The University of Nevada, Reno Extension office located in Churchill County is home to one community-based instructor overseeing the 4-H Program and one Administrative Assistant providing customer service to the public for programs offered by Extension. The position of Extension Educator was vacant, yet the local staff prides themselves on being responsive to the community, going the extra step to find an answer, even when it is outside the realm of their specific expertise. In addition, Extension personnel from across the state provide a variety of assistance and programs to Churchill County.
The University of Nevada, Reno Extension’s Nevada Radon Education Program offers free radon test kits during the months of January and February each year. These kits measure the radon that has accumulated in a home. On March 22, a class was offered at the Extension office in Churchill County to help the public understand the risks of radon in their home and introduce proper testing techniques, as well as answer basic questions about radon. 36 Radon Test Kits were provided in FY23.
A monthly newsletter is available for pickup at the front counter of our office in Churchill County. This newsletter provides great tips for staying healthy along with yummy recipes. Visit extension.unr.edu/Healthy-Aging to enjoy the accessible, online newsletter and discover additional Healthy Aging education and resources.
Local officials in Churchill County declared an emergency on March 2, 2023, due to the potential for flooding. A High-Water Call Center was created for residents to make non-emergency inquiries regarding high water resources and services. During the first weeks of operation, Extension staff helped answer the call center phones when needed.
In partnership with the Churchill Community Coalition (Tammie Shemenski, Executive Director), Extension developed the Navigating Your Journey curriculum which is a resiliency model for substance use prevention in adolescents. The curriculum includes lessons for two age groups 10–12-year-olds and 13-18-year-olds. The 12-weekly, 45-minute sessions is a derivative of Extension’s longstanding, evidence-based Healthy Steps to Freedom program developed for young women in recovery from substance use. Navigating Your Journey helps students build a legacy through resilience and education related to healthy body image, nutrition, physical activity, mental health, dieting and metabolism, eating pathology, deciphering marketing misinformation and the impact of social media, media literacy and technology on socio-mental health. Formal piloting of the program has not started in Churchill (to date) however, the curriculum has completed its first initial pilot in Clark County.
Soil testing is a reliable tool to learn about key characteristics of your soil and its fertility levels. To help growers determine how to amend their soil, Extension staff in Churchill County provide instructions on how to take a soil sample for analysis. In addition, we have available a list of private testing labs that can provide soil analysis services. Twenty people were provided with information.
Wildfire can threaten Nevadan communities and impact homes, property and human life. The key to minimizing the wildfire impact in Nevada is proactive communities that take steps to prepare. In May 2023 the Living With Fire Program of the University of Nevada, Reno Extension asked the Churchill Board of County Commissioners for support in getting their “Protect Our Home, Prepare for Wildfire” message out to our local community. A proclamation in support was provided.
We assist the Bureau of Land Management by providing wood cutting permits and Christmas tree tags for the public. This collaboration saves residents the drive to Carson City to obtain these permits. Maps of cutting areas and the cutting restrictions are provided with each permit. Permits for 175 Christmas trees and 56 cords of firewood were sold in FY23.
Residents come to the Extension office in Churchill County seeking information on their gardens, orchards, pastures and fields. We provide research-based answers to a variety of questions, or when needed refer them to an Extension specialist. During the FY23 staff helped to identify:
22 + Weeds and common control methods. 36 + Common plant distresses and diseases. 14 + Pests or the damage they have caused.Gave 20 people information about soil testing.Gave 100 + fact sheets and documents on various horticultural topics providing research-based information and guidance.
In March 2023, two local volunteers from Extension’s Master Gardener program began sharing their knowledge through the Extension office in Churchill County. A weekly “helpdesk” schedule was initiated, allowing them to answer gardening questions. One also contributed time to Lahontan Conservation District during their annual tree and shrub sale. They volunteered 25 + hours.
Our Master Gardeners are making plans to hold educational programs every other month in the coming year, on a variety of gardening topics. Find out the time and place by calling our office at 775-423-5121 or Facebook at University of Nevada, Reno Extension (Churchill).
University of Nevada, Reno Extension provides horticulture education classes in an online format. People from all areas of the state can participate and learn from the comfort of their home.
Our 39 volunteers continue to be the foundation of the Churchill County 4-H program. They volunteer numerous hours to better the lives of Churchill County youth. They do this by sharing their knowledge and passion for the various clubs with the youth that they lead. The goal they all share is helping the youth learn about reliability, loyalty, healthy lifestyle, leadership, and community service. These amazing leaders instruct 188 Churchill County 4-H members. Some of the members are in several clubs. These same leaders lead over 27 clubs here in Churchill County with a focus of “Making the Best Better.”
The 4-H continued working with the C.A.R.E. After School Program at the Cottage School. With a grant that the State 4-H Office received, Churchill County 4-H continued to team up with various other counties in Nevada to deliver a program titled Health Rocks! Inspired To Be Substance Free. We were able to deliver programming to 30 youth ages 5 to 14 years old. This program was well received as we taught healthy living in various aspects, such as avoiding stress in their life, have positive people around them, avoiding damaging substances, such as tobacco, alcohol, and vaping. Through the power of youth/adult partnerships, Health Rocks! instills in youth participants confidence and communication skills necessary to make responsible decisions and develop the internal strength to resist risky behavior.
