Saturday, April 25, 2015


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
     All I can say is WOW! I could not believe the responses from last week’s article. No, I didn’t get my life or job threatened, but I did hear some discussion amongst farmers, and what was fun for me were the stories that came my way concerning grain sorghum, and particularly about the past. I wish I could share some of those. Of course a lot of the stories related to harvest or cleaning out the bin, sometimes with sweep augers and the itchy dust that seems to pervades the crop. But many made reference to the years when there just wasn’t enough moisture for corn to come to maturity and how the milo just sat there and then when it got a drink shot up heads with a vengeance. I was asked some pretty pointed questions and I thought we should take a further look as promised in this week’s edition. Let’s go a bit further in talking milo.
      With advances in corn genetics to tolerate dry conditions, and the adoption of glyphosate resistant corn, many farmers ask, “Why should I grow grain sorghum?” Well, here is how I would reply. Grain sorghum, or milo, has long been known as a drought tolerant crop. Sorghum shares the water use efficiency of other warm-season grass crops. While sorghum requires about 6.5” of moisture to get to the point where it will produce grain, the production with additional moisture is very efficient; accumulating about 500 lbs. of grain, or about 9 bushels per acre-inch once that point is reached. 
     I touched on last week that the seed cost is low compared to corn. But it goes beyond that, and I bet many people don’t think about it is fitting it into a crop rotation. I need to point out that milo in a crop rotation can provide significant benefits. There is no perfect or right crop rotation, but each crop a producer can work into their production system offers flexibility of intensity and diversity, which especially helps no-till production systems approach stable and sustainable profitability. At least three crop types (grass vs broadleaf and cool season vs warm season) and long intervals of 2–4 years are needed to break some of the disease, weed and insect cycles. The growing season is different. This is where milo fits in very nicely.
     Corn and sorghum are both warm season grass crops, so including both crops in a rotation may not appear to add diversity, but it does. The reality is that there is some difference in planting date (you can wait until June if you wish) some variation in herbicide options, and sorghum offers both disease and insect pest benefits. In the disease arena, one of the pathogens that can seriously plague corn producers is Goss’ Wilt, a bacterial disease. I know we have fields, especially corn on corn, that have been plagued with this disease, and it is not pretty. Unfortunately fungicides offer no control for Goss’ Wilt, and their use can actually make the disease worse, through weakening the natural, protective layer on the leaf, and through killing beneficial fungi, which feed on bacteria. Advantage grain sorghum! 
     With no pesticides effective against Goss’ Wilt in corn, control measures are limited to hybrid resistance, crop rotation and residue management. Astute no-till producers know that they need all the residue they can get, so have no interest in tilling or removing residue. Milo offers a rotational crop ahead of corn that can help control Goss’ Wilt. Corn rootworms and corn borers are two of the insect pests that corn producers have to manage. Crop rotations that put years a field is in corn close together intensify the need to do so. Neither insect affects or can survive on sorghum, adding another benefit to including the crop in rotations. Several of these characteristics may explain why higher corn yields have been reported at when the corn follows sorghum - than when corn follows corn. Advantage grain sorghum!
     Whether you believe in Global Warming or not, it is rather apparent that it does seem that summer is turning hotter and dryer these days. That makes it a lot more provocative to choose a water-saving cereal that's been called "the camel of crops". Sorghum "originated in the northeastern quadrant of Africa, a plant scientist from Ethiopia. From there, it spread across Africa, India and even into China. Grain sorghum exhibits a lot of characteristics that make it a favorite crop for the drylands of Africa and the semi-arid tropics. It's an essential source of food in those regions, but it's not typically a big money crop. In Africa, it's grown by subsistence farmers. It's never gotten much attention from seed companies or investors.
But it is nutritious. It can grow in soils that other plants won't tolerate. Above all, it doesn't need much water. Compared with corn, for instance; as I said earlier, it needs one-third less water, and it doesn't give up and wilt when rains don't come on time. It waits for moisture to arrive. We certainly could see an environment this year that will be short of water.
     The most often comment is about herbicides. Alta Seeds is testing early, medium, and full-season versions of a new hybrid which feature resistance to an ALS (acetolactate synthase) herbicide called Zest that is being developed by DuPont. The sorghum hybrid contains a non-GMO “Inzen Z” herbicide-tolerant sorghum trait. Several other sorghum-breeding companies are licensing the technology from DuPont. It is true that annual grass weeds reduce U.S. sorghum yields by about 20% each year. The launch of the new “Inzen Z” herbicide-tolerant trait, plus Zest herbicide, should help farmers remediate those grass losses. OK, how about broad leaf weeds? There is a solution for that. Simply tank mix another herbicide with Zest to get post-emergence broadleaf control with a single application. Possible tank-mix options include Atrazine, Dicamba, 2,4-D, and Huskie. There you go, we just diminished one more four letter problem – weed.
     In summary: milo has lower input costs; exports, basis and price are historically high; it is trendy - as a gluten free and Old World grain; great for wildlife; we can control weeks and grasses; we will bump yields by 30 to 40 % with the new Tri-Seed technology; and it does better with limited water. It is looking good for grain sorghum! How do you argue with that?

