Using the shaded canopies of trees around the Haskell Agricultural Laboratory facilities near Concord, tents and shop buildings, the Science & Ag Family Field Day welcomed a steady stream of area residents to booths and displays.
It was a chance to gather extension educators from around the state in one spot, offering all types of information to young and old alike.
For the young crowd, Smokey Bear welcomed visitors and a booth invited kids to jump on a bike hooked to a blender so they could whip up a smoothie. There were several “plinko” boards for winning prizes at health care displays and lots of handouts like squeezable stress-relievers in the shape of a foam barn and medical gloves to magnets, pens, bags, coloring books to cook books and snacks. Anyone over the age of 18 could have their blood pressure taken.
One booth offered UV beads for bracelet making and the Nebraska State Patrol gave rides on their Seatbelt Convincer. For younger riders, they talked to them about the importance of using their seatbelt and the ride showed them a jolt from a head-on collison. They even took the time to talk to older riders about the height of their headrest and correct positioning.
Nebraska Game and Parks came prepared to give archery lessons and helped the youth determine if they were left- or right-eye dominant, which equipped them with the right bow.
For farmers, there were seed corn dealers, a banker or two with stress balls and Common Ground women ready to squash myths surrounding food and farms. Demonstrations were given by several Natural Resources Districts (NRD) covering cover cops, moisture retention, soil health and findings from recent aerial magnetic surveys identifying several area aquifers and their sizes — valuable information for irrigation interests. Another NRD presentation looked at the issues from the occurrence of E.coli in the Bow Creek Watershed.
The staff from the Haskell Lab organized trolley tours around the UNL farm visiting the Northeast Arboretum and Bee Research and cover crop demonstrations. Many other demonstrations included STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture/Art, Math) for educators and students alike. Some exhibits demonstrated future farms and innovative irrigation techniques and robotics.
The Nebraska Extension Mobile Beef Lab offered visitors the opportunity to stick their hand in a simulated bull.
Ag track speakers and extension educators examined a new soybean pest; Nebraska land values and cash rental rates for 2019; effects of the herbicide dicamba in relation to soybeans, grapes and tomatoes; and managing forage production risk.
A second group of afternoon speakers discussed the Northeast Education Compact with Wayne State College and the state of the steady influence of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and its growing need into the future.
A panel of experts from NET’s ‘Backyard Farmer,’ rounded out the afternoon.