Youth in Agriculture

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Agriculture is the driving force for the Nebraskan economy. With one fourth of our great state’s jobs being involved in agriculture, youth involvement has become crucial in keeping this industry thriving. In July, over 200 Nebraska students were able to network and meet with countless industry professionals at the 47th annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute. The institute is free of charge thanks to many generous donations, allowing young ag minded people to network and gain friendships with like-minded people across the state. “The opportunity to network and share idea with people from all over the state that have the same passion for agriculture as me.” Emily Zimmer, a Pleasanton senior said about her experience.

 

The average age for a farmer in the United States is 58.3 years, growing by 8 years in the past 30. Nebraska needs young farmers and ranchers and thanks to the many programs offered around the state youth have been able to find their path back to the farm. When asked how being involved with NAYI helped him make his decision on his future, Mikael Harrop, a recent graduate of Ansley Public Schools said “NAYI helped me choose what major I wanted to go into and pushed me to do things I thought i would never do.”

 

For myself, I have been involved with production agriculture my whole life. Growing up on a small cattle ranch and being involved in 4-H, but it wasn’t until my high school began an FFA chapter that I then myself into the field head first. Through my past advisor, a Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council Alumni, I was introduced to this program. Through my involvement I was able to find a career path that I have a true passion for, Agricultural Education and Beef production. Kate Cooper, a recent Waverly graduate said that for her “agriculture is about combining the tradition and innovation to provide healthy, high quality products for the world”.

 

Wyatt_2In an ever-changing industry, currently exploding with new technology, having the means to work with others from different backgrounds has been incredibly important for myself and many others. Major changes are coming our way, one being ethanol. Ethanol production in the United States displaced 560 million barrels of crude oil last year alone. This is just one of the many changes that the coming generation of agriculturalists will experience. KAAPA Ethanol was able to educate youth at NAYI about how this new change will positively affect our industry and future.

 

Youth across Nebraska are showing more and more passion and drive to become involved in agricultural careers. With the opportunities available and various social media platforms youth are staying connected and making connections across the state. Young people are not just the future, we are the present. Being involved in various agricultural groups I have seen how youth are changing, and will continue to change this industry to feed the world. I hope the world is ready for the change that is coming.

Nebraska Farm Bureau sponsored the 2018 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute held in Lincoln July 9-13.

 

Wyatt Hubbard

Wyatt Hubbard is a graduate of Elm Creek High School and is attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this fall double majoring in Animal Science and Agricultural Education. While in high school Wyatt was extremely involved in nearly every activity especially 4-H and FFA. Wyatt hopes to be able to expand his impact on social media while in The Crew and spread awareness for ag related issues and events. 

 

What’s a typical day like on your farm?

noe 5My family has been farming in Spring Bay, Illinois since 1875. Over the years, the farm has seen quite a few changes in which crops are grown and how they are raised. Currently, we raise corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, hogs, cantaloupes and watermelons. Since the farm is so diversified, each day is different throughout the year. The spring season consists of working ground, planting corn and soybeans, starting the melons in the greenhouse and then transplanting them into the field.

noe 4Summer is our busiest season. In the early months, we finish transplanting melons and begin to cultivate and hoe them to keep the weeds out. In July, we cut wheat, bale straw and hay and begin to pick cantaloupe. We will usually handpick about 300-400 cantaloupes on a daily basis. In the middle of the season, it’s not unusual for us to pick 800-1200 cantaloupes each night. We deliver truckloads to local grocery stores in addition to selling them at local farmer’s markets six days a week. The watermelons are usually ready in mid-August. We pick them about three times a week and continue to go to farmer’s markets and grocery stores. On a typical summer day, you can find my family up and working by 6:30 a.m. loading pickups, picking flowers and produce to go to the farmer’s market, and doing hog chores. One of us will go to the market and sell until noon. When we come home, we unload the leftover produce, eat lunch, and relax. Then we go out to pick more cantaloupes, reload pickups, eat supper, and make sure everything is ready to go for the next day.

