Meet n Greet & Farm to School – October 14, 2014 in Ord

It’s an exciting time to be a Farmer and a Student in Nebraska! Recently, Governor Heineman signed a proclamation declaring October as Farm to School Month in the state. With Farm to School everyone, wins because it’s an opportunity for Farmers to access a new market and for Nebraska students to eat a healthy lunch.

The Center for Rural Affairs and Loup Basin RC&D Council will be hosting a Meet n Greet event in Ord on Tuesday, October 14th as a resource for getting involved with Farm to School. This will be an informational session open to anyone interested in farm to school. We’ve found that the absolute best way to connect with schools is to be in the same space at the same time. The Meet n Greet will be held at the Ord Volunteer Fire Hall, 1628 M Street from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and folks are invited to stop by and visit at their convenience.

“If you are a fruit, vegetable, or other specialty crop producer and are looking for new market opportunities, this will be a great opportunity to connect with rural schools,” said Sarah Smith, Farm to School State Lead with the Center for Rural Affairs.

Earlier in the day Farm to School month will be celebrated at Ord Public Schools! Jerry Schmidt, a former District 41 Nebraska Senator will be greeting and tasting local items during the school lunch with students in the cafeteria. After picking up their lunch trays, students will proceed into a classroom for a taste test and learn more about farming from Barb David with Oak Ridge Farms Hydroponics.

Across the country, an increasing number of schools and districts have begun to source more foods locally and to provide complementary nutrition education. For more information, the USDA Farm to School webpage provides a great tool through their Food and Nutrition Website that can be accessed at www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/farm-school

Farm to School is gaining momentum in Nebraska and this would not be possible without the dedicated individuals and organizations involved. For more information about Farm to School in the Loup Basin, contact any Loup Basin RC&D Farm to School Advisory Committee member: Dale Melia, President Loup Basin RC&D Council; Robert & Kristine Bernt, Clear Creek Organic Farms; Barb David, Oak Ridge Farms Hydroponics; Pat Marsh, Loup Basin RC&D Council – AG Diversity Networking Group; Mr. Dave Ference, FFA Advisor – Ord Public Schools; Billene Nemec – Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska; Janet Sanders, Executive Director Loup Basin RC&D Council at (308) 346-3393 or email [email protected]; or Sarah Smith, Nebraska Farm to School Lead, (307) 321-9766 or [email protected]

Farm to School

Lower Loup Natural Resources District Receives 2014 Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Grant

Scrap Tire Cleanup – Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Lower Loup Natural Resources District has been awarded a 2014 Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Grant – Scrap Tire Cleanup from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

A Scrap Tire Collection will be held Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Village of Elba, 1700 Highway 11, Elba, Nebraska – south edge of Elba, across the highway from Charlie’s Station.  Tires on rims and tires for which a disposal fee has been received will not be accepted at the collection.  Tires of all sizes: tractor, combine, pivot, truck and auto tires will be accepted. Local Veterans will be taking the following information from those bringing in tires: name, address, phone number, number of tires and from where the tires came.  The Scrap Tire Collection is for the residents Garfield, Greeley, Howard, Sherman, Valley and Wheeler Counties.  The Elba FFA Chapter will be helping with the unloading of the tires and a portion of the free will donations will be given to the chapter.

The recycling end use market will determine how the tires from the Tire Collection cleanup event will be used.  Potential uses include feed bunks, sidewall rings for silage cover weights, traffic cones, and alternative cover for landfills.  The Scrap Tire Cleanup is sponsored by the Loup Basin Resource, Conservation and Development Council(RC&D), Lower Loup Natural Resources District, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Village of Elba.  For more information contact Janet Sanders, Executive Director, Loup Basin RC&D Council at (308) 346-3393 or email [email protected]

Village of Spalding receives Nebraska Environmental Trust Grant

June 16, 2014 – Village of Spalding announced today that it will receive $400,872.00 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the “Fishery Restoration on the Cedar River” project. The Trust Board announced funding for the project at its meeting on April 3, 2014 in Lincoln. The project is one of the 132 projects receiving $21,750,000 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. Of these, 56 were new applications and 76 are carry-over projects.

Numerous dams have been built on Nebraska streams since settlement began.  That these dams stopped upstream fish movements and had negative impacts on our stream fishes was first mentioned in the 1883 Report of the Board of Fish Commissioners.  While many of these dams have disappeared over the years, others still exist and provide benefits.  They also continue to block the movement of fishes.  The Spalding dam is one of these.  The purpose of the Spalding Dam is to provide water to a hydroelectric powerhouse located just east of the dam.  The channel catfish is Nebraska’s most important stream sport fish.  The Cedar River should be an important catfish fishery however, a study done in 2000 revealed that the 27 miles of Cedar River between the Spalding and Ericson Dams had virtually no catfish.  That the dam was the cause of this problem was revealed in 2003 when the river at this site had to return to a free-flowing state while the powerhouse underwent repair.  Netting above the dam that summer found many catfish in the river above the dam.  Subsequent sampling in 2006 and 2007, after repairs were complete, revealed that the river above the dam again had no channel catfish.  The focus is on the channel catfish because that is the species for which we have the most information.  However, all fishes native to the Cedar River could use the fishway to repopulate the river above the dam.  Among others, this can include the shorthead redhorse (a nongame fish), the sauger (a sport fish), and the flathead chub (a species of concern).  The intention is to construct fishway which will allow native Nebraska fishes to bypass the Spalding Dam.  The project is shovel-ready as construction plans and specifications have been completed.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $213 million in grants to over 1,600 projects across the state. Anyone – citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses – can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.

