more successful school year.
A similar “Day of Action” is held annually in the Omaha area. Last year, approximately 300 volunteers joined United Way of the Midlands to work on dozens of community improvement projects throughout the Omaha metro area. United Way of the Midlands also hosts the state’s 211 Call Center. The call center, which serves all of Nebraska’s 93 counties, serves as a hotline for anyone in need of assistance – whether it’s a warm meal or help with disaster services – just by dialing 211. This program answered more than 77,000 questions from Nebraskans in need of assistance last year.
So, from Scottsbluff to Omaha and nearly every community in between, it’s an honor to have worked with United Way organizations in Nebraska and a privilege to mark this week by thanking them and their selfless volunteers who contribute time, talent and financial resources to improve Nebraska communities. I wish all of the United Way offices in Nebraska and across the nation another 125 years of success in their mission to serve others.

Friday, June 22, 2012

President Continues to Bypass Congress

Sen. Mike Johanns

Earlier this month, President Obama announced he was changing deportation and work rules for some illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children. However, this change in policy was not the result of legislation, but rather a unilateral decision by the President without the approval of Congress.
There is no doubt our immigration system is broken. Over the years the federal government has fallen short of its responsibility to secure our borders and enforce our nation’s immigration laws. This failure has forced some states, such as Arizona, to pass their own immigration laws to defend and protect their citizens.
As a member of the Immigration Reform Caucus, I am working diligently to craft and pass legislation which ensures the safety of our homeland, restores common sense to our immigration system, and acknowledges and values the contributions of those who came to our nation legally, as my great grandparents did. President Obama’s newly announced policy accomplishes none of these goals.
An executive order allowing some illegal immigrants to avoid deportation is not a long-term solution to our nation’s immigration challenges. Additionally, the timing of this decision, less than five months before the presidential election, suggests this ploy was an election year tactic rather than a serious effort to fix a problem.
Aside from the specific policy in question, the larger issue is the Obama Administration’s willingness to overreach its authority and skew the balance of power toward the executive branch, as this case is not an isolated example. The President and his administration have made a pattern of working around Congress rather than working with it.
The President’s executive branch agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), continue to issue thousands of new regulations which have the effect of law without the consent of Congress.
In Nebraska, we recently learned EPA has been using aerial surveillance to look for Clean Water Act violations over agricultural lands without Congressional knowledge or approval. The EPA has yet to answer questions regarding the national scope of the flights and has not adequately addressed concerns for the privacy and property rights of landowners.
Additionally, the President has cited executive privilege to withhold important Administration documents from a House committee investigating the failed gun running operation known as “Fast and Furious,” which resulted in the death of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. If the Administration continues to ignore the committee’s request, the Attorney General could be held in contempt of Congress.
To reestablish Congressional responsibility for the legislative process and hold the President accountable, I have worked along with my House colleagues to propose serious regulatory reform measures.
For example, the House passed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would require Congressional approval of any new regulation with an annual economic impact of more than $100 million, before it can be enforced on the American people.
I also recently signed on as an original cosponsor of H.R. 5961, to rein-in the EPA’s use of aerial surveillance and protect agricultural producers and landowners.
Our founders created three equal branches of government to prevent any person or group from assuming too much power. It is not too late for the President to reverse the current trend, but each time he acts without the authority of Congress, he diminishes the power and influence of the people’s voice.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Johanns to Keep Pushing EPA for Transparency on Surveillance

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today vowed to continue pressing for information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) use of aerial surveillance of agricultural operations after his amendment to the farm bill stopping this program received the support of a bipartisan majority of Senators. Although the amendment didn't receive the 60 votes needed to pass, it earned the support of 56 Senators, including 10 Democrats.
"EPA has been deliberately ambiguous when it comes to the size and scope of this program," Johanns said. "The Senate today sent the message that Americans deserve accountability and transparency from their government, and with regard to its aerial surveillance program, the agency has provided neither. EPA must be honest about this program or cease it entirely, and I will continue pressing for this information on behalf of all concerned farmers and ranchers."
The entire Nebraska delegation sent two letters to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting a full explanation of the agency's surveillance program. Administrator Jackson has refused to respond, instead delegating the response to a regional administrator who has been unable or unwilling to offer insight into the full scope of the program.
Neither delegation letter, nor Johanns, has suggested EPA uses drones for its surveillance program, as some news outlets have reported

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Smith Works to Rein-in EPA

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) this week became an original cosponsor of H.R. 5961 introduced by Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) on June 19, 2012. The legislation would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from conducting aerial surveillance of agricultural land when enforcing the Clean Water Act unless the Agency has obtained voluntary written consent, provided public notice, or received court-ordered certification of reasonable suspicion.
“The EPA’s use of aerial surveillance to enforce the Clean Water Act and the Agency’s failure to adequately address my concerns raises questions about the privacy and property rights of producers across the country,” said Smith. “I am proud to support this bill as a commonsense solution to safeguard the privacy of property owners while giving the EPA the flexibility it needs to ensure the quality of our resources.”
On May 29th, the Nebraska delegation, including Congressman Smith, wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting information on the Agency’s use of aerial surveillance to enforce the Clean Water Act. The delegation sent a follow-up to Jackson on June 11th.
The bill would mandate the EPA operate within its Congressionally issued authority while enforcing the Clean Water Act. Furthermore, it would improve transparency by requiring the Agency to engage stakeholders and respect the privacy of agricultural producers.

