Friday, March 25, 2016


Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
      Well, there is no doubt! We live in Nebraska and it is definitely March! This unsettled weather and its extremes has always been a landmark for all of us that have grown up here. It is kind of hard to explain to others that have not experienced. Only in Nebraska can you have four seasons within a week or for that matter a few days. One thing is for certain with the passing of the first day of Spring….we are well into the busy season for our farmers and ranchers. 
      With that heavy snow from February we are seeing the dividends with the moisture that it brought to a parched soil. The wheat and cool season grasses are both greening up and looking good.  However, as is the nature of this part of the country we will soon need more moisture to get where we would like to be. This early and heavy growth of wheat does bring some concerns that we may want to be aware of if you raise or manage wheat acres. I just read a CropWatch article that I think is pertinent to our wheat growers and might should be heeded as I do concur with their predictions.
     Last week stripe rust was found in several counties in southern Kansas and leaf rust was found in northeast Kansas, indicating the likelihood that leaf rust overwintered in Kansas due to mild winter temperatures. Stripe rust overwintered in western Colorado. The most recent update from Colorado indicates that stripe rust has been confirmed in the eastern part of the state, just northeast of Denver. The risk of stripe rust spores blowing into western Nebraska from northeast Colorado is real and adds to the risk of spores blowing in from Kansas. If you wonder about the wind, think of March 23.
     Development of the wheat crop, as was predicted due to the warm temperatures that have prevailed in January, February, and March, to be earlier than normal. It doesn’t take much to see that! Given that stripe rust and leaf rust have been confirmed in Kansas, it is recommended that growers start scouting their wheat fields for early disease detection. Other diseases to look for include powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases such as tan spot and Septoria tritici blotch. You can see pictures of the diseases by going to:  
     According to Nebraska Extension Crop Pathologist, Stephen Wegulo, current and projected weather conditions over the next several weeks are favorable for development and spread of wheat diseases. He highly suggests that you monitor the disease situation in your field and consider an early fungicide application at the jointing growth stage especially if you see stripe rust and in cases where powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases are developing to moderate or severe levels. If you make an early fungicide application, it will most likely be necessary to make a second application at 50-100% flag leaf emergence to protect the flag leaf. To maximize returns, consider a low cost generic fungicide for the earlier application and a higher cost fungicide for the flag leaf timing. In the event that the weather becomes favorable for Fusarium head blight, a third fungicide application may be warranted in some fields.  If you make two or three applications, ensure compliance with label restrictions. Each fungicide has a maximum amount and number of times that it can be applied in one growing season and these limits should not be exceeded. I suggest that you don’t just do a windshield tour - get out and look at the wheat!
      GMO Labeling: Last week I talked about consumers and pressures from groups that can really make a difference in how we raise and market agricultural crops. There is a lot of misinformation and downright myths and lies out there concerning Genetically Modified Organism or GMO’s. I cannot even describe the vitriol that some people show when they discuss this issue. It would take hundreds of pages and hours to talk about all that is going on in this arena. If you want to know more about the true science I suggest that you go to.  Long overdue, a biotechnology website has been developed to enlighten the public concerning questions consumers might have about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their engineered incorporation into the world’s food supply. Launched by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a trade association that represents biotechnology providers, the site is called “GMO Answers” and seeks to dispel myths about so-called “Frankenfoods” while at the same time educating non-farm types about the many benefits of GMOs.      Interested readers can visit the new website at, which will provide answers on a wide range of questions regarding GMOs, including benefits, health and safety issues, regulatory requirements, international approval status, and many other worthwhile topics. The past couple of years have been a challenge in terms of legislation, ballot initiatives and media articles aimed at agricultural biotechnology. The attack on GMOs has taken several forms in the western states – from proposed mandatory labeling requirements, to proposed bans on the planting of GMO crops, to proposed state and local permits and environmental impact statements for GMO seed production and crop research.
     There are of course a lot of different thoughts on labeling of GMO’s in food products but I can tell you what can happen when misinformation ends up, when states pass legislation concerning just that. Hawaii passed a law concerning GMO’s and it has had dramatic effect on food production and farming. Vermont just passed a GMO labeling law that is having far reaching effects on food manufacturers. A domino affect happens, and we have to look no further than this past week when a fourth major U.S. food maker reportedly will put GMO labels on foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Kellogg’s label reportedly will say “produced with genetic engineering” to comply with Vermont’s labeling law that goes into effect this summer. Campbells, General Mills, and Mars are the other three food companies that say they’ll label their products containing GMO foods. More food makers are expected to follow suit. Here we go… Hold on to your hat!

