Veteran Farmer Conference to be Held in Nebraska

(HASTINGS, Neb.) – The registration deadline is approaching for Answering the Call, a one-day conference for military veterans who are farming or who are interested in farming, on Saturday, March 24, at the Hall Student Union on the campus of Central Community College, 550 Technical Blvd., Hastings, Nebraska.

The event is free; registration is required by March 16. Answering the Call is sponsored by Center for Rural Affairs and Legal Aid of Nebraska.

“The conference is an opportunity for veterans to connect with fellow former service members,” said Cora Fox, policy program associate at Center for Rural Affairs. “Veterans can see firsthand how other veterans have translated the duty and drive of military life into a second career on the farm.”

The day will begin at 9 AM with networking and an opportunity to connect with agriculture and veterans services organizations. Nebraska Sens. Sue Crawford, of Bellevue, and Tom Brewer, of Gordon, will open the conference, followed by a presentation by Brad Dirksen, of the Nebraska Department of Education, on veteran on-the-job training and apprenticeship opportunities.

Attendees may then attend a session on farm and ranch diversification. Speaking will be Lt. Col. Anthony and Mariel Barreras of Barreras Family Farm, Tyler Peters of Farm Credit Services, and Krista Dittman of the Center for Rural Affairs Advisory Board.

Following lunch, attendees will be able to attend panel sessions. Agritourism and ecotourism will be the topics of conversation with Karen Kollars and Alex Duryea, of the Nebraska Tourism Commission. Brent Hoops, an Army veteran and owner of Good Earth Farms, Shanda Spurgeon of the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Greg Reisdorff of the Farm Services Agency will host a panel discussion on conversation practices and operation diversification. The conference will conclude with round table discussions and networking.

“There is a camaraderie in agriculture that is similar to life in military service,” Fox said. “This conference seeks to foster the network of veterans in farming and ranching and encourage them to share experiences and ideas as they grow and diversify their operations.”

Spots are filling quickly. Registration is open to residents of any state. For more information and to register, call 402-687-2100 ext. 1012 or visit www.cfra.org/AnsweringTheCall.

Additional support for Answering the Call is provided by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Credit Services of America Working Here Fund, Nebraska Tourism Commission, and Central Community College Veterans and Military Resource Center.

June 29th: On This Day

On this day in 1984, Bruce Springsteen kicked off the first leg of his Born in the U.S.A Tour with a three night run at the Civic Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Springsteen would play a total of 156 shows ending on October 2, 1985, in Los Angeles.

The tour was to support the Born in the U.S.A. album, which was inside the top 10 of the Billboard 200 during the entire tour. Springsteen played the album in its entirety during the tour. His previous album, Nebraska, was also played in full, as it did not have a tour to promote it.

It was his longest and most successful tour to date and grossed $80–90 million overall.

College Football Playoff Rankings: Washington In Top Four, LSU Plummets

Battling with election night in the United States, the second release of the College Football Playoff Rankings gave us all a break from the political banter on Tuesday night.

Alabama remained the No. 1 team in the nation per the CFP Selection Committee, while Clemson held pat at No. 2, Michigan stayed at No. 3 and Washington earned its rightful spot at No. 4. Ohio State, which some believed had a chance to crack the top four, and Louisville were the first two out.

The battle for No. 4 came down to Washington and Ohio State. That was presumably a close call for No. 5 last week, too. The Huskies came out on top this week, but in the long term, Ohio State will finish ahead of Washington if both win out.

Should that happen, the Buckeyes will have played and beaten Michigan and likely Wisconsin again to get to 12-1. Washington, which has a schedule that is considerably worse than Ohio State’s already, won’t be able to match either of those opponents.

The good news for the Huskies is that if they finish 13-0 and as the Pac-12 champion, there is no way the loser of the Ohio State-Michigan game stays ahead of them.

Washington could be this year’s version of Florida State from the first College Football Playoff season of 2014. The Seminoles were the only undefeated team that year but finished fourth in the rankings. Some wondered if they would make it at all. I believe, though, that the committee will not leave out an undefeated major conference team as long as there aren’t five of them. I don’t think Washington will be the first.