Gov. Heineman Unveils New Look for Website

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today announced the new redesign and look of the official website for the state of Nebraska.
“This cutting edge design has taken the official state website to a completely new level of government,” said Gov. Heineman. “With the rapid pace of changes to the Internet, the most innovative technology is being used to provide state government with the capability to better interact and serve the citizens and businesses of Nebraska.”
Available at, the new design was developed to attract users and deliver an exceptional experience to visitors of the site. The tile layout is innovative and appealing to the eye while keeping some classic design elements such as accessible alphabetical list of agencies and categories for Featured, Government, Business, Education, etc.
The design elements incorporated market research and beta testing making use of data and user feedback to determine if the new design was meeting its goals to create the best user experience across various platforms such as tablets, e-readers and smart phones, while it showcases what makes Nebraska a great place to live and do business. The new design concept materialized using analytics and an exploratory approach of how the website was to look and operate. By using Twitter, followers were asked to “tweet” about key elements of the site.
Under the guidance of the Nebraska State Records Board, continues to explore efficient ways for citizens to interact with their State Government.
The new website features:

•Progressive, Responsive Design – The tile concept design anticipates and responds to the users’ needs. From mobile browsers to netbooks and tablets, the design adjusts to an array of devices and browsers.
•Image Dominance – The website is centred on images taken in Nebraska. Citizens have the opportunity to submit their very own Nebraska images to be showcased on the website by submitting to the Greater Nebraska Photography Flickr group.
•Featured Topics and User Generated Content – The most popular and sought after topics are featured on the default page along with online services. Integration of social media and user content through Flickr and popular search information will keep the site interactive and relevant.
•Prominent Search Bar – The prominent search bar can help get visitors where they need to be quickly, and popular search suggestions from Google Analytics help point them in a direction they may want to go.
•“Touch First” – Nebraska agrees that a “touch-first approach” is the future of website design.
•Rotating facts of the Good Life – The new site features a rotating list of facts about what makes Nebraska “The Good Life.”
“Our objective is to provide an inclusive website that represents all Nebraskans while demonstrating the strong sense of community and culture in our state,” said Brenda Decker Chief Information Officer for the State of Nebraska. “Thousands of Nebraskans have embraced this approach by providing ‘crowdsourced’ content that has enriched the experience.”
The new uses specific social media for user interaction and communication. Twitter was chosen for its light footprint and trending metrics, and Flickr for its singular dedication to photographers and their copyright needs. Both services make it easy to integrate content into Facebook, blogs and other social media, helping to keep citizens informed and ease of information. The site underwent a complete redesign and launched on June 5.

Orville Kirchner April 7, 1926 to June 16, 2012

Orville Louis Kirchner
Orville Louis Kirchner, age 86, of Yankton, South Dakota, died on Saturday, June 16, 2012 at his residence.
Funeral services are 10:30 AM, on Thursday, June 21, 2012 at St. John's Lutheran Church in Yankton with Reverend David Gunderson officiating. Entombment will be at the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Yankton with military honors provided by the Ernest-Bowyer VFW Post No. 791. Visitation is from 5:00 to 8:00 PM, on Wednesday, at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with a prayer service at 7:00 PM. Visitation resumes one hour prior to the funeral at the church.
Pallbearers are his sons: Darrell, Steven, Leslie, Terry, Kevin and Randy Kirchner.
Orville Louis Kirchner was born to Fred and Caroline Kirchner on April 7, 1926 on a farm southwest of Lawrence, NE. Orville was baptized on the 2nd of May, 1926 at Zion Lutheran Church near Lawrence, Ne. His sponsors were Louis Brandt and Clara Kirchner. His Christian education began with his parents and continued by attending grades one through eight at Zion Lutheran Parochial school. He was confirmed into the Christian faith by Rev. Walter Seefeldt in May 1940. After graduation, he went to Eckley High School, northwest of Guide Rock, NE, where he took part in baseball, basketball, and football, graduating in 1944. Orville entered military service on March 19, 1945. After serving in Okinawa, Japan, he was honorably discharged as a Tech 5 from the 176th Signal Replacement Company on November 28, 1946. After being in the service, he worked for the Navy Ammunition Depot located a few miles east of Hastings, NE as a carpenter's helper and a carpenter. After contracting polio in 1952, he worked as a time keeper there until they closed the depot. He then moved to Crete, NE and worked for Fairmont Foods, keeping an inventory of all frozen foods. In the fall of 1956, Orville moved to Huron, SD and worked in the USDA office there for a year. In the fall of 1957, he began working as a soil conservation service technician with the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, in Yankton until his retirement in 1986. While working for the USDA, Orville continued his education by taking Ag related courses at Fort Robinson, NE and the Midwest Training Center in Lincoln, NE. In 1966, Orville was given a certificate of Merit Award in appreciation for his efforts in presenting the soil and water conservation story to rural school children in Yankton County and the Boy Scouts. In 1976, Orville received a letter of commendation from the U.S Dept of Agriculture Secretary Earl Butts for his service to the youth and farmers of Yankton County.
On April 18, 1954, Orville was united in marriage to Betty Bangert at Calvary Lutheran Church in Rosemont, NE where he was a charter member. This union was richly blessed with two girls and six boys. When they moved to Yankton, they became members of St John's Lutheran Church. At St John's, he served as an elder, trustee, Sunday school superintendent, sang in the choir for many years, and was also an active participant of the over 50 fellowship group. Orville was also a member of the VFW and served on the board of the Services Center Federal Credit Union for several years. Orville loved his family above all else. He was often found on the sidelines of soccer and softball games, cheering on his kids and grandkids, and rarely missed a game. He loved to instruct his loved ones in the growing pains of life. Orville loved to attend the grandkid's band competitions, concerts, and recitals. He also enjoyed the summer concert series. But more than anything, he loved to be surrounded by his family and share stories of himself and of his kids as they were growing up.
Orville is remembered, missed, and loved by his wife, Betty of Yankton; his eight children: Kathy (Mike) Larson of Boise, ID, Darrell of Yankton, Karen (Willie) Williams of St Augustine, FL, Steve (Julie R) of Yankton, Les (Julie A) of Yankton, Terry (Dawn) of St Augustine, FL, Kevin of Yankton, Randy (Susan) of Yankton; 16 grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; sisters, Dorothy Krack of Chula Vista, CA and Florene Wolfe of Salem, OR; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Orville was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Caroline; sisters, Edna and Esther; brother, Lloyd; and granddaughters, Desirae and Hannah.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Katherine "Kathy" (Kathman) Hoggatt June 6, 1938 to June 15, 2012