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, April 23, 2015

Fischer Statement on Vote Against Lynch Confirmation



WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement after voting against the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General:
“Throughout the confirmation process, I was pleased to meet with Ms. Lynch and learn about her priorities. During our discussions, I shared with her my concerns regarding the Obama administration’s aggressive executive overreach. I was therefore disturbed and disappointed by her comments at her confirmation hearing, where she affirmed her support of the president’s executive order on immigration.
“Our laws must be enforced as written. It is the duty of the Attorney General to execute this on behalf of the American people. For this reason, I voted against her confirmation today.”
This afternoon, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. The vote had been delayed for several weeks due to Democrat obstruction of a bill to protect women and children from the scourge of human trafficking. Following an agreement to allow the trafficking bill to move forward, the Senate proceeded to vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch. Senator Fischer voted against the confirmation.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Truth About Taxes

Weekly Column By  Senator Deb Fischer

As Americans are painfully aware, April 15th was the due date for federal income taxes. This year, Nebraskans once again spent far too much time, energy, and money filling out complicated paperwork in order to get their taxes filed correctly and on time. This process not only causes frustration, it also creates financial hardships on families and businesses in Nebraska and across our nation.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, America will spend more on taxes in 2015 than food, clothing, and housing – combined. Our nation’s total tax bill is $4.8 trillion. That is 31 percent of the national income. Furthermore, the U.S. tax code is so complicated that the IRS’s top official, former Commissioner Douglas Shulman, admitted he, himself, hired a tax preparer. All of these statistics underscore the fact that our current tax code just isn’t working.
Tax Day is an annual reminder that our complex tax laws are hurting Nebraska families and job creators. Small businesses are hit especially hard during tax season. Each year, small business owners spend nearly 2 billion hours and $18 to $19 billion complying with the tax code. That is time and money they could spend attracting new business, hiring new employees, or improving their business strategy.
This has to stop. I remain committed to promoting a simpler, fairer tax system that provides more certainty for families in Nebraska and encourages economic growth. The best way to achieve this is through comprehensive tax reform, which I fully support. The vast majority of economists agree that the single best way to create jobs and generate economic growth is by fixing our tax system. I am also working on a number of legislative proposals to decrease these burdens and at the same time, increase transparency at the IRS.
For example, this tax season was the first year Americans were required to answer ObamaCare-related questions on their tax forms. It’s no surprise that we are seeing this unworkable law turn taxes into an even bigger headache. As I continue to fight for ObamaCare’s repeal, I am working on measures to address specific, costly, and unfair tax burdens buried in the nearly 3,000-page law. For example, I am an original cosponsor of the Jobs and Premium Protection Act, which was introduced by Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming. The bill would repeal the annual tax on health insurance plans that was created by ObamaCare. This misguided tax is negatively impacting small businesses and self-employed citizens, and I am hopeful the Senate will act quickly to repeal it.
As the federal agency tasked with administering the U.S. tax code, the IRS has extraordinary influence over the lives of Americans from all walks of life and points of view. I believe it is the role of Congress to provide oversight and ensure they do not abuse this power.
In that spirit, I introduced a new bill, and reintroduced another, that will protect taxpayers from IRS overreach. The first, known as the Stop IRS Overreach Act  would prohibit the IRS from asking any taxpayer questions regarding their religious, political, or social beliefs. The second, named the Taxpayer Accountability Act would require the IRS to provide timely responses to taxpayer inquiries and complete audits more efficiently and effectively. I believe these two bills will serve as an effective safeguard for the constitutional rights of taxpayers, while also increasing transparency and promoting accountability at the IRS.
This agency has a long way to go to re-establish credibility and restore public trust. Nebraskans and all Americans have the absolute right to expect the IRS to be free from political influence, with taxpayers treated fairly and enforcement carried out in an unbiased manner.
I will continue to hold the IRS accountable to the American people and support legislation that will alleviate onerous, costly tax requirements. Doing so will provide certainty and strengthen our economy so that Nebraska families can enjoy a more prosperous future.   
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator

