Thurston County 4-H News

January 2018

Upcoming Dates

Jan 8 - 4-H Council Meeting

Jan 15 - Office Closed - Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Jan 27 - Beef Weigh-In @ Pender Sale Barn (9-10:30)

Jan 28 - Kick-Off Party @ Pender Lanes (1-4 p.m.)

Feb 3 - Snow Date: Beef Weigh-In

Need to Know

Busy Programming - Out of the Office

Seems that we are always busy. Either programming or mostly this time of year getting professional development so we can better serve Thurston County. To make sure we are in the office when you need us, we suggest calling or contacting us to make sure we will be around.

Days we know that we'll both be out of the office are:

Jan 15: All Day

Jan 23-25: All Day

Feb 2: All Day

Nebraska 4-H/Nebraska FFA License Plate

Take your support of “Making the Best Better” and “Learning to Do” wherever you go with the new license plates showcasing Nebraska 4-H and Nebraska FFA! The Nebraska 4-H Foundation and Nebraska FFA Association in cooperation with the Nebraska FFA Alumni, have teamed up to create the first ever license plate supporting the two largest youth organizations in Nebraska. Similar to other organizational specialty license plates, there must be 250 applications received before the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing this organizational plate. Order yours today by filling out the application form at and mailing it along with the $70 fee to the Nebraska 4-H Foundation. Be one of the first 4-H and FFA license plate owners and show the world you are an advocate of these outstanding youth organizations. Show your support of using your “Head, Heart, Hands and Health” to promote “Premier Leadership, Personal Growth and Career Success.”

Member Information

4-H Online Enrollment and Re-Enrollment

NOTHING'S CHANGED!!! But since it's a new year we need you to re-enroll at There are step by step sheets at For both new families and families that already have profiles. If you already have a profile make sure you DO NOT make a new profile.

If you are a VOLUNTEER for our program we also need to you to re-enroll in our online database. Again step by step information can be found at

If anyone of you has questions please call the office and we'll do our best to work through any issues.

Beef Weigh-In

The Dakota-Thurston County Market Beef Weigh-In will be held on Saturday, January 27, 2018, from 9:00-10:30 a.m. at the Pender Livestock Sale Barn in Pender. This will be our only weigh-day. All 4-H members who plan to exhibit market beef (market steer or market heifer) will need to plan on bringing their project to weigh-day to have it identified. For those planning to exhibit at State Fair or Ak-Sar-Ben, livestock will also need to have DNA taken (at cost of $6/head) as well as use an EID ear tag ($2/head). The snow date for the weigh-day will be February 3rd.

Thurston County 4-H Kick Off Party

The Thurston County 4-H Kick Off Party will be on Sunday, January 28th from 1-4 pm at Pender Lanes, in Pender. All Thurston County 4-H'ers, their families and friends are invited to attend. You will be able to enjoy an afternoon of FREE bowling followed by a pizza party. Invite your friends to show them what 4-H is all about.

Butter Braid Sales

Thurston County 4-Hers will again have the opportunity to sell Butter Braids this year!

What is a Butter Braid? A Butter Braid is a frozen pastry dough that you thaw, let rise, bake and frost. It is a mouth watering, delicious, homemade pastry.

Butter Braids are available in a variety of flavors. Thurston County 4-Hers will be taking orders from January 28-March 8, orders will be delivered to the 4-Hers on March 20th at 5 pm at the Thurston County Extension Office. Proceeds from this fundraiser help fun 4-H activities throughout the year.

NEW Contest Format!

There's something new this year for Speech, Music, Favorite Foods, and Presentation Contests. Instead of finding time in your schedule for two contests we're going to get all of them done in one day. On March 24th at the United Church of Pender at 9:30 AM we will be holding all of the contests. So if you would like to participate in Speech, Music, Favorite Foods, or Presentation Contests we'll see you then. Pre-registration is due by March 16th to the Extension Office.

Select 2018 4-H Projects by Using the Online Search Feature!

All across Nebraska 4-H youth are beginning to select their 4-H projects for 2018! Let the Nebraska 4-H Pick Your Project help connect you with projects that fit your interests and skill levels!

The interactive, web-based Nebraska 4-H Pick Your Project is found online at Using the Pick Your Project, youth, volunteers, and parents will be able to search for projects by keywords, curriculum areas, knowledge levels, and geographic level.

As an added feature, the web-based Pick Your Project contains the same project codes that are shown in the 4HOnline Enrollment system, making it easier to match the exciting 4-H projects you are learning about in the Pick Your Project with the projects you are enrolling in through 4HOnline.