Churchill County 4-H was excited to be back at the State 4-H camp at Lake Tahoe during the third week of July 2022. It had been two years since we were able to attend camp. The camp theme was Chow Down on a Mystery at 4-H Camp. Campers decorated their cabins and participated in skits using the theme. Churchill County was represented by 18 campers, 5 teen camp counselors and 6 adult chaperones. The 4-H campers learned about living with fire, animal health, constructing rockets, teambuilding and archery. Swimming each day in Lake Tahoe is always a favorite activity among all campers.
Once again Churchill County 4-H had a strong presence at the annual Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair held at the Rafter 3C Complex in August 2022. 4-H members submitted multiple entries in the Fair to be judged and awarded ribbons. Some placed very high winning Reserve Champions and Grand Champions. The outside exhibit for 4-H, showcased many different species of livestock. There were several different breeds of chickens, rabbits, hogs, sheep, goats and beef. We also invited some Belgium horses and Yaks from Churchill County to join our exhibit. As always, the animals were a huge hit with the estimated 20,000 festival goers over the three-day event. The public had the opportunity to ask questions about the various 4-H projects and 4-H members were able to share their knowledge. This is a great opportunity for our youth to gain confidence speaking and sharing the knowledge they have obtained through 4-H. One 4-Her shared that she had received an A on a presentation at school. She said, “I wasn’t afraid to stand in front of my class like some of my other classmates, because I have given presentations in my 4-H club.”
In October 2022, Churchill County hosted the Nevada State 4-H Expo. This event was open to all 4-H members in the state of Nevada. We had exhibitors from every county in Nevada attend. Most of the Expo was held at the Rafter 3C Complex. We also partnered with the Fallon Trap Club to use their facilities as well as the Stillwater Firearms Range. We are grateful for their help and support. Churchill youth had a good showing and did very well. We had several Grand or Reserve Champions and all blue ribbons. A nice job done by our youth.
Churchill County 4-H hosted our second annual Livestock Judging contest and two-day clinic in February 2023. We partnered with Oasis Future Farmers of America (FFA), Churchill FFA and Fernley FFA to hold this event. We had over 100 participants from all over northern Nevada. This event more than doubled the number of participants over year one. Churchill 4-H did very well winning many awards as well as team buckles. We look forward to our 2024 event next February.
April 27-29, 2023 the Churchill County Junior Livestock Show and Sale (CCJLS) was held in the Rafter 3C Arena. It was the first year for CCJLS to be held under leadership of Churchill County. 4-H had a strong showing with 70 exhibitors and several that were dual enrolled with FFA. Our youth did a very nice job of raising and showing their projects, thanks to the dedicated leaders that put in the time to help all. The exhibitors’ hard work paid off with many Grand and Reserve Champions in both the market and breeding shows. As always, our amazing community members and businesses attended the sale and participated in the purchase of these projects. We are grateful for all the support our community shows 4-H. One exhibitor was excited for next year. When asked why, he said, “I am already making plans to do some things differently with my animals for next year.”
University of Nevada, Reno Extension has a network of professionals that collaborate on research projects and educational programs to help agricultural producers sustain their way of life and their livelihood.
The following projects and programs directly benefited Churchill County in FY23. Extension’s state-wide field crop specialist, Maninder Walia, organized three in-the-field learning experiences for producers wanting to learn more about alternative crops growing in northern Nevada. Two of these tours were in Churchill County and one in Washoe County. For the tour on Aug 5, Walia partnered with Western States Hemp to showcase hemp crops produced for CBD, fiber, and grain. On Aug 9, she provided information learned during a research trial in partnership with Lattin Farms and Fallon Food Hub, on varieties of winter squash grown for market viability. The Aug 12 tour was again focused on hemp grown for fiber and grain at the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station in Reno. All three of these events were free to the public. 35 participants attended the three events. Extension’s Alternative Crops Program hosted seven free online classes focused on managing soil health on agricultural lands in Nevada. Topics were presented by faculty from the University of Nevada, Reno, a scientist of USDA-NRCS Soil Health Division, and a representative from a composting company. A staff member in Churchill County helped to promote and moderate this series. During the seven events 325 people logged into the classes via Zoom. 13 participants listed Churchill County as their home. A regional event for AgrAbility, a program sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture, was coordinated in conjunction with the Western Reginal Agricultural Stress Assistance Program and the University of Nevada, Reno Extension. The first 2 days of the workshop (11/29-30/23), held in Reno, focused on farm stress and mental health, adaptive tools and technology, and worksite assessment. On the third day (12/1/23) participants embarked on a guided adventure starting at Wolf Pack Meats in Washoe County and then to Lattin Farms and Frey Ranch Distillery in Churchill County, to tour agricultural operations in “The Oasis of Nevada”. Extension’s Herds and Harvest Program hosted an in-person event at Western States Hemp and the Rambling River Ranch in Fallon on September 30. The workshop focused on principles of soil heath and regenerative agriculture practices and how they can improve farm and ranch sustainability. Presentations and introductions by Nevada Division of Environmental Protection-Bureau of Water Quality Planning featured the many agencies working to improve water quality of rivers and streams. The Cattlemen’s Update was held in-person in Churchill County on January 10, at the Fallon Convention Center. This event is an annual educational program designed to provide cattle producers’ current information about important management practices and issues that may affect the efficiency, productivity, profitability, and sustainability of their businesses.
Extension, Churchill County Office111 Sheckler Rd. | Fallon, NV 89406775-423-5121
Extension's Communication Team
Brown, L, 2023, Churchill County Annual Report | Fiscal Year 2022-2023, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, County Report
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