Nebraska Top Stories

Rep. Smith looks to expand U.S. foreign trade

Congressman turning attention on improving trans-Pacific partnerships

Secretary of State urging Nebraskans to register to vote

John Gale says September is National Voter Registration Month

Sidney couple nabbed in drug bust

Authorities find pot, hashish wax, and paraphernalia

State of the Valley luncheon draws large crowd

People from around the panhandle gathered today to listen to community leaders voice their concerns about the well-being of the area.

Nebraska chosen to host international conference

Governor Dave Heineman made a big announcement this morning as Nebraska attempts to expand international trade efforts.

United Way is offering a reward for lost ducks

Nearly 18,000 rubber ducks floated down the North Platte River, and some never returned.

Search suspended for Torrington man thought to have drowned

The search for one Torrington man believed to have drowned has been suspended.

15 Agencies participate in nuclear explosion excercise

Doctors and nurses put aside their scrubs and wore radiation protective gear for a mock drill today.

Sidney man nabbed in drug bust

A Sidney man is facing felony drug charges following a sting by the WING Drug Task Force.

Box Butte County girl killed in ATV accident

Box Butte County girl killed in ATV accident

Rep. Smith looks to expand U.S. foreign trade

Secretary of State urging Nebraskans to...

Sidney couple nabbed in drug bust

State of the Valley luncheon draws large crowd

Nebraska chosen to host international conference

United Way is offering a reward for lost ducks

Search suspended for Torrington man thought to...

15 Agencies participate in nuclear explosion...

Sidney man nabbed in drug bust

Box Butte County girl killed in ATV accident

Farm and Ranch News

'Scotch Thistle' to be added to SBC noxious weed list

POSTED: 04:16 PM MDT Sep 03, 2014    UPDATED: 11:36 AM MDT Sep 18, 2014 

GERING, Neb.- Landowners in Scotts Bluff County have a new weed to look out for.

'Scotch thistle' will soon be added to the Scotts Bluff County list of noxious weeds.

‘Scotch thistle' is a flowering, spiny plant often found in range land, feed yards and pastures.

County Commissioners passed a motion Tuesday night to send a request to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director, Greg Ibach, to add Scotch Thistle to the county's noxious weeds list. The process could take up to 30 days to take effect.

Scotts Bluff County Weed Control Superintendent Jeff Schledewitz says Scotch thistle can be potentially hazardous to livestock and can easily take over county land.

Schledewitz says so far, Scotch thistle has already taken over nearly 4,000 acres of Scotts Bluff County.

"This year, with the early spring rain, it has just exploded. And not only Scotch thistle, but the Canada and Mush thistle are just out of control this year. We're coming out of a 10-12 year drought, we've had that entire seed bed laying there. Now this year, it had adequate moisture to germinate in a way that’s just unbelievable."

Schledewitz says once Scotch thistle makes it on to the noxious weeds list, landowners in Scotts Bluff County will be responsible for controlling and spraying their land at an estimated cost of $30/acre.

Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact the county's weed control department or visit the website:

Bayard canal break "worst one since 1987"

Crews are nearing completion to repair a broken irrigation canal north of Bayard

POSTED: 12:16 PM MDT Sep 04, 2014    UPDATED: 11:35 AM MDT Sep 18, 2014 
BAYARD, Neb. -

Crews are nearing completion to repair a broken irrigation canal north of Bayard that's being called the worst irrigation break in 27 years.

Crews have been working for the past few days  hauling mud and clay to repair a broken irrigation canal near County Road 81 north of Bayard.

The 62A-L road opened early Wednesday, but as of Thursday afternoon several southern county roads remained closed due to erosion.

“This is our worst one since 1987 when north of Minatare we lost a system in a huge rain storm August 3, 1987,” said Kevin Adams, General Manager of the Farmer's Irrigation District.