noe 3September is an in-between month for our farm. The cantaloupe and watermelon season winds down and my dad and brothers start preparing the combine and equipment for harvest. We usually begin cutting beans and picking corn in the first week of October. Once harvest starts, my family spends a majority of the day in the fields or on the road moving equipment and hauling the grain to the elevator for storage. Mom takes breaks from driving the trucks to pack lunches and make supper for the crew. Harvest is an exciting and stressful time for the whole family. There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done and the weather just never seems to cooperate. There have been numerous times when Dad combined through the night to get a field done before an early snow or to get an extra load up to the elevator before it closed for the evening. Despite the stress, breakdowns, and disappointments, it’s very easy to love the harvest season. It’s an exciting time you spend out in the field working with your family and bringing in the crops that you started way back in the spring.

noe 2By early November, we are usually finished with harvest and begin to prepare the equipment for the next season. Once the crops are harvested, everything starts to slow down. The winter months are mundane compared to the rest of the year. From December to March, we work to repair the things that broke during the spring, summer, or fall that we didn’t have time to fix in that season. This is also the time that we get to work on fun projects, hobbies, and finish taxes and other book work. When it gets cold and starts snowing, we use skid-steers to clear snow off our driveways and out of the hog pens. We also have to put straw in the outdoor hog pens to help them keep warm in the cold weather.

noe 1Although we’re busy throughout the year with our crops and melons, the hogs are an additional year-round occupation. Every morning and evening, we have to feed the hogs in the indoor and outdoor pens. We also have to move any pregnant sows into the farrowing house, wean piglets and give them shots, and move sows out of the farrowing house and back into the pens with the boars so they can be rebred. Once the pigs have reached market weight, we arrange shipments and send them off on the semi to become pork chops, bacon, sausages, and pork burgers.

Our farm is an exciting place to be and there’s always plenty of work to be done. Through our family farm upbringing, my brothers and I learned what it takes to run a successful business and have built a lot of character through the work that we did. One of the benefits of farming is that the job changes every few months and each day is different from the day before. It can be overwhelming at times, but it’s a very rewarding career in the long run.

Rachel Noe bio pic

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Why Do Farmers Let Their Corn Die in the Fields?

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“I don’t understand! If farmers are feeding us corn, why are they letting it die before we can eat it?”

This is a question that has maybe crossed your mind a time or two. Here in Nebraska, we like to eat corn. We like it off the cob, in our casseroles, or served on the side of a delicious summer hamburger. But who in the world would like to eat dead corn? Let me explain…corn2As you can tell from the pictures, there is a big difference between the corn you eat (left) and the corn that you see in the field (right). Sweet corn is the kind of corn that you would buy at the grocery store in the summer and eat when you get home.

“If sweet corn is used for food.. then what is this field corn used for? And why do farmers plant it if we don’t eat it? Tell me about this field corn!”

Field corn is used to make a whole bunch of things. It is essential to our state, country, and world. Without it, we simply could not create a majority of things we use in our every day lives. Here a few of the MANY things you can find corn in…

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Not only is it an important component to all of these products, but also to a multitude of others. Field corn is also used as food; for an example, corn is used as cornstarch, corn oil, and corn syrup, three very popular ingredients in food. “Wow, I had no idea that is a few reasons why we plant so much corn; I did not realize it was so essential! Tell me though, why do we have to let corn die to use it in all of these products?corn7In the picture above, this ear of corn is ready for harvest. There are a multitude of reasons why farmers allow it to get to this point so we can use it..corn6

Harvest: Farmers have to wait until it all the little kernels are completely hard before they can be picked. If they were still soft, the kernels would break and result in losing all of their starch, a huge factor in creating many products.corn4

As you can see, a large portion of the kernel is full of starch. When the kernel is still soft, all of that starch will escape the kernel as it is still in a liquid form, leaving little behind for the use of the many products we need. When the corn fully matures (yellow), then all of the liquid starch turns into a solid starch through a process called “denting”.

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You can see the seed change from a milky substance into the solid starch as the corn plant matures. The last seed shown is ready for harvest!

