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AgLines: New forester named in south-central Nebraska

AgLines: New forester named in south-central Nebraska


KEARNEY — The Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) has named Beth Arens as the new forester in south central Nebraska.

Arens will be stationed in Kearney. She comes from Ainsworth and has worked with the Nebraska Forest Service for two years in the Niobrara Valley.

Arens administers a cost-share program to help woodland landowners reduce forest fuel loads in areas at risk from wildfire. The program is part of a statewide effort to address wildfire risks from unmanaged woodlands in what’s called the Wildland Urban Interface — places where human development abuts wildlands containing flammable vegetation. Many of these projects are happening across the state.

Arens, a Tennessee native, obtained a degree in Wildlife Biology from Middle Tennessee State University. She worked as a biologist with the state of Tennessee, URS/AECOM Corporation, and The Nature Conservancy before coming up to Nebraska. She gained valuable experience in natural resource management while working in Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

The Forest Fuels Treatment Program provides as much as 75% cost share to landowners who want to reduce wildfire hazard on their property while retaining healthy, productive forests. Reducing woody fuel loads creates an environment less prone to extreme fire behavior.

Fuels treatment projects conducted on overgrown forestland creates space between the crowns (tops) of larger trees and removes ladder fuels that provide an avenue for fire to move from the ground into the crowns.

Trees are removed either mechanically or by hand. Usable products, such as saw logs and posts, are removed, and the leftover tops and branches (called slash) are either piled for burning, removed, chipped, shredded, or mulched. Benefits of the program include improving the overall health and sustainability of forests, protecting water quality, enhancing wildlife habitat, and utilizing wood products, which strengthens local economies.

For more information, contact Arens at (402) 450-1867 or

Garbacz honored with Nebraska Farm Bureau Silver Eagle Award

LINCOLN — Nebraska Farm Bureau has selected Stan Garbacz as the 2020 recipient of its highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. He served 40 years in the Nebraska Department of Agriculture as Nebraska’s Agricultural Trade Representative — a position that emphasizes international market development for agricultural products grown in Nebraska.

“Stan Garbacz’s life work has been to promote Nebraska agricultural products on an international stage,” said Steve Nelson, president of Nebraska Farm Bureau. “He has promoted Nebraska agricultural products to international markets resulting in billions of dollars in state revenue and improved nutrition for thousands of people. Stan has built relationships with hundreds of Nebraska farmers, ranchers, businesses, and government officials, traveling more than 100,000 air miles annually to more than 40 countries to help expand and sustain Nebraska’s agricultural markets.”

Garbacz graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance and marketing. He is a 1971 graduate of Lincoln’s Pius X High School. In 1989, he was a member of the Nebraska Leadership, Education, Action Development Program (LEAD), a two-year program involving both national and international travel studies. LEAD has helped develop future agricultural leaders, such as Garbacz. He was drawn to international events because his parents emigrated from Poland in 1949.

Garbacz has received multiple honors like the James A. Graham Award for Outstanding Service to Agriculture from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture in 2014; the Lifetime Service Award from the Nebraska Cattlemen in 2018; and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Pius X High School in 2019.

He and his wife, Mary, live in Lincoln and have three children, Andy, Betsy, and Angela, and two grandchildren and expect their third grandchild in December.

Grand Island to host Extension landlord-tenant cash rent workshop

LINCOLN — On Jan. 12, Grand Island will be one of five sites to host the Nebraska Extension’s Farm and Ranch Management landlord-tenant cash rent workshop.

The series, geared toward current and future landlords and tenants, will cover trends in cash rental rates and land values, lease provisions, crop and grazing land considerations and university crop budget information.

The workshops, “Ag Land Leasing, Budgeting and Management for 2021,” will be led by extension land specialists Allan Vyhnalek, Austin Duerfeldt, Glennis McClure and Jim Jansen, who conduct research and outreach in land management, crop budgets, farm and ranch succession, communication and negotiations. They will address common agricultural landlord and tenant topics, including equitable rental rates, managing and adjusting farmland leases, landlord-tenant communication, pasture leasing and other land management considerations.

The workshops are free to attend. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, registration is required with the local county extension office by one day prior to each meeting. Many locations will have attendance limits to ensure social distancing requirements are met and meetings are subject to change or cancellation if local guidelines change.

Information on the landlord-tenant workshops and registration details will be available at

*Workshop on UNL crop budgets, new ag budget calculator to be held at 5 locations

After the morning landlord-tenant cash rent workshops at select locations, landlords and producers are invited to attend a 90-minute workshop, starting at 1:30 p.m. at the same meeting site, to learn more about calculating the cost of production for crop enterprises. The additional workshop session will introduce participants to the new web-based Ag Budget Calculator (ABC) program, developed in the university’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

This workshop will be held Nov. 24 at locations in Saunders County, in Lincoln on Dec. 14, in Beatrice on Jan. 15, and in Wilber on Jan. 18.

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