Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Troop C Plans Hall County Special Enforcement

(Grand Island, Neb.)- Efforts to reduce serious injury and fatality crashes with an emphasis on impaired driving will be the focus of a special enforcement planned for Hall County over the weekend.

Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol Troop C-Grand Island, in conjunction with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, will conduct high visibility patrols in and around Grand Island and Hall County during the evening hours on Saturday, August 2.

“There is a lot going on this time of year and that means the potential for increased traffic volume,” said Troop C Commander, Captain Chris Kolb. “By increasing our visibility we hope to encourage voluntary compliance with all traffic safety laws.”

Motorists are reminded to obey the posted speed limits, pay special attention in work zones, never drive impaired or distracted and always buckle up.

A $2,375 grant from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety (NOHS) will help pay for overtime hours used by troopers and communication specialists during the special enforcement. ###

Monday, July 28, 2014

EPA’s Murky Water Rule

Weekly Column

Sen. Mike Johanns

A far-reaching water proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would open the floodgates to expensive permits and compliance costs for a variety of industries and individual land owners. And as concerned citizens weigh in on the proposal before it is finalized, EPA’s unwillingness to provide details has muddied the water on its downstream implications.
Congress gave EPA regulatory authority in the Clean Water Act over navigable waterways, but EPA’s proposal would go way beyond what I believe Congress intended. The rule would redefine federal regulatory reach to include everything from farm ponds to drainage ditches to low lying areas that are dry for most of the year. Basically, if EPA believes there’s a chance that a drop of water could eventually make it to a navigable water, they want to regulate it.
American agriculture stands to be particularly hard hit by this federal overreach. EPA claims the rule will clarify what the agency can and cannot regulate, but it actually has created confusion and ambiguity in ag circles. When faced with specific questions during listening sessions with producers, EPA has failed time and again to provide adequate responses. In fact, the agency has refused to discuss specifically how the rule would work. This lack of transparency makes participating in the democratic comment process to improve the rule virtually impossible. Even EPA’s attempt to clarify exemptions for certain federal Clean Water Act permits has led to a boatload of confusion.
Last week, I joined my Republican colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee in a meeting with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and let her hear the concerns our constituents voice to us virtually on a daily basis. At the heart of our discussion was this proposed water rule. The fact that Senators who represent producers across the nation all expressed common concerns illustrates just how far-reaching and problematic this proposal is.
Although the Administrator was meeting with Senate Republicans, ag producers’ beef with the ambiguity surrounding EPA’s water rule spans political perspectives. For example, some of the rule’s early supporters within the industry recently asked the Administrator for greater clarification of what would fall in EPA’s new and expanded scope.
The reality is, this confusion could have been avoided had EPA opened a meaningful dialogue with ag producers and actively sought to address their concerns before putting pen to paper. When I was Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), we hosted farm bill forums in all 50 states to better understand the concerns of the folks our policies would impact.  We made it a priority to work with stakeholders and find the best solution for all involved before writing a proposal.
EPA has a long way to go to improve its strained relationship with the ag community.  Administrator McCarthy acknowledged that she needs to do a better job of working with producers.  If she is sincere in this desire, she would scrap this flawed proposal and engage in a robust discussion with America’s farmers and ranchers before pursuing new, potentially-burdensome regulations.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension educator

