Thurston County 4-H News

May 2019

Upcoming Dates

May 1- Drop/Add 4-H projects DUE

May 10- Horse: County ID DUE & District & State Entries DUE

May 13- Thurston County 4-H Meeting

May 17- Norhteast Regional 4-H Speech Contest Registration DUE

May 27- Office Closed -- Memorial Day

May 29- Dakota- Thurston County Sheep & Goat Weigh- In @ Fairgrounds (6:00-8:00 pm)

May 31- Northeast Regional 4-H Speech Contest @ WSC

May 31- Ponca Day Camp Registration DUE

June 10 - District Horse Show - Bloomfield

June 11 - District Horse Show - Elkhorn

June 11 - Ponca Counselor Training

June 12 - Ponca Day Camp @ Ponca State Park

June 12 - District Horse Show - Ord

June 13 - District Horse Show - Ogallala

June 14 - District Horse Show - McCook

June 14 - All Livestock Affidavits DUE

June 14 - State Fair All Livestock DNA DUE

June 14 - YQCA Deadline

June 17-18 - PASE/Life Challenge @ UNL

Need to Know

Office Assistant Position

Our part-time Office Assistant position is open at the office, which may mean that there isn't always someone in the office as Jennifer & Stacey are often out programming. But please call, email, or text us if you need something urgently and to check if someone will be in the office.

If you know anyone who might be interested in this position, please send them our way.

"The Thurston County Extension Office will be accepting applications for part time (15 hrs/week) position as an office assistant. This position requires a person who is a self-starter, highly self-motivated and flexible. Qualifications are: customer service skills; a working knowledge of Microsoft Suite, Internet, and financial management; organizational and communication skills and a valid Nebraska driver’s license. Must pass a criminal background check and the 4-H volunteer screening. Additional information about this position can be found online at at or at the Extension Office. Cover letter, resume and references may be sent to Nebraska Extension in Thurston County, 415 Main Street, PO Box 665, Pender, NE 68047. For more information please contact Nebraska Extension Educator Jennifer Hansen at 402-385-6041. Thurston County is an Equal Opportunity Employer."

Busy Programming - Out of the Office

Seems that we are always busy. Either programming or more programming, so we might see the youth at some of our different events. 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:

May 17, 23.

Flood Resources

For those of you effect by the resent flooding, UNL & Nebraska Extension have a variety of resources available at If you need assistance with an individual question or situation please reach out to our office for help. We are here to support you during this time.

4-H Foundation Announces Flood Relief Fund to Support Nebraska Families

The Nebraska 4-H Foundation has created a Flood Relief Fund to support children, youth and families impacted by the recent storms and floods.

There is another fund that may be of interest to your 4-H families and friends. The 4-H’ers Helping 4-H’ers Fund offers a giving opportunity to 4-H clubs and councils as well as individuals and businesses to support 4-H youth and families.

Information on both funds is available on the Nebraska 4-H Foundation website:

If you have questions or need additional information, please call or email Stu Shepherd at

2019 Big Red Summer Academic Camps

The 2019 Big Red Summer Academic Camps, to be held June 9-14, 2019, are just around the corner! New camp for 2019 is Animation! Also offered for this summer are: Engineering, Outdoor Nebraska, Unicameral Youth Legislature, Filmmaking, Teaching, Veterinary Science and Weather and Climate Science.

Big Red Summer Academic Camps are residential, career exploration camps held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Youth will have the opportunity to explore the UNL campus, meet people from across the country, spend time investigating an interest or potential career, and have a lot of fun! During the week-long camps, participants will work with UNL faculty to explore the topic of their particular camp. After spending several fun-filled days on campus, participants' families are invited to attend a special capstone event where campers will showcase their achievements.

Big Red Summer Academic Camps are open to all youth grades 10th-12th including recent high school graduates. All housing and food is provided for participants throughout the duration of the camp. Partial and Full scholarships available!!! FULL SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE for the Discover Teaching Camp! Early Bird registration ends April 15th!

More information about Big Red Camps is also available online at

Summer Info

Summer Intern

Karlee Johnson has been hired as our 2019 summer intern. We're excited to have her on board. She is a former Thurston County 4-Her and a familiar face. Welcome Karlee when you see her around this summer.

Summer Workshops

Mark your calendars! Summer is just waiting for us! Sign up here for our summer workshops!