Hastings resident, Katherine “Kathy” (Kathman) Hoggatt, 74, died Friday, June 15, 2012 in Hastings after a courageous battle with cancer.
Rosary will be Tuesday, June 19, 2012; 7:00 P.M. at Butler Volland Chapel, Hastings, Nebraska. Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday, June 20, 2012; 10:00 A.M. at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church with Father Michael Houlihan officiating. In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to Special Olympics or Monsignor John J. McCabe Memorial Endowment. Visitation will be Monday, June 18, 2012; 1:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. and Tuesday, June 19, 2012; 9:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Viewing will also be one hour prior to the service on Wednesday at the church.
Kathy was born June 6, 1938 in Lawrence, Nebraska to Edward & Frances (Reining) Kathman. She was the youngest of 14 children. At a young age she moved to Hastings. She graduated from St. Cecilia’s High School in 1957. Kathy was united in marriage to Garry L. Hoggatt on October 4, 1958. To this union 5 children were born. Kathy worked at Woolworths and Dutton Lainson. She enjoyed spending time with her family and being outdoors in her flower garden. Kathy was a member of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, Altar Society and was devoted to her faith.”I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” John 11: 25 – 26.
Welcoming her into Heaven are her parents, Edward and Frances Kathman; brothers and sisters: Herman Kathman, Vernon Kathman, Robert Kathman, Edward Kathman, Ralph Kathman, Lucille Oxley, Marie Rosenau, Martha Rohner and Elvera Kathman.
Left to cherish her memories:
Husband of 53 years: Garry L. Hoggatt – Hastings, NE
Children & Spouses: Renae & Mike Hohnstein – Omaha, NE
Michelle & Rick Krull – Omaha, NE
Mary & Don Brown – Hastings, NE
Angie & Jim Robinson – Ayr, NE
Mike & Tammy Hoggatt – Omaha, NE
Grandchildren & Spouses: Ben Hohnstein – Lincoln, NE
Katie Hohnstein & fiancé Jack Ramos – Omaha, NE
Nicole Smith – Lincoln, NE
Jocelyn & David Crabtree – Lincoln, NE
Shayne Krull – Lincoln, NE
Bella Krull – Omaha, NE
Kyle Brown – Omaha, NE
Amanda Brown – Lincoln, NE
Tarah Brown – Lincoln, NE
Tasha Brown – Lincoln, NE
Jayme Hester – Hastings, NE
Kelly & Nathan Fielder – Blue Hill, NE
Cecilia Hoggatt – Omaha, NE
Jack Hoggatt – Omaha, NE
Great-Grandchildren: Cadence Smith – Lincoln, NE
Trey Crabtree – Lincoln, NE
Baby Crabtree – Lincoln, NE
Hailey Fielder – Blue Hill, NE
Siblings & Spouses: Raymond & Ruth Kathman – Cherokee Village, AR
Sister Parma Kathman – Rochester, MN
Frances & Don Klein – Roseland, NE
Edna & Don Wilhelm – Broomfield, CO
Numerous nieces and nephews