The corn in the field is not necessarily dying, but drying. By drying out the liquid starch (milk stage), the corn can be harvested and used for all the necessities you and I need! From glue to corn flakes, cattle feed to fuel, corn (the dented field corn) is not only a complement to our society, but also a crucial source to create so many things. Without corn, a nation would simply not be born!

Laura Lundeen bio pic

Meet The Crew by Nebraska Farm Bureau!

Nebraska Farm Bureau has identified nine 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 social media posts!

 

Jacob Goldfuss

Jacob GoldfussMy name is Jacob Goldfuss, I am from O’Neill Nebraska and have been passionate about agriculture for a long time. Even though I lived in town, I helped my grandpa on his ranch south of town for as long as I can remember. When my grandpa retired my dad and I bought back some cows and a few bulls and run a small cow/calf operation still today. Agriculture is such a vital part of our everyday lives, that’s why I am so passionate about advocating for it. I love educating and communicating agriculture to people who might not know as much about it as I do. That is why I am currently a sophomore at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln pursuing a degree in Agricultural Education.

I have always tried to get as involved in agriculture related clubs and organization as I could my whole life. I was very dedicated to FFA in High School and donated most of my time to the chapter as I held an office all four years. Now in college, I am the vice president of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, on the leadership team for the CASNR Coffee Cup Club, in Collegiate FFA, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and now, the CREW! I look forward to working with Nebraska Farm Bureau this year promoting and advocating for all the Nebraska farmers and ranchers out there through the use of social Media!

 

Victoria Talcott

Victoria TalcottIf I were asked to describe myself I would say passionate about agriculture, creative thinker, and looking to make an impact on the world. I love everything about agriculture, and I especially love educating people about the importance of agriculture in Nebraska and the entire world.

My name is Victoria Talcott. I grew up on a farm near Bennet, NE with my parents, Norris and Lynnet, and my brother, Garret. On our farm we raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and cattle. I have always been very active in 4-H. I seriously tried out almost every project from showing livestock to making a babysitting kit. I loved everything about 4-H! I was also very active in my FFA chapter. This year I will be receiving my American Degree in Kentucky. My SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) includes farming my own 30 acre farm, my own cattle herd, and working on my parents farm.

I am currently a student at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln where I study Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communication. I chose this major because I want to express the importance of agriculture to people around the world. I am currently an intern at the Nebraska FFA Foundation. This next year I will be blogging, writing social media posts, and much more as a member of the Nebraska Farm Bureau. I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to start sharing my knowledge of agriculture. I can’t wait to write for you all this year!

 

Laura Lundeen

Laura LundeenHi everyone!

I’m a small-town, Nebraska born and raised, sunset loving, faith, family, and farm girl. I am very passionate about many things, and many of those things have a foot in agriculture; therefore, I am very passionate about agriculture! (Especially its impact on our world through food and other products.)

I grew up on a farm of corn and soybeans near a small town of 750 people. I have a hardworking dad, mom, and older and younger brothers. Although we have never raised livestock, I brought pigs, sheep, and cattle to the county fair. I learned to love farming through my family and the work we do, but when I left for the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, I learned to love it even more. I am studying Agricultural Education and plan to graduate in December of 2017. I did not start out studying ag. The quote, “You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone” came into play for me my first semester of college. After spending 6 weeks of my life having little contact with the industry that makes the world go around, I quickly learned that I did not love what I was studying at that time. It was not long before I decided to switch to my degree to agriculture.

Ever since, my classes and other activities have sparked my love for food and agriculture and I am excited to share. I hope you enjoy learning about ag as much as I do!

 

Haley Ehrke

Haley EhrkeHi everyone my name is Haley Ehrke! I grew up in South Central Nebraska, I am very proud of my roots. I am a farmer’s daughter and very excited to be a member of the Farm Bureau Crew. I am currently a senior in High School and plan on majoring in Agricultural Education next fall. I enjoy spending my time showing cattle, checking cows, spending time with friends and family, biking, and taking pictures. Random fact, my favorite food is steak. On our farming operation we grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa, milo and we have a cowherd.

