UNL Extension in Webster County

January 2023 Edition Newsletter

Happy January

Welcome to the Webster County Extension Newsletter! This newsletter contains information regarding upcoming programming in all areas of Nebraska Extension. This will be separate from the Webster County 4-H Newsletter to provide information to clientele interested in extension programming outside of 4-H. We hope this is convenient way to keep everyone in the loop on upcoming opportunities in Nebraska Extension. We hope you enjoy this newsletter!

Happy New Year!


The Webster County Extension Staff

Webster Extension Calendar of Events

See what's happening in 2023 for all of the program areas for the year. This will be updated weekly.


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Cow/Calf College

The 2023 Cow-Calf College Beef Seminar is set for January 19th at the Clay County Fairgrounds in the Activities Building. Registration starts at 9:00 am with programs scheduled from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm. This year’s program is focused on strategies to manage forage resources during drought, including eastern redcedar control and adjusting pasture stocking and rental rates. The hands-on format will allow participants to engage with specialists and peers throughout the day.

Dillon Fogarty, Program Coordinator for Working Lands Conservation will provide an in-depth look at eastern redcedar control and management. Woody plant encroachment by species like eastern redcedar threatens the productivity and profitability of Nebraska’s grasslands. Eastern redcedar encroachment can result in up to a 75% reduction in forage production along with additional impacts to grassland resources. In the eastern redcedar control workshop, Dr. Fogarty will cover new guidelines for tackling woody plant encroachment. This will include the development of management plans, effective integration of management tools, and use of new rangeland monitoring platforms.

The afternoon workshop will be focused on 2023 Pasture Leases. Jessica Groskopf and Brent Plugge, Nebraska Extension Educators, will review the latest result from the Nebraska Farm Real Estate survey including cash rental rates and land values. They will also discuss leases, terminating verbal agreements, lease clauses, and landlord-tenant communication. Both landlords and tenants are encouraged to attend.

New this year: Lunch sessions will be comprised of three mini-workshops, including a Lunch and Learn with Dr. Becky Funk, GPVEC Extension Specialist, on calf resuscitation tips and an opportunity to practice assisting the cow during calving using a life-sized model. The Mobile Beef Lab will also be present, giving attendees the chance to reach inside the rumen of a fistulated steer and review the process of ruminant digestion.

A lunch will be provided to those who register, and the program will conclude with a coffee shop panel where participants can ask question directly to the specialists as well as the opportunity to win a variety of door prizes.

There is no cost for the event; however, early registration is highly encouraged to allow for proper planning. Pre-registration can be made by calling the Webster County Extension office at 402-746-3417 or online at go.unl.edu/frcollege.

Helping Cows Cope with Cold Stress

Cold stress increases a cow’s energy requirement and can pull down her body condition. Thin cows can result in weak calves being born in the spring and/or poor breed up. Winter storms have already swept across the Plains, giving indications this could be a long, cold winter for cows already thin due to summer drought stress.

The threshold at which cattle have to start using energy to maintain their body temperature is called the lower critical temperature (LCT). Cows in good condition (BCS 5.0; 1-9 scale) that have a heavy winter coat that is dry do not need to use energy to maintain body temperature until the wind chill index is below 19°F. Providing wind protection can decrease energy needs by removing wind as a factor. If cows have protection from wind, then the ambient temperature can be used to determine energy needs. So, providing wind protection in the winter can be huge for reducing supplementation needs due to cold in the winter.

To figure out how much more energy a cow needs, you would take the cow’s LCT minus the wind chill index (if no windbreak is provided) or ambient temperature (if wind break is provided) and that would tell you the percent increase in energy requirement. There is a 1% increase in energy needs for every 1° below the LCT. For instance, if ambient temperature is 21°F and wind speed is 10, the wind chill index (WCI) is 11°F. For a BCS 5 cow with a dry winter coat with a LCT of 19°F, then 19 LCT- 11 WCI = 8% increase in energy needs. You can look up the energy needs of various classes of cattle here. A 1200 lb dry cow in late gestation has an energy requirement of 13 lb total digestible nutrients (TDN) and the cold described above increased this need by an additional 8% which is equal to 1 lb of TDN for a total of 14 lb/d.

