Please see the drop-down menu under Food Topics in the top navigation bar for links to pages on other food topics.
Know how. Know now.
From border to border in Nebraska, UNL Extension is making an incredible impact on the success of our state — its youth, its families, its farms and ranches, its communities, its economy. Please check these websites for more "know how, know now" information.
Animal Husbandry & Production of consists of the methods and practices by which the producer raises live animals AND the methods and practices a producer prepares, packages & stores animal products. Good production practices are both recognized and wanted by the consumer and often required by law in the state of Nebraska.
- Raising Animals in NE
- Beef Cattle
- Dairy Cattle
- Egg Production
- Goats & Sheep
- Bees, Birds, Fish, Backyard
- Safety & Health
- Production Videos
- Information for Kids
Raising Animals in Nebraska
Home production can also mean raising chickens for meat and eggs or dairy cows to produce milk or cheese or even bees for honey! The list of Nebraska animal husbandry options is a long one! Raising animals for yourself can also expand into raising them as a product. Many local producers bring their foods and other products to local farmers' markets to sell. This is a great opportunity for local producers to bring in some extra money and for consumers to enjoy some fresh local food.
On this page you will find links to associations, societies, articles, and publications to assist you in your home production endeavor OR help you learn more about the animal husbandry options in Nebraska.
Nebraska Facts: Nebraska ranks 4th in the U.S. for:
- Cash receipts from all farm commodities, 2010 ($17,282,579,000)
- Cash receipts from all livestock and products, 2010 ($8,453,119,000)
- Net farm income, 2010 ($3,951,373,000)
- Land in farms and ranches, 2010 (45,600,000 acres)
Nebraska Farm Bureau: Nebraska Farm Bureau supports Nebraska farm and ranch families, and works for the benefit of all Nebraskans, through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. We are a member-driven organization with thousands of farm and ranch family members, hundreds of ag-supporting members and a fast-growing number of urban family and individual members. Working together, we're growing our great state by supporting our agricultural foundation.
QuickStats: Farming and ranching statistics by program, group, commodity, year, etc. produced by the National Agricultural Statistics Service and the United States Department of Agriculture.
The National Agricultural Risk Education Library: The purpose of the workshop was to enhance the capacity of the national extension program to respond to the financial management needs of farm and ranch families. The charge is to help family’s assess their situation, identify their opportunities, and select the strategic plan that meets their goals. Participants were challenged to apply financial management concepts to help families in their state.
Institution: North Central Risk Management Education Center
Publish Date: August 2009
We Support Agriculture: We Support Agriculture (WSA) was formed to defend the responsible animal welfare practices of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers from attacks by outside animal rights extremist groups. The founders are five highly-respected Nebraska agriculture organizations: Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Poultry Industries, Nebraska Pork Producers and the Nebraska State Dairy Association. We are also supported by the state Veterinarian Association, who is the expert in appropriate animal care.
Common Ground Nebraska: CommonGround is a national movement of farm women who want to share information about farming and the food we grow. We’re a group of Nebraska farm women working to help dispel myths and built trust in farm families again. We want to answer questions and share facts as well as our personal stories of farm life.
10 Best Mobile Agriculture Apps For 2012: Farm Manager App: The Farm Manager app allows farmers to record cropping, livestock, and machinery procedures, and access this information with ease. Users can record full history of crops from when they are sown through to harvested; record chemical and fertilizer use, including type, rate, and date applied; and keep track of machinery maintenance. (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
Nebraska Beef Cattle
Nebraska Cattlemen: Our mission is to work for Nebraska beef producers providing leadership, education and representation. We work closely with state and national legislators to best represent our members so they are able to continue to raise safe, nutritious beef.
Nebraska Beef Council: Nebraska's farmers and ranchers have been raising cattle for many generations. Each and every day they care for their livestock and their land. Take a few minutes to explore more about the farming and ranching families, how cattle are raised, and facts about Nebraska’s cattle industry.
Nebraska Herford Association: Everyone interested in cattle and especially Hereford cattle is invited to become a member of the Nebraska Hereford Association. You do not need to register cattle to become a member of the Association. Retired breeders, business and professional friends are welcome to join the Association as non-voting, Associate Members.
Nebraska Angus Association: Join the association and you have a chance to display your registered cattle at the association booth at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, enter cattle at the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic Show and Sale at Kearney, be a host site for the Nebraska Angus Tour or display your cattle on our annual tour, receive advertising discounts in the Nebraska Angus News magazine and receive printing discounts on your sale catalogs from our printer.
Nebraska Dairy Cattle
Nebraska State Dairy Association: The purpose of the Nebraska State Dairy Association is for the promotion of dairy interests in the State of Nebraska. To enhance dairy industry products through support of educational functions (Extension, Research and Teaching) and overall industry activities. To generate interest in youth by encouraging their participation in junior dairy programs and recognizing their achievements. To provide dairymen with latest technical and research information to help them improve their herds. To encourage efficient and profitable production through an awards program that recognizes outstanding production in herds and individual animals.
