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AgLines: Snow to present vadose zone findings to CPNRD board

AgLines: Snow to present vadose zone findings to CPNRD board


Dan Snow, director of the Water Sciences Laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will report on a three-year study of vadose zone nitrate to the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s Board of Directors. The report will show locations of core samples collected, comparison of nitrate profiles to previous time periods, and estimation of nitrate transport rates at each location.

The board meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday, June 24, at the CPNRD office, 215 Kaufman Ave.

Other agenda items include:

-- The budget committee will review the proposed Fiscal 2022 budget. The board will act to approve the 2022 fiscal budget of expenditures to hold a public hearing on the same day as the July board meeting. The levy will be set at the August board meeting, which is actually scheduled for Sept. 2 to accommodate the advertising requirements as the valuations are not available from the counties until Aug. 20.

-- Luke Zakrzewski, GIS image analyst, will report on the spring 2021 static groundwater level results along with a comparison of groundwater levels in 1982. The 1982 levels were established as the standard for the NRD’s Groundwater Management Plan with maximum acceptable declines and a margin of safety calculated for each of the District’s 24 Ground Water Management Areas.

-- Kelly Cole, administrative assistant, will report on the number of trees sold through the NRD Conservation Tree Program and the miles of fabric weed barrier sold in 2021.

Fitzke to represent Nebraska sorghum producers

Dennis Fitzke was installed to represent Nebraska Sorghum Producers in an at-large position at a recent meeting of the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board. This position is appointed by the other board members.

Fitzke farms near Edgar with his son and has experience working in the agri-business sector.

“We are pleased to have Mr. Fitzke serving on the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board,” said Executive Director Nate Blum. “Mr. Fitzke’s first-hand experiences as a grower and his experiences in the world of Agri-Business will help to shape innovative approaches to markets development for Nebraska’s Sorghum Producers.”

Fitzke said sorghum can play an important role adding diversity to crop rotations and produces a unique grain that has exciting possibilities for Nebraska agriculture. “I look forward to being a part of the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board as we exploit sorghum’s awesome potential for economic development,” he said.

The Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board is also seeking a District 1 representative. Counties in that district include: Jefferson, Gage, Pawnee, Richardson, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Lancaster, Saline, Seward, Cass, Sarpy, Douglas, Washington, Saunders, Butler, Colfax, Dodge, Burt, Cuming, Stanton, Wayne, Thurston, Dakota, Dixon and Cedar. This seat is appointed by the governor.

Nichols selected as NRCS State Rangeland Management Specialist

Jeff Nichols has been selected as the state rangeland management specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Nebraska. He will begin the position June 21.

The NRCS provides opportunities for agricultural producers and landowners to voluntarily implement conservation practices that benefit their land needs. Nebraska has 22 million acres of range and pastureland that are utilized to support its cattle industry. An industry that accounted for $6.5 billion in sales last year. Therefore, rangeland management is a critical focus of Nebraska’s resource conservation efforts.

The rangeland management specialist is the primary leadership position for all NRCS rangeland programs. This includes a variety of duties such as training employees, developing/distributing technical information, maintaining relationships with stakeholders/partner organizations, and providing an advisory capacity to various committees and groups.

Nichols brings to this position 34 years of experience with an agronomy and range management background. He will be leading the NRCS in providing technical assistance on issues that occur on grazing lands such as invasive species, drought, wildfires, hail, and pest loss. Emphasis will be placed upon promoting grazing management strategies that are profitable for producers, while maintaining or improving the overall health of the grazing lands resource.

He plans to place an immediate focus on efforts to slow the Eastern Red Cedar encroachment affecting much of the state’s rangelands. This is an area of specialty he has had success dealing with previously through brush management in combination with prescribed burning.

In 2010, he was presented the NRCS National Rangeland Conservationist of the Year award, recognizing his significant contributions in assisting customers and providing leadership in the range management discipline. Focusing on the human resource, he plans to update employees and range stakeholders so they can carry out the NRCS mission of “helping people help the land” and promote long-term rangeland sustainability.

“I’m looking forward to working with the public and employees to be able to provide consistent services, information, and assistance in our grazing programs and partnerships with landowners and other organizations,” Nichols said.

For more information about rangeland conservation and other programs and services available from NRCS, visit your local USDA Service Center or

State winter wheat crop up 17% from last year

Based on June 1 conditions, Nebraska’s 2021 winter wheat crop is forecast at 39.8 million bushels, up 17% from last year’s crop, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Average yield is forecast at 51 bushels per acre, up 10 bushels from last year.

Acreage to be harvested for grain is estimated at 780,000 acres, down 50,000 acres from last year. This would be 87% of the planted acres, compared with last year’s 92% harvested.

Earlier this week, the USDA reported that the state wheat crop condition rated 3% very poor, 9% poor, 32% fair, 46% good, and 10% excellent.

Winter wheat headed was 79%, ahead of 63% last year, and near 77% average.

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