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

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Duane A. Lienneman
Nebraska Extension Educator
     As I write this, we are less than 24 hours from the official first day of Spring! We have already seen the robins, greening up of grass in the lawns, brome in the road ditches and even the wheat in the fields. I have also noticed all the buds on the trees swelling and even some early flowers. I know it got pretty cold over the night, so am keeping my fingers crossed that it did not do much damage. This is one of my favorite times of the year with the new baby calves running around with their tails in the air, the fresh smells of a new beginning. You see the tractors on the ready and the fertilizer being applied. It will not be long and planting season will be upon us. One thing is certain, which seems to be a continual anomaly, we need some rain. Folks it is dry out there again. I know it is still early but we may want to offer up some prayers!
     Unfortunately this new season has also brought on some new challenges for agriculture from our antagonists at HSUS (Humane Society of the United States). I am really discouraged to hear that they will be using their vast resources collected from unknowing people, not knowing where their dollars are going, are paying for a full scaled attack once again on animal agriculture. There is word from very good sources that HSUS will be publishing an 8-12 page, full-color paid insert on farm animal welfare on Wednesday, March 23, in USA Today. This is significant because it is the number one U.S. daily newspaper with a circulation of over 2.3 million. The insert will be distributed in several major markets and online. 
     Their stated goals of the insert include: To raise concern about the care of animals raised for food and to call into question animal confinement in what they describe as the shift from family farms to industrial agribusiness. They go on to charge that "factory farms" jeopardize the welfare of animals, damage public health and harm the environment. Does that sound familiar? That still irritates me as the census shows that in the U.S. there are 2.1 million farms and in Nebraska there were 49,100 farms, 97% of which meet the USDA definition of a “family farm.”  They are not “factory farms!” 
     Incidentally, the USDA considers a “family farm” any farm where the majority of the business is owned by the operator and his/her relatives. They leave out the part of how we care for the land, water and animals.  Of course the animal rights groups have their definition of a “Factory Farm”. Note: I print this just for your information: “Factory farming is an attitude that regards animals and the natural world merely as commodities to be exploited for profit. In animal agriculture, this attitude has led to institutionalized animal cruelty, massive environmental destruction and resource depletion, and animal and human health risks.”  If you want an organized view of how farms are seen go to: 
     Unfortunately, that is how the people who associate with groups like HSUS, PETA, SHARK, etc. view our farms.  If you desire to see a map of all the “Factory Farms” in the US go to: Even though we know this to be false, millions of consumers and especially young people are led to believe that this is agriculture (Big Ag) and we are not seen in a view of being transparent -- and transparency leads to trust. So basically we are not trusted, and groups like HSUS utilize that to their benefit at the expense of our farmers and ranchers across this state and this nation.
     The Center for Food Integrity is a group that I follow in regards to agriculture advocacy. They recently conducted a survey that is pretty telling when it comes to consumers versus farmers/ranchers. You can access that survey and learn a lot more about what is driving things like this by going to:  According to that survey engagement is important in light of the trends seen in CFI's annual consumer trust research. Sixty percent of the people surveyed strongly agreed with the statement, "If farm animals are treated decently and humanely, I have no problem consuming meat, milk and eggs."  This survey should tell us something, and more importantly should be our guide as farmers/ranchers.
     Now here is the troubling point of that survey. Only one in four in the same survey strongly agreed with the statement, "U.S. meat is derived from humanely-treated animals." It is obvious that engagement from the food system is needed to close the gap. It's important that we balance the conversation, particularly at a time when consumer trust research shows that while most say they'll consume meat, milk and eggs from animals treated humanely, only 25 percent believe they are. That means 75% of those consumers surveyed believe we do not!! We have to tell our story and we should have started years ago. As I have repeatedly said – before someone else does, and now they are …and it is not the story we want to tell!
     This insert that tells the story in HSUS eyes, is not a USA Today story or editorial, it is a paid insert just like a paid advertisement insert. So, we as an industry should not target USA Today for the information of the insert. We cannot afford to shoot the messenger. Instead we need to be prepared as questions may arise in discussions we might have. The silver lining in this cloud is that it does give us a chance for engagement and for dialogue. Remember a balanced conversation utilizing the science based information around the production practices that we routinely employ is a key element to the discussion. We were not proactive in this matter. We should not now in desperation become reactive, and especially not antagonistic. We have to play with the cards dealt us. Unfortunately because we have not done enough as farmers and ranchers to be AgVocates and not do the things we should, our detractors now hold the commanding hand in this card game. I don’t see this as a poker game that we can afford to lose. We as an industry must unite, we must join groups that can help protect and lobby for us. There is strength in coalitions and organizations that have similar interests – join them!

