Tag Archives: Nebraska

The last few weeks of price moves have changed the market outlook and put more spring in the step of Iowa farmers who have gotten their crops in.

Until recently, trade was the topic du jour for farmers worried about low prices and the market for their crops. The wet spring, floods and prospects for record prevented planting acres have changed the tenor of conversations, said Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

“The outlook for the producers was about trade, the tariff issue, and all of these question marks were out there,” Hill said. “With the spring we’ve had, there has been a complete paradigm shift.”

On Friday, Hill was watching the July corn contract, which closed at $4.53 Friday, and the December contract. Hill thinks the markets will remain uncertain over production and how the wet spring will affect yield.

“I think the market has a ways to go up yet, because I think we have destroyed a lot of yield,” Hill said. “The farmer in me, you know it seems like in wet years, you destroy your root system and lose nitrogen. It can have a more devastating effect than in dry years.”

DTN’s National Corn Index settled at $4.20 on Thursday, the highest level in five years. It may not have peaked, either, said DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman. There are a lot of doubts about whether USDA went low enough with its estimate for 1.675 billion bushels of ending stocks for the 2019-20 corn crop.

“My best guess is corn price is going to keep going higher because we haven’t seen credible ending stock estimates for corn yet,” Hultman said.

Hultman said USDA likely would continue moving down to a 1.4 billion- to 1.5 billion-bushel ending stocks estimate. A breaking point that could drive even more market reaction would be stocks under 1.2 billion bushels. “That’s kind of a critical level for prices,” Hultman said.

USDA’s price outlook released in February showed a decade of low prices going forward. “Net farm income was going to be dismal,” Hill pointed out. “So that was the paradigm we were all looking at. Now the paradigm is: How high will corn go?” Hill said. “Will it be $5? Will it be $6?”

Hill added, “It’s fun to see prices go up. It puts a little lift in your step.”

Farmers faced with prevented planting options cannot capture the opportunities of those higher prices with their insurance policies — unless USDA rules they can do so. On Monday, USDA issued a question-and-answer statement on trade assistance and disaster aid. On the question of the “harvest price option” for prevented planting, USDA stated, “USDA is currently exploring legal flexibility to provide assistance that better utilizes the harvest price in conjunction with revenue and prevent planting policies.”


Kelly Nieuwenhuis, a member of the Iowa Corn Board who farms near Primghar, Iowa, is a little more nervous about his potential production.

“We have corn we planted June 4 and 5 that just emerged. We know the hope for that is going to be marginal,” Nieuwenhuis said.

After that crop went in, Nieuwenhuis said, a quick spike in heat last week baked the topsoil. He was thankful for some showers this week that were needed for the ground despite the water deeper in the soil.

Nieuwenhuis likes the direction prices are headed, but his problems planting this spring remind him of 1993 — the great flood year in Iowa — which led to Nieuwenhuis’ worst production years for both his corn and soybeans. Late-planted crops that year were hit with a mid-September frost, and yields were dismal, he said.

“This year is matching up to that now,” he said.

Like Nieuwenhuis, Hill also made the comparison to 1993 and the poor production that year. “These prairie soils don’t perform really well with too much water.”

South of Nieuwenhuis, Nathan Anderson, who farms with his father just outside of Cherokee, Iowa, likes how his corn crop looks so far. A board member for Practical Farmers of Iowa, Anderson uses cover crops and grazes cattle to help his soil health. Despite some struggles this season, Anderson said he got some corn planted early and experienced constant hit-and-miss rains this spring.

“We were able to get a couple of days here and there to get stuff done,” he said. “We planted a couple of days in the dark, but we were able to get an early start. We were later than normal by a little bit, but not too bad given the circumstances.”

Taking advantage of the weather to do some fieldwork Thursday, Anderson said he didn’t have time to frequently check prices, but he knows markets are moving upward.