TEC Box - June 4

Ponca Day Camp Counselor Training - June 11

Ponca Day Camp - June 12

Clover Kid Camp - June 14

Let's Paint Run-A-Ways - June 17

N|150 Workshop - June 18

Intern Workshop - June 20

Ozobots - June 25

STEM Workshop - July 2

Ponca Day Camp

Come get a taste of camp in your own backyard at this year's 4-H Ponca Day Camp. It will be held at Ponca State Park on Wednesday, June 12th. All 4-H members and their friends, ages 8-11, in Cedar, Dakota, Dixon, Thurston, and Wayne counties are invited to attend this hands-on camp. We will be learning about Frisbee Golf/Campfire Cooking, Ag Innovator's, Critter Corner, Science & Slime, and getting to Swim!! For complete registration and health information contact the Extension office or go to Registrations are due by Friday, May 31st.

We are also in need of Ponca Day Camp Counselors. These 14 year old + 4-H members also need to fill out an application at the above website. Please join us in making this a memorable summer experience for these youth.

Member Info

Dakota-Thurston County 4-H Ambassadors

4-H Ambassadors are 4-H teens (14-18) that applied and were selected to lead and take part in activities that help them become good citizens and leaders through civic engagement education. The mission of the program is to empower teen 4-H leaders with the knowledge and skills to be advocates for Nebraska 4-H & Youth Development in Dakota and Thurston Counties. This experience will strengthen their leadership abilities so they can serve as a positive role models for younger youth; building partnerships with teens, volunteers, and supporters of the 4-H program; and promote 4-H in Nebraska. For more information, please contact the Dakota County Extension Office.

Applications are due by May 15!

Tractor Safety certification

The most common cause of agricultural-related death in Nebraska is overturned tractors and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Employing anyone uncertified under age 16 is a liability risk for farmers if those children operate such equipment.

Nebraska Extension’s Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Courses take place at 12 Nebraska locations this year for teens 14 or 15 years of age who will work on a farm. Anyone older than 15 is also welcome to attend, but those under age 14 are not eligible to take the class. Extensive training on tractor and ATV safety occurs during in-class lessons with hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of safety and a respect for agricultural equipment is the primary goal of the course.

The first day of classroom instruction includes hands-on demonstrations, concluding with a written test. Classroom instruction will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program. Students are required to pass the test before taking the driving test on day two. The second day will include a physical driving test with equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. To receive certification, students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. In most locations, instructors will offer an ATV simulator experience to learn about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs and UTVs. Students will also complete homework assignments for the second day.

Instructors for the course include staff members of Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, PhD, Ellen Duysen, Daniel Kent, and UNMC student Jill Oatman.

All on-site classes begin at 8:00 A.M. and end times will vary, depending on the number of participants.

June 20 & 21, Wayne Fairgrounds Register call: 402-375-3310

Thank you for keeping our youth safe.

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!

N|150 Celebration - Flat Herbie Tour the Town

Flat Herbie is here to celebrate this milestone. Cut out Herbie and make him part of your community by taking him on a tour of your town. Snap a picture of him at local events, favorite landmarks, or 4-H activities. Upload the pictures to your social media channels with #N150Herbie or email us at We encourage everyone (students, faculty, staff, 4-H families, and alumni) to get in on the fun with Flat Herbie throughout 2019!

The first 12 individuals to participate and tag #thurston4h will receive a N|150 Lighted Bouncy Ball.

County Fair

Clothing Day *DATE CHANGE*

Because of Haskell Ag Labs "Science & Ag Family Field Day", we have changed Clothing Day for Fair to Thursday, July 25th. We hope you consider attending the field day and we'll see you on Thursday for our regular Clothing Day events.

Dakota-Thurston County 4-H Fair Book Online

The 2019 edition of the Dakota-Thurston 4-H Fair Book is up ONLINE. Check it out to see what you want to bring to the fair this year!

Trophy Donors

Trophy donor letters have gone out! If you would like to support the Dakota-Thurston 4-H program or if you think of someone that should be asked, contact the Dakota County Extension Office. Trophies will be presented at the 2019 Dakota-Thurston County Fair at a cost of $20.00 awards please contact the Dakota County Extension Office.

Trophies add great incentive for our 4-H'ers to excel. Please remember at fair time and throughout the year that ribbons are awarded for the merit of the project and items such as trophies should be based on competition.