Article by:

Mary Drewnoski, Nebraska Extension Beef Systems Specialist

Karla H. Wilke, UNL Cow/Calf Systems and Stocker Management

Photo:Troy Waltz

Want to read more of this article? Check it out here: https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch/2022/helping-cows-cope-cold-stress?fbclid=IwAR3xnqK80TMNx_BCtwr8UfUo6nOWShG6ZyE3NiPYWsPF5WdDx_be44eyJXQ

Crops & Water Systems

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Grain Marketing Workshops

Two upcoming Nebraska Extension workshops in Adams County will help farmers develop grain marketing plans for 2023. Both will be held Jan. 17 in Hastings at the Adams County Fairgrounds, 947 S. Baltimore Ave.

Do you ever wonder what analysts are really saying about the grain markets? The first workshop, “Grain Marketing Lingo,” will be held from 1 to 2:15 p.m. Using real audio and video examples, this workshop will help participants get the “market talk” decoded. Nebraska Extension educator Jessica Groskopf will discuss basis, bears, bulls, long, short and more.

The second workshop, “Grain Marketing – Playing the Long Game,” will be held from 2:30 to 4 p.m. In this workshop, Cory Walters, associate professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics, will explore how grain markets have evolved over time and ways to incorporate this information into your 2023 grain marketing decision making and production cost environment.

Both workshops are free to attend, but registration is required by Jan. 16. To register, call the Adams County Extension Office at (402) 461-7209.

Local PSEP Training Dates

If your private pesticide card expires this year, you should have received a letter from the office. Please read the letter and go to one of the dates listed below to renew your license.
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Community Enviroment/Horticulture

Master Gardener Training

Do you enjoy plants and gardening? Are you looking to learn more and hone your skills but don’t know where to go? The Extension Master Gardener program will educate you on many aspects of horticulture, allow you to test your knowledge and skills, all while serving your local community.

The Nebraska Extension Master Gardener program is a horticulture related volunteer training program based in many counties throughout the state. It has been part of Nebraska Extension since 1976. Master Gardener volunteers are trained by Nebraska Extension faculty and staff. In return, they contribute time as volunteers working with their local Extension offices and communities to provide horticulture-related information and volunteer service. Participants are required to complete 40 hours of training and 40 hours of volunteer service during the initial year of their involvement in the program. Master Gardener volunteers retain their certification through annual training and volunteering.

Educational topics cover a wide range of horticultural issues. Topics that have been covered in previous training sessions include: native plants for water conservation, an in-depth look at fertilizers, turfgrass and related insects, beneficial pollinating insects and vegetable garden pests, tree and shrub pruning, pesticide safety and non-chemical pest control techniques, soils, and small fruits and tree fruit basics. The content of the topics is geared towards the home gardener, but those employed in the green industry are also welcome. No prior horticulture knowledge or training required.

Volunteer hours can be completed through various activities. These activities could include: planting and maintaining demonstration gardens, collecting data on research projects, helping with county and state fair activities, speaking to community groups, leading garden tours, collecting plant samples, answering phone questions, teaching youth programs, or whatever sparks your interest and utilizes your talents.

The Central Nebraska Extension Master Gardener Program is active in many communities across the region. If you are interested in becoming an Extension Master Gardener contact Elizabeth Exstrom at the Nebraska Extension in Hall County Office, 308-385-5088, prior to January 10th, 2023. The Central Nebraska Master Gardener Program will be offering classes in several different ways, in- person at the Hall County Extension office located in Grand Island, over zoom in the evenings, and through an online platform.

More information, updated schedules, an application, and a brochure can be found at http://hall.unl.edu. If you have questions about the program, contact Elizabeth Exstrom at eexstrom2@unl.edu or 308-385-5088.

Rural Prosperity

A Message from Jason

I’ve written and read many year in review columns in my career. It’s the end of the year so it is time for another one. This column started out in just a couple of papers at the first of the year and now it is in several more, so you might not have seen every column this year.

Purposely, this column touches a lot of different areas in community development, so the topics have been wide ranging. Rural Prosperity Nebraska categorizes community development into 6 focus areas. Regional Food Systems, Placemaking, Leadership, People Attraction, Community Engagement, and Community Economic Development. So, in my columns I try to hit on each of those areas. The only one I haven’t hit on this year is Regional Food Systems.

