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No Till Conference


The Panhandle No-Till Partnership will again be hosting our winter conference at the Gering Civic Center on Feb. 23-24. The conference will focus on the benefits of no-till crop production. Whether you are considering adopting no-till crop production on your farm or you are a long time no-till producer, I think our conference will have something to offer to everyone who attends.

If you would like to register for our conference please contact the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District at 308-432-6190. Pre-registration is $75 for the two-day conference and includes lunch each day. Registration is $100 after Friday, Feb. 12, or at the door the day of the conference.

Our lineup of speakers includes Dr. Dwayne Beck, manager of Dakota Lakes Research Farm, Pierre, South Dakota. Dr. Beck’s presentations are titled “Thinking for a 600 Year Horizon” and “Managing Weeds and Water.”

Dr. Ray Ward, owner of Ward Labs in Kearney, will present “Soil Testing to Achieve Adequate Plant Nutrition.” Lance Gunderson, soil microbiologist at Ward Labs, will speak on “Understanding Laboratory Tests for Evaluating Soil Health.”

Dr. Cody Creech and Dr. Karla Jenkins, UNL Panhandle Research and Extension educators, will present “What We’ve Learned and What’s Coming: Field Peas and Livestock.”

Paul Jasa, Extension educator and manager of the UNL Rogers Research Farm, will speak on “Residue, Soil Structure and Water Management.” Don Day will again give us his regional weather outlook for the coming growing season with “Current and Expected Weather Patterns.”

Neonila Martynuik will tell about her life experiences working in agriculture in the Ukraine. Nila will share her thoughts on Ukraine and her unique perspective on agriculture on a global scale. The following is a brief summary Nila was kind enough to share with me.

Ukraine: An agrarian nation

“On a recent August evening, my Mother walked to her bed and decided that she was not going to get out of bed again. By 3 a.m., my Mother had transitioned into Eternity. My Mother was 92 years old at the time of her death.

My Mother was born in a rural agricultural village in western Ukraine and at 19 years of age, immediately after the Kremlin Reds (Communist Party of the USSR/ Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) arrested my maternal grandfather for the crime of farmland ownership and deported him to Siberia, my Mother harnessed the family horses to the wagon, and with a gold nugget in her pocket that my maternal grandfather had slipped into her hand as he grasped who was knocking down the door to their home, she managed to convince her sister and her mother to jump into the wagon with her and flee westwards towards Europe, wandering during the war as DPs (displaced persons) and eventually gaining entrance to the U.S.A.

Throughout my years growing up in a Ukrainian ‘ghetto’ (community where the Ukrainians who had escaped the Kremlin Reds during World War II and post-war received passage to the USA lived within 14 miles of where 60 years later “9/11” occurred) I heard story upon story of fruit orchards in bloom, bountiful wheat field harvests, and fresh cow’s milk on the kitchen table.

From the years of 1919-1939 the western regions of Ukraine had been controlled by Poland, which respected private land ownership rights. In 1939 the Kremlin, which considered private land ownership a state crime, took control of Ukraine in its entirety, and subsequently, my Mother’s village stories stopped being retold.

When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991 and Ukraine declared independence, the recollection of my Mother’s stories stirred my imagination, and I took a leave of absence from my job in the Four Corners of the USA and flew to Ukraine.

A Sea of Land. This is what I saw when I arrived in Ukraine. Yes, Ukraine: Agrarian Nation! And I stayed.

For 24 years I have lived and worked in Ukraine, immersed in agriculture, transitioning from village agriculture to global agriculture as the steppes of Ukraine (analogous to the Canadian Prairies and the Northern Plains) started to adopt No-till Systems Practices through exchanges with no-till farmers, educators, input suppliers and equipment manufacturers in those global points where ‘No-till Systems Practices’ were being implemented: New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, United States and Canada.

The organizers of the ‘Panhandle No-till Partnership’ have invited me to share my work experience in Agrarian Ukraine with the regional agricultural community during their annual conference scheduled for February 23-24 in Gering.

I am looking forward to sharing my agricultural experiences in Ukraine with you, and welcome all your questions related to agriculture in Ukraine. If I do not have the answer to your question at my fingertips, I am networked sufficiently where I can obtain the answers.”

I’m really looking forward to listening to all our speakers at this year’s conference. I hope all of you will take advantage of this educational opportunity.


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