     The ribbons and trophies have been awarded. Pictures have been taken. All the livestock have been loaded and the static exhibits have vacated the exhibit hall. The trailers and pickups have left the grounds. The panels, tents, scales and miscellaneous items have been stored away and the livestock barns and fairgrounds have been picked up and are back to their pristine condition as BF - (before fair). All is quiet and serene after a much different scene from the previous days!
     It has been a very long, intense and hectic week that we have basically prepared for in various ways since the post fair meeting one year ago. It was a yo-yo effect for weather. We kind of figured it would be with the very nice, cool weather that we had the week before. In Nebraska it seems things always even out, or as one old timer said last week – “We will pay for this!” and boy did we ever on the last official day of the fair. The heat and humidity was incredible and it seemed that you couldn’t walk across the fairgrounds without working up a good sweat, or in my case a “lather”, as our horse enthusiasts will say. The only saving grace was that everyone else was experiencing the same condition.
     I know that the heat keeps some people from coming and enjoying all the activities at the fair, but I have never seen it keep these young people and their parents from the duties of caring for their livestock or tending the barns. It was gratifying to see everyone pulling together to see to the welfare of the animals, kids and everyone that was in attendance. You saw teams of individuals providing water for animals when their owners were otherwise detained, you saw individuals taking out frozen bottles of water to place in the poultry and rabbit cages. You saw 4-H parents and grandparents taking the time to mist down cattle, sheep and swine or placing fans to make the most of moving air. There is something about a fair that, for the most part, bring out the very best in people. It is a tribute to tradition and the ethics that are innate in our citizens.
     It was gratifying to see adults and kids working together to put soaker hoses on the roofs of the beef barns to provide a cooler environment inside for the calves and humans inside. It was fun to see young people pitching in with older folks with that enthusiasm that youth brings as well as the lack of fear of anything that may happen should they slip or fall. I was impressed on how people work together, not only to pull off a big undertaking such as all the events and shows within the fair, but all the collateral responsibilities and behind the scenes activity that routinely happen each and every day. It was a testament to the collective care that rural people take with animals when they take care of those that don’t even belong to them. They are after all God’s creatures and the farmer was placed on this earth to be their caregivers. It is not only innate with the people whom frequent the fairs all across the country, but of our rural populace who knows the importance of these animals to their own welfare, livelihood and even their emotions and/or psychology.
     Not lost in all the fuss, weather concerns, etc. was the pure joy of seeing a first time exhibitor lifting his arms to the heavens and say “Yes” after winning a class or receiving a trophy. It never gets old seeing the smiles on the faces of these young people no matter if they have a red, blue, purple ribbon or even the treasured trophy or “gold” as some people will call it. Also in the equation is the pride and joy you can see in the faces and hugs of parents and grandparents – no matter how well their offspring have done. The curtain and sign that provides a background for pictures is not reserved just for the champions, everyone makes use of the area to record their personal memories of this fair or to share via scrapbooks or social media like Facebook. This time of the year is special for many reasons for many people, and all are fulfilling.
     I always marvel at the hard work and dedication these families put towards their projects and know full well that many consider the County Fair as their “vacation”. It is a time when they can put other things aside and work and play as a family. I absolutely love seeing the campers forming a little community with the smell of hamburger or “cream can stew” cooking over a fire. I love hearing the giggles and chatter of kids, as well as the laughter of adults as they sit in lawn chairs or on the tailgates of their pickups, discussing issues, farm concerns, weather, or the judge’s placings of the day. The sight of a young exhibitor draped over his/her show box or a strategically placed lawn chair or even perhaps laying up against their market steer – exhausted from the activities of the day-- or perhaps the night before.
     Although our Carnival backed out of their contract and we had to scramble for the midway entertainment, the supplemented attractions like the “Zip Line”, Mechanical Bull, Rock Climb, Inflatables, and little “Choo-Choo train” seemed to keep the young ones happy and bouncing around the grounds. You, of course , cannot get by without experiencing the aroma coming from the Methodist Church or 4-H Food Stands or the wonderful, salivating smell of a funnel cake. You cannot help hearing the distinct voice of the rodeo announcer calling everyone to come see the heroics of the cowboys, the “oohs and ahhs” coming from the stands during the bull ride or the laughter coming from the crowd during the traditional “Wild Cow Race” and even the roar of engines coming from the Mud Drag pit on the last day of the fair and the sound of the dance band that plays late into the evening, surrounded by the voices of adults enjoying their friends, neighbors and even “competitors” over their favorite beverages. Yes, County Fair is much more than ribbons, trophies and hot days. It is a part of Americana, the rural landscape and what makes our little niche of the world so special and unique. This one is over, but I am already looking forward to next year! Oh – when is State Fair?