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County

June 15, 2012 Edition
What a difference one week can make in Nebraska! As I write this commentary we have just had a nice rain that followed a little larger rain event a couple of evenings before. To say that our land was parched and needing a drink would probably be an understatement. This rain was sorely needed across the whole area, and from what I understand, this did cover much of the area – and with rain from as little as 15 hundreds all the way to over 5 inches. I know that those that got the big rains would rather have had it spread out over a couple of weeks, but it is good to see the ponds and terrace depressions full of water. I know that several farmers had to fix and replace fences in the lowlands and that some hay that was put down may have paid the price, but I have not heard any of them that have been in the coffee shops complain at all. In fact one farmer bragged that he had put out the bait for the rain. You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from farmers and ranchers across South Central Nebraska this following this much needed rain.
We have been experiencing the driest and warmest spring on record since, I believe, 1895. The impacts are real and I described them last week. We got a little reprieve finally and I know a lot of people like to call something like this a "Million Dollar Rain." It is a term some farmers use to describe the rain that comes right as the various crops are needing it most or as many suggest - the rain that could make or break them for the season. It seems these kinds of rains come just when you’d almost given up hope and thought your crops were toast and your livelihood for the year in jeopardy. That is why it is so important, especially to dryland farmers. We have not been alone in worrying about the drought conditions. These dry conditions have spread widely through the Midwest and beyond, and this rain will bring untold benefits to the crops as they ramp up their growth rate. In reality this moisture is probably a “multi-million dollar rain” event.
For you that have a computer and internet connection and would like to keep up with the moisture events I suggest going to this site: and if you want to monitor where we are with the drought conditions across the Midwest you can go to: While this rain is a Godsend and it does seem like one of those “Million Dollar” rains, we don’t want to lose sight of the fact that this is still the middle of June. The official start of summer isn’t until later this week (June 20). We have a very long ways to go when it comes to development of our crops and the health and vitality of our grazing and haying lands. Since the official start of “Summer 2012” is this week, I think it would be good to take a look this week at how that is determined.
Anyone who lives, or has lived, in Nebraska is fully aware that we are creatures of the seasons. Some say those seasons are hot and cold, others say snow and dust, some say growing and dormant, but the reality is we have four complete seasons. Now, how are those determined? Well it seems that the four seasons we experience are determined by changing sunlight (not heat!)—which is determined by how our planet orbits the Sun and the tilt of its axis. The one we are rapidly approaching is the first day of summer, the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year. The sun reaches its most northern point in the sky at local noon on that day. After this date, the days start getting shorter, so if you have a lot of work to get done, then logically that would be the day to do it, as you start losing daylight after Wednesday, June 20.
The Summer Solstice: Each year, the timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This occurs annually on June 20 or June 21 in North America, depending on your time zone. The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice). In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer. The Sun is directly overhead at its most northern point at "high-noon" on the summer solstice, creating more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere on this day than any other. In the winter, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.
You would think that June 20, being the longest day of the year, would also the hottest day of the year? But I think most of you know it is not, but why? I of course needed to know, so found out that it is because earth’s atmosphere, land, and oceans absorb part of the incoming energy from the Sun and store it, releasing it back as heat at various rates. Water is slower to heat (or cool) than air or land. At the summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere receives the most energy (highest intensity) from the Sun due to the angle of sunlight and day length. However, the land and oceans are still relatively cool, due to spring’s temperatures, so the maximum heating effect on air temperature is not felt just yet. Eventually, the land and, especially, oceans will release stored heat from the summer solstice back into the atmosphere. This usually results in the year’s hottest temperatures appearing in late July, August, or later, depending on latitude and other factors. This effect is called seasonal temperature lag. So of course you can expect the hottest days of the year to be right smack on top of the traditional time for our annual area county fairs. I know over the years it does seem so.
I am hoping that it will be cool during the Webster County Fair which is scheduled for July 21-28. I know, that is a shameless plug for our county fair, but I am proud of our fair and those that are involved with it…see you there!
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 June 21st 6:30pm at the Blue Hill Community Center.

Light meal will be provided. EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

We will be working on our Sticker shock bags!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

2012 Spring Dean’s List announced at Hastings College -- Below 4.0/Above 3.7 GPAs

June 14, 2012
Hastings College has announced the Dean’s List for its spring 2012 semester.
2012 Spring Dean’s List announced at Hastings College -- 4.0 GPAs
Area students earning a 4.0 Grade Point Average were
From Ayr   Alyssa Beman
From Bladen  Emily Lovejoy and Mark Lutkemeier
From Blue Hill   Jesse Alber and Danica Olsen
Hastings College  Dean’s List for its spring 2012 semester. To be eligible for the Dean’s List, students must achieve a grade point average of 3.7 to 4.0, on a 4.0 scale, and be registered for full-time course work.
From Blue Hill  Caleb Groves.
Hastings College, founded in 1882, is a private, four-year liberal arts institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). A total of 64 majors in 32 areas of study and 12 pre-professional programs are offered to more than 1,190 students. Hastings College was named among “America’s Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report, a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review, and a “Best Buy in College Education” by Barron’s. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why Should we celebrate Flag day.?

