Thurston Co. 4-H News

May 2022

Nebraska Extension - Thurston County

Jennifer E. Hansen, Extension Educator,

Allison Claussen, Summer Assistant

Samantha Beutler, Office Staff,


May 30 - Memorial Day - Office Closed

June 6-10 - District Horse Shows

June 13 - YQCA Face-to-Face Training - 1 PM @ Pender Fire Hall

June 15 - 4-H Enrollment Deadline, Drop/Add Deadline

June 15 - Livestock Animal ID/Affidavits/DNA/Nominations Due/YQCA Due

June 22 - 23 - PASE - Lincoln, NE

June 24 - State 4-H Public Speaking - Lincoln, NE

July 4 - Office Closed - 4th of July

July 9-13 - State 4-H Horse Show @ Fonner Park, Grand Island

July 31 - Dakota-Thurston Co. 4-H Dog, Cat, Small Animal Show - Thurston, NE

August 1 - Clothing Day @ the Fair! - Expo Center

August 3 -7 - Dakota-Thurston County Fair Days!

August 26 - 28 - 4-H State Fair Weekend

September 3 - 5 - FFA State Fair Weekend

Employment Opportunities

Due to career advancement and career transition, Thurston County Extension Office is excited to announce two open positions! We are in need of a full-time 4-H Extension Assistant and a part-time Extension Office Manager. Both positions are county funded positions and open until filled. For more information, visit

Thurston County Summer Assistant!

We have hired Allison Claussen to return as our summer assistant for 2022! She has already started a few hours here and there in the office. You will see her at the summer 4-H workshops and fair! She was also recently hired as the Agricultural Education Instructor at Pender Public Schools, so she will be busy readying her own classroom and working with FFA Youth this summer in addition to her work with 4-H! We're excited to have her working in our county, school, and community!


4-H Online Enrollment

For those who have not enrolled in 4-H for 2022 (or started an enrollment but not completed it), it's not too late! Visit to enroll. Our county has a $5 enrollment fee. Please contact us at 402-385-6041 with any questions.


If you are a member of Rosalie Feeders or Thurston County Independent, please remember to pay your $5 dues to our office ASAP so we can complete your enrollment. Mail checks to: Thurston County Extension, PO Box 665, Pender, NE 68047. (Youth members 8-18+, Clover Kids do not have dues.)

Congratulations Music & Presentation Contest Participants!

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Music Contest
Best of Show Grand Champion: Joy Trimble
Best of Show Reserve Champion: Audric Cavenee
Instrumental solos

Payton Hermelbracht – Clarinet (P)
Audric Cavenee – Double Bass (P)
Audric Cavenee – Bass Clarinet (P)
Elle Lamplot – Piano (P)
Amaryn Bodlak – Piano (P)

Addison Lamplot – Piano (B)
Rylie Hermelbracht – Tenor Saxophone (B)
Jenna Raymer – Trombone (B)
Brooke Raymer – Snare Drum (B)

Vocal Solo - Joy Trimble (P)

Instrumental Duet - Payton Hermelbracht & Audric Cavenee – Clarinet (B)
Vocal Duet - Elle & Addison Lamplot (P)
Individual Dance -
Amaryn Bodlak – Tap Dance (P)
Presentation Contest -
Grand Champion: Rylie Hermelbracht (B)


Our fairbook is posted online and ready to view! Visit to either view a PDF copy or to find the links to the areas you're interested in! This year's theme is "UnFAIRgettable"!


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Volunteer Resources

Did you miss any of the Week of the Volunteer Lunch & Learn sessions? Not to worry! Recordings of the session are now available at
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4-H State Summer Camps

Are your youngsters already dreaming of warmer days? Stop dreaming and start planning! Check out all of the 4-H Summer Camps sessions at and register early to save your spot! Scholarships, new camper discounts, and transportation options are available.

