Summertime in the Landscape…

garden lanscape toolsWhen it comes to Nebraska weather, we all tend to forget how quickly our feelings can switch. Only six months ago many of us might be heard complaining about how cold it was outside. Many pleaded for Mother Nature to give us a bit of warm weather to remind us spring would soon return. But, then every year once spring arrives we may be pleading for Mother Nature to change the weather again. A perfect example would be the spring of 2014 and the wettest May on record. Moreover, a few years ago we were entering the beginnings of the 2012 Drought. The soil was parched, plants were withering, and many lawns were turning brown. It seems like many years Nebraska weather can be similar and quite different at the same time.

While this spring and early summer have been enjoyable, there is not anything quite like summer in Nebraska. The old adage “If you don’t like the weather – wait five minutes – it’ll change” certainly comes to mind. Every year Mother Nature eventually turns up the heat and sends us more normal summer weather and that normal weather will drive many of us into the cool respite of air conditioning and outside searching for shade to avoid the heat.

Front Pg - Farmers Market 2July and August for many is a time for vacations, celebrating the Fourth, and enjoying the sweet taste of vegetables from our vegetable gardens. For those of us in the nursery industry we spend our time helping clients try to keep their landscapes and gardens looking their best. For some that could mean dealing with disease and insects, while for others it could mean assistance with caring for their plants, and for others installing new plantings. Yes, I did say planting.

While the summer is not a time to “plant and forget,” it can be a great time to plant. Many have extra time and possibly some help from kids out of school or are simply spending more time at home caring for their kids over the summer. While some days bring terrible heat, most summer mornings or early evenings will bring moderation to the heat making it enjoyable to be out working in our landscapes and gardens.

When we talk about planting in the summer, it is with some understanding and care. Simply put, people who plant in the summer usually tend to care for their plants better than those who wait for fall. The nicer weather in spring encourages people to believe that Mother Nature will take care of new plants without our help. We see our plants standing strong and tall and mistakenly believe that we won’t have to do much because the plants are looking great. However, with our Nebraska summers we need to make sure we care for our plants, whether we planted them last fall, this spring, or this summer. Keep an eye on any plant younger than about 12 months, ensure you water them about once or twice a week and you should do fine.

watering lawnFor those who are itching to add a few plants or simply have finally found time to work in the landscape, summer planting can be rewarding and offer great success with proper care. A young plant, whether it is planted in the cool spring or the hot summer, simply needs a bit of assistance to make sure it survives until it can set its roots and begin caring for itself. How long this takes will depend on the plant. Check with your local nursery professional for specific care instructions for your specific plantings.

When it comes to caring for your older plants while they should not need, as much supervision, do not worry if they are not looking as good as they did in the spring. A bit of timely watering, maybe some trimming to shape the plant, and a bit of mulch to help hold the moisture around the root system can do wonders to help them through the summer. With a bit of care, plants showing stress in the heat should perk right back up and yes, even thrive, in our challenging summers.

Now when we talk to clients about summer plant care the first thing we mention is to try to walk the landscape at least once a week even in the heat. Check for weeds, look for insect or disease issues, and generally try to catch problems before they can get out of hand. A bit of work in the heat could solve a problem with minimal effort versus waiting until the weather is cooler but now the problems have grown and it might take lots of work to get things back in shape. Many of our clients usually do this walk around when they mow their lawn.

As you walk your landscape, keep an eye out for insects eating on foliage, red spider on evergreens, the jalapeno shaped husks of bagworms on evergreens, turf damage from grubs or webworms, and fungal issues on roses, turf, or other plants. Most problems, if noticed before too much damage occurs or pests are allowed to get out of control, can be controlled with timely treatment. While many chemicals are labeled for many different plants and pests, do always follow label directions and consider consulting a nursery professional with any questions and to get help picking the right control for your situation.

DSCN3725If you are able to check on your plants once or twice a week through the summer adding a bit of water as needed and can deal with any problems before they get out of hand, you should be able to keep your plants growing well and looking good even in the heat of summer.

Overall Mother Nature can be our best friend or worst enemy. Which one we believe she is all depends on what she brings us each day, and I for one have said a few choice words about her already this year. However, if we are there to care for our plants here and there, the summer time in Nebraska can be an enjoyable and often fulfilling time in the landscape.