Flag Day, June 14, a time to reflect on our flag and "the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Almost a year after the continental congress had declared independence from Great Britain ,on June 14, 1777, they commissioned the creation of an official flag for our new nation. "Resolved: That the flag of the United States be made of 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
Although it was informally celebrated on June 14 since 1885, Flag Day didn’t become an official celebration until it was named such by an act of Congress and President Truman in 1949.
Today, however, it seems many have forgotten what the flag represents, and "Old Glory" seems to make news only when it is desecrated, ridiculed or burned.
It is in the news when protesters at the funerals of brave American soldiers use children and the flag to “make their point” claiming the right of free speech just as have others through the years. Such acts bring a feeling of revolution to most Americans who love their country.
An infamous decision of the U. S. Supreme court in 1989 proclaimed flag burning a constitutionally protected right of free speech. Even so to most Americans it remains a reprehensible act and those who engage in such behavior are considered to be lacking in patriotism and decency.
For over 200 years, the "Stars and Stripes" has been a symbol of freedom, liberty and economic opportunity to the poor, hungry and downtrodden of the world. Though it may be tattered and torn by the forces of nature and the hazards of war, the flag has been held in high esteem by those who have fought and died to preserve its honor. Representing hope for the oppressed and safety for the afflicted, the American flag in the past has been applauded, cheered, and venerated here in America and around the world.
The father of our country, George Washington, explained our flag saying, "We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty." The colors of our flag – red, white and blue – were later adopted by the Continental Congress in 1782 for our Great Seal. Charles Thompson, secretary of the Congress at the time, explained to the Congress the meaning of those colors: "White signifies purity and innocence, red, hardiness and valor, and blue ... signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice."
Henry Ward Beecher, a Congregationalist minister during the Civil War, observed that when a person sees the flag he should see the nation itself: "Our flag means, then, all that our fathers meant in the Revolutionary War; all that the Declaration of Independence meant; it means all that the Constitution of our people, organizing for justice, for liberty and for happiness, meant." Throughout our history, Beecher explained, the flag has stood for the "Divine right of liberty in man. ... That it meant, that it means, and, by the blessings of God, that it shall mean to the end of time!"
In today’s cynical, indulgent and self-centered society where virtue, morality and patriotism seem to be all but forgotten, many take the many blessings of living in this free society for granted and use our cherished flag for silly protests, crass commercialism and promotion of immorality. But today as we celebrate Flag Day, let us instead dwell on what the flag really means. I hope some will take the time to recall those brave young men who in 1945 raised the flag on the island of Iwo Jima after one of the fiercest fights of World War II, inspiring others to continue to fight. I hope we will remember the flag planted on the moon in 1969 that showed we can conquer seemingly impossible new frontiers. We must not forget the solitary flag at Ground Zero that stood amidst utter disaster, demonstrating our unity and perseverance in times of great sorrow. Please remember all our brave men and women defending our freedom and our nation in the military both at home and abroad. Let us return the "Red, White and Blue" to its rightful place as the grand symbol of an extraordinary country blessed by God.

The Star Spangled Banner Lyrics
By Francis Scott Key 1814

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Following the death of Webster Co. District 1 commissioner, Jesse Petch, it became the duty of a committee of three to appoint someone to fill the position.
The committee consisted of Webster County Attorney Jerry McDole (who has promised to resign) County treasurer Lorie Koertner and county clerk Lonnie Knehans.  A special meeting was held in Red Cloud at the court house Tuesday, May 29th.  The position had been advertised and eight people expressed interest in being considered for the position.  The eight were David Alber, Kirk Garman, Kevin Herrick, Tim Kinnaman, Howard Shannon, Dan Shipman, Phillip Trout and Cheryl Wilson.  At the meeting the applicants asked and answered questions.
County Attorney McDole had not read any of the applications so he asked that the meeting be recessed and reconvened the next day to make the decision.  The decision was delayed and the group met again on May 30th at 1 p.m.  At which time Dan Shipman was appointed by the committee to fill the unexpired term of Petch.  Shipman will hold the office until January of 2015.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Quote of the Day

The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life."
– Theodore Roosevelt


