UNL Extension - Webster County

March 2022 Newsletter

Happy March

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!


The Webster County Extension Staff


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Welcome, Lindsay!

Nebraska Extension in Webster County is pleased and excited to welcome Lindsay Waechter - Mead, DVM as the new Beef Systems Educator for the region. Her first day was February 1st. Please see a message below from Lindsay.

Hello! I’m mixed animal veterinarian by trade, but I hold a great deal of pride being a 4th generation Nebraska cattlewoman, raising the 5th generation of my family on the same soil as the first. Growing up in Webster County, my family farm consisted of row crops, commercial cow/calf, farrow to finish hog production and a small commercial sheep flock. Throw in a few dozen laying hens and too many barn cats and we filled the gamut of diversified agriculture. I saw veterinary medicine as my opportunity to raise my family in the place I had always called home.

My undergraduate time was spent in Lincoln at UNL in the veterinary science and animal science program. The most important part of these years was not necessarily in the class work but meeting life-long connections, including my husband, Clay. His love for the beef industry was contagious and would play an integral part in my interest in beef cattle medicine.

Following four years of veterinary school at Kansas State University, we moved back to south central Nebraska where I was blessed to practice medicine for 12 years. An opportunity presented to switch to academia, and I accepted a UNL faculty position at Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center. My duties included teaching production medicine as well as extension responsibilities to Nebraska veterinarians and beef producers.

Life never follows the script we write. After two years at GPVEC, I began to realize my passion for Nebraska animal agriculture and extension could be used to serve south central Nebraska as a Beef Extension Educator. I am excited to bring my interests surrounding cow/calf health and preventative medicine to the Beef Team. My current work involves looking at environmental effects on neonatal calf immunity and colostral transfer. I am 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 I love.

My family time is centered around our three children: Anna, Harrison and Norah. We spend our days on our farm southwest of Blue Hill, raising Red Angus cattle and following our kids to their many activities. You will usually find us cheering from the sidelines of the field/court and the show ring.

I look forward to meeting new faces and seeing old friends, as well as conversations on ways that I can help each of you be successful. Please reach out by phone, email or stop by the office. I’ll have the coffee ready to go.

UNL Beef Extension

Want to see what is new in the UNL Beef Extension world? Check it out by clicking on the button below.

Crops & Water Systems

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2022 Local Pesticide Training Dates

In addition to the above dates, you may re-certify by attending the UNL Crop Production Clinic that will be held in Hastings on Wednesday, January 19th. Online pre-registration is required at: http://agronomy.unl.edu . You may also re-certify by completing an online course found at http://pested.unl.edu or taking an exam at the NDA office in Lincoln. The cost for the online course is $50.00. Exams, provided at no cost, must be scheduled by calling NDA at 402-471-2351.

“The Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska” will be distributed at the programs via a portable computer drive. A purchase order form for a paper copy of this publication is available upon request from the extension office. If you are up for renewal, a paper form was also in your letter. If you have questions about the guide, please contact the PSEP office at 402-472-1632.

Please contact the Extension Office at 402-746-3417 or webster-county@unl.edu at least 24 hours before the date of the training to reserve a place.

UNL Crop Watch

Want to see what is new in the UNL Crops world? Check it out by clicking on the button below.

Community Environment/Horticulture

Apple Trees

You know the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” How great would it be if that apple came off a tree in your own backyard? This year find out how to ‘pick’ the perfect apple to add to your landscape whether its one tree or an entire apple orchard.

One of the most important steps in a home fruit orchard happens before the ground is even touched. Planning is the most important task because fruit trees are long-term investments. Two main factors that need to be taken into consideration include the growing environment and tree selection.

The growing environment is one critical factor to look at in the planning process. The soil determines how successful your future fruit tree will produce. In order to know what your soil is like, perform a soil test. The soil test will tell you the pH, fertility levels, and the amount of organic matter present in the soil. It is important to do your soil test early in your planning process so you can make any amendments that may be needed. The soil type also plays a role in the success of fruit trees. Heavy clay soils can hold water too well, which can lead to reduced growth and even death. Extremely sandy soils are at the opposite extreme and might not be able to hold enough water to sustain a tree. Light is another key component of the growing environment to consider. Most fruit crops will need to receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct, mid-day sun for best production. If there is much less than 6 hours the growth and production of the tree will be compromised.

Want to read more of this article? Check it out below.

Elizabeth Exstrom is the Horticulture Extension Educator with Nebraska Extension in Hall County. For more information contact Elizabeth at elizabeth.exstrom@unl.edu, her blog at http://huskerhort.com/, or HuskerHort on Facebook and Twitter.

Apple Trees

Continue reading the article here.

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The GROBigRed Virtual Learning Series from Nebraska Extension kicks off on February 24 with a 6-week series ‘Growing Fruit in the Home Garden’. Join us at 6:30pm CT each Thursday for two short presentations and an opportunity to ask your pressing garden questions. Register for this free program at https://go.unl.edu/growfruit

Social links to share –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GROBigRed/posts/4816947121675516

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GROBigRedUNL/status/1494767109695578116

Session Schedule:

March 3
Selecting & Buying Fruit Plants
Soil & Fertility
March 10
Site Selection & Design
Edible Landscapes
March 17
Brambles (Blackberries, Raspberries, etc)
March 24
Pome Fruits (Apples & Pears)
Stone Fruits (Peaches, Cherries, & More)
March 31
Unusual Fruits

Peach Trees

Peach pie, peach crisp, or a peach fresh off the tree, nothing beats the taste of a homegrown peach. Growing peaches in Nebraska isn’t as easy as it sounds, but with a little research and some careful planning, you can pick peaches for years to come.