 

Catherine Jones

Catherine JonesHello Everybody! I am a farmer’s daughter, a sister and granddaughter. I am a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying agricultural communications. My name is Catherine Jones, I grew up on a farm in the middle of Omaha where my family owns a horse boarding facility, and raises 4H livestock for our urban 4H club. I have had the unique experience of helping urban youth learn all about the agriculture industry and how to be farm tough! Living in the city, I saw all of the urban population’s misconceptions of agriculture’s’ true story. That is how I found my passion, advocating for agriculture and improving society’s agricultural literacy!

 

Cheyenne Gerlach

Cheyenne GerlachMy name is Cheyenne Gerlach and I am passionate about animals. I love riding horses and I’m known as the bottle calf whisperer at my house. I also tame 1,300 pound steers every year for the fair. My favorite sport is showing pigs. I pulled my first pig at twelve. I think the best bonding time is in the farrowing house. I have a voice for agriculture.

 

 

 

 

Rachel Noe

Rachel NoeHey there! My name is Rachel Noe and I’m a senior Agricultural Communications major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am a fifth generation Noe to have been brought up on my family’s farm in Spring Bay, Illinois. On our farm, we grow corn, soybeans, cantaloupes, watermelons, hogs, and wheat. Although I grew up working in production agriculture, I didn’t truly appreciate the industry until I started college. I decided to study Ag Communications because I enjoy speaking to others about agriculture and want to give back to the industry that has shaped me into the person I am today. I’m looking forward to the conversations this blog will start, as well as this opportunity to share my passion for agriculture.

 

Emily Puls

Emily PulsI am a farm girl, born and raised. I am from Wakefield, Nebraska, where my family raises corn and soybeans!

Currently, I am at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, studying Agricultural Education in hopes of educating future consumers the importance of the agriculture industry and all the careers linked to it.

My free time is spent helping dad around the farm, reading, watching NCIS, and of course…cheering on the Huskers! GBR!

I want to advocate for agriculture because not only is it a great industry but also people need to know about certain areas like their food production. Creating informed consumers another step in combating misinformation that is so wide spread. Everyone wants to know where their food comes from and I just want consumers to see the hard work production agriculturalist do to keep the food they produce safe!

 

Emily Cumming

Emily CummingI’m not the everyday farmer’s daughter. Born and raised on a family farm in Central Nebraska, I have taken my love for agriculture and found something that I adore. Bees! Who would have thought a grain and livestock farmer’s daughter would find joy in working with honey bees? I sure didn’t!

I started working with bees after I had the push from my parents to take up an activity in agriculture that interested me. I talked to members of the Nebraska Beekeeper’s Association who helped me make my dream of becoming a beekeeper a reality. I am proud to say I have been raising these little delights for three years! I am so excited to share my point of view on agriculture!

Agriculture has had a large influence in my life since I was very little. I may not take part in the same type of agriculture that my family raises and nurtures, but agriculture is agriculture and I am more than happy to participate in the agriculture industry, especially with the all-important honeybees.

I’m Emily Cumming and I am a beekeeper.

A Fair is a Veritable Smorgasbord

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Charlotte’s Web — Paramount Pictures

“A fair is a veritable smorgasbord.” At least according to the rat, Templeton, from Charlotte’s web. If you’re not familiar, it’s the scene where the rodent sings about all the wonderful food he finds after the lights of the fair go down.

In this case, I’m not talking about food but rather all the wonderful agricultural products you can find at county fairs and the Nebraska State Fair, which wraps up this weekend. From the Milking Parlor to the Avenue of Breeds to the Antique Tractor Display, the Ag exhibits are endless, and for FFA and 4-H exhibitors, the end of a year of hard work on their projects.

"Tiny" - Nebraska's Largest Steer

“Tiny” – Nebraska’s Largest Steer

This year we heard reports of space running out in the sheep and goat barn because of so many producers wanting to show their product. And the hog and cattle barns are just as full. It’s exciting to see so many kids taking their projects to the next level. Now, I call on them to go even further.

For many people, the Nebraska State Fair or the local county fair is their first, and maybe only, interaction with agriculture. Hundreds of grade school students in matching T-shirts are paraded through the state fair every year.