Let’s check out the entire top 25 of the and then discuss some of the surprises lower down in the rankings.

1. Alabama (9-0)
2. Clemson (9-0)
3. Michigan (9-0)
4. Washington (9-0)
5. Ohio State (8-1)
6. Louisville (8-1)
7. Wisconsin (7-2)
8. Texas A&M (7-2)
9. Auburn (7-2)
10. Penn State (7-2)
11. Oklahoma (7-2)
12. Colorado (7-2)
13. Oklahoma State (7-2)
14. Virginia Tech (7-2)
15. Utah (7-2)
16. West Virginia (7-1)
17. North Carolina (7-2)
18. Florida State (6-3)
19. Nebraska (7-2)
20. USC (6-3)
21. Western Michigan (9-0)
22. Boise State (8-1)
23. Washington State (7-2)
24. LSU (5-3)
25. Arkansas (6-3)

LSU fell 11 spots to No. 24 after a valiant effort against No. 1 Alabama. However, this feels like a correction. The Tigers were probably too high last week. Their best win is either Ole Miss or Southern Miss, both of which were played in Baton Rouge.

Nebraska got hammered, too, falling from No. 10 to No. 19, and I would guess that the committee felt that Ohio State exposed the Cornhuskers. Like LSU, there isn’t much in the quality win department for Nebraska. It has beaten Wyoming at home and won at Indiana. That’s not much to write home about.

The biggest drop was Florida, which fell out of the rankings entirely after being ranked No. 11 last week. The Gators fell to Arkansas in a game that wasn’t terribly competitive. The Hogs are No. 25 this week, despite having one more loss than Florida, so obviously that head-to-head result meant something to the committee.

One team that jumped up for no obvious reason was USC. The Trojans came out of nowhere to land in the No. 20 spot in the rankings. USC downed Oregon at home last week, which isn’t usually the kind of thing that moves the meter unless a bunch of teams ahead of them lose or play worse opponents. That didn’t happen, so this also feels like a correction from last week to some degree.

Utah seems to have had a bad week off because they were jumped by Oklahoma State (beat Kansas State) and Virginia Tech (won at Duke).

Story provided by Jerry Palm

2016 Big Ten Expert Picks: Overrated, Underrated, Predicted Order Of Finish

The CBS Sports college football staff is laying it all on the line ahead of the season, calling out each of our most overrated and underrated teams, making a bold prediction and predicting the order of finish for each of the Big Ten’s divisions.

Let’s take a look. You can also check out our Big Ten superlatives and awards.

Most overrated team

Michigan: It’s not that I think Michigan will be bad, I just feel we’re christening them as a great team too quickly. We don’t know who its quarterback is yet, and last year’s offense was pretty mediocre overall, particularly the run game. Throw in road games against Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa, and I think this is a very good team, but not a great team just yet. — Tom Fornelli (In agreement: Dennis Dodd, Jerry Palm)

Wisconsin: The Badgers, often picked second in the Big Ten West, went 10-3 in 2015 but avoided playing Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State. They draw all three this year plus play LSU for what amounts to the biggest schedule jump in the country, according to Phil Steele. And Dave Aranda is now LSU’s defensive coordinator, not Wisconsin’s. — Jon Solomon

Minnesota: There is nothing but love for Jerry Kill, Tracy Claeys and a Minnesota team that has provided tons of inspiring moments for college football fans over the last couple of years. But this year, I’m not buying Minnesota as a dark horse team in the Big Ten West. The schedule is favorable and a bowl game is in reach, but there’s not enough continuity to bank on the Gophers knocking off the likes of Iowa, Northwestern, Nebraska and Wisconsin. — Chip Patterson

Michigan State: I just think Michigan State will take a step back in 2016 with the departures of Connor Cook, Jack Conklin and Jack Allen from the offense. Cook wasreally good and stepped up in key spots for the Spartans, like against Michigan last year, and Conklin and Allen are going to be tough to replace up front. This isn’t to say Sparty can’t win eight or nine games, but I think they’ll slide to third in the division this year behind the Buckeyes and Wolverines. — Robby Kalland