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:  

Gladys M. Lampmann November 4, 1917 To July 25, 2014

Gladys M. Lampmann, 96, of Blue Hill, Nebraska, died Friday, July 25, 2014, at the Blue Hill Care Center in Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Services will be 2 p.m.vWednesday at the UnitedcMethodist Church in Blue Hill,cNebraska, with Pastor Dan Albers officiating. Burial will be in the Blue Hill Cemetery in Blue Hill, Nebraska. Visitation is 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at Merten butler Mortuary and one hour prior to services at the church.  In Lieu of flowers memorials can be directed to the Blue Hill United Methodist Church.
Gladys was born on November 4, 1917, to George and Anna (Benker) Meents in Rosemont, Nebraska. She was baptized and confirmed at the St. Paul Lutheran Church,  Blue Hill, Nebraska. She attended school at District 37 and Rosemont High School through the 10th grade and then had to quit school to help her Dad at the Farmer’s Union grocery store in Rosemont, Nebraska.

She was united in marriage to Harry Lampmann on July 7, 1940, at Rosemont, Nebraska. They were married for 42 years and to this union 3 children were born, Janice, Ron and Bonnie. She lived in the Rosemont and Blue Hill area all of her life. She was a member of the Rosemont Presbyterian Church and then the Blue Hill United Methodist Church.

Gladys worked for 25 years at the Crocker Home and then the Blue Hill Care Center. She went to make her home at the Blue Hill Care Center  March 2, 2012.

Gladys is survived by two daughters: Janice (Edward) Skrdlant, Bladen, Nebraska, Bonnie (Kevin) Scribner, Hastings, Nebraska, one son: Ron (Joyce) Lampmann, Blue Hill, Nebraska; grandchildren: Jerry (Linda) Skrdlant, Bladen, Nebraska, Connie (Danny) Williams, Fritch, Texas, Diane (Patrick) Rynearson, Hastings, Nebraska, Randy (Melinda)
Skrdlant, Topeka, Kansas, Stacey Scribner, Hastings, Nebraska, Stephanie (Chad) Summers, Copperas Cove, Texas, Shantee (Esadore) (Izzy) Chavez, Grand Island, Nebraska, Morissa Lampmann and friend Mike, Hastings, Nebraska; 28 great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren; one sister: Sylvia Oye, Hastings, Nebraska; and a host of nieces, Nephews and friends.

Gladys was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Harry (January 8, 1983); brothers, Ernest and Woodrow Meents; sisters, Golda Stuehrenberg and Loretta Crawford; brothers-in-law, Henry Stuehrenberg, James Crawford and Harold Oye; sister-in-law Elvira Meents and grandson, baby boy Skrdlant.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Burnell H. Kottwitz August 21, 1927 to July 24, 2014

Burnell H. Kottwitz, 86, of Blue Hill, Nebraska, died Friday, July 25, 2014, at Mary Lanning Healthcare, Hastings,

Nebraska. Services will be 10 a.m. Wednesday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill, Nebraska, with Rev. Joshua Lowe officiating.
Burial will be in the Blue Hill Cemetery, Blue Hill, Nebraska. Visitation is 4-8 p.m. Tuesday at Merten-Butler Mortuary and one hour prior to services at the church.  Memorials can be directed to Trinity Lutheran Church.