     I get teased quite a bit about my affinity for two crops – wheat and grain sorghum. But of those two, milo gets the strongest reaction and it is usually involves several four letter words. No, not what you are thinking – they are more indicative of historic encounters including: itch, dust, weed, cane and cash. Now that last part of that equation looks pretty darn good to me. Strong demand from both domestic and international markets is sending strong signals to growers, indicating it may be prime time to consider increasing grain sorghum acres. I will explain that a little later, but first I think we need to look at some other factors in this part of the state that gives other credence to that thought. Let’s explore a crop that used to be a strong staple in Nebraska and particularly in our rain-fed crops part of the world but had lost some favor.
     I know, everyone thinks with a couple of small rains that we are out of the drought. I keep hearing “million dollar rains”. There is no doubt these make you feel a lot better and the clean fresh smell that follows a rain is wonderful. But I just cannot shake the gut feeling that this spring feels a lot like 2012 where we had limited fall rains, very little winter snow and then sparse rains in the spring. One only has to look at the wheat and the pasture grasses to know that we are not even close to the kind of subsoil moisture that we need to raise a great corn crop – even with the “drought-resistance” genetics. Grain sorghum was developed and used extensively because it was the original drought crop. It is also considered the best grazer field grain residue for running cows after harvest. But it has loss favor over the years and acres have dropped.
     We may just see a resurgence of this great crop and not only because of the specter of a potential drought in 2015. Part of this will be dictated by the market place. You are already seeing it with a 80-90 cent spread above corn on a per bushel area, and it looks to get even stronger. This strong demand established by a number of market factors creates positive opportunities for sorghum growers across the U.S, leading to increased profitability. I recently came across the top five reasons producers should consider growing grain sorghum this year. These may just surprise some milo detractors.
     First; we are now looking at the highest new crop bids in history for grain sorghum. For the first time, new crop bids for grain sorghum are highly competitive with comparable grains. Producers are experiencing more options when it comes to marketing their grain sorghum, resulting in more incentive to increase acres with these current competitive prices. Milo producers are seeing very good basis right now. This is the first time we have seen prices above corn. Grain sorghum acres are already increasing and interest is on the rise and for the first time in many years producers are starting to add grain sorghum in rotation. Something I have wanted to see for years. The potential is outstanding.
     What is the reason you might ask? The short answer is that there is strong demand for sorghum grains globally: The recent skyrocketing demand for grain sorghum internationally is no secret. China entered the export market for grain sorghum in 2013 and since then, exports have been on the rise. Domestically, we are seeing grain sorghum expanding and growing in sectors like human food, ethanol and livestock feed. Some of this is due to a new interest; some to the none-GMO attributes; and we must consider the gluten free aspects of grain sorghum, which has become a huge consumer trend. All of this is leading to more opportunity for producers. Especially if they are dry land or limited irrigation farmers.
     Secondly, I believe we have to look at the highest potential profit. During this challenging time for producers with the prospect for continued drought, considering production costs is imperative. Currently sorghum seed prices are marking in at a lower cost than comparable crops, creating a larger profit margin for producers. Now we are on the brink of new multi-seed trait that dramatically increase yields, yet uses the same water and same land. We can get the same yield as corn, using about half the water corn uses. Less water and more profit is a win-win situation. From a purely economic standpoint sorghum potentially could have as much or more profit than competitive grains because the inputs are simply less and in my mind it is a crop that needs to be looked at more seriously every year and especially in a year like this.
     Farming is about risks and the Farm Bill is not the only risk protection we should consider. I like milo because of risk aversion. We all know that for the most part grain sorghum is drought and heat-tolerant, so it has elevated potential to be a high profitability crop in many areas. Water is a precious commodity and will continue to be even more critical in the coming years. Where water shortages are a challenge for producers, grain sorghum can still produce high yields and make profit, especially with the increase in demand for grain sorghum in a wide array of markets. We must consider that with low rainfall, we have still been able to produce a sorghum crop and have something to take to the elevator or put in the bin.
     With the advent of new sorghum varieties plus the arrival of the first herbicide-resistant grain sorghum hybrid, which features resistance to an ALS herbicide we find strong yield potential. High yields in grain sorghum are becoming more prevalent. That more farmers are thinking about growing grain sorghum this year is a testament to the crop's nitrogen- and water-efficiency. Some of the disease traits and drought traits that are coming down the pipeline are giving a farmer the tools to grow sorghum and have really good yields. These new traits plus the combination of grain sorghum’s ability to withstand inclement weather and high basis combine in my opinion to make grain sorghum a smart choice for producers across the Midwest and particularly in SC Nebraska. There is so much more we should address considering this magnificent feed grain. I think we need to look at this crop with more detail next week, but for now – Go Milo! 

