Nebraska County Export Values . . .

 

Economic Tidbits logoInternational trade and foreign markets are critical to Nebraska agriculture.  To get a sense of which Nebraska counties are most reliant on international trade, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture has created a map showing export values by county for select commodities (see below).  Commodities included are beef and beef products, corn, dairy products, distillers grains, ethanol, pork and pork products, pulses, sorghum, soybeans and soybean products and wheat.  The map was created using 2015 Nebraska cash receipts data and attributing shares to counties based on county production data.  Platte County topped the state with export values of $245 million.  Custer, Holt, Boone and Cuming Counties fall in the next tier with export values between $125-$150 million.  Most counties in Nebraska generate at least $25 million in export values, which no doubt contributes significantly to their local economies.

The top counties stand to gain the most from increased access to foreign markets.  Free trade agreements with Mexico, Canada, Korea, Colombia and others, while benefitting all counties, have been particularly beneficial to these counties.  An analysis last year of the benefits of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) by Nebraska Farm Bureau showed many of these same counties would have benefited from the $378 million in increased receipts Nebraska was projected to receive under the agreement.  The map clearly demonstrates it is in the interest of Nebraska agriculture to continue to press for more open international markets in agricultural products.
county exports

 

Jay Rempe is the senior economist for Nebraska Farm Bureau. Rempe’s background in agricultural economics, years of experience in advocating at the state capitol, and firm grasp of issues allow him to quantify the fiscal impact of a regulatory proposal, and provide in-depth examination of key issues affecting Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Corn Salad

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Corn SaladIngredients

  • 8 Ears of Corn (olive oil, salt, pepper)
  • 2 Jalapeños – seeds & stems removed, finely chopped
  • 1 Cup Chopped Cooked Bacon
  • 2 ounces Cream Cheese – softened
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt/Pepper To Taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill.
  2. Coat each ear of corn with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place the ears on the grill and cover. Grill 15-20 minutes, rotating every 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the grill and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. When the ears are cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off into a large bowl. Eight ears should yield about 6 cups of corn.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese with the sour cream. When blended, stir the creamy mixture into the corn.
  6. Add the chopped jalapenos, bacon pieces, and cheese. Stir to combine.
  7. Serve immediately or chill and serve later.

 

Yield:  about 8 cups of salad

Give it a couple of weeks…

June is one of my favorite months of the year. The kids are out of school, many of us have been working hard to get our landscapes and gardens planted with beautiful plants and vegetables, and the start of summer is just around the corner. But while June can be such a wonderful month, the best is yet to come because in just a couple of weeks it will change.

vegetable gardenAs can happen in spring, our landscapes are flush with growth and color, our vegetable gardens are moving along nicely and everything seems to be growing strong. It almost seems like a magic trick. Plant the plants, wait a couple of weeks then POOF, our plants are looking good and growing strong.

Spending time planting our crops – whether for food or interest – and then waiting to see how everything grows, to some, is like waiting for Santa Claus to come. Will our new plants grow as well as we expect? Will we have a bumper crop of vegetables to savor or weeds to deal with? Will Mother Nature send us enough rain? Will everything grow into the dream landscape we have envisioned in our minds? Simple – just wait a few weeks and we’ll know.

Holding Water Rubber Hose Tube. Watering

Now that the plants are growing some of us could be fighting insects, weeds or diseases and we’ll be waiting to see the effect of our care. As some plants have bloomed and are finishing we’re waiting for the next plant to come into bloom. Now that the vegetables are growing well we’re waiting to harvest our first crop. Every time we think it’s been a few weeks and we’re done with one issue or enjoyment, a whole new crop of concerns and delayed gratification can happen.

Overall this whole “wait a few weeks” idea can be both my favorite part and most hated part of working in the nursery industry. There’s always something happening in our landscapes and gardens, especially with Mother Nature having a say in the matter. Something needs a bit of care, something is showing its beauty, weeds need to be pulled or sprayed, some vegetable crop is ready for picking, some plant has dead wood to remove, and on and on. I can guarantee you working with a landscape or a garden is never boring if you don’t want it to be. And June is one of the best months to experience it first hand.

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June should be about making sure everything planted is ready to go into the heat of summer. Make sure your mulch is 2-3” thick to keep weeds down and to hold in the moisture. Make sure you are ready to water your plants and lawn when Mother Nature doesn’t send us rain, because she won’t give us rain every time we need it for our plants. Have your sprayer handy to spritz spray the weeds when they are small with some roundup or keep ahead on pulling them before they get bigger. And, keep an eye out for dead wood in your plants or to dead head early spring bloomers for best appearance.

June should be about making sure your chemical controls to deal with Bagworm, Fungus, Red Spider, Grubs, Webworms, Aphids, or any of the other insects or diseases we may experience early summer are applied or ready to apply. And it’s a time to plant if you haven’t had the chance or need to fill some holes in the landscape. Annuals to perennials, shrubs to trees all can be planted through the summer with some care.

June could also be about fertilizing your plants, both in the vegetable garden or your landscape to keep them growing happy and producing well. And do make sure you are using the right fertilizer, for the right plant, and for your specific situation. By using the right fertilizer you will get the best results from your efforts.