Savannah Peterson GothenburgThey are excited to see and interact with the animals. But what are they really seeing? A large pet? Do they know why a farmer raises cattle or sheep? It is our job as livestock producers, farmers and Ag experts to go that extra step and explain why a heifer or steer exists. Why we shear sheep. How we bring only one or two hogs to the fair, while the rest stay home. And, ultimately, the fact that Nebraska farmers and ranchers are raising the world’s food supply.

 

 

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Why You Should Give to Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture

While watching the morning news this weekend with my son, I heard a fun fact. NASA put a man on the moon using a computer that had less computing power than a TI-83 calculator which is used my many kids in school today. I was more than a little surprised not so much by the fun fact but by my son’s reaction. “Ya mom, learned that one in 5th grade…it’s no big deal.”

Well, with that comment our conversation immediately shifted to a discussion about other fun facts about Nebraska as only a good Nebraska mom would do. First question, tell me about what crops Nebraska produces. My son, corn and cows mom…that’s easy. Learned that in 4th grade. And what else? No answer. What about dried beans? We are the 2nd largest producing state of pinto beans in the USA. Soybeans, we are the 5th largest exporter of soybeans? Popcorn….you know that stuff you inhale after school every day…Nebraska is the largest producer in the country.

His response…he shared that his XBOX was more powerful than the computers on the original space shuttle mission. Where did he get that one…science class 3rd grade? My next response, okay, you know that and not about Nebraska agriculture.

give to lincoln agAnd why should you care…Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (NFBFA) works every day to help our kids understand where their food comes from and works to give teachers the tools to use in their classroom by providing curricula that assists with teaching Agricultural literacy skills.   To learn more check out www.nefbfoundation.org. We work in Lincoln and across our state to provide consumers with education on food, fuel and fiber and to help develop the next generation of agriculture leaders by supporting leadership programs, scholarships and student loan forgiveness grants are also things we focus on each year.

Give to Lincoln Info GfxAgriculture represents more than 290,000 jobs in Nebraska. Over a fourth of our economy in our state can be attributed to agriculture. And more importantly, we all need food to fuel our bodies.

As you think about Give to Lincoln Day, please think about Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and the work we do you keep our state strong. Please consider making a gift to NFBFA.

Laura Schabloske

Interim Executive Director

Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture

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Ranching Western Nebraska

This past week I spent some time in Western Nebraska, near Chadron. After three day in the panhandle, I was ready to move. It is some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. Granted, It was 73 degrees and sunny while I was there. I was told, by a resident, not many people can handle the sideways snow blowing in during the winter. It can be a tough way of life out there. Your nearest neighbor might be an hour away. Getting snowed in happens nearly every winter. But, for folks out west, they wouldn’t trade a day of it for anything. IMG_0455

Western Nebraska is cattle country and ranching country. Now, most people don’t know that there is a difference between a farmer and a rancher. For most, it is an interchangeable title. But, a rancher is the first to tell you it’s not. Just because you farm, doesn’t mean you ranch and just because you ranch, doesn’t mean you farm.

The men and women who are proud to be called ranchers raise cattle. They aren’t usually sitting on a tractor planting corn. They are on horseback, raiding cross country and caring for a cattle herd. They often own or rent thousands of acres of land on which their cattle graze. They find land where they can. In that panhandle that might mean driving an hour from their house to their pasture. I did just that with one ranching family this week. The family, include three children, loaded horse and hauled them the 50 or so miles to one of their pastures. Most families are extremely close and any business can be a family affair. But on this family ranch gave the phrase a whole new meaning.

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Mom, Dad, Brother and Sister saddled up on horses. I could tell, the six and four-year-old were already experienced with horses. The youngest road with Mom. Now, safety is of course their main concern and Dad made sure these kids had the best behaved horses. But, chasing cattle from one end of a field to the other is something these kids were more than capable of doing. Working and ranching is something they’ve been doing their whole lives. It’s the way they are being raised.

For this young family, they are already passing down Nebraskan values. While Mom and Dad are in the stages of growing their operation, they are setting up a future for their children and a future for their ranch. These kids will have the tools and know-how to take over a ranch and provide food for a hungry world.

 

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