Tag Archives: Nebraska

Based on May 1 conditions, Nebraska’s 2019 winter wheat crop is forecast at 50.0 million bushels, up 1 percent from last year’s crop, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average yield is forecast at 50 bushels per acre, up 1 bushels from last year.

Acreage to be harvested for grain is estimated at 1,000,000 acres, down 10,000 acres from last year. This would be 91 percent of the planted acres, below last year’s 92 percent harvested.

 

US Winter Wheat Production Up 7 Percent from 2018

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.27 billion bushels, up 7 percent from 2018. As of May 1, the United States yield is forecast at 50.3 bushels per acre, up 2.4 bushels from last year’s average yield of 47.9 bushels per acre.

Hard Red Winter production, at 780 million bushels, is up 18 percent from a year ago. Soft Red Winter, at 265 million bushels, is down 7 percent from 2018. White Winter, at 224 million bushels, is down 5 percent from last year. Of the White Winter production, 22.3 million bushels are Hard White and 201 million bushels are Soft White.

 

A new report says a nearly $200 million decline in Nebraska’s agricultural exports in 2017 was driven by President Donald Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on U.S. trading partners.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau report attributes the drop to decreases in soybean and corn exports, while beef and pork exports both increased in 2017.

The bureau’s senior economist, Jay Rempe, says Trump’s talks of tariffs in January 2017 caused a decline in soybean and other commodity prices. Rempe points out that China’s retaliatory tariffs didn’t occur until May 2018.

The findings come as Trump imposed his latest tariff hike on Chinese goods Friday. Beijing vowed retaliatory measures.

Rempe says Nebraska’s agricultural community will continue to face pressure unless the administration resolves its trade disputes with China, Mexico and other countries.

LINCOLN, NEB. – A legislative proposal to make fundamental changes in the way Nebraska funds K-12 schools and in the process deliver an estimated $500 million in property tax relief has earned the support of several Nebraska agriculture organizations. The groups announced their support leading into first round legislative debate on LB 289, a bill advanced by the Legislature’s Revenue Committee.

 

“LB 289 provides much needed fundamental reforms to help break the cycle of overreliance on property taxes for funding K-12 education,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “This is no property tax band-aid. We’re talking about major tax and education funding reform, the likes of which we have not seen from the Legislature in a long, long time.”

 

The groups’ support for the bill is founded in the fact it addresses two major issues, specifically the state’s overreliance on property taxes for funding K-12 education and the state’s failure to provide funding to help cover education costs for all K-12 students.

 

“Today the state picks up the majority education funding costs for students in some school districts, while doing little to nothing to help cover the costs of education for others. The state clearly has a responsibility to help all our students no matter where they live, or the school they attend. LB 289 would help achieve that,” said Robert Johnston, Nebraska Soybean Association president.

 

LB 289 would address student funding inequities by establishing per-student Foundation aid for every school in the state. In addition, the bill would establish a minimum aid guarantee to ensure one-third of an individual school’s needs are covered by the state.

 

The bill tackles the overreliance on property taxes to fund schools by replacing those dollars with new sources of revenue, including elimination of numerous service-based sales tax exemptions, increasing state’s sales tax rate, increasing cigarette taxes, and eliminating the state’s personal property tax exemption among other items.

 

“Nebraska’s three-legged tax stool of property, sales, and income taxes has long been out of balance with property taxes being a major contributor to funding state priorities. LB 289 will help better balance our tax system by increase the sales tax contribution, while offsetting reductions in property taxes used for school funding,” said Dan Nerud, Nebraska Corn Growers Association president.

 

When fully implemented, LB 289 would lower Nebraskans property tax bills anywhere between seven to 20 percent, with Nebraskans seeing reductions in taxes paid for schools in the range of 15 to 40 percent, depending on the school district where their property is located.

 

“LB 289 puts Nebraska on the right track for funding our schools and in the process delivers significant property tax relief for all Nebraskans. This is not the state’s largest tax increase as the Governor and others have suggested, but rather, this bill reflects one of the largest property tax reductions in our state’s history,” said Tim Chancellor, Nebraska Pork Producers Association president.

 

To help ensure the new revenues generated under the bill translate into property tax relief, LB 289 contains measures to slow growth in school spending by limiting growth in schools’ budget authority to the Consumer Price Index or between 0 – 2.5 percent. In addition to limiting school spending, there are several other benefits associated with the bill, including the timeframe in which property tax relief is delivered.

 

“LB 289 would start providing property tax relief in fiscal year 2019-20. This isn’t a drawn-out phase-in of relief. The property tax relief in this bill would start immediately and with the key structural changes, continue to deliver relief every year thereafter,” said Mike Guenther, Nebraska State Dairy Association vice-president.