Big Red Camps

Big Red Summer Camps will be held June 12-17, 2022. Registration is open! Be sure to register for Big Red Camps early, because space is limited! Get started at

New - State Public Speaking Contests

The State 4-H Public Speaking Contests are coming up next month, and we’re excited to announce, not one, but TWO new opportunities at this year’s event. The event will be held on June 24 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. In addition to Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and Prepared Speeches, youth may also participate in a new Impromptu Speech Contest and a new Video Communication Contest. Learn more at


The Premier Animal Science Event, also known as PASE, features a variety of state-level animal science contests, including Livestock Judging, Meats Judging, Poultry Judging, Livestock Skillathon, and Livestock Quiz Bowl. This year’s event will be held June 22-23 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln East Campus. Learn more at

Youth Leadership Conference

Register for the 2022 4-H Youth Leadership Conference (YLC)

High school students, ages 14-18, we’d like to invite you to join us for the Youth Leadership Conference! The conference will be held June 24-26 at the Nebraska State 4-H Camp near Halsey. We’ll take advantage of traditional camp activities while integrating leadership workshops, speakers, and an overall topic of mental wellness in leadership. To learn more, visit

Community Service Project Showcase

Calling all 4-H Clubs! Submit your 4-H community service project for a chance to see it showcase statewide:


YQCA - Training

YQCA has moved! Nebraska 4-H requires all members enrolled in a livestock project to complete annual quality assurance certification through the Youth for the Quality Care of Animals program.

The program has recently moved to a new online system available at Learn more about YQCA requirements and find help documents at YQCA is due for our county on June 15th!

You can request coupon codes from our office to help offset your family costs!

YQCA Face-to-Face Training

Remember to contact our office for a coupon code and register for this event! Your family will have to create a new online account, then search for the Pender In-Person event.
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Livestock ID & DNA Envelopes

If you are needing affidavit sheets, livestock tags, EID tags, or DNA envelopes, please contact the office. Also, please call ahead of time as the office will not always have someone at the front desk!

Dog Show Rules Handbook Update

The long awaited 421 4-H State Dog Show Rules Handbook has been updated and is available online for viewing.

Visit to view the manual.


  • May 20, 2022 - Dawes Co. Roundup Livestock Judging (Dawes Co. Fairgrounds, Chadron, NE)
  • May 21, 2022 - Platte Co. Swine Jackpot (Ag Park, Columbus, NE)
  • May 22, May 28, June 5, 2022 – Loup Valley Horse Series (Albion/Ord/Grand Island)
  • May 25, 2022 – Pitzer Horse Ranch Judging Contest (Pitzer Ranch, Ericson, NE)
  • May 26, 2022 - Colfax/Platte County Livestock Judging Contest (Colfax County Fairgrounds, Leigh, NE)
  • May 26, 2022 - Animal Science Discovery Day (NCTA, Curtis, NE)
  • June 4, 2022 – Cream of the Crop Dairy Show (Cuming County Fairgrounds, West Point)
  • June 4, 2022 – Phelps-Gosper Co. Small Animal Progress Show (Holdredge, NE)
  • June 8, 2022 - Dakota-Thurston 4-H & FFA Care & Fitting Clinic (Dakota County Fairgrounds, South Sioux City, NE)
  • June 8-10, 2022 - Winners Unlimited UNL Livestock Judging Camp - Registration by May 23 (UNL - Animal Science Building, Lincoln, NE)
  • June 9-11, 2022 – Dawes County Horse Camp (Fort Robinson State Park, Crawford, NE)
  • June 11, 2022 - Sherman County Showdown (Sherman Co. Fairgrounds, Loup City, NE)
  • June 12, 2022 - Hustler Progress Show (Cuming County Fairgrounds, West Point, NE
  • June 18, 2022 - Dawes Co. 4-H Progress Show (Dawes County Fairgrounds, Chadron, NE)
  • June 25, 2022 - 36th Annual Papio Valley 4-H Livestock Show (Sarpy County Fairgrounds, Springfield, NE)

NCTA Livestock Judging Camp- May 25-26 and/or Nebraska Extension Animal Science Discovery Day May 26

Join us for the NCTA Livestock Judging Camp open to all youth ages 8-18 years old.It is a great way for the youth to experience judging camp and stick around for the Nebraska Extension’s Youth Animal Science Discovery Day May 27 all at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) in Curtis, NE.