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

Anita M. Kucera April 1, 1938 to March 16, 2016

Anita M. Kucera, 77, Lawrence, died Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at Mary Lanning Healthcare, Hastings.  Rosary is Sunday, March 20, 2016, at 7 p.m. and Mass is Monday, March 21, 2016 at 10 a.m. both at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lawrence, with Father Thomas Bush officiating. 
Burial will be in the Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, Lawrence.  Visitation will be Sunday March 20, 2016 from 3-8 p.m. at the Lawrence Visitation Chapel, Lawrence. 
Memorials may be directed to Sacred Heart Altar Society. 
Anita was born on April 1, 1938 to Aloysius and Emilia (Miller) Kimminau at Lawrence.  She graduated from Lawrence High School in 1956.
 Anita married Wenceslaus (Wencil) Kucera on February 12, 1957 at St. Stephen Catholic Church, Lawrence.  She was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Sacred Heart Altar Society.
 Anita was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.  She enjoyed doing quilts, scrapbooking, teaching people how to sew, was a devoted caregiver to her husband and enjoyed her grandchildren.
Anita is survived by two sons:  Irvin (Dee) Kucera, Lawrence, Wray (Barb) Kucera, Wichita, Kans., three daughters:  Sharon (Fred) Ousey, Aurora, Rita (Mark) Petska, Blue Hill, Karen (Rick) Hubl, Lawrence,  three sisters:  Mary Jane (Ted) Schlick, Grand Island, Lois Ann Kimminau and Betty Pohlmeier, Pahrump, Nevada, three sister-in-laws:  Gail Kimminau, Fairfield, Agnes (Alfred) Miller, Superior, Bonnie (Don) Himmelberg, Lawrence, brother-in-law:  Valerian (Virginia) Kucera, Red Cloud,  16 Grandchildren, two step grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, four step great grandchildren, two step great great grandchildren.  Anita was preceded in death by her parents, husband, one granddaughter:  Elizabeth Hubl, one brother:  James Kimminau, one sister:  Elizabeth Kimminau, one brother-in-law:  Jack Pohlmeier.


Friday, March 18, 2016

After School 4-H 101


The Webster Co. Extension is excited to be offering a new after school program in coordination with the Adams County Extension & the Blue Hill Library. For the seven Mondays in March & April, we will have be engaging youth to learn about the different aspects of 4-H. We will cover a broad range topics from insects to ice cream! We will provide all supplies and a healthy snack each session. We will be having a staff member walk down with the kids afterschool, so if you are interested in having your child participate, please contact our office at 402-746-3417.
Schedule is as follows:
  • March 21st – Embryology (Incubate Eggs) & Livestock/Small Animals
  • April 4th – Six Easy Bites/Tasty Tidbits
  • April 11th – Design Decisions
  • April 18th – Safety