Showing Dress Code *Changes*

17. 4-H Dress code - All exhibitors of livestock are required to wear a predominately white, black, or grey 4-H t-shirt (Extension Office approved) or plain white long sleeve shirt (button down with collar) no ruffles or fancy lace), and dark blue denim jeans. Exhibitors wearing plain white shirts must wear a 4-H armband. Exhibitors of large animals and/or horses are required to wear hard sole shoes. Dog exhibitors need to wear soft soled shoes. Horse exhibitors see equine section for specific dress code guidelines.

18. FFA Dress Code - FFA Shirt and dark blue denim jeans.

19. 4-H’ers participating in the Bonus Auction should adhere to Dress Code rules #17 & #18

Bonus Auction *Change*

The Bonus Auction Committee has removed Breeding Beef as an eligible exhibit for the Bonus Auction. Eligible exhibits are as follows:

  • Beef - Bucket Calf, Feeder Calf, Market Steer/Heifer
  • Swine - Market Gilt/Barrow
  • Sheep - Market Lamb
  • Goat - Market Goat
  • Rabbit - Champion from Meat classes - G961 - Classes 901, 902 & 903
  • Poultry - Champion Brioler from class G951-916

N|150 Stepping Stone Showcase

4-H members are invited to show their creativity and University of Nebraska pride by creating a stepping stone that represents the N|150 milestone. Stepping stones will be exhibited at local counties fairs, and one stepping stone from each county will be chosen to be displayed at the Nebraska State Fair at the Raising Nebraska landscape.

  • Stepping stones may be made out of any materials. Keep in mind that fairgoers may step on the stones while on display, therefore, they should be durable.
  • Stepping stones should be 8 inches by 8-inch squares.
  • Design: N|150 themed or In Our Grit, Our Glory themed
  • Each county will select one for display at Raising Nebraska. It will not be eligible to be judged in any other class at State Fair.

Photography Unit 3 Exhibit Print

4-H members enrolled in Mastering Photography Unit 3 are invited to celebrate N|150 by exhibiting in the Theme Print (Class B182060) at their local counties fairs. The top exhibit(s) from each county will be selected to advance to the Nebraska State Fair. February 15, 2019 marks 150 years of history to appreciate, impact to unpack, and stories to tell. How has the University of Nebraska impacted you, your family, or your community? How can you tell this story through photography?

Dakota Thurston County Fair Activity Passes

This pass is a $30 value and is being sold for $15

The Pass includes 1 entry into each of the following events:

  • Tractor Pull
  • Dueling Pianos
  • Extreme Bull Riding

If you are interested in purchasing these passes, please contact the Fair Manager at

Fair Book Changes

Animal Science

An exhibitor (4-H or FFA) is limited to two market animals & two breeding heifers. Any combination of classes is allowed. *Change*

Market Beef - animals must be registered by the official breed association to be exhibited in breed classes

901.Angus Steers

902.Shorthorn Steers

903.Hereford Steers

904.Crossbred Steers

905.Angus Heifers

906.Shorthorn Heifers

907.Hereford Heifers

908.Crossbred Heifers

909.Club Pen of 3

Breeding Beef

901. Commercial Breed Heifers

902. Limousin Breed Heifers

903. LimFlex Breed Heifers

904. Maine-Anjou Breed Heifers

905. Maintainer Breed Heifers

906. Red Angus Breed Heifers

907. Shorthorn Breed Heifers

908. Shorthorn Plus Breed Heifers

909. Simmental Breed Heifers

910. Foundation Breed Heifers

911. AOB (All Other Breeds) Breed Heifers

912. Angus Breed Heifers

913. Charolais Breed Heifers

914. Composite Charolais Breed Heifers

915. Chianina Breed Heifers

916. Gelbvieh Breed Heifers

917. Balancer Breed Heifers

918. Hereford and Polled Hereford Breed Heifers


· The written (only) Level 1 test must be completed by the fair pre-entry deadline (mid-July) for all youth meeting the minimum equine intermediate age level of 12 as of January 1st of the current year.

· If the written (only) Level 1 test has not been completed, intermediate age and up youth will not be allowed to participate in the Dakota-Thurston County 4-H Horse Show.

· Written Level 1 test will be administered by either a certified Level 1 or 2 horse leader or by the local Extension Office. Testing appointments will be required by the Extension Office.

