Sheridan County Newsletter

February 2016

Calendar of Events

Happy 4-H Month!!

Feb. 2: Extension Board Meeting at 6pm

Feb. 7: Livestock Practice at 1 pm

Feb. 7: Junior Leader meeting at 4 pm

Feb. 9: 4-H Council Meeting at 6 pm

Feb. 12: Rabbit Project meeting at 9 am

Feb. 13: Be My Clover Bud at 9 am

Feb. 21: 4-H Festival at 12 pm

Feb. 25: Sewing Class at 4 pm

Feb. 27: Track your Hunt at 9 am

Feb. 29: New family meeting at 6 pm

Speech Contest

The local Speech Contest will be on Sunday, April 10th. The District competition will be on Saturday, April 23rd. Resources including the new contest information will be available at

Be My Clover Bud

This science filled workshop for students between the ages of 5 and 7 will be held at the Nebraska Extension Sheridan County office on Saturday, February 13th from 9 until 12 pm. Youth will create a Love Potion, explore the world of slime, cook up a healthy snack, create a craft for their room and more. The cost is $5 per person. This workshop is open to anyone interested, it is not exclusive to 4-H members. To register please contact the Nebraska Extension Sheridan County office at (308) 327-2312 or email Melissa Mracek at

Track your Hunt Workshop

Have a hunter enthusiast at home? This workshop will cure their winter blues and help them get ready for the Spring hunting season. On Saturday, February 27th participants will create animal tracks, turkey calls, learn about animal needs and more! The workshop will take place at the Gordon City Auditorium from 9 am until noon. The animal tracks from this workshop can be exhibited at the County Fair. Participants should be between the ages of 8 and 12 years. The cost is $5. Please register by February 22nd to the Extension Office at (308) 327-2312 or email Melissa Mracek at

4-H Festival

What is all this 4-H stuff about? Come find out at the 4-H Festival on Sunday, February 21st at the Gordon City Auditorium from 12 to 4 pm. This event is free and open to the public. Sheridan County clubs will have a variety of activities available for youth to learn about 4-H projects and meet some of 4-H Club leaders. There will be a concession stand hosted by the Junior Leader Club to help raise money for their 4-H Exchange trip to Colorado. This will be a great opportunity to ask questions and learn about all the different opportunities that 4-H has to offer youth.

February is 4-H Month

To celebrate 4-H members will receive 4-H Locker Signs. Member are also encouraged to wear there 4-H t-shirts to school and talk to their friends about their 4-H experiences. Remember to re-enroll your youth at You can pay the fee on the website or drop $5 by the office. It is free for Clover Buds so just select the Check option. If you are having issues please stop by the office and Melissa will assist you.

New Family Meeting

Are you new to 4-H and just not sure how to get started? We have the solution for you! Melissa Mracek will be hosting a new family meeting on Monday, February 29th located at the Nebraska Extension Sheridan County office starting at 6 pm. Melissa will talk about the opportunities in 4-H, help families enroll, talk about the different clubs, go through upcoming deadlines and answer any questions that families may have. 4-H is no longer just baking and animals, there are so many more opportunities for youth to discover new skills! Attend this meeting to learn more.

Remind Instructions

Remind is a system that allows you to receive 4-H reminders about deadlines and upcoming events via text message or email. To receive messages via text, text @msmatulk to 81010. If you are having issues you can also text @msmatulk to (308) 210-8522. If you wish to receive messages via email you can send an email

Horse Practices starting in April

Starting in April, horse activities will be available for youth to gain a better understanding of their Horse Project. All meetings will be from 6 to 7 pm until June then it is from 6 to 8 pm.

Tentative Schedule:

April 5th - Learn about your Horse Project

April 19th - Learn about Horse anatomy and care

May 10th - Practice Horsemanship

May 24th - Practice Reining

June 7th - Practice Pleasure and Barrels

June 14th - District Horse Show in Chadron

June 21st - Practice Trail and Poles

June 24th - Horse Judging in Sioux County

June 28th - Practice Showmanship

July 5th - Review Working Ranch

July 12th - Barrels and review

July 19th - Review

4-H Judges Training

You can make a difference in the life of a child by encouraging them in the skills they have developed through 4-H. Come to find out more about 4-H judging at either one of two 4-H trainings for adults interested in working as a 4-H judge at county fairs.

Mark your calendar for either Tuesday, February 23, in Alliance at the Nebraska Extension Office, Box Butte County, or Thursday, February 25, in Sidney at the Cheyenne County Community Center. Both begin at 6 pm.

Training topics include: Youth Development and Judging, STEAM clothing, Foods, Photography and Ag Engineering.

Participating in judges training is a way to get your name on the state-wide judges list. Your participation includes training, materials and refreshments. Experienced judges….come and renew your skills and invite a potential judge to come with you. This training is open to all counties.

For more information or to register, contact Nebraska Extension in Box Butte County at 308-762-5616 or email Deb Kraenow at or contact Nebraska Extension in Cheyenne County at 308-254-4455 or email Cynthia Gill at

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is open once again. Members that are participating in Livestock Projects must complete 3 learning modules within their age group by June 1st. The website to take these courses is: There will be a course payment again this year. If you need help please come to the Extension Office. Melissa will be hosting QA Help days on March 28th from 9 to 11:30 and in Hay Springs on April 22nd.

Its Time to Innovate your Plate

When it comes to eating, we think we have it all down pat, right? Well, from time to time it is good to reflect on the choices we are making. Sometimes, habits have developed over time that may not be the best for us nutritionally.

Let’s start with what is on your plate. Is it half full of fruits and vegetables? Many times, we are not getting enough fruits and vegetables. Think of using fruit and vegetables in new ways. You might incorporate vegetables as salads, combine vegetables with whole grains or add vegetables to your soup. Make vegetables taste great by using culinary techniques like roasting or grilling for caramelization. Use soy sauce, garlic, onion, small amounts of flavorful cheeses, olive oil, fresh herbs and spices for great flavor in your cooking.

Are there new ways you could incorporate additional fruit in your diet? How about fruit for dessert? Consider the “dessert flip” with more fruit and smaller pieces of indulgent favorites. Try to eat whole fruits most often. According to USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28, 8 ounces of orange juice has 110 calories and no fiber. Eating an orange will give you 60 calories and 3 grams of fiber.

When you are looking for grains, choose whole grains most often. How do you know if it is whole grain? The first ingredient listed needs to be whole wheat, quinoa, barley, oats, bulgur wheat or brown rice. Look for the 100% whole grain stamp. Buy the whole grain version of foods you already love. Try white whole wheat flour, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, old fashioned oatmeal, whole grain crackers and brown rice. Choose cereals containing bran or add unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite meal.

When consuming protein, use a variety of protein foods. This helps to create interest and variety and also provides cost savings. Check the unit price to make sure you are getting the best deal. Also, buy in bulk if you can use or freeze by the date on the package. To complete your meal, enjoy milk or water and limit sugary beverages.

As the seasons change, take an opportunity to change the foods you use. This adds new colors and textures to your plate. Examples of how you might help your 4-H members learn about innovating their plate are to model good habits, take a grocery store tour or to have an activity where youth get to see and taste different types of whole grains. For additional information and great resources, go to:;