Last week marked a new extreme in the trade tensions between the U.S. and China as President Trump moved forward with tariffs on $34 billion of imported Chinese machinery, auto parts, and medical devices. China responded immediately with tariffs on several U.S. products including soybeans and pork. Several U.S. trading partners have now imposed tariffs on U.S. commodities and processed foods in response to tariffs imposed by the U.S. With all the threats and tariffs imposed, it’s difficult to stay abreast of where things now stand. Table 1 summarizes recent tariffs enacted by other countries on U.S. agricultural products which will affect Nebraska. Continue reading →
The U.S. Senate last week passed its version of the 2018 farm bill in an 86-to-11 vote. Like the House farm bill, the Senate version is evolutionary in the sense it retains much of current commodity programs but tweaks some of the minutiae. Continue reading →
Every year, thousands of farmers and ranchers are injured and hundreds more die in farming accidents across the nation. That’s what Nebraska Farm Bureau is reminding you to take precautions to make your farm and ranch as safe as possible. Continue reading →
Every year as May returns, Mother Nature gives us the return of sunny days and cool spring rains after a long Nebraska winter. And, this year it is a welcome return with our abnormally cool spring. May is also when many gardeners’ hearts seem to beat a bit faster because winter is gone and spring has returned. Whether it is the blooming of flowering trees, the patchwork color of fresh annuals being planted, or the start of the landscape planting, May offers plenty to remind us of the start of our landscape growing season. Continue reading →
Does the exceptionally high soybean yields in recent years mean soybean yields are increasing relative to corn yields? Gary Schnitkey, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois, recently examined this question. Using state yield data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service for 1972 to 2017, Schnitkey examined corn and soybean yield trends across the Corn Belt to see if soybean yield increases are outpacing those in corn. For Nebraska, Schnitkey found the state average corn yield increased an average of 2.0 bushels per year between 1972 and 2017. At the same time, the average soybean yield increased by .65 bushels per year. The soybean yield-to corn yield ratio averaged .30 over the period and did not exhibit any trends. (see Figure 9 below). The soybean-to-corn yield ratio was .34 in 2016 and .32 in 2017. Continue reading →
The taxable value on agricultural land declined 2.77 percent in 2018 according to the Nebraska Department of Revenue. Taxable value for all real property increased 0.96 percent, with residential and recreational property value growing 3.66 percent, and commercial and industrial property growing 6.94 percent. The decline in agricultural land values marks the second consecutive year taxable values have shrunk. Prior to last year, the taxable value on agricultural land had not declined since at least 1993, and perhaps as far back as the late 1980s. It may seem like a distant memory, but just three years ago, the taxable value of agricultural land statewide increased almost 20 percent. Since then, market values for land have declined between 15-20 percent and these declines are now being reflected in taxable values. Expect taxable values to continue to decline over the next few years due to the lag effect in how taxable values are set. Values are set using data on sales prices from the three years prior to the tax year for which the taxable values are being set.
Every year when spring arrives the heart races a bit faster for every gardener and landscaper. The return of spring brings warmer temperatures, longer days, and a time for a fresh start. And, while last year it arrived rather early, this year it seems Mother Nature has decided to sleep in a bit longer.