The following link will allow for youth to register for May 25-26 judging event:

For your convenience, those participating both days have the option to register for an overnight stay in the resident halls on NCTA’s campus.

To register for May 26 Animal Science Discovery Day, go to:

For Livestock Judging info contact: Dr. Douglas Smith at (308)367.5286-office or (281)-415-5271-mobile or

For Discovery Day contact: Elena at or Kimberly at

UNL Livestock Judging Camp, June 8 - 10

The UNL Livestock Winners Unlimited will be held at UNL this summer. Camp is designed for 4-H and FFA members looking to improve their livestock evaluation and oral reason skills. Activities will focus on proper evaluation with an emphasis on reasons format, terminology, and presentation.

Registration is $300 per person and includes all meals, lodging,

and materials.

The registration deadline is May 23.

Questions? Contact Blaine French,


Livestock Judging Circuit

The Great Plains Livestock Judging Circuit is in full swing, but it’s not too late to get involved. Find the contest schedule, participation details, and more at
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LINCOLN –The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing a fifth confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

Symptoms of HPAI in poultry include: a decrease in water consumption; lack of energy and appetite; decreased egg production or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs; nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea. HPAI can also cause sudden death in birds even if they aren’t showing any other symptoms. HPAI can survive for weeks in contaminated environments.

Poultry owners should report unusual bird deaths or sick birds to NDA at 402-471-2351, or through USDA at 866-536-7593. For more information about avian influenza, visit NDA’s website at or the USDA’s website Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at


Nebraska Extension and Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health, have announced plans for the annual “tractor safety” training courses scheduled at 6 sites across Nebraska in late May and early June. Students will complete the first day of the course either by attending a hand-on event at one of two locations or online through the eXtension Foundation Campus website. The hands-on events will take place May 24 in North Platte, and May 26 in Grand Island. After successfully completing the hand-on event or the online course, and testing, the required driving test will be offered at six locations across Nebraska May 25 through June 10, 2022.

Teens 14 or 15 years of age who work on farms, or others who are interested in learning about safe farming practices, are encouraged to register for the certification course. Students under age 14 are not eligible for certification but the hands-on events are open to everyone in the community. Children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

Federal law prohibits children under 16 years of age from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through the course grants an exemption to the law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with certain mechanized equipment.

Susan Harris, University of Nebraska Extension Educator, reports that a common cause of agricultural-related injuries and deaths in Nebraska is overturned tractors and ATVs. She emphasized that this course is designed to train students how to avoid these incidents as well as many other hazards on the farm and ranch.

The hands-on event and the online course will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, including quizzes which students must pass to attend the driving portion of training. Once a student is registered, they will be sent instructions, materials, course paperwork and a link to the online course if they will not be attending one of the two hands-on events.

The onsite driving training and exam will include a driving test and equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. Students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. Instructors will also offer education about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs, utility-task vehicles (UTVs), and other off-road vehicles (ORVs).

Instructors for the course are members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, Ellen Duysen and Risto Rautiainen; and Nebraska Extension educators Randy Saner, Ron Seymour, and John Thomas.

The cost of the course is $25 and includes educational materials, the online learning link (if applicable), and supplies. Payment will be made at the time of the driving exam. Only checks and cash can be accepted.