 

According to the groups, the bill also provides a solution to the issue of runaway property tax bills when land valuations climb. Much like they did in the recent past on agricultural land valuation increases.

 

“By the state taking on responsibility for covering one-third of a school districts funding needs, LB 289 is helping prevent jumps in property valuations from instantly translating into massive increases in property taxes on property owners, regardless if it is residential, commercial, or agricultural property,” said Mark Spurgin, Nebraska Wheat Growers Association president.

 

According the organizations, the choice facing Nebraska lawmakers is very clear.

 

“This bill will deliver the much-needed school funding reform and tax relief that Nebraskans have been asking for. You’d be hard pressed to find a state senator who hasn’t said property taxes are the number one issue they hear about from constituents. All our groups agree that the time to fix these issues is now and the solution is before the Legislature. From our perspective, a “YES” vote for LB 289 is a vote for property tax relief and a vote in support of Nebraska property taxpayers. A “NO” vote on LB 289 is nothing short of a vote against Nebraska’s property taxpayers,” said Steve Nelson.

LINCOLN, NE May 2, 2019 – Nebraska farmers and ranchers impacted by the “Bomb Cyclone” and raging flood waters this spring are working hard on cleaning up and assessing the damages to their ag operations.

One of the more significant losses experienced by landowners has been the death of livestock. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has financial assistance available to help landowners cope with the aftermath of livestock losses.

Through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program – commonly referred to as EQIP farmers and ranchers can apply for financial assistance to properly dispose of dead livestock. Applications are being accepted now through July 1. This is an extension of the original sign up periods announced immediately following the flooding/blizzard.

NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “We want to ensure this assistance continues to be available to producers still dealing with the aftermath of this unprecedented and devastating event for Nebraska. NRCS conservationists are available to provide technical and financial assistance to help producers dispose of livestock carcasses in a safe manner.”

Producers who have not already disposed of livestock can apply for EQIP now. Producers can then get a waiver to allow them to begin working to dispose of deceased livestock before having an approved EQIP contract.

“Typically, producers cannot begin working on an EQIP practice before their EQIP contract has been approved. But since this situation is so time-critical, NRCS is encouraging producers to sign up for EQIP first, then submit a waiver to go ahead and begin animal disposal prior to having their EQIP contract approved,” Derickson said.

Producers in the area who suffered other damages due to the blizzard and flooding – such as damaged fencing, water sources, or windbreaks – may also seek assistance from NRCS through general EQIP funding. The sign-up period for general EQIP is continuous and has no cut off application date.

Derickson said, “NRCS is committed to helping producers get back on their feet after these extreme weather events while also ensuring Nebraska’s natural environment remains healthy and productive.”

For more information about the programs and assistance available from NRCS, visit your local USDA Service Center or www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov.

LINCOLN, NEB. – Elected leaders of Nebraska’s agricultural organizations thanked members of the Legislature’s Revenue, Education, and Retirement Committees for their efforts to find a solution to high property taxes in Nebraska, but urged lawmakers to avoid repurposing dollars from the state’s Property Tax Credit Fund as a means to fund the Revenue Committee’s new property tax relief proposal. The request was made in testimony during an April 24 hearing on an amendment to the Revenue Committee’s LB 289.

 

Ken Herz, a rancher from Lawrence, provided testimony on behalf of the Agriculture Leaders Working Group representing the member-elected leaders from the Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Soybean Association, Nebraska State Dairy Association, and Nebraska Wheat Growers Association.

 

The Property Tax Credit Fund is a state fund that provides $224 million in property tax relief to Nebraska taxpayers on an annual basis. The amendment to LB 289 would take the $224 million from the Property Tax Credit Fund and use it to help pay for a new Revenue Committee proposal estimated to provide an additional $412 million in property tax relief above and beyond the $224 million delivered through the Property Tax Credit Fund.  The Revenue Committee’s amendment to LB 289 would lower valuations for commercial, residential, and agricultural lands, provide foundation aid to schools, provide for a minimum state aid guarantee based on a school’s needs in the state aid formula, and lower the local effort rate for schools, among other provisions.

 

In urging the committees to leave the Property Tax Credit Fund intact, the Agriculture Leaders asked the committees to look at alternative ways to fund the Revenue Committee’s new property tax relief proposal, noting the amendment already included provisions to increase the state’s sales tax rate and to broaden the state’s sales tax base by eliminating sales tax exemptions.

 

The Agriculture Leaders continues to offer support for both increasing the state sales tax rate and broadening the sales tax base as a way to offset property tax reductions and provide a means for the state to take on greater financial responsibility for providing state funding to all of Nebraska’s K-12 schools.