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, April 16, 2015

Wilma Willems June 12, 1934 to April14, 2015

 Wilma June (Stroh) Willems, 80, formerly of Blue Hill, died peacefully, surrounded by her
daughters and family members, in Columbus on Tuesday, April 14, 2015.
Services will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Blue Hill with the Rev. Darrel Wissmann officiating. Burial will be in Blue Hill Cemetery in Blue Hill. Memorials may be directed to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church or Blue Hill Foundation. Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at the funeral home and 1-2 p.m. Saturday at the church. Merten-Butler Mortuary is serving the family.
Wilma, the only child of Raymond and Sophia (Lampmann) Stroh, was born on the family farm on June 12, 1934. Those were Dust Bowl years, and she was often told that she was the only thing Raymond and Sophia raised that year.
She was baptized, confirmed and married at Calvary Lutheran Church in Rosemont.
 In 1952, she graduated from Blue Hill High School, where in study hall she sat across the aisle from a goofy kid named Russell Willems.
Though she wanted to be a teacher, her father thought she ought to be a secretary. To appease him, she took correspondence courses to enable her for such a career, but she followed her dream, took out a loan for college, and got a teaching certificate from Kearney Teachers College.
 During that time, Russ eventually won her over, and they were married on Dec. 22, 1957.
From 1952-1957, she taught at various country schools; her last teaching assignment was at Ayr. It was clear she loved being a teacher, and she was delighted when former students came up to greet her. Many told her she was their favorite teacher.
 While they lived in Ayr, she and Russ became parents of two daughters. In 1961, they moved to Blue Hill, and two more daughters were born. Wilma was a stay-at-home mom and enjoyed bowling, sewing for the girls and gardening. She taught her four girls how to sew, cook and play the piano. Ever the teacher, she read to them each night and made sure that they their practiced their reading flash cards and, in the summer after third grade, their multiplication tables.
She was active at church as a Sunday school teacher. She also was in the women’s Bible study group for over 50 years, led several programs, helped sew quilts for Lutheran World Relief and served on various committees. She was a member of P.E.O. and she and Russ were also Amway Distributors.
When their youngest child was in grade school, Wilma took a part-time job at Barnason’s IGA Grocery Store. She worked there over 30 years. She and Russ delighted in going to their girls’ musical and sporting activities. In their retirement, they enjoyed several bus tours throughout the United States and Canada.
In 2013, she moved to Columbus.
Wilma was preceded in death by her parents; an infant son in 1963; and her husband in 2009.
Those left to treasure her memory are her daughters, Carol (Brent) McClung of Big Springs, Sharon (Douglas) Hartman of Columbus, Beverly (Patrick) Haschke of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Nancy (Bryan) Kotschwar of Big Springs; grandchildren, Mark (Lyndsay) McClung, James McClung, John McClung, Jeffrey (Ashley) Hartman, Beth (James) Goodenberger and Susan Hartman; step-grandchildren, Matthew (Elizabeth) Haschke and Jennifer (Wes) Policky; grandchildren, Brandon Haschke, Katelyn Haschke, Lindsey Kotschwar and Grace Kotschwar; five step-great-grandchildren; and sisters- and brothers-in-law, Julane Meyer, Mildred Willems, Glenn and Julie Willems and Orville Willems.