Information about what will be covered on this test can be found at

Fair Book Notices

Cow-Calf Project

No embryo transfer calves, as class is based upon genetic transfer from mother to offspring.

Feeder Calf

If one of your feeder calves is out of your Returning Cow (First Calf-Cow/Calf Pair), then you would be allowed to have 2 entries in either the Feeder Calf Steer class or Feeder Calf Heifer class.

Family & Consumer Sciences

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Plant Science

2019 Online Horticulture Judging 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 7-17, 2019 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 information about the Nebraska State contest along with a list of study materials can be found in the Fairbook Here you can find the written study materials for the knowledge portion, follow links to plant pictures for help with identification, and read how judging of plant material is done.

Animal Science

Upcoming Area Shows & Contests

  • Beef/Swine/Goat/Sheep-A-Rama, Boone County Fairgrouds (Albion), Saturday & Sunday, May 25 & 26, 2019 (
  • 4-H Horse Judging Contest, Pitzer's Ranch Arena (Ericson), Wednesday, May 29, 2019 (
  • Midwest Jackpot Swine Show, Seward County Fairgrounds (Seward), Friday, May 31, 2019 (
  • Small Animal Progress Show, Phelps County Fairgrounds (Holdrege), Saturday, June 1, 2019 (
  • 2019 4-H Beef Progress Show, Phelps County Fairgrounds (Holdrege), Saturday, June 1, 2019 (
  • Hustler 4-H Progress Show, Cuming County Fairgrounds (West Point), Sunday, June 9, 2019 (
  • Red Willow County Beef Progress Show, Red Willow County Fairgrounds (McCook), Sunday, June 16, 2019 (
  • Platte County Swine Progress Show, Ag Park (Columbus), Sunday, June 16, 2019 (
  • Wisner Jr. Livestock Show, Wisner Park (Wisner), June 27-30, 2019

Rabbit Tattooing Party

We will be holding a rabbit tattoo party on June 6th from 5:00 pm-6:30 pm at the Extension Office. Anyone wishing to have help tattooing their rabbits is asked to make an APPOINTMENT during this time.

Sheep & Goat Weigh In

The official Sheep/Goat Weigh In for the Dakota-Thurston County Fair will be on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. At the Dakota-Thurston County Fairgrounds. 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Please note: Scrapes tags are the ONLY accepted identification for ALL gender of sheep & goats.

*If you are planning on showing at State Fair (ages 10+) make sure to pull DNA at Weigh In.*

If you need information on the scrapies tags, please contact the Extension office or go tothe USDA website:

4-H Dog Camp at UNL

We will be hosting a new dog camp on campus this summer. The camp is 3 Monday mornings in a row so that youth and their dogs can come and learn together! Please share with your families.

The Animal Science Department of UNL is excited to introduce our new, dog camp, Fur Your Information!

Through three sessions (June 3, 10, & 17), this camp will offer students the opportunity to learn and practice showmanship, rally obedience, and agility with their household dog.

No previous training knowledge or experience? No problem! So long as your dog knows basic obedience and good on-leash control, students between the ages 8 and 18 are encouraged to enroll.

From practicing basic components of training like animal behavior, positive reinforcement, and motivation to learning more about the science behind dog care, this camp has it all!

Spots are limited, sign your child up today!

For more information and the registration link:

Youth for the Quality Care of Animals - YQCA

YQCA is available as an online program for youth everywhere in the United States. YQCA in-person workshops may be available to where state 4-H or FFA offices or stat/national livestock organization have partnered to have qualified trainers offer in-personal workshops. This is what Nebraska 4-H/FFA have adopted this year and so we will be using the new system. Instructions on how to use the online system can be found at:


Online – 3 modules @ $12 total (to receive full certification you must complete 3)

OR Face-2-Face training @ $3 total Scheduled for June 10th (DATE CHANGE), 9:30-11:30 am @ the Pender Fire Hall.

OR Test Out for Intermediate @ $36 or Senior @ $48

Thurston County 4-H Council has voted to provide scholarships for these fees of the online or face-to-face sessions after youth fill out a short form. Found here:

Any tradition 4-H member (8-18) in your family that is enrolled in a beef, goat, poultry, rabbit, sheep and/or swine project must be certified to show at county and state fair! If you have questions please contact us!