Burnell was born on August 31, 1927, to Walter H. and Merle G. (Henry) Kottwitz at the family farm east of Blue Hill. He graduated from Blue Hill High School in 1945. He was united in marriage with Vivian M. Ahrens on March 21, 1948, in Guide Rock, Nebraska. Burnell lived on and tended the Kottwitz family farm throughout his life, extending the tradition established by his ancestry to over 100 years. He enjoyed the many camping trips with his family to Rocky Mountain National Park and telling stories to his grandchildren. After retirement he enjoyed woodworking, including applying his talents towards making crosses and keepsakes for family and friends, as well as a number of special items for Trinity Lutheran Church.
He enjoyed and always gave his grandchildren rides on the tractor.
Burnell is survived by his wife of 66 years, Vivian, Blue Hill, Nebraska; one daughter: Angela M. (Roger) Duering, Hastings, Nebraska; five sons, David K. (Soona), San Antonio, Texas, Steven W. (Shirley),  Lincoln, Nebraska, Daryl A. (Debora), Omaha, Nebraska, Dennis D. (Theresa), Lincoln, Nebraska, Eugene R. (Teresa), Omaha, Nebraska; 20 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant brother; one brother, Cecil; two grandsons,Benjamin A. and Dean K. Kottwitz

Friday, July 25, 2014

Unrest Overseas

By U.S. Senator Deb Fischer
As Nebraskans continue to monitor ongoing conflicts overseas, I’d like to offer some thoughts on just a few of the troubling events occurring around the world. The recent attack of Flight 17, a commercial airliner filled with nearly 300 innocent passengers, over Ukraine is deeply concerning. Russian-leaning separatists, those responsible for the attack, denied access to the crash site for days, delaying the return home of the bodies to grieving loved ones. I know many Nebraskans join me in offering prayers for the families of the passengers who were lost, which include an American citizen.
While many questions remain unanswered, we do know the missile came from separatist-held territory within Ukraine. We also know Russia has provided separatists with advanced weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons, training, financial support and other assistance.
Russia has made statements in support of an investigation, but it remains to be seen whether it will stop supplying the separatists with weapons. The conflict is now much larger than just a regional dispute between Russia and Ukraine. As a result of Russia’s recklessness, 300 innocent people are dead.
Sanctions against Russia, which President Obama announced before the attack on Flight 17, were a step in the right direction. However, in light of recent events, I believe we must do more. For example, we could expand restrictions and prohibit Russian entities from using U.S. dollars in their financial transactions. This action would send a strong signal from the United States that Russia must abandon its territorial ambitions and respect the rule of law.
We should also consider providing more material assistance to the Ukrainian military. To date, we have only provided “Meals Ready to Eat,” radios, and body armor. We can do more to help Ukraine deter Russia, including assistance with intelligence sharing, fuel, and ammunition.
Violence is also raging in the Middle East, including in Israel and Gaza. The deaths of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians are truly tragic, and I completely support Israel’s right to defend itself from the rocket attacks launched by Hamas.
These attacks on Israel are a reminder to the world that Hamas is undeniably a terrorist group – one that is committed to Israel’s destruction and willing to use indiscriminate violence to achieve its goals. Hamas is firing rockets from civilian areas and hiding rockets in mosques, hospitals and schools. They even tried to hide rockets in a school run by the U.N. This latest round of violence should galvanize the entire international community to press Hamas to renounce violence and commit to peace.
Lastly, I would like to update you on my ongoing efforts to offer commonsense solutions for problems impacting Nebraska’s communities. In addition to introducing legislation to strengthen workplace flexibility and economically empower middle class families, I recently offered a bipartisan bill to explore how to increase local television programming.
Nearly one-third of counties in Nebraska currently face challenges receiving local broadcast programming, including local news, weather, sports, and emergency alerts. This has limited access to important local information, negatively impacting our communities.
That’s why I worked with Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to introduce The Let Our Communities Access Local TV (LOCAL TV) Act. Our bill requires the FCC to study how designated market areas affect access to local and in-state broadcast television programming. The bill requires the FCC to provide a report to Congress with recommendations on how to increase local coverage in states served by out-of-state media markets.
I believe this legislation is an important step toward ensuring all communities have access to local, relevant information from Nebraska broadcast outlets. Rest assured I will continue to work to strengthen consumer choice and control over video programming.
Thank you for taking part in our democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