Central Plains Dairy Expo: The Central Plains Dairy Association is a non-profit organization that works to grow the dairy industry in the Central Plains states and the I-29 Corridor through education and communication activities. The membership region currently includes Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota. Central Plains Dairy Poster
Dairy Farmers of America: DFA is a milk marketing cooperative and dairy foods processor dedicated to delivering value to members through secure markets, competitive pricing and increasing value throughout the entire dairy chain.
Nebraska Pork Producers: The Nebraska Pork Producers Association is a grassroots, incorporated, non-profit organization established in 1961. It was developed to promote the pork industry through the enhancement of consumer deamnd, producer education and research.
Pork Be Inspired: National website featured I Love Pork videos, pork recipes, cuts & cooking methods, nutritional informaiton, and much more.
National Pork Board: Today's pork checkoff is at work for pork producers. U.S. pork producers and importers pay $0.40 per $100 of value when pigs are sold and when pigs or pork products are brought into the United States.
Nebraska Department of Agriculture Nebraska Poultry & Egg: To develop education, promotion, and/or appropriate research programs to enhance Nebraska's egg and turkey producers in developing and maintaining a prosperous industry.
- Nebraksa Poultry & Eggs Turkey Nutrition: Why choose to eat turkey & more
- Nebraska Poultry & Eggs Egg Nutrition: Why choose to eat eggs & more
Nebraska Poultry Industry: Nebraska Poultry Industries, a non-profit corporation, was established in 1970 to foster, promote, improve, and protect all branches of the poultry, turkey, and egg industry in Nebraska. Nebraska Poultry Industries works together with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to accomplish that mission.
National Turkey Federation: The National Turkey Federation is the national advocate for all segments of the turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities which increase demand for its members' products by protecting and enhancing their ability to profitably provide wholesome, high-quality, nutritious products. Facts on Raising Turkeys
Nebraska Graded Egg Labeling Requirements
provided by George Hanssen, Food Division Administrator, Nebraska Department of Agriculture,(402-471-3422)
The Nebraska Graded Egg Act is found on our website at www.agr.ne.gov in the Foods Division, under Laws & Regulations. You can see the weight requirements toward the end of the Graded Egg Act.
Safe Handling For Shell Eggs Q/A's explaining the safe handling requirements for shell eggs.
UNL Extension 4-H Embryology: A School Enrichment Project: Discusses incubation (instructions, resources, why chicks don't hatch), candling (instructions, photos, movie clips), and watch the 4-H EGG Cam!
- George Hanssen, Food Division Administrator, Nebraska Department of Agriculture suggest this option: I don’t have any written plans for a coffee can egg candler. However you can cut a small hole in the side of the coffee can and attach a light bulb fixture (porcelain usually) to the top.
- OR Check out this PDF on a homemade egg candler from HomeMade: 101 Easy-to-Make Things For Your Garden, Home, or Farm by Ken Braren & Roger Griffith
Egg Labeling Requirements
2-3506. Graded eggs; designation of size and quality; unlawful acts.
It shall be unlawful to prepare, pack, place, deliver for shipment, deliver for sale, load, ship, transport, or sell graded eggs in bulk or in containers and subcontainers unless each container or subcontainer of such eggs is marked with the full, correct, and unabbreviated designation of size and quality of the eggs therein in accordance with the standards prescribed in the Nebraska Graded Egg Act and the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated under the act.
2-3507. Shell eggs; sale without designation of quality grade and weight classification; unlawful.
It shall be unlawful to sell any carton or container of shell eggs to the consumer that does not have imprinted on each carton or container in letters not less than three-eighths inch in height the quality grade and weight classification designations established pursuant to the Nebraska Graded Egg Act.
2-3508. Shell eggs; labeling requirements.It shall be unlawful to sell any carton or container of shell eggs to the consumer that does not have imprinted on each carton or container, in a conspicuous manner, (1) the name of the distributor or packer and (2) the official code number identifying the packer of the eggs used by plants under federal supervision, the state identification number assigned under the federal Egg Products Inspection Act, 21 U.S.C. 1031 et seq., or a code number assigned by the director under the Nebraska Graded Egg Act. Applications for code numbers to be assigned by the director may be made to the department upon forms provided for that purpose. N-xxxx
2-3509. Shell eggs; sale without designation of date packed; unlawful.
It shall be unlawful to sell shell eggs in any carton or container which fails to show the date of the year on which the eggs were packed.
2-3510. Shell eggs; sale without invoice; unlawful.
It shall be unlawful to sell shell eggs to a retailer or food purveyor without furnishing an invoice showing the quality grade and weight classification designations established pursuant to the Nebraska Graded Egg Act.
NOTE: Cartons without the Safe Food Handling Statement. Cartons and other containers of shell eggs shall bear a Safe Food Handling Statement alerting consumers to properly store and refrigerate eggs.
Nebraska Meat Goats, Dairy Goats & Sheep
Western Nebraska Sheep and Goat Association: The Western Nebraska Sheep and Goat Association mission is to support, improve and strengthen the Western Nebraska's sheep and goat Ag community and it's infrastructure, through education, networking and marketing programs.
Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers: The Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers is a domestic livestock association formed to foster, support, protect, and promote the best interests of the sheep and goat producers in the State of Nebraska and the United States of America.
Nebraska Dairy Goat Association: The NDGA was founded in 1982 during a 2-day gathering of goat people from across the state. We have established ourselves as a non-porfit corporation, complete with by-laws and a governing board of directors. Our mission is to promote all aspects of the goat industry (meat, milk, fiber and fun), to act as a center of communication among goat raisers in the area, and to circulate information beneficial to all goat producers.
Goat Milk for Food Allergies: Though cross-reactivity can happen, many people who are allergic to cow’s milk find that they can drink and eat dairy products made from goat milk. The reason is, each species has slightly different proteins in their milk and, of those that are the same, different proportions.
American Dairy Goat Association: The American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) was organized in 1904 to collect, record and preserve the pedigrees of dairy goats and to provide genetic, management and related services to dairy goat breeders.
American Goat Society: Today, AGS remains committed to serving its members and the dairy goat industry through programs that focus on the functionality of the dairy goat in all its shapes and sizes.
American Goat Federation: The American Goat Federation promotes and facilitates the development of all segments of the goat industry including dairy, meat and fiber, by encouraging sound public policy, enhancing production and marketing of goat products, and promoting research beneficial to our member organizations and all producers.
American Sheep Industry Association: ASI is the national organization representing the interests of more than 82,000 sheep producers located throughout the United States. From East to West, farm flocks to range operations, ASI works to represent the interests of all producers.
Nebraska Llama Association: Our purpose is to engage in activities related to the education of the public in the many uses of llamas; to further educate members in the care, training and welfare of llamas; and to broaden the market base for llamas by promoting and encouraging the sale of llamas as pets, packers, livestock guardians, breeding stock, show animals and as an alternate source of wool.
Bees, Birds, Fish, & Backyard Critters
Nebraska Statewide Arboretum an excellent recent publication on sustainable landscapes and attracting wildlife to your yard. You can read this online by enlarging it to full screen (first button lower left) and flipping the "pages," or you can also print it out. Great information!
Beekeeping & Apiculture by UNL More information on workshops, training seminars and associations.
National Honey Board: The National Honey Board (NHB), through its staff in Firestone, Colorado, conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets for honey. The Board’s work, funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey, is designed to lift the awareness and use of honey by consumers, the foodservice industry and food manufacturers.
Nebraska Fish & Game Association: Community, Involvement, Education
Safety In Production
Safety and health are always important whether growing local foods is your main enterprise or a hobby, if you are purchasing local foods for the first time, or are a long-standing customer.
- For the farmer or producer there are guidelines and recommendations for learning the best practices for preventative safety in production and selling.
- As a consumer of local foods, take a look at the helpful hints and tips for cooking, preparing, preserving and serving local foods.
- What to look for and how to purchase and handle the best local foods at farmers' markets, temporary food vendors, restaurants and grocery stores.
UNL Extension -Flood Resources: Important information on how to practice basic food safety before and after floods and flood recovery information.
Lincoln Lancaster Health Department: Information on selling and needed permits for growers and bakers.
Nebraska Department of Agriculture
- Animal Health Protection Laws & Regulations
- Food Safety & Consumer Protection-Dairy Licensing, Permits & Registrations
- Nebraska Milk Act
Several resources are included in the How to Grow Your Own Food - Gardening section that also may be helpful in growing fruits and vegetables for a farmers’ market.
A checklist for Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) is available through the UNL Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, Good Agricultural Practices for Food Safety of Fresh Produce, NebGuide G2020 printable PDF version
Egg Cleaning Procedures for the Backyard Flock NebGuide G1724
This publication provides guidance on washing eggs for eating rather than hatching.
Video: Calculating Paddock Size on Organic Dairy Pastures. This video demonstrates how to calculate paddock size and stocking rates for pastures an organic dairy farm. Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting, and Amanda Gervais, University of Vermont Extension
Raising Beef-A Nebraska Tradition: This video offers a first hand look at beef production in Nebraska through several first hand accounts of Nebraska ranchers and beef producers. Check out Nebraska Beef Council's YouTube Channel for more videos about Nebraska Beef.
I am Angus by RFD-TV: Tells the stories of all those who are affected by the Angus breed of cattle.To see all the segments of "I am Angus" on RFD-TV visit their website
Nebraska Pork Producers Association This video portrays Rebekah Spader learning how to give an ultrasound to a gilt. Rebekah will be participating in similar video blogs to show all of us the process of pregnancy and how piglets grow from birth to adult.
Information for Kids
Kid's Korner - Facts About Cows: "(1) Cows are referred to as the foster mothers of the human race because they produce most of the milk that people drink. (2) The first cow in America arrived in Jamestown colony in 1611. Until the 1850's, nearly every family had its own cow. The first regular shipment of milk by railroad was between Orange County, New York, and New York City and began in 1841."
Kid's Korner - Facts About Dairy Products: "(1) Milk is sometimes called nature's most nearly perfect food. (2) The best sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, and cheese. About 72% of the calcium in the U.S. food supply comes from dairy foods. (3) These foods also provide protein and several other important nutrients."