 

Andy Campbell is manager of Campbell’s Nurseries Landscape Department. A Lancaster County Farm Bureau Member, Campbell’s, a family owned Nebraska business since 1912, offers assistance for all your landscaping and gardening needs at either of their two Lincoln garden centers or through their landscape design office. www.campbellsnursery.com.

 

Almond Joy Cookies

Almond Joy CookiesIngredients

1 cup softened butter

1 ½ cups white sugar

1 ½ cups brown sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 ½ cups flour

2 teaspoons soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 cups sweetened coconut

2 cups chopped almonds

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375º. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line sheet pans with silicone mats.
  2. Combine flour, soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla.
  4. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until well mixed.
  5. At this point, you may need to transfer the dough to a very large mixing bowl. Stir in the chips, coconut, and almonds until these goodies are well distributed.
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoons (or use a small ice cream scoop) onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  7. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

 

Yield: 6-7 dozen

Rhubarb Cobbler

Rhubarb CobblerIngredients

4 cups rhubarb, cut fine

1¾ cup sugar, divided

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

½ cup milk

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup boiling water

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  2. Put the cut-up rhubarb in a 9” square cake pan.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, cream ¾ cup sugar and butter. Add milk and mix.
  4. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into the bowl. Beat until smooth.  Pour mixture over the rhubarb.
  5. In another small bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle over the mixture and then pour 1 cup boiling water over the top.
  6. Place cake pan on a baking sheet in case the cobbler boils over. Bake for 1 hour.

 

Yield: 9 servings

Meet the 2017-2018 Class of The Crew!

Nebraska Farm Bureau has identified eight social media savvy student members to join our Crew. The Crew is a group of Nebraska Farm Bureau student members who enjoy agriculture communication and social media. Together, The Crew will work on reaching a larger audience with pro-ag messages and will help put a face to agriculture through social media in conjunction with Nebraska Farm Bureau. Members of The Crew have access to unique training sessions, such as exploring social media strategies on Capitol Hill.

NFBF is excited to introduce our Crew members to you! For the next year these students will help promote agriculture and rural America through their work on social media!

 

Mekenzie Beattie

Mekenzie Beattie

Hi! I’m Mekenzie Beattie! I am the sixth generation on my diversified family farm where our main focus is swine! I am an active member in 4-H and FFA and am excited to serve as the SEM FFA’s chapter president this upcoming year! I enjoy showing livestock, especially cattle! I also play volleyball and basketball and relieve my stress by playing the piano. I love to work on the farm and be involved daily in the Agriculture Industry. I have developed a thrilling passion for agriculture throughout my childhood and will continue that in my future! I am planning on attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after my high school career! I hope to double major in Ag Business and Ag communications! I thrilled to be a part of The Crew and to share my love of agriculture with the world!

 

 

 

Halie Andreasen

Halie Andreasen

Hello everyone! My name is Halie Andreasen. I will be a senior this year at Boone Central High School in Albion, Nebraska.  I live on a family farm where we have a small feedlot, cows, and raise corn and soybeans. I love spending time with my spunky corgi, Charlie, and drinking all the sweet tea I can get my hands on. My passion for agriculture started at a young age and was inspired by my love of showing cattle. From then on, I have been extremely involved in 4-H, FFA, and other extracurricular activities within my school. I have found that the best way to positively influence the future of agriculture is by developing young leaders and encouraging them to find their voice and advocate for our future. Because of this, I plan on attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln while majoring in agricultural education in hopes of inspiring youth to take a stand in their love of agriculture.

 

 

Rebel Sjeklocha (2)

Rebel Sjeklocha

Hello all! My name is Rebel Sjeklocha and I will be a senior this fall at Maywood High School. I live on a farm and cattle operation with my family east of Hayes Center. I have one little brother, Jett, who will be entering the eighth grade and keeps me on my toes. Agriculture has played an integral role in my upbringing, and I would not change this for the world. My mom is a veterinarian and my dad owns a commercial hay grinding business. My parents are my biggest role models, and have shown me what it means to truly be passionate about what you do.