Placemaking columns touched on housing and community cleanup. Housing is a continuing issue in rural Nebraska. Many houses have fallen into disrepair and the size of households in Nebraska is dropping from over 3 per house several decades ago to just over 2, now. That means we need more houses to hold the same number of people. Although it is now cold outside it is a good time for communities to clean up, especially if there are areas of your community with a lot of brush. I was on a walk the other day and noticed that since the leaves have fallen, you can see deeper into brushy areas, so trash is easier to see and easier to get to.

Leadership was covered a couple of times in this space. One column was devoted to building local leaders. Other columns didn’t necessarily talk about leadership, but they gave leadership ideas or actions. The column about broadband and broadband action teams provided information for local leaders to access funds for increasing broadband capabilities…this funding is still ongoing, and it isn’t too late to start working on it.

People attraction was featured in my first column this year and was talked about in several columns. The First Impressions Online (formerly called Web First Impressions) program is 90% done and can be rolled out to communities any time. The 10% left should be finished by the time this column goes to press. This program should help communities to see what tourists and newcomers see when they search that community on the internet. That helps make an impression before people visit your community, but programs like Red Carpet Service and Marketing Hometown America help to make the best impression on people when they visit your community.

Community engagement was heavily covered in these columns, especially the last few months. Community engagement is some of the most important work that RPN and Extension can do, but it is difficult to find the time. We need to be building relationships with our communities and learning what their issues are and help them to solve those issues. It is difficult to help solve problems if we aren’t out there listening to what those problems are.

Community Economic Development has made its way into several columns as well. Our annual Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference (CEC) helps communities learn from and interact together. Going back to my last column of 2021, I wrote about the importance of business transition to a community.

If your community could benefit from any of the Rural Prosperity Nebraska ideas that I’ve discussed in this column, please reach out to me. I’d love to speak to your community about these topics. You can reach me at jason.tuller@unl.edu or at the Thayer County office at 402-768-7212.

Jason Tuller is an Extension Educator for the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He works in the Rural Prosperity Nebraska program and covers ten-county area including Kearney, Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Saline, Franklin, Webster, Nuckolls, Thayer, and Jefferson Counties.

Early Childhood Extension


Food, Nutrition, and Health

Food Safety After a Storm

What food should be thrown out after a power outage? How long is food in a refrigerator or freezer safe without power? Are condiments safe after a power outage? Be prepared! Check these resources to know how to handle perishable food if the power goes out during a storm. https://go.unl.edu/foodsafety-storms #UNLFoodSafety

How to Tell if Your Freezer Power Was Off When You Were Away

A gentleman had been traveling during a time when the electricity was off for several days in many homes in his community. When he returned home, his electricity was working and everything in his freezer was frozen solid.

He proceeded to eat some food from the freezer and got sick. What happened?

In this case, his electricity had been off for about a week, and then came back on. Everything in his freezer had thawed and been at unsafe temperatures for several days. As the food froze again when the electricity returned, he was unaware there were any food safety problems.

Here's a simple way to help detect this problem. Store an ice cube or two in a sealed plastic bag or small container in the freezer; a sealed bag/container is important so the ice cube doesn't evaporate and disappear. If the ice cube has melted down from its original shape, you'll know the power was off for an extended period of time.

Want more of this article? Check it out here: https://food.unl.edu/article/how-tell-if-your-freezer-power-was-when-you-were-away?fbclid=IwAR0RpjiaNH6OH8BcWZflMC7gIChj4y9GZ9kH-ZdALiS6nw3H-CvXRG4Pcx4

Article by:

Originally written by Alice Henneman. Reviewed and updated by Cindy Brison in 2020.


Webster County 4-H Newsletter

Check out what's happening in Webster County 4-H below!
Webster County 4-H Newsletter

January 2023 Edition

Nebraska Extension Spotlight- Meet Cami Wells

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The office and courthouse will be closed Monday, January 2nd in the observance of the New Year.

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The office and courthouse will be closed Monday, January 16th in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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Regional Experts

Megan Burda

Engagement Zone 10 Coordinator

Megan is a Nebraska Extension Educator with a passion for fashion! She holds a Master of Arts degree in Textile and Apparel Design from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a specialization in entrepreneurship. Megan serves as an Engagement Zone Coordinator in Zone 10 with a focus on staff development, stakeholder connections, and UNL engagement. She is a maker, entrepreneur, Husker sports fan and baking enthusiast.