Here are some quick Log In Instructions:

1. Go to from your computer browser and select Sign In/Register Tab

2. Sign in and register using the 4-H Online box

3. Select the name of your organization from the pick list Nebraska 4-H Youth Development

4. Use your 4-H Online user name and password to start the process

5. Select the member name taking the course

6. Select the age of the member in the appropriate box

7. When the age is selected the appropriate courses will be selected

8. Select online choice (Instructor led class will be developed by your local instructor)

9. Select payment method credit card or if you have received a coupon code from your Extension Office you will enter it at this time to purchase the courses

10. After completing the three courses be sure to save and print out a completion certificate and take it to your Extension Office

11. If you encounter problems you can contact

District & State Horse Show Changes

The horse advisory group have approved several changes for the 2019 4-H horse program. Here is the link to the webinar recording addressing these changes:

District Horse Show:

1. An individual and/or horse may enter ALL CLASSES level 2 classes at Districts, meaning 1 Western Pleasure, 1 Western Horsemanship, 1 Hunter Under Saddle, 1 Hunt Seat Equitation, 1 Reining, 1 Barrel Racing and 1 Pole Bending.

Fonner Park State 4-H Expo:

1. An individual and/or horse may enter all advanced classes (if they have passed their level 3), meaning 1 Advanced Western Pleasure, 1 Advanced Western Horsemanship, 1 Advanced Hunter Under Saddle, and 1 Advanced Hunt Seat Equitation as long as they ride a different horse then they competed with at the District Horse Show for level 2 classes.

2. There will be an additional age group for the following classes: Western Pleasure, Western Horsemanship, and Showmanship. For these classes only the age groups will be as follows: Elementary – 10 to 11; Junior – 12 to 14; Senior – 15+. All other classes will have only two age groups: Junior – 10 to 14 and Senior – 15+.

3. The addition of a Level 3 Miniature/Shetland Pony In-Hand Trail Class.

4. Trail will move to the outdoor arena on Monday following the conclusion of Showmanship. It will run all afternoon and we will not conclude the class until the evening so that anyone competing in the Horse Judging Contest/Hippology could compete in trail after the conclusion of those contests.

5. Trail will have only one judge and be judged using the 0 to infinity scale for scoring.

6. New class Miniature/Shetland Pony In-Hand Trail will be offered (Level 3 class).

7. English and Western Dressage Level 2 will ride: English - Training Level Test 3 ( or Western - Basic Level Test 4 (

8. English and Western Dressage Level 3 will ride: English - First Level Test 3 ( or Western - Level 1 Test 4 (

9. Schedule changes so please refer to the schedule posted on the webpage. Sometimes may be adjusted as we get closer and have a better idea of entries.

General Changes:

1. Helmet – ASTM/SEI approved safety helmets with a harness are required in ALL hunt seat classes. Hunting cap or derby is NOT acceptable in any classes.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

Northeast Nebraska 4-H Horse Show

Make plans now to attend the Northeast Nebraska 4-H Horse Show on June 5th starting at 4:00 pm. The show will be held at the Ridge Ranch Arena (Ray and Dorla Hermelbracht) near Homer, Nebraska. This show will feature a clinic like atmosphere with one on one interaction with the judge, and ribbons will be awarded to all riders. Roping and working ranch classes will begin at 4:00 pm with pleasure, horsemanship, reining, pole bending and barrel racing starting at 5:30 pm. A pre-registration fee of $10 per horse and rider and $5 for the roping and working ranch horse events is due by May 30th. Registrations will be taken the day of the show at $15 per horse and rider and $10 for the roping and working ranch horse events. For more information or a registration forms go to or contact the Nebraska Extension in Thurston County at 402-385-6041.

2019 Nebraska District 4-H Horse Shows

2019 Districts Dates and Sites

  • June 10 - Bloomfield
  • June 11- Elkhorn
  • June 12- Ord
  • June 13- Ogallala
  • June 14- McCook

Reminder: All entries are due to the county office by May 10, 2019. All Level testing required for participation in the 2019 district 4-H Horse Show MUST be completed by May 10, 2019.

All entries for the State Horse Show must be mailed by May 10, 2019. These include Showmanship, Halter, All Cattle Classes, Hunter Hack, Dressage, Advanced Hunter Under Saddle, Hunt Seat Equitation, Western Pleasure and Horsemanship, Trail, 2 year old and 3 year old Western Pleasure and Working Ranch.

2019 Fonner Park 4-H Horse Show July 14-18, 2019

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