Explore over 150 Nebraska 4-H projects through the Nebraska 4-H Pick Your Project and find the 4-H projects that will help you grow throughout 2018!

Ideas for 4-H Workshops

Next summer seems so far away as we're buried under snow, but we're already looking to see how we can help you accomplish the projects that you plan on completing for fair. We are working on organizing our 4-H Workshop opportunities for 2018. Please share your ideas and possible resources with us. If you saw an exhibit at the fair this summer and think this is would be a great workshop topic, we are always open to suggestions!

Club of the Month

Each month a 4-H club is chosen as the Nebraska 4-H Club of the Month by the Nebraska 4-H Foundation. In order to be chosen, 4-H clubs must nominate themselves by filling out the applications found at The club that is chosen as Club of the Month will be acknowledge for their achievements, service projects, and awards! Winners will receive a $50 check from the Nebraska 4-H Foundation and will be recognized statewide! Good luck!

Continuing Education

Ag Academy

About Ag Academy

Ag Academy is an up and coming program offered by the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. It is offered to high school students interested in getting a kick-start to their college education. This program allows students to earn credits toward a certificate while still in high school. Students can then attend NCTA to complete an associate degree.

How to Apply?

  1. Visit our website
  2. Click the link labeled: Dual Credit or Distance Learning

  3. If you do not currently have an NUID you will need to create one. Once you have created your NUID and Password, proceed to step number 4.

  4. Once you have an NUID you may login and complete your application.

  5. Be sure to hit submit at the end of the application process.

SAVE your NUID and password! You will need them again!

Please allow 3-5 business days for your application to be processed.

Getting Started

Get to know Canvas

Canvas is a new learning management system at NCTA that some instructors may have opted to use this semester. It's a lot like Blackboard, but there are some differences. Here's a list of tips and links to help you get the semester off to a smooth start.

Student Links:

  1. Be sure to bookmark the login URL for Canvas:
  2. Students may self-enroll in our student training course (Canvas login using your Blackboard credentials required)
  3. Use the help button to get Canvas Help - the live chat system works great!
  4. Be sure to install the Mobile App: Apple or Android
  5. Be sure to set up your profile
  6. Be sure to set your notification settings
  7. Remember to click the courses icon to set what courses show on the dashboard

Plant Science

The Special Garden Project

The Special Garden Project is a way to offer 4-H members the chance to grow unusual and fun projects in their gardens. Last year over 1075 4-H members were enrolled in the project. This year the Special Garden Project is focused on the unique, Delft Blue Nigella. Delft Blue Nigella is named for the famous Dutch Delft blue pottery. They have unique, 1½ - 2" flowers with blue splashes on flower petals in varying shades of blue and gray, and intricate deep-purple centers. Unusual seed pods are also used in fresh or dried arrangements. On average it will take about 65-70 days from seeding date until the plant flowers and about 80-85 days for seed pods.

4-H members enrolled in the Special Garden Project will:

· Receive a ‘packet’ of Delft Blue Nigella (one packet per youth) in March/April

· Receive a newsletter about:

o Planting & growing nigella

o Nigella problems & insects

o Harvesting & using nigella

· Be able to exhibit this unique flower at County and State Fair

o State Fair Special Garden Project Educational Exhibit Class G-775-001

o State Fair Special Garden Project Fresh Cut Flowers or Harvested Vegetables G-775-002 NEW

o Other fun county only ways to exhibit this unique flower like a story, poem, or poster. Each county is different so be sure to check with your local Extension Office.

· Complete an evaluation about their growing experience:

Youth should enroll for the Special Garden Project through 4-H Online. Once enrolled in 4-H Online, youth are then supposed to call their local office to sign up for the project (order the seeds). By enrolling through 4-H Online, youth will have access to the box folder with the educational materials including the growing newsletter & evaluation.

7th Annual Innovative Youth Corn Challenge

Do you enjoy being outside? Learning new things about crops? Considering a career involving crops, insects, diseases, soils, water or more? Do you want to help figure out how to feed our world’s growing population in a sustainable way?

Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Corn Board are offering the seventh Innovative Youth Corn Challenge contest. This contest, open to 4-H members (age 10 & older as of Jan. 1st) or FFA members (in-school members), guides participants through all aspects of corn production, as well as agricultural careers related to corn production.

As a team (2 or more participants), youth will be challenged to implement a production practice different than normal to determine if they increased their yield. Economics and sustainability of the practice will also be considered. Yields, cropping history, and production information will be collected in the Corn Yield Challenge management summary.

Cash prizes and plaques are given. First place receives $1,000, second place receives $500, and third place receives $250. Sustainability, crop scouting and “extra mile” awards are also given as cash awards.