Photo and Bio from UNL Extension

Lynn DeVries

Early Childhood Extension Educator

Lynn is an Extension Educator on The Learning Child Team, University of Nebraska Extension in South Central Nebraska. Lynn has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska Kearney in Vocational Family and Consumer Science Education, and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University Nebraska. Lynn works with families, child care providers, teen parents and schools to promote developmentally appropriate practices and enhance parent involvement throughout the child’s education. Lynn has 11 years of experience teaching Family and Consumer Science in the public schools, and 10 years of experience coordinating programming and curriculum with the Head Start programs.

Photo and Bio from UNL Extension

Elizabeth Exstrom

Horticulture Extension Educator

I am Community Environment Extension Educator with a horticulture focus who works in the Nebraska Extension office in Hall County. I provide horticulture related programs for youth and adults, act as the Central Nebraska Master Gardener Coordinator, and answer horticulture-based related client questions. I am a Nebraska Arborist Association Certified Arborist and a member of the International Society of Arboriculture and Nebraska Nursery and Landscape Association. You might recognize me because I am regular panel member on NET's Backyard Farmer program and even filled in as host a few times. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Horticulture with a landscape design emphasis and my Master’s Degree in Public Horticulture from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.

Photo and Bio from UNL Extension

Ron Seymour

Crops & Water Systems Educator

Ron Seymour is a cropping systems Extension Educator with emphasis on corn and soybean production. Ron also works extensively in crop pest management with specific expertise in insect issues. Ron has an interest in developing areas that border field crops as habitat that promote populations of beneficial arthropods.

Photo & Bio from UNL Extension

Jason Tuller

Rural Prosperity Nebraska Extension Educator

Jason has been working in the economic development field in rural Nebraska for more than a decade. He has worked as a small business consultant and as a rural economic developer. His goal now is to help grow stronger communities in Southeast Nebraska and throughout the stat

Photo and Bio from UNL Extension

Cami Wells

Food, Nutrition, and Health Extension Educator

I am a Nutrition, Food and Health Educator and Registered Dietitian located in Hall County. Part of my time is allocated to the Nutrition Education Program (NEP) that provides nutrition education to limited-resource families in central Nebraska. I teach a variety of food safety and nutrition programs to adults and youth as well as serve on the media/marketing team that develops content for our food.unl.edu website. I graduated from University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science and Dietetics and earned a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Health Sciences from Northern Illinois University.

Photo and Bio from UNL Extension

Meet Our Team in Webster County

Dr. Lindsay Waechter-Mead

Beef Systems Educator, DVM

Lindsay Waechter-Mead is the Beef Systems Educator in Webster County and serves surrounding counties in this region. She is excited to bring her interests surrounding cow/calf health and preventative medicine to the Beef Team. Her current work involves looking at environmental effects on neonatal calf immunity and colostral transfer. She is also passionate about rural agriculture and what the veterinary profession can do to positively influence rural communities to ensure that generations can continue to enjoy the life that she loves.

Beth Janning

4-H Youth Development Extension Educator in Adams/Webster Counties

Beth Janning is a 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator. She provides programming in school enrichment, after-school, and traditional 4-H Programs. Her topic areas include but not limited to animal science, science, engineering and volunteer development.

Photo and Bio from UNL Extension

Alexa Pedersen

Office Manager

Alexa Pedersen is the Office Manager for the Webster County Extension Office. Alexa provides help in assisting clientele with questions that can be forwarded to a specific educator. She assists educators in programs that are put on in Webster County, such as pesticide training, and beef programs. She also provides knowledge in the 4-H world by helping families with any 4-H questions that come in. She is skillful in 4-H Online, ShoWorks, and helps prepare for 4-H programming, county fair, and state fair. Alexa is also a part of the 4-H Data Dream Team for Nebraska 4-H as well as the State Fair 4-H Beef Team.

Katie Bolte

4-H Programming Assistant

Katie Bolte is the 4-H Programming Assistant for the Webster County Extension Office. Katie is at the extension office on Mondays and Tuesdays. Katie provides programming in school enrichment, after-school programs, and 4-H workshops. She is knowledgeable when answering any 4-H questions that comes in and helps prepare for programs, county fair, and state fair.
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