American Leadership Needed in the World

Rep. Adrian Smith
President Ronald Reagan is known for ending the Cold War without armed conflict with the Soviet Union through a policy of Peace through Strength.  The Reagan Administration deterred the Soviets, terrorists, and others with military resources and a well understood willingness to defend our allies, freedom, and humanity around the globe.
The Obama Administration too often has taken the opposite approach: disengaging from the world, appeasing bad actors, and alienating traditional friends and allies.  The result has been growing chaos around the globe.
Among the President’s first acts in office was to “reset” relations with Russia.  Now, our former Cold War enemy seems to be reverting to its old ways.  Russian President Vladimir Putin has suppressed opposition and the free press.  Russia bullies its neighbors by withholding oil and gas supplies, and has seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.
It appears very likely Ukrainian separatists armed by Russia shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 killing 298 innocent civilians including a U.S. citizen last week.  There have so far been no consequences for the separatists nor Russia for this atrocity.
Nor were there consequences in Syria when the dictator Bashar al-Assad gassed his own people in open defiance of the “red line” set by the President.  Regardless of whether setting this red line was a good idea or not; by stating a clear position and then failing to enforce it, he has undermined U.S. credibility with friends and foes alike.
Even areas once boasted as foreign policy successes have resulted in failures.  The United States helped topple the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya, only to have our Ambassador and three other Americans murdered in a terrorist attack which the Administration refuses to answer questions about.  The country remains mired in violence and instability and most of the terrorists remain at large.
After the near defeat of the Iraq insurgency because of the 2007 surge, President Obama removed our troops against the advice of commanders on the ground.  Now Islamic extremists have taken over large sections of the country which is on the verge of a renewed civil war.
Our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel, is currently under attack from a barrage of Hamas rockets.  Rather than defend Israel’s right to protect itself, the only response of the Obama Administration has been to urge a cease fire.  Not surprisingly, the Hamas terrorists have not complied with calls for peace and civility.
All of these problems are rooted in a foreign policy lacking a strategy or overarching principles to guide our approach to world affairs.  As we disengage from the world, refuse to support allies and friends in need, and fail to enforce our own policies – our enemies are emboldened.
Engagement in world affairs and being a force for good does not mean we have to be the world police, or put boots on the ground in every conflict.  America is understandably war weary.  However, we must have principles and goals to advance our interests in the long-term, not just tactics to avoid immediate conflict.  As President Reagan proved, the best way to ensure peace is through American strength and resolve.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Johanns Supports Measure to Revoke Bonuses of VA Employees Involved in Secret Waitlists

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R- Neb), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today cosponsored bipartisan legislation that would take back bonuses paid to employees involved in the manipulation of electronic waitlists at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Because the VA used compliance with wait-time metrics as a factor in determining employee bonuses, some VA employees were incentivized to use secret waitlists to artificially inflate compliance data in order to maximize their bonus payments. According to one report, employees at the Phoenix VA hospital received approximately $10 million in bonuses since 2011, while simultaneously using secret waitlists to hide delays in patient care.
“As a member of the Veterans’ Affairs committee, I take these allegations of misconduct very seriously,” Johanns said. “These bonuses were based on fabricated performance levels. The VA must rescind these bonuses to avoid rewarding deceit. We must continue to ensure the VA is accountable for previous wrongdoings while we work toward a long-term solution that puts veterans’ care first.”
The legislation was introduced by Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). Yesterday at a Senate VA hearing on the nomination of Bob McDonald to be the next VA Secretary, Johanns reinforced the need for major changes at the VA to ensure all veterans are receiving proper care. Click HERE for more information and HERE to view his full opening statement.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Webster Co. BBQ Contest Winners named.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Straight from the Horses Mouth.

Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
       As I write this week’s edition I am sitting in my chair with my feet up, my face and arms feeling warm and red from the sun. I was not sitting on a boat in the middle of the lake or sitting on a tractor out in the field – I just completed my first day of the Webster County Fair.  Our fair for many years has started out with a clean-up/setup and then kick off the youth shows with the annual 4-H Horse Show.  With the playing of the National Anthem, horses neighing in the background, the chatter subdued as the song streams from the speakers strategically placed on the crow’s nest overlooking the rodeo arena.  Soon, the hats go back on and the competition begins. The first of many youth 4-H and FFA activities all mixed in later with the entertainment for the entire community with a whole array of activities including one of the oldest rodeo’s in the state. You throw in all that goes with that, a carnival, the food and the annual mix of communities coming together to provide the continuation of a tradition like no other – all across America.
     Believe it or not, county fair is upon us.  While it seems like we were just holding the 2013 Webster County Fair, the 2014 fair is a reality and on its way to another notch in the rich history of this event. Historical in many ways, which was brought home to me this morning when one of our 4-H parents brought me a newspaper. It was the Bladen, NE newspaper dated October 5, 1906. The neat thing about it was that it was reporting the very first Webster County Fair that was held the week before in Bladen.  It had been held since the 1870’s in Red Cloud, before relocating to Bladen.  What a blast from the past. A copy of the paper will be posted on the new marquee, that was built and placed by Eagle Scout candidate Dylan Buschow, right on the northeast corner of the newly renovated 4-H & FFA Exhibit Hall. It is a fun read, and yes I was asked if I remember that first fair. Funny, but not funny!  Ok I suppose to some it seems I have been there that long!
     The upcoming activities at this fair means that 4-H and FFA members are in the home stretch with their general static and livestock projects. All of those hours of practicing and working with projects will come to fruition when the project is presented before the judge during county fair. Of course the nerves are just starting to work, Anticipation for both the young exhibitor, but his/her parents and it seems to me many grandparents who do not miss a beat in supporting their current generation.  It is fun to hear the older members of the communities talk lovingly about their day in the sun.
    Some people may wonder why 4-H and FFA members go to all of that hard work.  What are they really getting out of these organizations and especially this county fair participation?  Probably the most obvious answer is responsibility. Something that I feel is sorely missing in many parts of our country today. It is gratifying to me to see this attribute demonstrated by our youth, many times side by side with their parents.
    Through 4-H and FFA projects, members learn that they are responsible for seeing that project all the way through to the end.  They learn how to encounter and overcome hardships.  Whether it’s feeding and caring for a livestock project or sewing a garment, 4-H and FFA members learn responsibility through their project completion and have the opportunity to show what they’ve learned at county fair. They learn the basics of life and the reality of hard work, perspiration and the fruits of their labor. They learn the lessons of life including knowing that in the livestock world, they must say goodbye to what, many times, becomes a member of the family, a cherished part of their world-- their animals, who they know and understand will enter the food chain to supply sustenance and more to the people across the world! The price they must pay as a part of the responsibility that they take upon themselves, perhaps as a career choice.
    As I was pondering the importance of our county fair for 4-H/FFA members and the general public, I remembered an article written by one of my favorite cowboy poets, Baxter Black.  This particular article brings out another point about why county fairs and 4-H are important, not only to the youngsters of today, but our great nation as a whole.  These young members are learning important lessons, lessons which may just help them continue the tradition of feeding and clothing the world. Mr. Black says it best in his article, “County Fairs, Why?”  I encourage you to find that article and read it. The following is an excerpt from his article and I quote. 
     “Farm kids start learning the land and livestock when they are old enough to carry a bucket.  When they help with the daily chores they are practicing.  It’s like taking piano lessons or tennis lessons except what farm kids learn has a much more profound objective; feeding us all. Our culture expends a great deal of effort on future NBA stars, astronauts, environmental lawyers, doctors, and political science majors.  But for every 100 rock starts, Rhoades Scholars and Heisman trophy winners our country produces, we better make sure we spend enough to train at least two future farmers, so the rest of them can eat.  That is the essence of the county fair. Beneath all the fun, auctions, and show ribbons, the serious business of learning how to make a living off the land continues like an underground river.”
    As the 2014 Webster County Fair continues and especially comes to an end this coming weekend, please consider Mr. Black’s words.  While in the midst of 4-H/FFA projects, young members may not fully realize what important lessons they are learning.  But they will understand one day, when they are fully engaged in utilizing their surroundings and past experiences to either carry on the farming and ranching tradition, or pursuing a career in a different field! I love the fair!