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County

I don’t think it will surprise people in South Central Nebraska that we are abnormally dry. When I say that because it seems that we just came out from under about a 6-7 year drought, go a couple of years reprieve and here we are again. There is no doubt that we are full into the teeth of a very dry end of spring and it really doesn’t look much better for the future. With the official start of the 2012 summer on June 20, it just is not looking good for our dryland crops and especially our pasture and hay-lands. There just isn’t another way of putting other than “dry is dry”.
This is starting to get serious and the timing couldn’t be worse. Here we have a record demand for corn and as I understand it have planted a record number of acres that should be poised to produce a record crop and Mother Nature is not ready to deliver on our expectations. While most of the farmers I talked to said that planting conditions were near perfect early on, soils are drying out unexpectedly early in this growing season, and some authorities are already trimming potential yields. In fact, you don’t have to be much of an authority to probably predict that. One thing is for certain, nobody has been overworked emptying their rain gauge? It seems even with the departure of La Nina, which brought dry conditions in 2010 and 2011 to our neighbors to the south, has left us with similarly dry conditions in South Central Nebraska. If you are brave enough, you can go to and keep track of the drought as our part of the country accumulates yellow, tan and brown colors on the Drought Monitor map.
I have scouted the southern half of Nuckolls, Webster and Franklin counties over this past week and I have to admit that it is worse than I thought it would be in the southern half of these three counties. We are at August type conditions in the Superior to Red Cloud area with our pastures and hay lands. Most producers indicated they won’t get a prairie hay cutting this year and the dry-land alfalfa fields without rain will likely not have over 2 cuttings. Cool season grasses have matured early and are short on tonnage, the warm season grasses are lying dormant. In touring Nuckolls County and talking to producers in that area, it sounds and looks like it is very dry in the area from Lawrence, NE to Nelson, NE carrying right into the drought like conditions in eastern Webster County. It seems worse in Webster County in the Guide Rock area and slightly better as you go towards the middle of Webster County, but very close to becoming critical.
I went out on with Val Phelps, FSA director for Franklin County to look at conditions from Riverton in SE Franklin County to south and east of Naponee, NE in SW Franklin County. We then went about 12 miles North and then east to get a feeling for the center part of the county. We found the condition very similar to the Red Cloud conditions at Riverton and found it less drought affected but still on the critical edge as we went further west. I pasture we looked at showed a pretty good condition with either limited grazing, and very good management while the pastures across from this one showing typical signs of drought. I would say it is more like July conditions in those areas. It appeared to us that there had been more rain in the western half of Franklin and northern Webster counties, and it showed in the grass and hay-land areas.
I then traveled north out of Franklin and checked pasture conditions as I went, finding conditions getting somewhat better as I went North on Highway 10. I then followed Highway 4 past Upland, Campbell, Bladen and Blue Hill. These areas were more likely similar in condition to the Naponee area, showing the effects of a higher amount of rainfall in the last couple of weeks. But, the area is showing stress and will like start to suffer with heat, wind and lack of moisture. It already has a July look to it. Terri Post, FSA Director at Webster County and I will be discussing the conditions and will be making a similar swing through Webster County in the near future. In most pastures we found grasses with stunted, dry (crunchy to the step) and brown areas on the top of ridges and on side hills. There are short elongations between nodes on the grass with about half of the shoots coming from the crown not surviving showing withering and dead shoots. There are bare spots and the pastures have a blue to brownish cast. You can especially see the difference in management with some pastures showing the effects of the drought we had from 2001 to 2008 and from probably overgrazing or lack of proper management practices. You can really see the effect of not getting rain last fall and then getting short changed on snow this winter and getting by-passed by significant rains all spring.
It may not surprise you to know that this looks to be the hottest spring on record since 1895. And no, I do not remember that. This spring (March, April, and May) was actually a record breaker across much of the Midwest, not just here. Average temperatures were above normal in nearly every large city in the region, with some instances in excess of 8 degrees above normal. Many locations also broke all-time Spring temperature records. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the earliest start to the wheat harvest in Kansas since records began in 1952 has occurred this year. I know they have started cutting wheat just across the border and I know several farmers in the further south portions of Webster County are poised to start after this weekend. I guess I should have taken the bet from some people who challenged my prediction a couple of months ago for mid-June wheat harvest. I feel badly for those whose wheat was so affected by the heat. It seems that we are seeing yield potential dropping daily. And to add insult to injury, I know that a lot of fields of wheat got hit throughout our region and it will now take a Kirby or Oreck header to get the grain!
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:

Webster County Food Pantry and Koln-Kgin can care a van.

Webster County Food Pantry and KOLN-KGIN Can Care A-van are accepting donations of cash and grocery items at the park on the west end of m ain street in front of the old depot from 8 am to 1 pm.  Non perishable food, paper products, toiletries, cleaning products and cash donations are welcome.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

South Central Livestock Exposition June 22-23 Webster County Fairgrounds, Bladen, NE

The 4-H Junior Leaders of Webster County have announced that they will be sponsoring a South Central Nebraska Livestock Exposition that will be held in Bladen at the Webster County Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 23. The Exposition is a progressive show for market and breeding beef, market and breeding sheep and for market goats. There will also be showmanship classes in each species. The show is open to all 4-H and/or FFA exhibitors who are in good standing within their respective club or chapter and state association.

The Exposition will be held in conjunction with the Cornhusker Classic Futurity Lamb and Goat Show which has been set up only for those animals that will be purchased at the Cornhusker Classic Lamb and Goat Sale which is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 2012. They will have their own show on the same day. Classic exhibits are also welcome to show in the South Central Livestock Exposition that will follow the Cornhusker Classic Futurity Show. A flyer and entry form is available at

Potential exhibitors may take advantage of an early entry fee which will be assessed if registrations are received by June 20. Webster County 4-H and FFA exhibitor will enjoy a discounted early entry fees. Exhibitors may register on the day of the show at the regular registration fee. Fees can be sent with early registration or may be paid on site on June 22 & 23, with checks payable to: Webster County Junior Leaders.