Hands-on training, driving dates, site locations, and site coordinator contact information is below:

Hands-On Safety Days

May 24 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Rd, North Platte

Contacts: Randy Saner and Vicki Neidhardt 308.532.2683,

May 26 – Raising Nebraska, 501 East Fonner Park Rd, Grand Island

Contact: Sarah Polak, 308.385.3967,

Tractor Driving Days

May 25 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Rd, North Platte

Contacts: Randy Saner and Vicki Neidhardt 308.532.2683,

June 6 – AKRS Equipment, 49110 US Hwy 20 in O’Neill

Contact: Debra Walnofer, 402.336.2760,

June 7 – Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail #8500 in Gering

Contact: Stacy Brown, 308.632.1480,

June 8 – AKRS Equipment, 44098 Hwy 2, Broken Bow

Contact: Denise Daake, 308.872.6831,

June 9 – Adams County Extension, 2975 South Baltimore Ave, Hastings

Contact: Ron Seymour and Twila Bankson 402-461-7209,

June 10 – Cass County Fairgrounds, 8400 144th St, Weeping Water

Contact: Sandy Prall, 402.267.2205,

If you have questions please contact the administrator listed above at your driving site, or contact Ellen Duysen

To register visit

Online Learning Opportunities

Online Horticulture Contest

Do you know what it takes to pick the best fruit and vegetables out at the grocery store? Or do you know what judges are looking for when they judge your plants at the county fair? Have you ever wondered, what plant is that!?! We are excited to offer the opportunity to learn these and other important horticulture skills through the Online Horticulture Contest. The contest will be available June 3-20, 2022 at:

Horticulture judging contest consists of three parts. The first is identification of plant material. Participants identify the plants by common name from a plant list. Specimens may be alive or preserved plant parts like stems, twigs, leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots, bulbs, tubers, or plant products.

The second is a knowledge portion, usually in the form of a true/false or multiple choice quiz. Questions will test the contestant's knowledge of cultural practices for horticultural crops, plant science, pesticides, horticultural careers and other topics related to the production, processing and consumption of horticultural crops.

The last portion is judging or placings. This is where four different plants, plates of vegetables, or containers flowers are ranked from best to worst based on a set of criteria. Classes are judged on the basis of condition, quality, uniformity, true-to-type, and size.

More details at:

More information about the Nebraska State contest can be found in the Fairbook .

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Livestock Information Series

The Nebraska 4-H Livestock Information Series is a resource for 4-H members, leaders, and parents to gain knowledge in various livestock-related topic areas. Each session, a new topic is covered with experts joining to share their experience and expertise. Extended learning opportunities and supporting documents are also available for each topic. Learn more at

Livestock Achievement Program

Nebraska Extension is pleased to announce the second year of the Nebraska 4-H Livestock Achievement Program. This additional opportunity for enrolled livestock project youth is designed to promote all educational aspects of 4-H livestock projects including selection, production, leadership, and exhibition by recognizing youth striving to improve in their livestock project knowledge and leadership.

The program recognizes Members of Excellence across all 4-H livestock project areas, including: beef, sheep, meat goat, swine, dairy cattle, dairy goat, rabbit, and poultry.

The program consists of two levels that require 4-H members to plan and report a broad range of age-appropriate and project-related accomplishments. For each level, the Livestock Achievement Program provides a list of accomplishments from which 4-H members choose their goals.

Each accomplishment is worth a specific number of points. Intermediates, ages 10-13, must complete 100 points worth of activities to receive the distinction of Intermediate Member of Excellence. Seniors, ages 14-18, must complete 150 points worth of activities to receive the distinction of Senior Member of Excellence. The Plan and Reports, linked on the webpage, show examples of the project related accomplishments they can choose, or they can identify their own with approval of their local educator.

Applications/Sign up are due June 15th through the application form link on the website. Plan and Reports, as well as Project Records will be due August 10 via the completion form on the website. Youth completing the achievement program and receiving member of excellence recognition in the various species will be recognized during the Parade of Champions, 4-H weekend at the Nebraska State Fair.

For more information or to apply, go to: Nebraska 4-H / Livestock Achievement Program

Congratulations to our Graduating Seniors!

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