And June should be about spending some time enjoying everything a bit before it gets too hot. Whether it is sitting on the porch with friends, visiting our many local Farmer’s Markets, or just spending a lazy afternoon enjoying the fruits of your labors, please enjoy the beginning of summer and try to enjoy everything you can in June because as we all know, in a few weeks things will change.

 

 

Andy Campbell is manager of Campbell’s Nurseries Landscape Department. A Lancaster County Farm Bureau Member, Campbell’s, a family owned Nebraska business since 1912, offers assistance for all your landscaping and gardening needs at either of their two Lincoln garden centers or through their landscape design office. www.campbellsnursery.com of Facebook.com/CampbellsNursery

Orzo with Feta & Sun-dried Tomatoes

Orzo with FetaIngredients

1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

½ cup dry orzo pasta (4 oz.)

2 tablespoons minced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper

 

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil.
  2. Stir in orzo. Return liquid to a boil.  Cook orzo, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, 9-12 minutes.  Remove saucepan from the heat.
  3. Stir tomatoes and feta into orzo, mixing until feta melts slightly.
  4. Season orzo mixture with salt and pepper.

 

Yield:  3-4 servings

Butter Pecan Bread Pudding

Butter Pecan Bread PuddingIngredients

8 oz. day-old French bread cut into cubes

1 ¼ cups milk

1 cup half and half (you can substitute whole milk)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

dash of salt

¼ cup softened butter

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup pecans, chopped

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, beat eggs, milk, half and half, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Pour over the bread and allow to sit 5-10 minutes.  Press the bread into the liquid so it has a chance to soak up the custard.
  4. In a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, and pecans. The mixture will have the consistency of wet sand.
  5. Pour half of the bread mixture into a greased 8”x8” or 7”x11” baking dish.
  6. Crumble half of the pecan mixture on top.
  7. Spoon the remaining bread mixture over the top.
  8. Finish by topping with the remaining pecan mixture.
  9. Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet to catch spills that may boil over.
  10. Bake for 45-55 minutes.
  11. The center will be slightly jiggly but will set as the pudding cools.
  12. Allow the pudding to cool for 20-30 minutes before serving.

 

Yield:  8 servings

2017 Agricultural Land Assessed Values Stay Flat

Economic Tidbits logo

The taxable value for agricultural land in Nebraska declined .15 percent in 2017 according to a preliminary analysis released Friday by the Nebraska Department of Revenue.  The slight decline marks the first time the assessed value of agricultural land statewide has shrunk from one year to the next since at least the early 1990s, and perhaps as far back as the late 1980s.  Taxable value for all real property increased 3.34 percent over last year, with residential and recreational property value growing 6.5 percent, and commercial and industrial property growing 5.82 percent. The figures come from reports filed by county assessors with the Department of Revenue.  Notices of valuation changes will be sent to property owners on or before June 1.

The changes for agricultural land varied considerably across the state (see map below).  In Sarpy County, the value of agricultural land fell 9.38 percent, while in Hooker County it increased 19.28 percent, a difference of almost 30 percentage points.  Other counties seeing significant declines were Nuckolls and Douglas Counties with drops in value of greater than 8 percent.  Other counties with large increases included McPherson at 18.68 percent and Thomas at 10.76 percent.  In all, 43 counties saw decreases in agricultural land values (counties in red and orange on map), and 50 counties reported either no change or increases in total values.

Ag Land Valuations 2017

The variations across counties reflect the differences in the timing of price movements in the cattle and crop markets.  The run-up in cattle prices, and subsequently prices for grassland, started and peaked later than the run-up in corn and soybean prices and prices for crop ground.  Because assessed values are set using prices from 3 years’ prior land sales, counties made up primarily of grassland are still seeing the higher land prices reflected in the setting of assessed values.  What do the value changes mean for property tax levied?  The answer will be dependent on local government spending and budgeting decisions later this year.  Local governments must approve final budgets by September 20 and tax levies will be set before October 15.  Suffice it to say, that in some counties, the values changes might result in a slight shift in taxes levied from agricultural land to other property sectors.  For other counties, the trend of agricultural land carrying a greater share of the local tax burden will continue.

 

Jay Rempe is the senior economist for Nebraska Farm Bureau. Rempe’s background in agricultural economics, years of experience in advocating at the state capitol, and firm grasp of issues allow him to quantify the fiscal impact of a regulatory proposal, and provide in-depth examination of key issues affecting Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Baked Buffalo Chicken PastaIngredients

8 oz. of  uncooked rotini noodles

¾-1 lb. chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Italian seasoning

3 tablespoons cooking oil

1 15-oz. jar Alfredo sauce or make a white sauce using 2 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons flour, 15 oz. milk, and salt to taste.  If using a white sauce, add ¼ cup Parmesan cheese to the sauce.

½ bottle (approx. 6 oz.) buffalo sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Directions

  1. Cook noodles until al dente; drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350º.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a skillet. Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.  Cook in oil until no pink remains.
  4. Prepare white sauce if not using Alfredo sauce. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, melt butter in the microwave.  Stir in the flour and salt.  Add milk and stir.  Cook in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until the sauce thickens and boils.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Add the chicken, white sauce, buffalo sauce, and ½ cup mozzarella cheese to the pasta. Stir to combine.  Pour into a 9”x9” baking dish.  Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over the top.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

 

Yield:  6 servings