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
       I will have to admit as I sit down to write this column that I am having trouble keeping my eyes open.  I guess that is typical for one of my age and especially considering that it is a weekend.  However, I actually have a pretty good excuse this time. Most everyone that knows me is familiar with the fact that I taught agricultural education for many years before becoming an extension educator.  That first career choice also meant that I was the FFA advisor. Now that seems to be a rather weird segue into this week’s topic – and the reason I am so tired. But it is primarily the reason for my current physical state. I attended the 87th Nebraska State FFA Convention these past few days as a convention assistant. 
     While that is not all that remarkable, in that many people volunteer their time and efforts in helping to run the convention and the accompanying agricultural education contests (CDE), it was especially poignant for me to be on the other end of the convention.  I was working behind the scenes, instead of coaching, monitoring and hauling kids to where they needed to be.  I had the opportunity to work with the “cream of the crop” helping with the Legislative breakfast, the State Proficiency finalist interviews and the Star State Degree finalist competition. While being a long couple of days with a lot of pressure, all I can say is WOW!  I come away every year so highly impressed with the young men and women across our state whom I get to know a little better through these processes. I knew the caliber of these young people as a teacher, since I had some of the best in the land in my classes, but this always comes back to remind me and to reaffirm my faith in the future with the talents and skills exhibited by these outstanding young men and women.
     Most people remember the early years when FFA stood for “Future Farmers of America”. It was that familiar moniker when I was a young member in the organization in the 60’s and it was that when my father was in FFA during the 30’s. Some parents would say in those days that it actually stood for “Father Farms Alone.” It was always in good humor though because most every parent that said that, also said they would have it no other way - because of the value that their child received as a member of this organization. Of course the official name has since changed because of the influx of non-farm students into the ag ed programs across the nation to just be “FFA”. Not only has the name changed, so has the program and the demographics. There were no girls as members when I was in. That certainly has changed. You could see that walking through the halls during the FFA State Convention and it would not surprise me if they now outnumber boys. Many will say that we used to be pretty heavy in “Plows and Cows”. That too has changed with the influx of other sciences, horticulture and agribusiness. But the FFA Mission still stays the same – “FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.”
     This year there were big changes with the Convention moving its headquarters to the new Pinnacle Bank Arena located at the Hay Market area. Wow what a nice venue that is! I walked around a bit like that wide-eyed freshman Wilcox FFA member attending his first convention at the East Campus Union auditorium in April of 1964. Oh what changes I have seen over the years! One thing that hasn’t changed is the emphasis on leadership and leadership development. I think most people know that FFA excels in this venture. What many people don’t know is not an extra-curricular organization! 
     The U.S. Congress passed Public Law 81-740 during the year after I was born – yes that long ago. This Congressional Act gave the FFA a Federal Charter and stipulated that it be recognized by Congress as an intra-curricular part of the agricultural educational program. Did you notice that? Intra-curricular, that means it is not extra-curricular as some seem to think it is. That is important to note and a big reason why I think that agriculture education/FFA should be in every school in this state. I don’t think there is another program that gives you so much “bang for the buck!” We must remember that agriculture is the engine that runs this state. UNL research has determined that one out of three jobs in this state is directly involved in agriculture; and we must not forget that over 300 ag-related career choices are available in this state.
     This year, 157 Nebraska schools offered agriculture programs and FFA programs with more than 7,100 members - state wide. I made special note that 8 new FFA Chapters were chartered this year and recognized at the convention, including two new chapters in our area – Silver Lake and Adams Central - and I was pumped to see them at this year’s Convention! While the organization is much larger than when I was teaching, it could be getting even bigger. It amazes me that another 15 other schools are looking at the same possibility for the 2015-16 school year; including Kearney and Lincoln. That satisfies and impresses me that our constituents across this state see the value of agriculture and the accompanying “intra-curricular” organization called FFA.  I just hope we can find enough teachers to fill that need.
     This year’s State FFA Convention theme was “Live A Legacy” and after witnessing a new record of more than 4500 young men and women all dressed in the Blue & Gold at Convention, with the enthusiasm, spirit and unbridled anticipation for their future that they bring, you cannot help but feel really good about our future. If all of my fellow taxpayers were to take in the State FFA Convention, or at the very least attend one of the sessions at the Pinnacle Bank Arena; witness their skills and talents, and see the enthusiasm that permeates the halls and meeting rooms, they would see what I see - and would make sure we keep these programs aliveand available to our young people who strive for a viable agriculture and leadership oriented background. These young people are our “Legacy” and I believe they have a leg up on living it Now!

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: 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Exciting Opportunities Here at Home

Sen. Deb Fischer

Every day, we hear more and more about tech “start-ups.” Uber, Snapchat, Instagram, Warby Parker, Blue Apron – the list is seemingly endless. Start-ups and the entrepreneurs behind them are changing our lives. But when we think of these innovative companies, we tend to picture them in New York City, Los Angeles, or Silicon Valley. The truth is, exciting and rewarding opportunities like these exist right here in Nebraska.