Knowing a little bit about the crop you are growing will go a long way. You will have to be patient if you plant peaches. Peach trees will take a couple of years before they start to produce fruit. Also, peach trees in Nebraska are not long lived, compared to an apple or pear anyway. In a commercial setting, a peach tree will live on average about 8 years. If a peach orchard is what you are wanting, be prepared to replace peach trees often for continued fruit production. While it may be tempting to plant the pit of an amazing peach you ate, there isn’t a guarantee that the peach tree that sprouts will have the exact same quality of fruit. With fruit trees, crosspollination can happen. This means the pit from the fruit you ate could be different genetically than the tree it was growing on. This difference won’t be known for several years until tree begins to produce fruit. For best production, select a peach cultivar from a reputable source, not from yesterday’s pit.

Want to read more of this article? Check it out below.

Elizabeth Exstrom is the Horticulture Extension Educator with Nebraska Extension in Hall County. For more information contact Elizabeth at elizabeth.exstrom@unl.edu, her blog at http://huskerhort.com/, or HuskerHort on Facebook and Twitter.

Peach Trees

Continue reading the article here.

Rural Prosperity

A Message From Jason

Jason Tuller, Extension Educator – Thayer County – Rural Prosperity Nebraska

The Economy team spent three days in January in the virtual Impact Collaborative Summit. It was a good time for us to meet together to decide what we’re working on and how we will move forward together in the future. The Economy Team’s big project right now is the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference (CEC) that will be in Columbus, NE on April 27-28th. My role is working with IT to get the registration set up and to have name tags ready for the conference. I’m also scheduled to be a speaker for one of the breakout sessions.

For the People Attraction team, I am still working on the Web First Impressions program. I sent out the program to a few extension educators outside of Nebraska to be peer reviewed. The first reviewer has sent back his comments and I’ve got some significant changes and decisions to make regarding the questionnaire. I’m on the right track, though.

I’ve had quite a bit of new activities this past couple of months, as well. I was able to attend the JCEP Leadership Conference in Kansas City. The leaders of Extension Association teams are able to attend the conference. I was elected as vice/future president of the NACDEP (National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals) chapter for Nebraska. It was a good conference and helped me to meet with and share ideas with Extension professionals from all over the country.

I also was invited to work in Red Cloud at their E3 activity around service providers and entrepreneurship. They are working with Nebraska Community Foundation for the E3 program. I was able to help at Clay Center’s Inventure day and helped my team of 7th grade students to learn about creating products and selling them. I also took advantage of some of the nice February weather and travel to visit some of my communities in Franklin and Webster Counties. I have gotten several calls from people outside of my accountability region for help with starting or selling a business. I’m continuing to work with them and to get them the assistance they need.

Rural Proseperity

Want to check out what is going on in Rural Prosperity in Nebraska Extension? Check it out by clicking on the button below.

Food, Nutrition, and Health

Being Active

The extreme cold weather can present challenges when trying to be active. @ranaeaspen has tips to help continue your family’s active lifestyle, even when the weather is less than ideal: https://go.unl.edu/activewinter

Canned Food

Canned fruit and vegetables are great to incorporate into your healthy lifestyle. Choose canned fruits packed in 100% juice or water and canned vegetables that say "no salt" added, or drain and rinse them before eating. Here are tips and recipes: https://go.unl.edu/canned-food-month

The Learning Child

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Let's Go Outside

Are you an early childhood professional who needs complimentary continuing education hours? Pull up a chair and join us on the web! Register for the class at https://fitandhealthykids.unl.edu/one-hour-once-month-trainings

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Workshop Series

Teach Outside! Monthly Outdoor Learning Educator Workshop Series

Second Thursday of the Month at 3:30 PM CST ~ Register here

The Nebraska Forest Service is proud to announce a continuation of its FREE monthly workshop series for educators across the state, and country, for 2022. Join NFS and affiliated facilitators monthly on the 2nd Thursday at 3:30-5 PM to learn about how to better connect your students to the outdoors this school year! Each month will feature different topics that highlight various resources and activities, promoting environmental and STEAM education in your educational setting.

Network with other passionate educators while gaining new teaching strategies for connecting youth in your life to the outdoors! This workshop series is focused on formal teachers, but is also great for afterschool educators, early childhood teachers, nonformal educators, and everything in-between. Participants will receive certificates for 1.5 in-service hours and the background knowledge to lead STEAM-focused hands-on nature-based activities in their educational setting.

Trees & Me AND YOU! Monthly Early Childhood Educator Workshop Series

Fourth Monday of the Month at 1 PM CST ~ Register here

Join your Nebraska Forest Service for a *NEW* monthly professional development workshop series centered on a brand-new curricula offering from Project Learning Tree: Trees & Me! On the 4th Monday of each month, we will explore different activities from Project Learning Tree’s Trees & Me guide focused on early childhood students ages 1-6. This workshop series is occurring virtually via zoom from 1-2 PM CST on the 4th Monday of each month. Each session will explore different activities and adaptations to enrich how you connect the youth in your life with nature and trees. Through both outdoor and indoor activities, children can explore nature through their five senses, experience trees throughout all four seasons, and connect with their community!

Participants will receive new strategies for connecting youth ages 1-6 with the environment, a certificate for 1 hours of in-service credit for childcare (per workshop), and the background knowledge to implement these hands-on heads-on experiences in their work with youth right away!


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Webster County 4-H March Newsletter

Check out what's happening in Webster County 4-H by clicking on the button below!


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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

Lindsay Waechter-Mead is the new Beef Systems Educator in Webster County and serves surronding 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.

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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