The preparations for the show will start with early check-in on Friday, June 22 from 6:30-8:00 p.m., and again on Saturday, June 23 All exhibitors are encouraged to have their animals on the grounds before 8:00 pm on Friday evening, June 22; however, beef exhibits will be accepted until 8:00 am, Saturday morning, June 23, and must be on the grounds and checked and weighed-in prior to that time. All sheep and goats must be in place before 10:00 am on the 23rd. No beef entries will be accepted after 8:00 am, June 23 and no sheep or goat entries after 10:00 am on June 23.

All open class beef, sheep and goat exhibits must be checked in, registration confirmed, and market beef weighed between 6:00-8:00 pm, June 22 or beef may check in from 7:00-8:00 am, June 23 with all remaining sheep goat entries will be checked in and/or weighed between 9:00 and 11:00 am, June 23. All entries with the exception of breeding stock must have a current FFA or 4-H tag. There is a registration fee for each animal with early registrations by June 20 receiving a discount.

The Exposition will start with the 4-H and FFA Open Beef show at 9:00 am. The Cornhusker Classic Lamb and Goat Futurity Show will start at 1:00 pm, with the 4-H and FFA Open Sheep and Goat Show directly following the conclusion of the Classic Show. Classic exhibits are welcome to also compete in the Exposition. Rosettes and/or ribbons will be awarded to all exhibits. Added purse is available with cash prizes to be awarded to the top exhibits in each species. Special cash premiums will be awarded to the top exhibits in each species shown by Webster County exhibitors.

For more information and entries, please contact any of the Webster County 4-H Young Leaders or Carol Kumke (Jr. Leader director, at Flyers, rules and entry forms are also available from the Webster County UNL Extension Office in Red Cloud at 402-746-3417 or on the web at You may also email Dewey Lienemann (UNL Extension Educator for Webster County) at .

The public is cordially invited to attend this multi-state South Central Nebraska Livestock Exposition progress show and see some of the best animals in the country go head-to-head.  