Last week, I was delighted to visit with a number of these young entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in Lincoln. The Nebraskans I met with and the inspired work I saw was truly impressive. Many of the start-ups’ founders were born in Nebraska and wanted to stay here. Instead of moving across the country to do what they love, they set up shop in Lincoln. This sort of “can-do” initiative makes me proud, and in that spirit, I would like to highlight some of the people I met during my time in Lincoln last week.
My first stop was at Powderhook. This company has developed an online marketplace that connects outdoor enthusiasts with hunting and fishing locations all over the world. Through their website, you can plan trips, sign up for sporting events, or just browse ways to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. Powderhook’s founder and CEO, Eric Dinger, showed me around their office and introduced me to the entire Powderhook team. They have created an incredibly valuable 21st century tool that will help our country preserve our rich outdoor heritage.
Next, I met with Paul and Stephanie Jarrett, the founders of Bulu Box, and the rest of their team. Bulu Box provides subscribers with samples of health, nutrition, and weight loss products on a monthly basis. Bulu Box has a wonderful Nebraska internship program – 80 percent of their current employees came through the InternNE program. I also stopped by Nobl, whose company name captures their mission well – the nobility of providing high quality health care for all Nebraskans. Founders Brett Byman and Katie Hottovy won a Bryan Health competition for developing a patient experience program when Katie was still in college and Brett had just graduated. Their win was just the beginning. Nobl now provides software and technology for health care facilities that are improving lives across the state.
Former UNL football players Blake Lawrence and Adi Kunalic fell in love with our state during college. After graduating, they decided they wanted to give back and build something that would provide opportunities for other young Nebraskans. They launched opendorse – a platform that connects athletes with marketers to build powerful endorsement campaigns. The business is based on the things they love: sports, social media, marketing, and data. It was inspiring to see them pursuing their passions while also building opportunities for others.
I was also excited to visit Archrival – a marketing agency founded by Clint Runge 15 years ago. Clint loved his life in Lincoln and set out to prove that you can reach global clients from the heartland. With Operations Director Jessica Marchant, an Omaha native, and the rest of their team in Lincoln, Archrival makes brands relevant to youth culture. They have many clients you might recognize, including Redbull, Nike, and Adidas. Archrival’s location in Lincoln has been one of the company’s unique selling points. Clint likes to tell his prospective clients that his staff thinks differently than other agencies – he doesn’t just believe it, it’s something he guarantees.
Seeing firsthand the creative and exciting work from so many young Nebraskans shows how our state is leading the way in future technology. Their commitment to the community and our state’s economy will result in meaningful and positive benefits for our future. They prove that there’s no need to leave the Good Life in search of exciting, meaningful, and globally-accessible opportunities. We have them right here at home.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Evelyn A. Rose

Blue Hill resident Evelyn A. Rose, 97, died Friday, April 3, 2015, at Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings.
Services are 10 a.m. Wednesday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill with the Rev. Joshua Lowe officiating.
 Burial is at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Blue Hill.
Merten-Butler Mortuary in Blue Hill is in charge of arrangements.