Friday, March 11, 2016


Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
     This next week is pretty special to people like me. For you that don’t know there are a several of things that are happening. First we “Spring Ahead” with our clocks in observance of Daylight Savings Time. That always has an effect on me. It seems it takes this old body and brain a while to adjust to that. You might also notice the new life emerging; baby calves, grass greening up and even some early flowers blooming. I also want to point out to you another thing that occurs which is the 43rd anniversary of National Ag Day. Oh and by the way, it is the precursor to the first day of Spring!
     The theme this year is “Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet.” The goal is simple: to establish, or enhance the understanding of how food, fiber and renewable resource products are made, and through that understanding, build a growing appreciation for the contributions of agriculture as a: source for safe, abundant and affordable products; a positive force in the local, national and global economy; and a vital part of meeting the growing global challenge of hunger. We must remember that the farmer and rancher are the original caretakers or “stewards” of our animals and our earth!
      I think it's important - particularly on a day like today - to show our gratitude to the many men and women who make agriculture possible. We know that food and fiber doesn't just arrive at the grocery or clothing store or magically appear on our dinner table or in our closet. There's an entire industry dedicated to providing plentiful and safe food for consumption as well as a wide range of comfortable, fashionable clothing choices. We rely on agriculture for the very necessities of life. From beef and pork to cotton and corn, agriculture is working harder than ever to meet the needs of Americans and others around the world. And it's important to remember that American agriculture is not just doing it, but doing it better and more effectively! They are doing more with less and what is even more amazing is the fact is that each American farmer feeds and clothes about 144 people. Plus new technology means farmers are more environmentally friendly than ever before. That's really what this day is all about, recognizing the role of agriculture and celebrating the role they have on our planet.
     I have always been a proponent of agricultural literacy and in fact have made a career of it. I have had the opportunity of the last couple of weeks to talk towards “Protecting Nebraska Agriculture” with the basis of my talk about how and why we are facing the issues we are and what we as producers can do about it. I firmly believe that one of our largest enemies is illiteracy in agriculture, and I think we can use this week to expound on that a bit more. I firmly believe this could be a very good reason for the question: Why Celebrate Ag Day? I see the key reasons to recognize and celebrate Ag Day each year as the opportunity for increased knowledge of agriculture and nutrition allows individuals to make informed personal choices about diet and health. That leads to this year’s theme of a healthy planet. We also need informed citizens who will be able to participate in establishing the policies that will support a competitive agricultural industry in this country and abroad and not be sucked into the sewer of misinformation and myths when it comes to production agriculture. 
     Beginning in kindergarten and continuing through 12th grade, all students should receive some systematic instruction about agriculture. Agriculture is too important a topic to be taught only to the small percentage of students considering careers in agriculture and pursuing agricultural studies. Agricultural literacy includes an understanding of agriculture’s history and current economic, social and environmental significance to all Americans. This understanding includes some knowledge of food and fiber production, processing and domestic and international marketing. To me it has always been for youth and potential careers. Careers in agriculture are widely varied. Beyond the traditional view of agriculture as strictly crop or livestock farming, opportunities exist in finance, communications, law, government, sales, technology, and more. A knowledge of modern agriculture can translate into almost any career discipline. Simply put I believe that all Americans need to understand the value of agriculture in their daily lives. We need to understand what it takes to be the actual stewards of a healthier planet! We need the tools of technology along with hard work to produce for an ever increasing populace.
     Agriculture is one of the fastest-changing industries today, embracing cutting-edge technologies in the pursuit of sustainable food, fiber, and fuel production. High school students today will very likely be employed in careers after college that don’t even exist at the present time! One of my favorite quotations reads: “Once in your life, you will need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, and a preacher. But every day, three times, a day, you need a farmer.” I would add that you also need all of the people who support the farmers in myriad ways. Agriculture is vitally important to each and every one of us, and for a young person looking for a stable, interesting, and fulfilling career, choosing agriculture is the way to go!
     As we celebrate this week the bounty of the land and our livestock, I encourage you to take a moment and connect with a local farmer or rancher if you are a consumer, and if you are a farmer or rancher – connect and talk with a consumer. Share your story and answer their questions. Farmers and ranchers continue to feed and fuel our lives and consumers are a vital partner. We hear a lot about being advocates for agriculture. I firmly believe we must be but we have to be much more than “AgVocates”, we should be celebrating the strengths of our industry as well as listening, learning, and responding to the concerns of the public. We need to be forward thinking, willing to adapt and change with the concerns and demands of the public without sacrificing best practices based on science. Above all be proud of being a farmer or rancher! You deserve it!

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

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Blue Hill Resident Amanda Cox places in Hastings College Speech tournament

Hastings, Neb.) – On the second day of the Bronco Bash collegiate speech tournament hosted by the Hastings College Bronco Forensics team and the team’s alumni, the current Broncos finished second. Trischia Ruekert, a senior from Beloit, Kansas, paced the Broncos on February 21 with first place finished in three categories: Communication Analysis, Persuasive and Extemporaneous Speaking.
Individual results are as follows:
Bronco Bash, February 20:
Ruekert: 2nd Place, Impromptu Speaking; 2nd Place, Communication Analysis; 3rd Place, Persuasive; 3rd Place, Informative
Dianna Rulon, a freshman from Arcadia, Indiana: 3rd Place, Extemporaneous Speaking; 7th Place, Communication Analysis
Austin Heinlein, a freshman from Hutchinson, Kansas: 1st Place, Dramatic Interpretation; 4th Place, Impromptu Speaking
Sabrina Maxwell, a freshman from North Richland Hills, Texas: 4th Place, Poetry
Carly Cremers, a freshman from Columbus, Nebraska: 3rd Place, Poetry
Carly Spotts-Falzone, a freshman from Wayzata, Minnesota: 1st Place, Poetry
Broncos Bash, February 21:
Eunice Adounkpe, a senior from Omaha, Nebraska: 6th Place, Impromptu Speaking
Ruekert: 1st Place, Communication Analysis; 1st Place, Extemporaneous Speaking; 1st Place, Persuasive; 3rd Place,Informative Speaking
Amanda Cox, a junior from Blue Hill, Nebraska: 5th Place, Prose; 6th Place, Program of Oral Interpretation
Caleb Merritt, a sophomore from Brookings, South Dakota: 2nd Place, Poetry
Kenzie Shofner, a sophomore from Maple Plain, Minnesota: 1st Place, Impromptu Speaking
Heinlein: 2nd Place, After Dinner Speaking
Spotts-Falzone: 4th Place, Poetry
Founded in 1882, Hastings College is a private, four-year liberal arts institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With more than 60 majors in 32 areas of study and 13 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “America’s Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report, a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review and a “Best Buy in College Education” by Barron’s. Visit for more.