Since 1999, the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center has provided technical assistance, education and training to groups who are developing or are considering the development of a cooperatively owned business. The primary objective has been and is to improve the economic condition of rural areas through cooperative business development. NCDC continues to be committed to working with communities and organizations from idea formation to implementation.

NCDC - celebrating 20 years

As we reflect on the 20th year of the Center, this article revisits the cooperative model. Often in economics, cooperatives are described as formed for a market failure. That may be the case, but that failure creates an opportunity to work together. Working together is a Nebraska way of doing things. The flood has emphasized that and the Nebraska Strong slogan. The model in rural communities may be the best solution and approach regardless of the situation.

Many in rural Nebraska are familiar with agricultural cooperatives. The most common types are marketing and supply cooperatives. A marketing cooperative may focus on bargaining, grading, transporting, processing, distribution, research and product development. The Nebraska Cooperative Council highlights other types of agricultural cooperatives such as service or regional cooperatives. These cooperatives have been successful at meeting the needs of its members. Meeting the needs of its members is a key tenant of the cooperative model.

Have you considered how your community or industry can apply the cooperative model?

Cooperatives are generally created for the following reasons:

  • To provide a service or need in the community
  • To improve bargaining power
  • To reduce costs
  • To obtain products or services otherwise unavailable
  • To expand new and existing market opportunities
  • To increase income

The cooperative WHY is important to bring people and/or communities together to work towards a common goal.

Definition & Principles

First, a brief definition and principles to the cooperative model. By definition, a cooperative is an association of persons (organization) that is owned and controlled by the people to meet their common economic, social, and/or cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically owned business (enterprise). A cooperative is an autonomous association of person united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. (Source)

Type of Cooperatives –

Next, think of the types of cooperatives. Are you concerned that a business or service in your community will not transition into the future? Are one of these models something your community should consider?

The following are typical types of cooperatives:

  1. Retail Cooperatives. Retail cooperatives are a type of consumer cooperative which help create retail stores to benefit the consumers–making the retail our store. They allow consumers the opportunity to supply their own needs, gain bargaining power, and share earnings. NCDC recently worked in a number of communities to establish grocery cooperatives. One example, the Elwood Hometown Cooperative Market opened in 2013 after the local grocery store closed in 2012. Working together, the community invested $307,000 which included buying and remodeling the building, purchasing equipment and stocking the store with inventory.
  2. Worker Cooperatives. Members of worker cooperatives are both employees of the business as well as owners of the cooperative. Worker cooperatives have been growing across the United States. SBA is now offering money to help employee-owned business with the passage of Main Street Employee Ownership Act of 2018. The legislation which improves access to capital and technical assistance for employee-owned businesses will greatly help worker co-ops. For more information, visit a small business development center.
  3. Producer Cooperatives. Producer cooperatives are created by producers and owned and operated by producers. Examples of a producer cooperative created in Nebraska is Heartland Nuts ‘N More. This cooperative successfully opened in 2003. The main office is located in Valparaiso, Nebraska and brings together black walnut growers from Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri.
  4. Service Cooperatives. Service cooperatives are a type of consumer cooperativewhich help fill a need in the community. This can be child care, health care, etc. This is another growing cooperative in the United States. Nebraska has examples of multi-owner daycares.
  5. Housing Cooperatives – Housing cooperatives are a type of service cooperative that is growing rapidly as well. Especially in your expensive urban areas as well as in some rural areas. For example, Montana has been successful in implementing this type of model. NCDC is learning more about the process to see if it may be feasible in Nebraska. For more information on the benefits and structures of housing, cooperatives check out this Housing Cooperatives PDF by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives.

Visit the NCDC site for more information on the types of cooperatives.

In review, the cooperative model is about members solving their own problems. It is –

  • Collective ownership – not self-interest
  • Collective control
  • Members contribute financially
  • Democratic governance
  • Member Participation — cooperatives are used by members, owned by members.

To better understand the NCDC impacts, a longitudinal survey will be conducted in May 2019. In addition to impacts, we want to follow-up with past participants to understand successes, potential opportunities and how we can better serve.

Over the last twenty years, NCDC has worked with well over 100 businesses. During 2018 Jim Crandall retired and early 2019 Elaine Cranford left to focus on family and business. Jim has been with NCDC since its inception and Elaine for the majority of the time. NCDC will miss their combined expertise and vision for Cooperative Development in Nebraska. Thank you to Jim and Elaine.