I am active in the Maywood FFA Chapter where I compete in a variety of contests, ranging from livestock judging to ag communications and ag sales. In addition, I am also a proud member of Hayes County 4-H. In 4-H, I show cattle and horses, and do a variety of other projects as well. I have served as an advocate for rodeo and agriculture as the 2016 Elwood Rodeo Queen. I also competed in the Miss Teen Rodeo Nebraska pageant in June held in conjunction with NEBRASKAland Days in North Platte.

I am looking forward to gaining new perspectives and serving as a spokesperson for ag by being part of The Crew. I cannot wait to see what this year has in store!

 

Kelsey Phillips

Kelsey Phillips

My name is Kelsey Phillips and I am the sixth generation in my family to ranch north of Mullen, Nebraska – a small town in the heart of the Sandhills. I am a 2016 Mullen High School graduate and am currently a sophomore studying animal science with an emphasis in beef reproduction. My family has a commercial cow-calf operation and we retain ownership of our feedlot steers. I have my own small beef herd and hope to one day return to my family operation. We raise our own corn and hay on our 240-acre pivot. I am a certified Artificial Insemination Technician and help my parents breed our own cows and with our custom A.I. business. My family has a small two-acre vineyard and as a hobby my dad makes a variety of fruit wines.

Growing up I was very active in 4-H where I did various projects, but particularly loved showing large and small animals. I spent many years showing swine at the Nebraska state fair and continue showing in FFA. I especially enjoyed my many years at the Nebraska State 4-H camp near Halsey, as both a camper and a counselor. As a high school senior, I had the privilege of attending National 4-H Congress as a youth delegate. Throughout high school I attended the Nebraska State Youth Range Camp where I learned to evaluate range conditions and identify plant species. From that experience, I was selected to give a presentation at the National Society for Range Management conference in California. During my FFA career I was involved in numerous competitions including public speaking, livestock and rangeland judging, and food sciences. I am currently an officer for my collegiate FFA chapter, a member of Nebraska Cattlemen, an Ag in the Classroom Pen Pal, and volunteer during the school year at the humane society.

Through these many experiences and opportunities, I have developed valuable life skills and found my passion for agriculture. By being a part of the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Crew I hope to advocate for agriculture and share my love for this industry.  I am looking forward to learning about new communication tools and ways that I can be a positive voice for farmers and ranchers.

 

Kathlyn Hauxwell (2)

Kathlyn Hauxwell

My​ ​name​ ​is​ ​Kathlyn​ ​Hauxwell​ ​and​ ​I​ ​am​ ​very​ ​excited​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a part​ ​of​ ​this​ ​year’s​ ​​Ag​ ​Crew!​ ​

My interest​ ​in​ ​agriculture​ ​quickly​ ​developed​ ​as​ ​a​ ​young​ ​child​ ​growing​ ​up​ ​on​ ​our​ ​5th​ ​generation family​ ​farm​ ​and​ ​ranch​ ​in​ ​southwestern​ ​Nebraska. ​ ​We​ ​primarily​ ​raise​ ​cattle​ ​and​ ​grow​ ​commodity crops​ ​such​ ​as​ ​corn, ​wheat,​ ​and​ ​soybeans.​ ​My​ ​passion​ ​for​ ​agriculture​ ​developed​ ​further​ ​when​ ​I reached​ ​the​ ​age​ ​to​ ​be​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​4-H.​ ​As​ ​I​ ​started​ ​working​ ​with​ ​my​ ​show​ ​steers,​ ​and​ ​attending different​ ​clinics​ ​and​ ​camps,​ ​I​ ​definitely​ ​found​ ​myself​ ​at​ ​home​ ​being​ ​around​ ​the​ ​animals​ ​and​ ​the responsibilities​ ​that​ ​comes​ ​with​ ​them.​ ​I​ ​began​ ​to​ ​also​ ​show​ ​horses​ ​at​ ​a​ ​competitive​ ​level​ ​at​ ​the age​ ​of​ ​13,​ ​traveling​ ​all​ ​over​ ​the​ ​country​ ​to​ ​compete.​ ​In​ ​doing​ ​so​ ​I​ ​discovered​ ​a​ ​completely​ ​new facet​ ​of​ ​agriculture​ ​that​ ​I​ ​now​ ​account​ ​some​ ​of​ ​my​ ​best​ ​qualities​ ​for​ ​today.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​seventh​ ​grade​ ​I joined​ ​my​ ​school’s​ ​FFA​ ​chapter​ ​and​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​is​ ​history.​ ​As​ ​the​ ​years​ ​progressed​ ​I​ ​discovered more​ ​and​ ​more​ ​about​ ​the​ ​agriculture​ ​industry,​ ​way​ ​more​ ​than​ ​I​ ​thought​ ​even​ ​existed.​ ​I​ ​found myself​ ​to​ ​be​ ​in​ ​love​ ​with​ ​speaking​ ​events,​ ​working​ ​with​ ​other​ ​members,​ ​and​ ​also​ ​getting​ ​in​ ​the dirt​ ​by​ ​being​ ​on​ ​the​ ​livestock​ ​judging​ ​and​ ​vet​ ​science​ ​team.​ ​This​ ​year​ ​I​ ​will​ ​continue​ ​my​ ​FFA career​ ​as​ ​a​ ​senior​ ​and​ ​FFA​ ​President​ ​at​ ​McCook​ ​High​ ​School.​ ​After​ ​I​ ​graduate​ ​I​ ​aspire​ ​to​ ​attend the​ ​University​ ​of​ ​Nebraska​-Lincoln​ ​and​ ​start​ ​the​ ​process​ ​of​ ​becoming​ ​a​ ​veterinarian​ ​with​ ​majors in​ ​animal​ ​science​ ​and​ ​biochemistry.​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​wait​ ​to​ ​see​ ​what​ ​this​ ​year​ ​holds​ ​for​ ​the​ ​​Ag​ ​Crew 2017-2018!