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For updates to the Fishery Restoration on the Cedar River check the project page at Fishery Restoration on the Cedar River

Loup Basin RC&D Council receives a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant

Pictured left to right: Mark Brohman, Executive Director Nebraska Environmental and Janet Sanders, Executive Director Loup Basin RC&D Council.Nebraska Environmental Trust - Grand Island Seminar 2014

Loup Basin Resource Conservation and Development Council announced today that it will receive $62,500.00 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the “Pollination = Preservation” project. The Trust Board announced funding for the project at its meeting on April 3, 2014 in Lincoln. This is the second and final year of award. The project is one of the 132 projects receiving $21,750,000 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. Of these, 56 were new applications and 76 are carry-over projects.

The insects that pollinate native plants and crops are essential components of Nebraska’s habitats and ecosystems. Pollinator habitat, and many wild pollinators are disappearing from Nebraska’s landscape. Presence of wild pollinators can equal preservation of rare plants.

This project aims to increase pollinator populations and public awareness of pollinator protection through pollinator habitat development and restoration along the Loup Rivers Scenic Byway. They will educate local residents and visitors on the importance of pollinators and their role in the ecosystem. Butterfly/pollinator gardens will be developed to attract and sustain pollinators, resulting in improved wildlife habitat. Technical assistance will be provided as communities and individuals develop their gardens. The project will add ecotourism options to the Nebraska’s Junk Jaunt® tourism promotions to recruit participants and to attract and educate visitors from other towns and states.

Activities will include community outreach, meetings and educational workshops on pollinators and habitat development. Fifteen pollinator gardens will be developed and will receive subsidized plant materials. Schools and youth groups will be included in activities. Information on water quality and quantity and soil conservation will be provided by NRD and NRCS partners, and trainers will include experts in the field, i.e. Xerces Society, the Center for Rural Affairs, etc. A strong media component will bring attention to the project and attract tourists who will also learn the importance of pollinators and their role in the ecosystem. Participating communities will be able to earn a Certified Butterfly Garden certificate. Materials gathered and developed will be available in the future at the Burwell Butterfly Pavilion.

The project will result in increased pollinator populations and improved habitat for wildlife, enhance economic development of the region, and reach beyond local communities as tourists visit and learn. The project will serve as a model for the rest of the state.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $213 million in grants to over 1,600 projects across the state. Anyone – citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses – can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.

Pollination = Preservation Project information page

Farm to School – Two Session Trainings

Farm to SchoolMany schools in Nebraska are now buying local fruits and vegetables for their school food programs. Farmers can learn how to participate in these growing “farm to school’ initiatives in a series of free training sessions.

“Farmers can access an increasing market for fresh produce while providing healthy food to children in their community,” said Wyatt Fraas, lead trainer for the project. “At these sessions, farmers will learn what schools are looking for and how to assure them that their crops are clean and safe.”

Six Loup Basin area communities will host the two-part series of workshops. In the first round of sessions, “The Business of Selling to Schools”, farmers will learn how to sell foods to local schools, including business basics and marketing, regulations, and production practices.

In the second of the two-part series, “Farmers are Food Handlers, too”, farmers will learn ways to use and document a “safe food handling plan” that satisfies concerns of school and retail food buyers and also reduces risk of food contamination on the farm.

Training sessions are sponsored by the Loup Basin Resource Conservation and Development Council of Burwell and by the Center for Rural Affairs. Funding for the project is provided in part by USDA Rural Development.

Trainings will be held in the following six locations:

  1. Ord, Volunteer Fire Hall, 1628 M St. from 1-4pm on Tuesdays, February 25 and March 4
  2. Loup City, Community Center, 803 O. St. from 1-4pm on Wednesdays, February 26 and March 5
  3. Spalding, Clear Creek Organic Farms, 82228 499th Ave. from 1-4pm on Thursdays, February 27 and March 6
  4. St. Paul, Miletta Vista Winery, 1732 Highway 281 from 1-4pm on Tuesdays, March 11 and March 18
  5. Burwell, Sandstone Grill, 416 Grand Ave. from 1-4pm on Wednesdays, March 12 and March 19
  6. Broken Bow, Custer Public Power, 625 E. South E St. from 1-4pm on Thursdays, March 13 and 20

Visit www.loupbasinrcd.org or www.cfra.org/farm-to-school for more information, or contact Sarah Smith, Center for Rural Affairs Farm to School Coordinator at 307.321.9766 or sarahs@cfra.org, or Janet Sanders, Executive Director of Loup Basin RC&D at 308.346.3393 or [email protected] . Stay tuned to KNLV 103.9 for training updates.

For more information on farm-to-school, visit http://www.cfra.org/renewrural/farmtoschool

$170,000 will Support Small Business, Job Creation Opportunities and Train Entrepreneurs in Rural Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska July 2, 2013 – USDA Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul today announced the selection of four projects to support small business, job creation opportunities and train entrepreneurs in rural Nebraska.  The four organizations will receive funds from the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program.  USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.

The National Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils Announces Award to Loup Basin RC&D Council

The National Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils

Announces Award to Loup Basin RC&D Council 

                The National Association of Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Councils is pleased to announce that Loup Basin RC&D Council of Ord, Nebraska has been reauthorized as an enhanced (Tier II) member of the National Association’s Circle of Diamonds program, thus maintaining its elite status as one of just 25 RC&D Councils (out of 375 nationwide) to have qualified for enhanced membership.

By earning reauthorization, the RC&D Council has clearly confirmed its ability to adhere to the high standards necessary for enhanced membership. It follows an array of governance, personnel, financial management, and planning policies and practices that ensure its effective action and transparent and honest administration.