As we look to the next 20 years, NCDC will continue to focus on assisting rural communities with developing cooperatively owned businesses. Cindy Houlden, Skylar Falter and Charlotte Narjes will be working together to build upon past successes. Skylar will be working with us soon on helping those working in the area of local foods to explore multi-ownership opportunities.

Nebraska:  Milk production in Nebraska during the January-March 2019 quarter totaled 357 million pounds, down 2 percent from the January-March quarter last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 59,000 head, 1,000 head less than the same period last year.

Kansas:  Milk production in Kansas during March 2019 totaled 328 million pounds, up 3 percent from March 2018, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 164,000 head, 7,000 head more than March 2018. Milk production per cow averaged 2,000 pounds.

Access the National publication for this release at:

https://usda.library.cornell.edu/concern/publications/h989r321c

Find agricultural statistics for your county, State, and the Nation at www.nass.usda.gov

Senators from states that are still recovering from natural disasters met with President Trump at the White House to talk about stalled disaster aid.

The House passed a bill that failed to advance in the Senate. Politico says the legislation has been bogged down for months over a dispute about U.S. aid to Puerto Rico. Roll Call Dot Com says Hurricane Maria battered the island in 2017 and Congress set aside billions of dollars in assistance. However, some $20 billion in rebuilding aid hasn’t been spent yet and President Trump has accused Puerto Rico officials of mismanaging the aid. Senate Republicans have introduced a $13 billion aid package, which includes $600 million in additional assistance to Puerto Rico. Democrats want an additional $462 million for the long-term rebuilding of the country.

House Democrats introduced a $17.2 billion bill last week that builds on the House version while adding an additional $3 billion to help Midwest flooding victims recover. Another winter storm dumped heavy snow on parts of the Plains and the Midwest last week. At one point, almost 90,000 people were without power in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The additional precipitation and snow melt could cause another surge in the Missouri River after severe flooding swamped farmlands and grain storage sites last month.

LINCOLN, Neb. – The major disaster declaration for the State of Nebraska has been amended to authorize Public Assistance (PA) grants for 50 counties to help pay for repair and replacement of public facilities damaged as a result of the March winter storm and flooding.

Previously 65 counties and five tribal nations were approved for Public Assistance grants to reimburse the cost of emergency services and debris removal, including direct federal assistance (Categories A-B). Damage assessments are continuing and more counties and tribal nations may be designated for additional reimbursement for public facilities (Categories C-G). These facilities include roads and bridges, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, utilities, parks and recreational areas,

The following are now eligible for Categories C-G at a federal cost share of not less than 75 percent:

Adams, Antelope, Blaine, Boone, Box Butte, Boyd, Buffalo, Burt, Butler, Cass, Cedar, Colfax, Cuming, Custer, Dakota, Dixon, Dodge, Douglas, Fillmore, Frontier, Furnas, Gage, Garfield, Gosper, Greeley, Hall, Holt, Howard, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lancaster, Logan, Loup, Madison, Morrill, Nance, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Pierce, Platte, Richardson, Saline, Sarpy, Sherman, Valley, Wayne, Washington and Wheeler Counties.

LINCOLN, Neb. – With recent storms and significant flooding impacting much of the state, Nebraska Corn is thankful for the outpouring of support at the local and national levels and said there are still opportunities for farmers to help in relief efforts.

During their next visit to their local grain elevators, farmers can donate proceeds from their grain sales to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund or the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. At the farmers’ discretion, grain elevators across the state will be able to collect and disperse the donations to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation or the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. Both of these disaster assistance programs are designed to help local farmers and ranchers by providing 100% of donations to those who need them the most.

“Farmers often help out neighbors in need,” said Dan Nerud, farmer from Dorchester and president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “These relief programs are great ways to extend the generosity of our producers. Farmers can simply deliver grain to their local elevator and designate the entire load or a percentage of the load to relief efforts. Farmers will get a receipt for their contribution and 100% of the dollars from the sale of that grain will go to help their neighbors in need.”

Interested donors can also help rural farmers and ranchers by making direct donations to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation or the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. Checks can be sent to the following addresses:

Make checks payable to: Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation

Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation
Attn: Disaster Relief Fund
P.O. Box 80299
Lincoln, NE 68501-0299
Make checks payable to: Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund

Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund
4611 Cattle Drive
Lincoln, NE 68521

“Recent storms and flood waters have been devastating, and it’s difficult to imagine what impacted farmers, ranchers and rural residents are going through,” said David Bruntz, farmer from Friend and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Fortunately, those involved in agriculture help those who are down on their luck. It’s impossible to undo what has happened, but when we all come together, we can make the devastation easier for many Nebraska families. We appreciate everyone’s efforts and contributions in keeping #NebraskaStrong.”