 

Amanda Most

Amanda Most

Hey, agriculturalists! That is, hey as in hello, not hay like the stuff you feed cattle.

My name is Amanda Most and I am a senior at Ogallala High School in western Nebraska. After graduation, I hope to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and major in Agricultural Communications. I am involved in a large variety of extracurricular activities, but there is one that easily makes the top of the list: FFA. I am currently serving as the President of my chapter and am excited to be competing in the Vet Science competition at National FFA in October.

One of my favorite songs just happens to be “Farmer’s Daughter” by Rodney Atkins, because that’s exactly what I am: a farmer’s daughter. I live on my 5th generation family farm southeast of Ogallala where we raise corn, soybeans, peas, wheat and a herd of cattle. Growing up on a farm that is rooted so deeply within my family has given me a greater appreciation for food production and all that farmers do. From a young age, I have even played a role in production agriculture. I have raised and shown livestock since I was around 6 years old and I continue to show hogs and cattle. Even though I am mainly involved at a local level, I have found my voice in agriculture by being a livestock producer. I have seen the negative effects that can occur when consumers are uninformed and I personally have been challenged about the intent of the agricultural industry. These instances have only fueled my passion for serving in an industry that is crucial to our state, but more substantially, for feeding the world. It is more important than ever that we as agriculturalists stand up and advocate for ourselves and our livelihoods.

My passion for the agricultural industry and love for public speaking and writing will be put to work as I join “The Crew.” I am excited about being a member of The Crew because it is the perfect place for me to connect with others who share my passion for agriculture. Together, we will grow as agriculturalists and use our skills to serve as voices for agriculture. Let’s agvocate!

 

Miranda Hornung

Miranda Hornung

Hello Everyone! My name is Miranda Hornung and I live in Davey, NE population 157. As my journey as a member of the Crew begins, I am extremely excited to share my passion for agriculture with a wide audience.

I will be a senior for the upcoming school year at Raymond Central High School where I participate in a variety of activities including SkillsUSA, Student Council, Spanish Club, FCA, and of course FFA. I also have a knack for music, as I enjoy singing, play the flute, and have taken classical piano lessons since I was in kindergarten. I work part-time for a local bank, crop insurance agency, and for my family’s grain truck and trailer agribusiness.

While I have always been involved in agriculture and FFA since 7th grade, my interest for ag communications has only recently been sparked. Through public speaking contests, currently serving as a two-year president for the Central FFA Chapter, and entering an ag blog competition, I have developed an undeniable passion for “agvocating.”

I hope to continue to grow this passion through the upcoming year as a member of the Crew and in my future as I plan to attend UNL in the fall of 2018 and major in agricultural education with minors in leadership, communication, and entrepreneurship.