“I probably wasn’t watching it as close as I should have, but it definitely catches your attention when the market is moving like this,” Anderson said. “It’s definitely a positive for those of us who were able to get a crop into the ground. It’s nice to have something the market wants.”

For consumers of corn, such as pork producers, the shift has moved from buying corn and soybeans hand-to-mouth to now looking to secure supplies before the prices get out of hand, Hill said.


The rise in grain prices has also eased tensions in rural America over President Donald Trump’s trade agenda. Iowa farmers, in general, have supported the president. But Hill said the tensions have become like a rubber band being pulled back more and more with every economic hit to producers.

“I thought it could break, but now I think much of that tension has been relieved,” Hill said. “And I was one — it was pretty hard on me to think we were going to fight everybody in the world with renegotiation on trade to disrupt all of our relationships.”

Favorable prices, along with perhaps more long-term market support following the president’s year-round E15 sales decision, have quickly reduced some of the tension. “I think those favorability ratings are going up pretty fast,” Hill said.

Like many in the ethanol industry, Nieuwenhuis, a board member for a local ethanol plant, was pleased with the move to get E15 approved for year-round use. At the same time, Nieuwenhuis sees the president’s action being undercut by EPA’s aggressive approval of small-refinery exemptions, or hardship waivers, that have reduced ethanol use by 2.6 billion gallons over the past two years.

“We appreciate the E15 rule, but the hardship waivers are doing a lot of damage,” he said. “Those gallons need to be reallocated.”

The small-refinery exemptions may be the biggest issue concerning Nieuwenhuis, but he also wants to see the trade dispute with China resolved. Nieuwenhuis said he thinks other farmers agree China has been taking advantage of trade rules for too long. At the same time, farmers are becoming divided over the trade dispute.

“We don’t want to see our president fail,” he said. “I don’t know anybody who would want to see the president fail. In agriculture, the last thing we need to do is be divided.”

Near Rippey, Iowa, David Weaver said he is a little more concerned about political dialogue. Weaver, a Democratic state legislature candidate who lost last year, said he sees more division already in rural America because of party politics. “I’m concerned about how we treat each other. The discourse is so awful.”

Weaver also is worried about the trade battles and where soybeans are going to be sold, which is why only 25% of his acres this year went to beans.

“You kick your best customer in the shin, so if they have a chance, they are going to go somewhere else,” Weaver said. “We’re not the only ones who can grow soybeans.”

Weaver, though, also said he felt pretty lucky about his crops overall. His area in central Iowa largely avoided a lot of rains that slowed planting for most farmers. Weaver was able to get planting started in early April on the 1,800 acres he farms with his father. Weaver said planting got done in two- to three-day windows between rains.

“We’re in a pretty good spot,” Weaver said. “I think the crops in this area look pretty good.” Noting the price rally, Weaver added, “It’s a good time to be a farmer — and have your crops in.”

LINCOLN — Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman announced the creation of an International Grow Nebraska Agriculture trade team within NDA’s Ag Promotion and Development focus area. The team will be led by NDA Assistant Director Amelia Breinig.

“Trade is important to Nebraska and the creation of this trade team broadens the base of our international trade responsibilities,” said NDA Director Wellman. “NDA has always been dedicated to promoting agriculture abroad. This new trade team structure puts a renewed emphasis on international trade.”

NDA’s international trade team focuses on the sales, promotions and value-added aspects of Nebraska agricultural products in the international marketplace. Team members continue to promote new opportunities for international trade as well as support existing relationships with our current trading partners. The international trade team consists of Mark Jagels, Angel Velitchkov and Jordan Schlake.

In the area of international trade, NDA is currently working on increasing: livestock exports to South America; dry edible bean exports to Bulgaria; and pork, beef, dry edible beans and soybean exports to Vietnam. For 2019, Governor Pete Ricketts has scheduled trade missions for Vietnam and Japan in September and Germany in November. In the next year, NDA is set to host multiple delegations visiting Nebraska on reverse trade missions.