To participate in 2018, youth must complete and return an entry form by March 15th to the Fillmore County Extension Office in Geneva, NE. Forms can be downloaded after January 1st at For more information, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at

Youth Crop Scouting Competition

Nebraska Extension also offers the 5th annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. This contest is at the ARDC near Mead, Nebraska on July 26th, 2018. The event includes indoor and outdoor events. Teams of junior high and high school students (those completing 7-12th grades) are invited to participate.

Clubs or other organizations may enter a team composed of three to five participants. An adult team leader must accompany each team. Team leaders could be FFA advisors, crop consultants, extension staff, coop employees, etc.

Top-scoring teams win prizes: $500 for first, $250 for second, $100 for third place. Top two teams are eligible for regional competition in August at Nebraska.

Teams are expected to know basics of scouting corn and soybean fields. This includes crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; disease, insect and weed seedling identification; etc. Other topics may include but are not limited to, pesticide safety, nutrient disorders, and herbicide injury.

More information about the crop scouting competition and instructions on how to register a team are available online at

Teams must be registered by July 16th. This program is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association and Nebraska Extension.

Animal Science

Scholarships for 4-H/FFA students to Nebraska Women in Ag Conference

The annual Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference will be held Feb. 22 – 23, 2018 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, Kearney, Neb.

The Women in Agriculture Conference is one of the longest-running women’s conferences of its kind in the country. The theme for this year’s conference is, “Growing our future, valuing our traditions.” Over 30 concurrent workshops will be hosted over the two-day event that focus on production risk, market risk, financial risk, human risk and legal risk.

The conference will feature three keynote speakers. Ruth Hambleton, the founder of Annie’s Project, will speak on empowering and educating women producers. Ann Finkner, Farm Credit Services of America senior vice president chief administrative officer, will share resources to help women recharge while dealing with complexity, stress and multi-tasking in agriculture. Lastly, Leslie McCuiston will share her story of being named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year.

Five $125 scholarships (full registration fee) available to University of Nebraska Lincoln College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) students.

Ten $62.50 scholarships (half registration fee) are available to Nebraska FFA, 4-H or Community College students. Students receiving a ½ scholarship are expected to pay the remainder of the registration cost during the registration period, or find a local sponsor.

Applicants will need to prepare a 3,000 character essay on "Why do you want to attend the Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference? How will you use the information in your future studies/career?"


Hotel rooms and additional travel expenses are not covered by these scholarships. The application is now open. Applications must be submitted online by midnight Friday January 19, 2018. Scholarship recipients will be notified no later than January 26, 2018.

Submitting Animal Information into AKSARBEN Livestock Database

The next important change from past years is that exhibitors will be responsible for submitting their animal information into the AKSARBEN livestock database online themselves prior to the nomination deadline. In the past, families turned in DNA envelopes and breeding nominations cards to the office, staff mailed them to AKSARBEN and the entry process was done manually by staff. This led to mistakes, missing entries, missing payments, etc. The database now has the capacity to accept animal information submitted directly by exhibitors as well as payments for the DNA process. We will provide step by step instructions for doing this once the database is open to accepting entries. We are excited for this process to be in place as it ensures responsibility on exhibitors and families with a number of safeguards in place for you and us to monitor success. Your families will have the ability themselves to edit incorrect information (wrong tag number, wrong birth date, etc.) up to the deadline. The County Extension Office/FFA Advisors will still continue to mail in the DNA collectors to the AKSARBEN office by the respected deadline. You will also have the ability to see what your families have submitted and you will still be validating those nominations throughout the nomination process. Once the information is in the database and has been validated by the County Extension Staff/FFA Advisor, it will then be available for exhibitors to make State Fair entries. Please note, any animal entry not in the database or had not submitted DNA will not be considered nominated and eligible for State Fair.

2018 Nebraska District 4-H Horse Shows

All entries due to county office by May 11, 2018. Note: ALL Level testing required for participation in the 2018 District 4-H Horse Shows MUST be completed by May 11, 2018.

Reminder: All Entries for the State Horse Show must be mailed by May 11, 2018.

2018 4-H Horse Show Dates and Sites

  • June 13th - Ord
  • June 14th - York
  • June 20th - Gordon
  • June 21st - Central City
  • June 22nd - Curtis
  • July 15-19 - State Horse Show - Fonner Park, GI

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Code of Conduct

Since you will be enrolling online again this year, all personal, health, and permission forms will be located and filled out on 4honline. One important part that you see online is the Code of Conduct. Please read through it and remember than when participating in 4-H you are a representative of the University of Nebraska, your club, your community, your country, and your world.
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