Things are changing a bit with how Nebraska Extension programs are delivered. Under reorganization of Extension in the eastern third of the state, the University of Nebraska has recently established the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center. The headquarters will utilize the Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead. The new center will leverage the existing resources at ARDC to more fully integrate the research and Extension mission in eastern Nebraska and will give the new ENREC proximity to 70% of the state's population.
ENREC was officially approved by the UNL board of regents in September and by Nebraska's Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education in December. Structurally, ENREC includes three Extension districts including the 28-county Northeast district, the 19-county Southeast district and a new Metro Extension district consisting of six counties in the highly populated urban area that encompasses Dodge, Washington, Douglas, Sarpy, Cass and Lancaster counties.
The headquarters for the Northeast Extension district will be housed at Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord and will provide oversight for Haskell Ag Lab and Barta Brothers Ranch near Rose.
Operations for the Southeast Extension district, already housed at Mead, will not change and will continue to include the Kimmel Education and Research Center at Nebraska City and the South Central Ag Lab near Harvard.
There were no additional funds necessary to establish ENREC, so it is being funded under current budget commitments to ARDC and the Northeast and Southeast Research and Extension centers. The number of administrators is the same as the previous model. Don Adams is director of research and Extension Director at ENREC. John Westra is the associate director for the Southeast District. The associate director for the Northeast District, Bill Kranz, has an office at Haskell Ag Lab. Dave Ulferts is the interim associate director of the new Metro District and has an office at the Community Engagement Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
"ENREC will have three guiding principles," according to Adams. "First, it will be focused on innovative strategies, solutions and entrepreneurship that create opportunities for synergistic partnerships. Second, the center will be a place where all people can experience and learn from cutting-edge science and practice," he explains. "Third, the center will be focused on a model in which strategic opportunities and resources are optimized for mission-centric activities and accomplishments."
Extension programming at the new 53-county ENREC will focus on beef systems; cropping and water systems; disaster recovery resources; food, nutrition and health; 4-H youth development; and the Learning Child, Community Environment and Community Vitality Initiative.
The ENREC site is well-known to producers. ARDC near Mead offers a research site consisting of 9,663 acres, with about half of the land base in row crops, and half of those under irrigation. The rest of the site includes cool- and warm-season pastures. About 6,000 domestic farm animals reside at ENREC for research and teaching purposes.
Learn more by visiting ENREC at enrec.unl.edu.