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:  

Pearl Matthews May 18, 1925 to May 11, 2014

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

Friday, July 18, 2014

Crisis at the Border

Rep. Adrian Smith

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

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

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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gov. Heineman on Current immigration crisis:

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fischer, King Introduce Bipartisan Paid Family Leave Proposal

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Angus King (I-Maine) announced they will introduce today The Strong Families Act, legislation to incentivize employers to voluntarily provide employees with paid parental or medical leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 requires employers of 50 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, which can be used for events like the birth or adoption of children, serious medical issues, or providing care to close family members. The challenge for many working families, particularly hourly workers living paycheck-to-paycheck, is that current law does not involve paid time off.
The Strong Families Act would enable working families to have continued access to pay while they are meeting necessary family obligations. The Fischer-King plan would create a tax credit to encourage employers of any size to voluntarily offer paid leave for workers; the legislation includes no new mandates.
  • To be eligible for the tax credit, the employer must, at a minimum, offer four weeks of paid leave; they may offer more.
  • Paid leave would be available on an hourly basis and would be separate from other vacation or sick leave; part-time employees qualify for paid leave.
  • For each hour of paid leave provided, the employer would receive a 25 percent non-refundable tax credit. The more paid FMLA time the employer offers, the greater the tax credit.
  • This tax credit would be available to any employer with qualified employees, regardless of size.
  • Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who participate in the program.
The senators released the following statements:
“With more than half of women working as primary breadwinners, workplace flexibility has become a necessity for 21st century families. It’s not just children who require personal care and attention, it’s also elderly parents,” said Senator Fischer. “This hourly paid leave proposal provides families with the flexibility to take paid time to meet family medical and caregiving obligations. Importantly, our bipartisan plan is also a balanced measure that respects employers’ costs of doing business with employee needs. The Strong Families Act creates a meaningful incentive structure to encourage employers to provide working families, including hourly workers, the chance to take paid time off. This plan will strengthen our families, our communities, and our nation.”
“America’s family leave policies are antiquated and shortsighted. How can we expect to create a world-class workforce that can compete in a global economy if we don’t give our workforce a chance to succeed? Too often working parents are taking care of growing kids and aging parents and finding it nearly impossible to make ends meet,” said Senator King. “It’s time that our family leave policies caught up with the realities of a changing world and the demands of a global economy. Our bill is one way we can encourage employers to make it easier for working mothers and fathers to make a living and take the time needed to deal with life’s major events. By supporting employees, America will be better poised to compete on a global scale for generations to come.”
A summary of the senators’ bill is attached.
The senators also penned an opinion piece explaining their proposal, which was published on earlier today. It is available online HERE.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fischer Cosponsors Legislation Requiring Notification to States of Unaccompanied Minors

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

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

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


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

Monday, July 14, 2014

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

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

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

Obituary for Ella June Prawl

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

Friday, July 11, 2014


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

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

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ruby A. Dotson

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


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

Monday, July 7, 2014

Farm Bill Tools Help Manage Risk, Guard Economy

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

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

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

Friday, July 4, 2014


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

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

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Trade Benefits Nebraska

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