Friday, April 3, 2015


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
     I have always said that wheat is like a cat…it has nine lives. But after a couple of weeks of looking at wheat fields across South Central Nebraska I have to say I am afraid, in many cases, it has used up all of its lives. I was a little afraid of what we would have when wheat came out of dormancy because of a couple of factors. One is that we didn’t get much fall rain, hardly any snow for cover and moisture, and then a few days of below zero wind that just howled over the exposed young wheat. Oh, I know that every field and location with the bottom tiers of counties is different, and it seemed to me that it digressed in condition as you move from Nuckolls to Franklin County, and I am sure even worse further West. I thought first that we were just short of moisture and felt that with some rain we would see a green-up and the outgrowth of some shoots. Unfortunately the rain was limited and spotty in nature and many of the fields I observed in the Northern half of Webster County got only a sprinkle, which was way short of what we desperately needed. Now in those fields that did get some rain, there was indeed some greening up, but unfortunately winterkill appears obvious in some fields -- on top of the drought stress. It just makes me sick! So drought again - plus winterkill - a double whammy! Let’s explore that this week!
     I had the opportunity to go look at fields all last week and mostly to evaluate if we should fertilize or use any herbicides. We pretty much ruled that out until we seen if we got some moisture or not as most of the fields were showing stress. My first impulse was that it was drought related but then this past week I started seeing more signs of winter kill. That was confirmed when UNL Plant Pathologist, Stephen Wegulo, came out to look at Blue Hill and Bladen area wheat fields. We met up with farmers and looked at particular fields in that region. We also found a team of observers from Norder’s doing the same thing we were. The good news is that we did not find insects or disease, but the bad news is that the confirmation of drought and winterkill effects on our wheat. It also proved to be a little confusing as we saw fields with wheat that exhibited winterkill, other’s that were most likely drought stress and in some fields it showed the ravages of both stressors. 
      As far as winterkill, we saw examples where the same variety would show these affects in one field but not in other fields. There were different varieties that seemed to fair a little better, but then with some fields it did not seem to make any difference. It should be noted that winter wheat survival also can be affected by a number of factors besides variety tolerance to winterkills. Most of the fields we looked at had been planted with “Overland” which is shown to have “good to very good winter hardiness”. One field that was very obvious in winterkill was a half of a field that was planted to the “Cy Wolf” variety. That particular wheat was rated “very good winter hardiness”, but that particular field showed no doubt if it would come back. That cat was dead! Go figure! It would be interesting to find out how other varieties have fared. 
     My guess is that it will be across the board with all varieties as if you look at winterkill or at least injury, several factors may contribute including: 1) lack of rain; 2) lack of snow and snow cover; 3) fluctuating high-low temperatures; 4) loose seed beds; 5) amount and distribution of crop residue; 6) seeding date and depth; 7) type of drill use; 8) soil type and quality; and 9) conservation practices. We also noticed that where there was protection to the north of the field with a windbreak, you just didn’t see the extent of winter kill. It also made a big difference of what had been planted the year before. It seemed that for the most case, last year’s soybean fields had the tendency to show the most damage. I am not so sure that that may have been a combination of stress from lack of moisture plus very little residue with exposure to the cold.        According to, with the harsher winter conditions, the effects of practices such as seeding date and seedbed preparation are more evident. Early seeded winter wheat used soil water last fall, leaving little moisture in the soil profile in some areas. Dry soil heats up and cools down six times faster than moist soil, increasing winter injury and winterkill. Late-seeded winter wheat also sustained damage in some areas as it was not well enough established to tolerate the harsh winter conditions. In some fields greener plants in wheel tracks suggest the importance of preparing a firmer seedbed throughout the field. That was evident in at least one field between Blue Hill and Bladen. Too often in wheat, we see the more compacted areas are better established suggesting the need for a firmer seedbed during planting. Temperature fluctuations also can cause damage and winterkill. Since fall we have seen some high temperatures that dropped quickly to some pretty low temperatures. Experience with winter wheat has been that if you get a couple of these cycles where the wheat starts growing and goes in and out of dormancy, it loses its winter hardiness. 
     The type of drill can also be a factor. Did you use a Van Brunt style or a no-till drill? Drill openers also can be a factor. There is normally less injury and kill with hoe drills versus disk drills. This is probably due to the soil sloughing off the sides of the furrow and protecting the crown and roots of the plant. Also, the furrow catches some snow. Seeding depth is also critical because crowns close to the soil surface are more subject to changes in temperatures, dry soil, and harsh winter conditions. Winterkill can be caused by lack of soil moisture which doesn’t allow for a buffer against heating/cooling of the soil.  It can also be caused by late-seeding of wheat which isn’t well enough established to tolerate winter conditions.  Last winter, a few cycles of really high temperatures dropping down quickly to low temperatures also affects wheat as it goes in and out of dormancy affecting winter hardiness. Seeding too shallow also allows crowns too close to the soil surface where they aren’t buffered from soil temperature and moisture changes. All sad! Now we have to look at decisions for that wheat!!

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, April 2, 2015

Fischer Statement on Iran Nuclear Agreement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement regarding the proposed agreement between the United States and Iran on nuclear weapon sanctions:
“Today’s announcement on the latest framework for a nuclear deal with Iran is just that – a framework. Between now and the proposed June 30thtimeframe of a final agreement, anything involving a nuclear deal with Iran can change. My bottom line has been and always will be a nuclear-free Iran. 
“The United States began this process with a policy of prevention, and now it has been winnowed down to a loose framework to contain Iran’s ambition. To date, the sanctions we have imposed on Iran are clearly working. The Iranian economy has been severely damaged due to their government’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons. But absent any final agreement, nothing involving Iran’s nuclear threat to our country has changed.
“Congress must have a role in any final agreement and I will continue to support legislative proposals to achieve that.”

