The new Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, located at the Agricultural Research and Development Center at Mead, is hosting its first open house and research tours. Set for June 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Mead site will highlight recent changes with how Nebraska Extension services are delivered.
Under reorganization of Extension in the eastern third of the state, the University of Nebraska has established the new ENREC, which brings services there in proximity to 70% of the state's population.
Officially approved by the UNL Board of Regents last September, under this reorganization plan, the new ENREC is now headquarters for a new Metro Extension district created in the highly populated urban area that encompasses Dodge, Washington, Douglas, Sarpy, Cass and Lancaster counties, as well as for the Southeast and Northeast Extension districts.
Don Adams is the Research and Extension director of 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.
At the open house co-hosted by state Sen. Bruce Bostelman, there will be a morning program and lunch at the August N. Christenson Building, with afternoon tours planned for several sites throughout ENREC.
Mike Boehm, UNL Harlan vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will present "Driving Nebraska's Economic Vitality" at 11 a.m., followed by Al Dutcher, Nebraska Extension climatologist and his presentation, "The Ag Climate — Temperature, Trends and Outlooks."
The afternoon sessions will kick off with a virtual tour of the swine research and facilities. Tour stops that follow will include live demonstration of drones and the hail machine, as well as the latest technology to study individual plants in the field. Guests will learn about carbon sequestration and the latest beef cow research, and visit crop management demonstrations and education plots.
Extension programming at the new 53-county ENREC focuses 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.
"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."
A complimentary lunch will be provided at the open house along with UNL Dairy Store ice cream. RSVP to the offices there by June 23. Learn more by visiting enrec.unl.edu.