Officials from the Farmer's Irrigation District say the canal ruptured just before 9 p.m. Tuesday evening, sending thousands of gallons of water gushing through crop fields and over the highway.

Adams says that today he began running water from Henry in the canal, and hopes that local users will be able to start having access to water by Saturday. 

Adams says they do not yet know what caused the irrigation canal to rupture, but an insurance adjuster will be on scene Monday. 


2015 Old Farmer's Almanac hits news stands

Predicts colder, drier winter for High Plains region

Ryan Murphy, News Director,
POSTED: 03:45 PM MDT Sep 11, 2014    UPDATED: 11:33 AM MDT Sep 18, 2014 

A long running publication aimed at helping ag producers has just hit news stands.

The Old Farmer's Almanac has been around for 223 years, and offers forecasts for 18 different parts of the country.

This year, it predicts a colder and drier winter for the High Plains region, with below average snowfalls.

Bomgaars employee Lori Hilliker says that despite 21st century technology, the Old Farmer's Almanac is a go – to source for many.

"We still have a lot of customers ask for it, and do purchase it here," explains Hillker.

The almanac has evolved over the years; in addition to offering farming advice and weather forecasts, the guide offers tips for gardeners, astronomers, and even brides to be.

Early freeze a concern for corn and bean growers

Freeze would be 2 weeks ahead of schedule

Ryan Murphy, News Director,
POSTED: 03:50 PM MDT Sep 11, 2014    UPDATED: 11:32 AM MDT Sep 18, 2014 

Below average temperatures are a concern for farmers here in the panhandle.

This morning, temperatures hovered in the 40's at the University of Nebraska’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center.

Educator Jim Schild says an early frost could be devastating to this year's bean and corn crop.

If an early freeze hits, Schild says that the beans will stain and reduce in quality.

He adds that the corn crop has not completely filled, and is still putting on weight. If a hard freeze hits, it could cause light test weights and reduce the pounds per acre.

"Where we really get concerned is when we get down into these upper 20's. 27 28 degrees is where the concerns start coming in," explains Schild. "It will penetrate into the corn canopy– it will start killing the plant and we're going to have that reduced test weight."

Schild says that the area's sugar beet and winter wheat crop will be minimally affected if there is an early frost.

Rep. Smith looks to expand U.S. foreign trade

Congressman turning attention on improving trans-Pacific partnerships

Ryan Murphy, News Director,
POSTED: 04:43 PM MDT Sep 17, 2014    UPDATED: 11:28 AM MDT Sep 18, 2014 

Smith trade relations


Congressman Adrian Smith is hopeful that Wednesday's announcement that Nebraska will host the Midwest U.S. / Japan Association Conference will improve trade relations.

Over the past few years, Smith has helped the U.S. enact trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Columbia.

He says Nebraska agriculture has benefited greatly due to these agreements. Now, the District 3 Congressman is turning his attention on improving a Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"This is a great opportunity, but we have some concerns with Japan wanting so many exemptions," explains Smith. "That really undermines the purpose and the reason behind passing these trade agreements."

Smith adds that current trade agreements are convoluted, and he hopes to iron out trade policies in the near future. 

Sugar beet crop projected to see good season

Numbers are in for tons per acre

POSTED: 12:00 AM MDT Aug 12, 2014 

Sugar beet growers have a lot to look forward to this season as numbers are in for projected tons per acre.

South Regional Ag Manager for Western Sugar Jerry Darnell says that they finished root sampling last week. The results show that the crop is going to yield 27.8 tons per acre with a 17.2 sugar. 

Darnell says that overall it looks very good for growers and they are pleased with the results.

"Right now it looks like we're going to have an average crop with tonnage and sugar," says Darnell. "A year ago we were down to only a 15% sugar, so getting back to a 17.2 sugar is going to be a big help for our growers and hopefully give them a bigger payment.'

Darnell says they will root sample again at the end of the month and begin early harvesting on September 15th.  

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