Monday, June 4, 2012


Senator Ben Nelson

Much of what we do in the U.S. Senate seems wonkish, no doubt about it. To the average person legislation sounds pretty boring. But, when you explain it in plain English and how it impacts people, there’s more interest, especially when it means hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
Such is the case with the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank that was passed by Congress last month on a strong bipartisan vote and signed into law by the President last week. On the surface this sounds boring, but when you consider that this is America’s vehicle for promoting U.S. export sales, it’s not so boring, especially in Nebraska.
Case In Point - Nebraska
Nebraska’s number one Industry is agriculture and for agriculture to prosper it depends extensively on selling our many products to other countries.
Without this law, the Export-Import Bank’s charter would have expired at the end of May causing turmoil with America’s exports. Nebraska would have been hit especially hard because our state alone exported products worth $7.6 billion in 2011. Nationally, the bank supported more than $41 billion in export sales.
Ex-Im Bank Equals Jobs
The mission of the Bank, which has operated since 1934, is to create and sustain U.S. jobs by financing sales of U.S. exports to international buyers. In fiscal year 2011, authorizations by the Bank supported an estimated 300,000 American jobs at approximately 4,000 American companies.
Nebraska businesses export goods as diverse as agricultural products, metals, plastics, and motor vehicle parts to Canada, Mexico, Australia and many other countries. Over the past five years, Nebraska’s businesses made more than $300 million in sales supported by the Export-Import Bank.
Business & Bipartisan Support
It’s hard to believe, but there was some vocal opposition to the bill. Fortunately, critics like Americans for Prosperity were greatly outnumbered and the bill passed with considerable support from both sides of the aisle, passing the House 330 to 93 and the Senate 78 to 20. Opposition boiled down to a philosophical difference to the bank’s purpose. But American exporters can’t be expected to compete on an unlevel playing field with exporters from other countries, especially when the competition has significant financial backing from their respective governments.
The bill also enjoyed widespread support from the business community, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose president, Thomas Donohue, noted that failure to reauthorize the Bank would have amounted to unilateral disarmament and cost thousands of American jobs.
Nebraska depends on world markets and we have to preserve the tools that our exporters need to remain competertive globally. Each year, more Nebraska businesses find new opportunities in selling our many products to other countries.
Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank ensures Nebraska exporters can continue participating in the global marketplace on a level playing field with their competitors. Reauthorization of the bank means, basically, that the U.S. will not be the only player in the game without a helmet and that’s good news for Nebraska.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
 Webster County
June 1, 2012 Edition
I don’t think it is news to people in South Central Nebraska that we have had storms hit us this past week. I guess my infamous rain dance finally did end up doing some good, although it is a little later than I had hoped--except the rain also came with pea-size, even quarter and up to golf ball-sized hail that of course had differing effects on corn, soybean, and wheat fields. It should also be noted that the bulk of the rain (and hail) was in the top half of the southern tier of counties. I braved extensive head injury by going out and collecting samples for a picture and to put in my freezer. I have proof of the moisture that came down in the wrong form.
I have trudged through a lot of fields this week looking at various degrees of damage from very little to a 100 percent wipe out of the existing crops. Of course everyone who got hailed wanted to know immediately how much damage was done and if it would be best to replant. The first thing to remember that in order to get a good reading on many fields that you must play the waiting game, and for impatient farmers that can be quite the chore. The rule of thumb is that you need to wait at least a week and preferably 10 days after a hail event to make a proper hail loss assessment, but some crop adjusters will go out after about 5 days. Of course in some fields it is almost a no-brainer.
The series of storms seem to follow pretty close to the same path in our area. From what I could determine, for those who are familiar with this part of the country, the path of hail seemed to start at about the Highway 4 and 10 intersection in Franklin County to Campbell then arcing across to northern Webster County at Bladen to a wider expanse from south of Blue Hill north to Highway 74 at Ayr in southern Adams County. It continued its damaging ways in an even wider area from south of Pauline to Lawrence through Deweese in Nuckolls County and then east to the Fairfield area in Clay County.
From discussion with producers, and from my own personal witness, it appears that 37 pivots in that path were overturned with various degrees of damage. Some were completely flipped over, some with about half of the towers affected and several with one or two towers. Unfortunately, some pivot points had extensive damage as well. I also saw a couple of grain bins that were dented or concrete flooring damaged (raised up) and one empty grain bin pretty much destroyed. Some barns and other outbuildings had portions removed or moved by either a very strong straight wind or a potential twister. Some believe it was what is called a “tree-top” twister, or one that does not quite reach the ground but still causes a lot of damage. I am certain there is lots of other damage that people experienced that have not been reported.
One thing is certain, we had various amounts of damage done to soybean, corn and wheat fields and one of the biggest questions is “Should I consider replanting?” The short answer is that at this point in the season, replanting may be an option, but you need to determine if it is the right option for your field. There are several things you need to consider in making your decision. Let’s take a look at a couple of them. The first is to determine the growth stage of your corn.
Being able to determine corn growth stage and accurately estimating the amount of defoliation are essential to accurately assessing hail loss. If you don’t know the growth stage or the physical attributes of your crop, it will be difficult and inaccurate at best to make a determination. I think the rule of thumb producers must remember in corn is that until the V6 growth stage, losses from leaf defoliation are usually minor with most loss occurring from stand reduction. At this 6 leaf growth stage the growing point breaks the soil surface and the potential for unrecoverable damage increases. Before that stage it is likely that your corn may not be as damaged as it initially appears. In other words, looks can be deceiving.
While hailed corn plants at the current growth stage can look seriously ugly, the long-term damage and potential yield loss may be less than that which would occur from replanting now. Even at the 7-leaf to 9-leaf stages, 50% of leaf area can be destroyed and cause only 5% yield loss. I know that some of our fields had far greater than 50% leaf area loss. It can be difficult to distinguish living from dead tissue immediately after a storm, so delaying your assessment seven to 10 days as I mentioned earlier can provide a more accurate picture. Another reason for delaying assessment is that some plants initially surviving a storm may soon die because of disease infection entering at the sites of plant or stalk damage. I know that in years past I have witnessed corn that was torn up or bruised seriously and we ended up seeing stalk rot and other diseases come into play. Another consideration is to see what happens to the “buggy-whipped” leaves that could be tightly wound around the stalk. These need to slough off or dwarfed corn plants with just nubbins or less could be the result.
I think we will have fewer problems with hail damage to soybeans because so many of these fields had just started to emerge or were being replanted. But if your beans were up nicely and you are worried about hail damage, I suggest that you try estimating crop yields based on stand reduction, and stem damage. You will also need to know the growth stage of soybeans and then check to see if you have at least one cotyledon attached and also look at the stem for color and buds. Several UNL Extension resources are available to help you assess crop damage at various growth stages and determine your management options. Feel free to contact our office for these resources. “Evaluating Hail Damage to Corn” (EC126), and “Evaluating Hail Damage to Soybeans” (EC128) can also be found on the internet. Good luck to all of our producers as they determine if they have to replant or leave it to Mother Nature. The bright side is that some got rain!
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:

Johanns Statement on May Jobs Report

WASHINGTON - Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today issued the following statement after the Department of Labor (DOL) issued the May jobs report, showing less jobs were created than expected and unemployment increased to 8.2 percent:

“The sad reality is that our unemployment rate has been too high for too long,” Johanns said. “While the state of our nation’s economy has an impact on every American, it’s those who often can least afford it facing the brunt of this recession. We must work together in Washington to free private businesses from burdensome regulations and provide the tax certainty they need to grow, expand and hire those who need the jobs we are sorely missing.”

• The job growth in May was the weakest in a year and less than half of the 150,000 expected new jobs were added last month.
• The unemployment rate for women 16 and over is 7.9 percent, according to the Bureau or Labor Statistics (BLS).
• Nearly a quarter of all youth between the ages of 16 and 19 looking for employment are unemployed, according to BLS, and almost 13 percent of individuals between the age of 20 and 24.
• The unemployment rate among African-Americans is 13.6 percent and 11 percent among the Hispanic or Latino community, according to BLS.
• Unemployment among post-9/11 veterans is 12.7 percent, according to BLS.
• The nation’s underemployment rate also increased to nearly 15 percent.
• BLS reports the average duration of unemployment is close to 40 weeks.