 

Jaclyn Frey

Jaclyn Frey

Hi everyone! My name is Jaclyn Frey and I live on our family farm just outside of Albion, Nebraska. From an early age a passion for agriculture was instilled in me. Hard work and dedication were just a couple of the traits that I learned to value through agriculture. I grew up caring for animals around the farm and riding in the tractor with my dad. That passion quickly grew as I became involved in 4-H and FFA. These organizations offered many opportunities for me to explore the agricultural industry and to see that agriculture reaches people from all lifestyles, not just those who live on a farm. Showing cattle has allowed me to connect with people, from across the state, who share the same passion as me. By retaining show heifers and purchasing cows from local producers, my cow herd has reached around thirty head. I also rent eighteen acres of dryland and raise corn and soybeans. I am a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Agricultural Education. Advocating for ag is something that is really important to me so I can’t wait to share my story with you all!

Kielbasa with Creamy Mustard Pasta

Kielbasa with Creamy Mustard Pasta2Ingredients

8 oz. penne or other short pasta

1 tablespoon cooking oil

14 oz. Kielbasa, sliced in ¼ inch disks

½ cup sliced green onions

¼ cup dry white wine or chicken broth

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

¼ cup butter

½ cup half and half

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to packaged directions.
  2. Heat cooking oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the sliced kielbasa and cook until it starts to crisp up on each side.  Remove from the skillet onto a paper towel-lined plate.  Drain the extra grease from the skillet.
  3. Return the skillet to the stove. Add the onions and wine/broth, letting it bubble and loosen the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Add the thyme and stir until the liquid is almost evaporated.
  4. Add the butter. Once it is melted, add the half and half and mustard.  Bring it to a simmer and let it thicken a little before adding the Parmesan cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to coat the pasta.
  6. To serve, either mix the kielbasa into the pasta or top each serving of pasta with some sausage

 

Yield:  4-6 servings

Nebraska County Export Values . . .

 

Economic Tidbits logoInternational trade and foreign markets are critical to Nebraska agriculture.  To get a sense of which Nebraska counties are most reliant on international trade, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture has created a map showing export values by county for select commodities (see below).  Commodities included are beef and beef products, corn, dairy products, distillers grains, ethanol, pork and pork products, pulses, sorghum, soybeans and soybean products and wheat.  The map was created using 2015 Nebraska cash receipts data and attributing shares to counties based on county production data.  Platte County topped the state with export values of $245 million.  Custer, Holt, Boone and Cuming Counties fall in the next tier with export values between $125-$150 million.  Most counties in Nebraska generate at least $25 million in export values, which no doubt contributes significantly to their local economies.

The top counties stand to gain the most from increased access to foreign markets.  Free trade agreements with Mexico, Canada, Korea, Colombia and others, while benefitting all counties, have been particularly beneficial to these counties.  An analysis last year of the benefits of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) by Nebraska Farm Bureau showed many of these same counties would have benefited from the $378 million in increased receipts Nebraska was projected to receive under the agreement.  The map clearly demonstrates it is in the interest of Nebraska agriculture to continue to press for more open international markets in agricultural products.
county exports

 

Jay Rempe is the senior economist for Nebraska Farm Bureau. Rempe’s background in agricultural economics, years of experience in advocating at the state capitol, and firm grasp of issues allow him to quantify the fiscal impact of a regulatory proposal, and provide in-depth examination of key issues affecting Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Corn Salad

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Corn SaladIngredients

  • 8 Ears of Corn (olive oil, salt, pepper)
  • 2 Jalapeños – seeds & stems removed, finely chopped
  • 1 Cup Chopped Cooked Bacon
  • 2 ounces Cream Cheese – softened
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt/Pepper To Taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill.
  2. Coat each ear of corn with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place the ears on the grill and cover. Grill 15-20 minutes, rotating every 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the grill and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. When the ears are cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off into a large bowl. Eight ears should yield about 6 cups of corn.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese with the sour cream. When blended, stir the creamy mixture into the corn.
  6. Add the chopped jalapenos, bacon pieces, and cheese. Stir to combine.
  7. Serve immediately or chill and serve later.

 

Yield:  about 8 cups of salad