Continuing the Regulation Rewind

Nebraskans are already wary of the red tape flowing from Washington. As the list of federal regulations under the Obama administration continues to grow, many people are concerned about the impacts these bureaucratic obstacles are having on their lives and livelihoods.  
Throughout the Third District, I hear strong opposition to the Waters of the United States rule, or WOTUS. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed changes to the definition of WOTUS would expand federal jurisdiction to include nearly all bodies of water, from ditches to prairie potholes. This would place a massive regulatory burden on our nation’s farmers.
Last year, Congress passed and implemented language which blocked WOTUS implementation for agriculture. However, much work still needs to be done. I recently sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking them to include language in upcoming funding legislation to prohibit appropriating funds for WOTUS.
Earlier this year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) proposed a ban on M855 ammunition. Many Nebraskans contacted me with deep concerns about this unilateral action by the administration. Thankfully, the potential Second Amendment infringement was stopped in its tracks when tens of thousands of Americans, as well as Congress, made their opposition known.   
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is also making Nebraskans uneasy with its track record of using regulations to limit First Amendment rights. The congressional investigation into the IRS’s actions is ongoing. Meanwhile, the Ways and Means Committee passed seven bills last week to cut through red tape at the IRS with needed reforms, such as making political targeting a fireable offense and ensuring private citizens whose information is illegally leaked by IRS employees can be updated on the investigation. 
Though we are making strides on these issues, the list of regulations keeps growing. I launched Regulation Rewind last year to fight back against the overreach of the federal government, and I am continuing this initiative in 2015. With your help, we can identify and find solutions to unnecessary federal regulations which hurt economic growth, limit opportunities for rural Americans, are inconsistent with the law, or are unfair.
We had a number of successes in Regulation Rewind’s first year. For example, many Nebraskans contacted me when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stated its intent to regulate small farms, even though this is specifically prohibited by law. In response, I helped organize a coalition of more than 80 Members of Congress from both parties to write the Department of Labor opposing the regulation of small farms and challenging the department’s authority. The department quickly changed course and rescinded its proposal.
After hearing directly from health care professionals in the Third District about arbitrary regulations impacting Critical Access Hospitals, I also introduced two bills to ensure access to quality health care for rural Americans. The Critical Access Hospital Relief Act and the Rural Health Care Provider Relief Act have been referred to the Ways and Means Committee, on which I serve, and are garnering bipartisan support. Congress successfully blocked one regulation regarding physician supervision last year, and I have reintroduced these bills in the new Congress.
This year, we must continue our fight against an out-of-control bureaucracy. Please visit my website at to see an updated list of our efforts and to contact me with your examples. Thank you for partnering with me to stand against government overreach and reduce the regulatory burden on Nebraskans.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Birthdays

April 2 Terri Golter
April 2 Ron Lampman
April 3 Mark Kumke
April 3 Dick Schmidt, Jr.
April 4 Christa Alber
April 4 Terry Jordening
April 4 Lori Toepher
April 4 Jan Wells
April 4 Nina Colburn
April 4 Shalene Medina
April 4 Wanda Wright
April 5 Patty Uden
April 6 Jordan Mack
April 7 Pat Kort
April 8 Penny Witte
April 10 Kristen Ostdiek
April 11 Deb VanBoening
April 11 Jesse Alber
April 11 Clair Duval
April 13 Ruth Elaine Goodrich
April 14, Jennifer Gaede
April 15 Jill Coffey
April 15 Rodney J. Buss
April 15 Ken Skarin
April 15 Wayne Strasberg
April 18 Judy Grandstaff
April 23 Tami Kort
April 23 James W. Mackin
April 24 Peggy Meyer
April 24 Colleen Karmazin
April 24 Kristin Rose Kohmetscher
April 25 Cody Bland
April 26 Lamira Karsting
April 26 Marah Leigh Jensen
April 28 Charlene Feeley
April 29 Larry Gianokas
April 29 Marvin Harrifeld
April 29 Gary Stertz
April 29 Kevin Toepher
April 29 Beverly A. Meyer
April 30 LaMar VanBoening
April 30 Dick Schmidt, Sr.