Ohio State: Something doesn’t feel totally right about naming Ohio State as the most overrated choice when the Buckeyes have recruited as well as anyone. Plus, you know, they have Urban Meyer as a coach and J.T. Barrett as a quarterback. Still, Ohio State lost 12 players to the NFL draft, plus another three who went undrafted. It’s so hard to replace that many key contributors and not take at least a little step back. — Ben Kercheval

Most underrated team

Northwestern: Northwestern has the top returning rusher in the Big Ten in Justin Jackson and a solid front seven, led by CBS Sports Preseason All-American linebacker Anthony Walker. The schedule isn’t favorable, but no coach gets more out of his guys than Pat Fitzgerald. — Jerry Palm (In agreement: Jon Solomon, Robby Kalland)

Michigan State: No one is talking about the defending champs. Fifth-year senior quarterback Tyler O’Connor helped beat the Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio. Three offensive linemen return. The Spartans will knock your socks off. Get ready, the Big Ten title will not be relinquished without a fight. The Spartans get Ohio State and Michigan at home. — Dennis Dodd

Nebraska: Too many people are writing Nebraska off after a 6-7 season, which I understand, but that record is misleading. Of those seven losses, the largest deficit was 10 points and many of the losses came in the final minute (or even seconds). The Huskers will bounce back and give Iowa a challenge this season. — Tom Fornelli

Minnesota: Minnesota benefits from its schedule as much as anyone in college football — no Michigan, no Ohio State, no Michigan State. There are some tough road games — at Penn State, at Nebraska, at Wisconsin — but get even one of those and this team is looking at nine wins. With a veteran quarterback and tough defense, the Gophers are going to give teams hell. — Ben Kercheval

Michigan: Michigan’s schedule isn’t favorable. The draw includes road trips to Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State in a one-month run that will certainly determine whether Jim Harbaugh’s second Wolverines team meets those surging expectations. In Urban Meyer’s second season with the Buckeyes (2013), a team with instant-impact talent won 12 games before finally falling in the Big Ten title game. It’s Harbaugh’s second season with Wolverines, and there’s definitely instant-impact talent on the roster. If Michigan can beat out Ohio State and Michigan State and win the division, a conference title and playoff bid should follow. This team won’t fall short, but getting there will likely come down to the tiebreakers. — Chip Patterson

Bold Big Ten prediction

Dennis Dodd: With both games at home, Michigan State will beat Michigan or Ohio State — or both.

Jon Solomon: Urban Meyer will get his young and talented team to win the East, but the Buckeyes will be upset by more experienced Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game as the hungry Hawkeyes will redeem last year’s Big Ten title loss.

Jerry Palm: The Big Ten will get left out of the College Football Playoff this year.

Tom Fornelli: Maryland will finish ahead of Penn State in the East.

Chip Patterson: Northwestern will win the West.

Robby Kalland: Michigan State will lose four games for the first time since 2012.

Ben Kercheval: Despite winning the Big Ten East, Michigan will extend its losing streak to Ohio State.

Predicted order of finish

East Division
West Division

Story provided by CBS Sports Staff

Police Investigating Report Of Rape At Nebraska QB Armstrong’s Home

Police in Lincoln are investigating an alleged rape that reportedly took place between 2:15 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. at the Lincoln home of Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong and wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp.

According to the Omaha World-Herald, a 20-year-old woman showed up to a Lincoln hospital around 2:30 p.m. Sunday and reported the alleged assault. The woman said she knew the suspect and the suspect has been contacted, but no arrests have been made, according to police officer Katie Flood.

Armstrong told the World-Herald that he, Westerkamp and fellow Nebraska player Trey Foster were all interviewed by police Sunday, but did not indicate who the woman was allegedly with or if she was at the house that night.

“After talking to us, [the police] said you guys should be fine,” Armstrong said to the Omaha World-Herald.

“I don’t know why [the alleged victim] said that,” Armstrong said. “We’re confused about the whole situation. From what we’re hearing, everything was consensual.”

Armstrong said he and his teammates returned home at 12:30 a.m. Sunday and were partying following the Huskers’ road win over Rutgers.

The Nebraska athletic department said it is cooperating with the investigation, but has no further comment at this time on the alleged incident.

Story provided by Robby Kalland


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