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The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) has announced that it will award its 2019 Early Career Award to Dr. Cody F. Creech, dryland cropping systems specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center.

The CSSA announced the award in a news release. It will be formally presented at the CSSA Awards Ceremony on Nov.13 during the scientific society’s annual conference at San Antonio, Texas.

The annual awards are presented for outstanding contributions to agronomy through education, national and international service, and research.

Creech, an Assistant Professor in the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Utah State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska.

His research and extension efforts focus on enhancing agronomic practices to increase profitability, optimizing soil water conservation, and delivering weed management solutions. His research has refined the seeding recommendations for winter wheat and evaluated the role wheat residue has in facilitating soil water conservation.

He is an active member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and national and regional Weed Science societies. Cody serves as the faculty supervisor for the High Plains Ag Lab and as an associate editor for the Agronomy Journal. He is also a Robert B. Daugherty Institute Global Water for Food Faculty Fellow.

According to a news release from CSSA, the Early Career Award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in crop science within seven years of completing their final degree. The award consists of a certificate, a complimentary ticket to the award ceremony, and $2,000.

Award nominees are evaluated on evidence of quality teaching at the undergraduate and/or graduate levels; effectiveness in extension and outreach activities; significance and originality of basic and/or applied research; achievements in private sector application of agronomy, crop and/or soil science; or contributions to the public or professional organizations and institutions.

The 2019 Range Beef Cow Symposium, the 26th iteration of this four-state educational event, will return to Nebraska with a Nov. 18-20 run at the Scotts Bluff County Fairgrounds Events Center in Mitchell.

“Moving Science into Practice” is this year’s theme. Industry experts will speak about a wide range of topics, including headline-grabbing debates such as cell-cultured meats, as well as a wide range of industry concerns such as  finances, reproduction, calving, and nutrition.

The Range Beef Cow Symposium (RBCS) has been offered every other year since 1969, hosted by the University of Nebraska, the University of Wyoming, South Dakota State, and Colorado State. The event rotates among Colorado, western Nebraska, western South Dakota, dand Wyoming, and its focus is beef production issues in the western states.

Registration is open and available on-line at beef.unl.edu/range-beef-cow-symposium. The website allows people to register and pay online, as well as providing information and printable forms for mail-in participants

For more information, contact UNL Cow-calf/Stocker Specialist Karla Wilke at 308-632-1245 at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center or kjenkins2@unl.edu.

“The Range Beef Cow Symposium is a great place for producers to visit with industry personnel about pharmaceutical options, cattle handling equipment, agricultural loans, breed selection, nutritional products, and so much more all in one location,” Wilke said.

The RBCS attracts attendees from across the region and more than 80 agribusinesses, with its long-standing history of emphasizing education on such topics as nutrition and management, marketing, reproduction, genetic selection, grazing management, and estate planning.

This year’s agenda will blend familiar offerings with new ways of sharing knowledge. On the afternoon of Nov. 18, Beef Quality Assurance certification will be offered, followed by a Ron Gill Stockmanship Clinic.

On Nov. 19 and 20, the morning sessions will consist of traditional topics indoors at the events center. But part of the afternoon each day will consist of breakout sessions with hands-on presentations. Each of these will be repeated several times, and symposium attendees also can spend this time visiting vendors and interact with the industry-supporting services who help sponsor the event.

Each evening is rounded out with a “bull pen” session, following an evening meal in Gering at the Gering Civic Center, which allows producers to interact with the speakers from that day, and have thought-provoking discussions about the topics that were presented.

Bob Harveson, Extension Plant Pathologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center, has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award for the American Phytopathological Society’s (APS) North Central Division.

The award recognizes outstanding effort or contribution in teaching, control of a significant plant disease, or service to the science of plant pathology in an effort that goes beyond the recipient’s job or responsibility. Harveson was recognized at the APS meeting in Cleveland earlier in August.

Harveson has been the Extension Plant Pathologist at the Panhandle Center since 1999. He received a Ph.D. in plant pathology in 1999 from the University of Florida; a master’s degree in plant pathology from Texas A&M University; a bachelor’s degree in plant/soil science from Tarleton State University; and a bachelor’s degree in history from Trinity University.

He was nominated by Loren Geisler, professor and head of the UNL Department of Plant Pathology, and Tamra A. Jackson-Ziems, professor of plant pathology at UNL. In their nomination, they wrote that Harveson “… has generously given of his time with decades of effort that support the science of plant pathology. He has clearly established himself as a regional, national, and international authority on diseases of specialty crops grown in the North Central Region of the U.S.  Bob has also become one of the greatest champions of plant pathology in the world.”

