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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

Jenny's REESources

 

Straight from the Horse's Mouth, by Duane Lienemann, UNL Extension
It is officially Spring and what a beautiful day we had on the first full-day of spring. Of course, it is Nebraska and things can change quickly. One thing we do need quickly is moisture. I don't think anyone would complain what form the moisture came in right now. We are dry and it looks to get dryer. We have already ran past at least one fog day with little to show for it. One thing is for sure, there is getting to be a bigger and bigger chance of a return to 2012 concerns. Keep your fingers crossed and send up your prayers.
Of course we don't have a lot of say in whether or not we get moisture but we can have something to say about some of the things that constantly bombard the agriculture industry. I am asked if there isn't something positive to write about. There is and I try to write about the postive developments. However, I can hardly keep up with the news concerning the disconcerting, myth-laden, agenda driven bashing of the industry I love so much.
This week I'm going to focus on the latest of several things that have caught my eye. But first I suggest thinking back to your youth and start singing Old McDonald Had a Farm. I have observed a bit of innocence in that song and a hint of nostalgia, but to others it is an avenue to bring vitriol to our family farmers who try to make a living and feed a hungry world. I have no beef (no pun intended) with people who raise organic food. We need choices in this world and there is room for all of us in the production of food, but it saddens me when one of our own try to discredit the conventional farmer with myths, lies and mindless theatrics that deepen the chasm between farmer and consumer and within our own ranks. This latest affront isn't from Chipotle's or HSUS but it is just as negative.
Only Organic, a coalition of organic food brands including Organic Valley, Stonyfield and Annie's Homegrown, recently launched the New MacDonald movement, a campaign encouraging consumers to take a pledge to add one additional organic product to their grocery cart each week. That in itself is okay, but here is where I draw the line. The campaign's big kickoff was this dark video that featured schoolchildren giving a rousing rendition of Old MacDonald's Farm, except in this version the song has refrains such as: "with a hormone here and a hormone there, a small cage here and a tight cage there, here a spray, there a spray, everywhere a spray spray." You can find the website and the video at: "http://newmacdonald.onlyorganic.org. This follows an earlier cartoon type video that also shows a disdain for what we do and how we produce our product without much credence, education or in my mind morals. That particular one can be found at: "http://www.youtube .com/watch?v=3PY4tGmdtU8. The first was bad enough, the New McDonald is worse!
Agriculture can be a house divided, especially when it comes to marketing our products. When the only competitive differentiation in a commodity is how it was produced, it's nearly impossible to herald its benefits without disparaging your neighbor's different production methods, and I believe the end goal of their ill-willed campaign is to drive demand for their products and at the expense of those that are conventionally grown, without regard to their neighbors or honesty that they should be bringing to the total ag industry. It makes an already thin trust, perpetuated by people like Food Babe, Dr. OZ and other charlatans, into an even lesser defined divide. People have a tendency to believe what they see on the internet and are too lazy to research. I'm amazed they don't listen to science!
Farmers may not always agree on all aspects of agriculture, but at least I hope we all can agree on one thing: hate should not prevail and it seems like a lot of hate is directed toward agriculture. Americans should be free to eat safe, quality food regardless of whether they eat natural or not. What real good comes from this sort of bologna? And I don't mean the processed meat type!!
Speaking of another type of McDonalds, I am sure most of you are aware that McDonald's restaurants is recognized as a founding member of the newly formed U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. While that is a rather tough topic to put your head around, they have not wasted time in dealing with another hot topic, antibiotics. This time with poultry-but you know what is around the corner. They not only announced last week that they will buy only chickens raised without antibiotics that are important to human medicine, but also that they will serve milk from cows not treated with recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) which is a hormone. To evolve the menu to better meet the changing preferences of today's customers. McDonalds introduced a new policy - "Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Food Animals" and added it to the list of new menu sourcing initiatives. You know that a lot of this is being created by the food activists like Food Babe and Animal Rights groups, not with the intent of marketing animal products, but an agenda of no animals at all.
March 20 was an important day for those kind of people. I will have to admit, that I almost missed this utterly pointless and annoying red-letter day on the vegan calendar. March 20 was proclaimed World Meat-out Day by Vegan groups. It was no surprise this whole thing is orchestrated by the Farm Animal Rights Movement. Here is their mission statement. "FARM is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization working to end the use of animals for food through public education and grassroots activism. We believe in the inherent self-worth of animals, as well as environmental protection and enhanced public health."

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Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension

Happy Spring! Many have been out doing fieldwork and wheat and lawns are greening up. Soil temps can be viewed on our CropWatch website at: "http://cropwatch.unl.edu/crop watchsoiltemperature. Clay County's soil temperature has ranged from 45-50 degrees F last week.
Thursday, April 16 is our Clay County Gardening Workshop from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Clay County Fairgrounds! Last year's survey suggested a renewed focus on vegetable gardening.
Elizabeth Killinger, extension educator, will share about: benefits of gardening; methods of gardening- advantages, disadvantages; plant selection, layout and location; transplanting; raised beds for vegetable crops, and common garden pests, diseases and problems. Please RSVP to Clay County Extension to reserve a place.
Backyard Farmer, Nebraska Extension's longest running television show, has moved to a new night. Be sure to catch it at 7 p.m. Tuesdays. It is also repeated at 3 p.m. Saturdays or you can view segments at http://byf. unl.edu.
The ideal window to fertilize lawns and apply pre-emergent herbicides is what Nebraska Extension recommends to do-it-yourselfers (DIYs). As a rule, that window is about April 20 to May 5 in eastern Nebraska and about one week later in western Nebraska. When lawn care professionals begin to make applications earlier than this, questions naturally arise from the DIYs and the customers of lawn care services. For DIYs who are making an application to one or maybe two lawns, they have the ability to apply products during the time period research has shown to be ideal. However, depending on the size of business, a professional applicator may have up to 500 lawns that need applications within a given window. Thus, a lawn care company may need to start a little earlier than UNL recommends to apply the product to all of their customer's lawns before the too late date, especially for crabgrass control. To adjust for the earlier application of pre-emergent herbicides for crabgrass control, many professionals will use higher rates or split applications. For DIYs, this is not necessary.
There has been a lot in the news about Emerald Ash Borer in spite of it not yet being confirmed in Nebraska. Two questions I continue to receive include "should I start treating my ash trees" and "what treatments can I use on my ash tree." The Nebraska Forest Service said no treatment is needed until EAB has been detected within 15 miles of your location. If your tree has D-shaped exit holes or you are concerned about the way it looks, have a certified arborist examine the tree. Treatments are worth considering if trees are within 15 miles of an infestation, are in good health and a good location.
When EAB arrives in Nebraska, one treatment available for homeowner use is a soil application of imidacloprid (such as Bayer Advanced 12-month Tree and Shrub Insect Control and other similar products). The application should be made in May and is most effective on small trees, generally less than 15 inches in diameter. Certified arborists can also be contacted to apply trunk injections and trunk and foliage sprays. For more information on EAB, please go to: http://nfs.unl.edu/EAB.

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