This year the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 512 which provides property tax relief to owners of real property adversely affected by natural disasters on or after January 1 and before July 1. In order to qualify, the property owner must file Form 425 with the county assessor and the county clerk on or before July 15. Click Here to be directed to the Form 425 on the Nebraska Department of Revenue’s website.

From the Department of Revenue
The Department of Revenue, Property Assessment Division, has posted a new form to the website for Report of Destroyed Real Property, Form 425, pursuant to 2019 Neb. Law LB 512.

For real property that has suffered significant damage as a result of a calamity occurring on or after January 1 and before July 1 of the current assessment year, the property owner may file the Report of Destroyed Real Property with the county assessor and the county clerk on or before July 15. The county board of equalization will consider the report to determine any adjustments to the assessed value for the current year.

Calamity means a disastrous event, including but not limited to, a fire, an earthquake, a flood, a tornado, or other natural event which significantly affects the assessed value of the property.

If you have any questions, please contact the Nebraska Department of RevenuePolicy/Legal Section of the Property Assessment Division. at (402) 471-5984

The Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation wants rural Nebraskans impacted by floods and blizzards to know that $500 grants are still available from the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline.  The grants are funded by Farm Aid, NeFU Foundation, and other donors.  For grant applications, call the Hotline at: (800) 464-0258.

If you or someone you know got hurt by the flood or blizzard and could use a little help, call the

Nebraska Rural Response Hotline. Their experienced and professional staff will help callers find the kind of assistance they need. The $500 grants are simple to apply for.  The application can be filled out over the phone, and the assistance is provided in confidence.

“First established in 1984, the Hotline is the longest continuously operating farm crisis hotline in the nation.  It is staffed by Legal Aid of Nebraska, administered by Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska, and partners with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to provide a wide range of services from mental health counseling, bookkeeping, financial counseling, legal services, and food assistance. The Council that oversees the Hotline is made up of members of the farm and faith community,” said John Hansen, who serves as NeFU Foundation Secretary and also secretary for the Rural Response Council.

“Our NeFU Foundation continues to receive donations from around the nation intended to help Nebraska farm and ranch families hurt by the late blizzard and unprecedented spring flooding. For example, the Midwest Insurance Agency agents stepped up and donated $10,000 in supplies and cash. The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska donated $2,500 to help families in their time of need. We received over $2,000 from a church in Alabama, and $900 from a tattoo parlor in Omaha. The diversity of the response is truly amazing. We absorb the administrative costs so that every dollar received is used to support flood and blizzard relief efforts.  For folks wanting to support our relief efforts, they can visit our website at www.nebraskafarmersunion.org or send checks to NeFU Foundation at 1305 Plum Street, Lincoln, NE 68502. We are asking folks to help spread the word about this program for farmers and ranchers who got clobbered by either the late blizzard or the floods,” Hansen said.

Hansen noted that in addition to the assistance available at the Hotline, the Nebraska Farm Bureau has established a Disaster Relief Fund to help support cleanup and rebuilding efforts and is available at:  www.nefb.org/disaster .  The Nebraska Cattlemen assistance program just closed applications.  All three programs do not require memberships in their organization to receive assistance. “Everyone is pitching in and helping everyone, which is the way it should be in a time of natural disaster.  For people wanting the most recent updates on rural flood relief services, programs, and activities call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture Hotline at 800-831-0550 or go to their website at:  http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/ ” Hansen concluded.

This year we travel to Minden Nebraska to follow a seed corn field on the Olson family Farm. The Olson family has farmed the same land for over a century and Stephen is using the latest in cover crops and soil testing to properly manage his soil health and fertility. Stephen is also looking towards the future and bringing the next generation back to the family farm.

Catch the podcast here: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/big-irons-fridays-in-the-field-6792.html

Click below to watch this week’s Friday in the Field video.

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.