In the Panhandle, Harveson works locally with producers and industry members to identify, prevent, and manage diseases of specialty crops such as sugar beet, dry edible beans, sunflowers, and other pulse crops. He frequently contributes articles to news media in the Panhandle.

In Harveson’s lab at the Panhandle Center, he and his staff have conducted more than 25 projects with diseases of nine crop species in 2019. His lab also provides disease diagnostic services for more than 300 samples per year submitted by clientele.

Harveson’s writings – including books, chapters, journal articles, technical articles, extension publications, and articles for news media – were cited as his most remarkable contribution. In the last five years, he has generated 291 publications, including 20 refereed journal articles, one book, 23 book chapters, 11 technical peer-reviewed articles, 220 extension and service activity publications, and 16 professional meeting abstracts. He is the lead editor on three disease compendia (for sugar beet diseases and pests, sunflower diseases and pests, and the upcoming pea diseases and pests). He also was the author of the popular book “The Bacterium of Many Colors,” published in 2015 by APS Press.

Harveson’s nomination also cited his contributions to the history of the plant pathology. He recently completed two sequential three-year terms as a senior editor for APS Press and has renewed another three-year term as the feature editor for the APS website and Plant Health Instructor journal. He also produces a monthly column on plant pathology history for the APS newsletter, Phytopathology News, designed and written in the form of Paul Harvey’s “Rest of the Story,” and contributes a monthly historical series of articles highlighting significant scientific contributions by UNL agricultural personnel. He has also recently started writing a new series focusing on the impacts of plant diseases on society and world history.

The nomination also cited Harveson’s contributions to his profession as an example and mentor to younger faculty members; his close work with counterparts in other states; and hosting of students and faculty from UNL and other institutions.

Four high-school students from Scottsbluff and Bayard are spending their summers teaching elementary students, and in the process learning a few things themselves.

They are participants in the Teens as Teachers program, sponsored by Nebraska Extension and in its third year in Scotts Bluff, second year in Morrill, and a handful of other counties in Nebraska.

Morrill County teen teachers Kassi Garza (left) and Adrianna Salazar plan a lesson. Courtesy Photo

Neb Extension Educator Jackie Guzman and Extension Assistant Leo Sierra coordinate the program locally. Sierra said the goal of Teens as Teachers is to provide positive learning experiences to under-served audiences by youthful teachers who look like them. The lessons relate to at least one of the program areas stressed by 4-H: preparing youth to make decisions for today and the future; engaging youth in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and agriculture; and empowering youth leadership and entrepreneurship.

The program started with a grant from UNL. Now in its third year, it relies increasingly on local funding sources. Scotts Bluff County 4-H Council is sponsoring the Scottsbluff teens in 2019. In Morrill County, funding is from Nebraska Extension and Bayard Public Schools. Sierra said he is grateful for the support.

The teen teachers have had a busy June and July. The group attended several days of training in Lincoln. Researched and developed lesson plans along with 4-H curriculum.

The students taught six lessons over a two-week period at Roosevelt Elementary in Scottsbluff or Bayard Elementary.

Sierra said the teens brought ideas for lesson plans to him, and he helped them build the ideas into lesson plans with specific topics and keywords. Before they taught, the youthful teachers needed to get the necessary materials, supplies, and also make prototypes of items that they would be creating with the elementary students during the hands-on sessions.

“We want lesson plans to be fun, but also educational for students,” he said.

One of the teen teachers, Alazay Trevino, a junior at Scottsbluff High School, developed lessons related to tornadoes to share with a group of students at Roosevelt Elementary. One lesson was “tornado in a bottle,” which uses large beverage bottles, water, and glitter to create vortexes, so the students can visualize the effect that tornadoes create in the atmosphere. 

Trevino is considering options for after she graduates in 2021. Two possibilities are law and veterinary school. She said choosing will not be easy because she has broad interests.

“No matter what I study, it will have something to do with kids,” she said.

Jordin Gonzalez Chavez, also a junior at Scottsbluff High, developed and taught a series of lessons related to robotics. In one lesson, he helped the elementary students build a cardboard robotic arm.

He hopes to study mechanical engineering in college, possibly at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After college, he might enroll in the U.S. Air Force.

Two of the teen teachers this year were based in Morrill County. Kassi Garza, who will be a senior at Bayard High School, developed and taught lessons at Bayard summer school around marine biology and its importance. One of Garza’s dream is to be a marine biologist.

After high school, Garza plans to attend WNCC to take her general classes while deciding whether marine biology will be her eventual career path or another field comes along.

The other Morrill County teacher was Adrianna Salazar, also a senior at Bayard High School. She taught a group of lessons centered on art styles and media, in which elementary students got to explore how and why they choose the art they create. Each lesson consisted of a different style and medium.

After high school, Salazar plans to attend WNCC to take general classes.

Trevino and Gonzalez-Chavez both expressed surprise at the amount of preparation needed for each lesson, including finding and buying the materials they would need. Another part of the preparation was making prototypes of any items they would be constructing with the elementary students, so they knew how much time it will take. One of the lessons developed by Gonzalez Chavez had the students building cardboard robotic arms, so before teaching, he had to cut pieces in advance so there would be enough time in class.

The youth have also been assisting with other 4-H summer youth activities, including the Roosevelt-Lincoln Heights Field Day, helping with 4-H mentoring, the Western Nebraska Community College Summer Youth Academy; and have been helping at the Scotts Bluff and Morrill county fairs.

All four of the teens also helped a pair of 4-H interns, Luis Cordova and Hunter Hill, carry out their keystone teaching project, which covered a variety of science and career topics such as cells, electricity circuits, career planning, applying for admission to college, and raising livestock.

LINCOLN, NEB. – Katie Nolles of Bassett, Neb., recently wrapped up a summer in Washington D.C. as the most recent recipient of the Keith R. Olsen Agricultural Policy Internship Award.

Nolles is a member of the Rock County Farm Bureau and is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Agricultural Education. The Olsen Internship Award enabled her to intern in Congressman Adrian Smith’s office in Washington, D.C., this summer. The monetary award helped cover Nolles’ living and housing expenses.

“I was truly able to observe and be involved with all aspects of working on Capitol Hill. I loved learning about all of the moving pieces that go into making policy happen, applying what I learned in all of my coursework, and connecting with fellow constituents,” Nolles said Aug. 5.

Noells described her experience in Washington D.C. as a dream internship since her early teenage years. Admittedly, life in D.C. and working on Capitol Hill was an adjustment since she comes from a town of 600 people. But everyone was so helpful.

“Visiting with interns from offices across the country, I quickly found out how fortunate I was to have interned in an office where I got to visit with Congressman Smith regularly, where the staff trusted me with projects, and where my values aligned,” Nolles said.

Nolles said her internship has given her valuable insight and understanding of the federal legislative process that she will utilize in her future teaching career. She is minoring in Leadership-Entrepreneurship through the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars.

“A question that I have been asked frequently since accepting the internship is, ‘Wait, if you want to be a teacher, why are you working in politics?’  I am fortunate that global awareness and understanding of government and democracy was instilled in me from a young age, but many youth don’t understand these concepts.  As a future teacher, I am excited to share my experiences with students while teaching them to analyze issues and how policy affects agriculture,” she said.

She is thankful for the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s support and recommends that any student members who are interested in agriculture policy to apply for the Keith R. Olsen Agricultural Policy Internship Award and experience Capitol Hill first-hand.

“Last fall, when I took AECN 345, an agriculture policy course, with Dr. Brad Lubben.  I enthusiastically absorbed any information that was shared in his class, and met all of the guest speakers who shared their careers relating to ag policy. When Jordan Dux spoke to our class, I knew that I wanted to receive the Olsen Award. Finding a paid internship in D.C. is a challenge in itself. While I did receive payment for my internship, it was incredibly helpful to receive this award to help fund housing and living expenses. Especially as I student teach this semester and cannot work, I am so grateful to have Nebraska Farm Bureau supporting my growth and alleviating some financial burden, so that I can focus on doing my best work.” Nolles said.

The Keith R. Olsen Agricultural Policy Internship Award was established in 2011 by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation to honor Olsen, who served as Farm Bureau president from 2002-2011 and on the board of directors for nearly 20 years. Olsen had emphasized creating opportunities in agriculture for young people during his years with the organization.

The award provides up to $3,000 to a UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources junior or senior to work as an intern in a Nebraska Congressional office, a Congressional Committee or approved agricultural organization.

For more information, please contact Dr. Brad Lubben at blubben2@unl.edu or 402-472-2235.