Property Taxes Still Top Priority

steve corn head shotIn early June I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 Cattlemen’s Ball hosted by the Linemann Family near Princeton, Nebraska. The Ball is a tremendous event targeted to raising funds for cancer research. If you’ve never been, I’d encourage you to put it on your list of things to do and see in Nebraska. Congratulations to the Linemann family and all those who helped make this year’s event a major success!

Not only is the Ball a fun time for a great cause, it’s a good way to connect with people from across the state. During the Ball I had the chance to talk to many farmers and ranchers. Not surprisingly, property taxes and concerns about profitability in agriculture were the top two issues on people’s minds. As margins in agriculture have tightened, the squeeze of higher property tax bills have only added more financial pressure to farm and ranch families. With property valuation notices hitting mailboxes in June its only added to the seriousness of the need to address this issue.

I don’t need to repeat the numbers, but I will. Over the last 10 years property taxes collected on agricultural land statewide have increased 176 percent. Commercial and residential property taxes have also climbed by 49 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Nebraska’s three-legged tax stool of property, income and sales tax is out of balance. Property taxes now account for 48 percent of total collections of the three, with income taxes at 32 percent and sales taxes at 20 percent of statewide collections.

We have to bring balance to our tax structure and alleviate the over-reliance on property taxes. As we head into the heat of the summer, I want you as a Farm Bureau member to know this when it comes to the property tax issue:

Farm Bureau will continue to lead the charge to fix this problem. This isn’t an easy issue, but it is not an impossible one either. There are numerous ideas and approaches to better balance the tax burden and alleviate the pressure on property taxes. We’ve offered solutions in the past and we’ll continue to do so. We’re fleshing out new ideas, even as I write this. We are committed to this issue.

We have expectations of the Legislature. There are good people in the Nebraska Legislature who are interested in making sound tax policy for Nebraskans. The Legislature is still our first best means to solve the property tax problem. As we’ve always done, we will bring ideas to the legislature and work together with Nebraska senators to find solutions. With that said, the Legislature needs to act. Kicking the can down the road won’t cut it. We’ll continue to do everything we can to work with senators to make progress in the legislative arena.

We’re willing to be patient, but there must be a final destination. Baseball analogies are often used to discuss the property tax problem. I continue to hear the terminology “bunts and singles” when it comes to fixes for property taxes. “Bunts and singles” will not solve the problem unless you string enough of them together to score runs and ultimately win. I’ve testified before the legislature that if it takes multiple years to solve this issue, we’re willing to do that. But there must be a clearly identified end goal, with a plan for how that is accomplished.

All Nebraskans, not just farmers and ranchers deserve better. They say a rising tide raises all ships. While our farm and ranch members have been hit the hardest by property tax increases, we know many Nebraskans share those concerns and they’ve relayed those to their elected leaders. Our solutions to balance the property tax burden will work for all Nebraskans.

Doing nothing is not an option. I know you want this issue addressed. Many of you have reached out to the team at Nebraska Farm Bureau urging action. I also know some members are looking at alternatives beyond the legislature. As I said before, the legislature is our first best solution, but we are open to looking at all options to make the reforms needed to bring balance to our tax system.

As always, I want to thank you for being a Farm Bureau member. Farm Bureau exists to serve you and I always welcome your thoughts, input and ideas as we work together to address this critical issue.

 

Until Next Time,

Steve Nelson, President, Nebraska Farm Bureau

What Makes a Fluffy Cow Fluffy?

Have you ever wondered what makes a Fluffy Cow Fluffy? Most fluffy cows are bred to have lots of hair but the hair isn’t so fluffy without the required work.

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This is what a fluffy cow looks like before it is all clean. This is my Crossbred (he has both Chianina and Maine influence) Market Steer named Lautner. He weighs 1,300 lbs. I plan to exhibit him at the end of October at the Kansas City Royal Livestock Show, in Kansas City, MO. Follow these steps to see how Lautner transforms into a clean fluffy cow.

Step One: is to blow the dirt out of Lautner’s coat. A blower is a tool like a blow dryer it blows air to through the long hose. First picture is what a blower looks like. This takes less than five minutes.

Step Two: Grab the garden hose and start rinsing Lautner by putting water on his coat. This takes 20-25 minutes, because you want to get his entire coat really wet.

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Step Three: Take the Gain Dish Soap turn it upside down and disperse it all over his coat. This is called “soaping”. This takes five minutes.

Step Four: Take the scrub brush (first picture) a plastic brush with a handle and bristles used to scrub the coat and get all the dirt out. This also helps deep condition Lauter’s coat. This takes 5-10 minutes; I am making sure I get all the soap “scrubbed in” all over Lautner’s coat.

Step Five: Rinse the calf with the garden hose, making sure all the soap bubbles come out. This takes 10-15 minutes (this step is repeated from step two)

Step Six: I use the scotch comb and brush Lautner’s hair. Lautner’s hair is still wet. This step takes 5 minutes.

Step Seven: Blow the calf out with the blower; the blower was used in the first step. This step is very important. This is how Lautner’s hair dries and becomes fluffy. This could take a while, generally takes 30-40 minutes until he is completely dry.

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Step Eight: I apply conditioner out of the spray bottle and brush it in with a human hairbrush.

After all these steps Lautner looks like this. He is very clean and his hair is soft.

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Haley Ehrke bio

Why Do Farmers Let Their Corn Die in the Fields?

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“I don’t understand! If farmers are feeding us corn, why are they letting it die before we can eat it?”

This is a question that has maybe crossed your mind a time or two. Here in Nebraska, we like to eat corn. We like it off the cob, in our casseroles, or served on the side of a delicious summer hamburger. But who in the world would like to eat dead corn? Let me explain…corn2As you can tell from the pictures, there is a big difference between the corn you eat (left) and the corn that you see in the field (right). Sweet corn is the kind of corn that you would buy at the grocery store in the summer and eat when you get home.

“If sweet corn is used for food.. then what is this field corn used for? And why do farmers plant it if we don’t eat it? Tell me about this field corn!”

Field corn is used to make a whole bunch of things. It is essential to our state, country, and world. Without it, we simply could not create a majority of things we use in our every day lives. Here a few of the MANY things you can find corn in…

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Not only is it an important component to all of these products, but also to a multitude of others. Field corn is also used as food; for an example, corn is used as cornstarch, corn oil, and corn syrup, three very popular ingredients in food. “Wow, I had no idea that is a few reasons why we plant so much corn; I did not realize it was so essential! Tell me though, why do we have to let corn die to use it in all of these products?corn7In the picture above, this ear of corn is ready for harvest. There are a multitude of reasons why farmers allow it to get to this point so we can use it..corn6

Harvest: Farmers have to wait until it all the little kernels are completely hard before they can be picked. If they were still soft, the kernels would break and result in losing all of their starch, a huge factor in creating many products.corn4

As you can see, a large portion of the kernel is full of starch. When the kernel is still soft, all of that starch will escape the kernel as it is still in a liquid form, leaving little behind for the use of the many products we need. When the corn fully matures (yellow), then all of the liquid starch turns into a solid starch through a process called “denting”.

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You can see the seed change from a milky substance into the solid starch as the corn plant matures. The last seed shown is ready for harvest!

The corn in the field is not necessarily dying, but drying. By drying out the liquid starch (milk stage), the corn can be harvested and used for all the necessities you and I need! From glue to corn flakes, cattle feed to fuel, corn (the dented field corn) is not only a complement to our society, but also a crucial source to create so many things. Without corn, a nation would simply not be born!

Laura Lundeen bio pic

Crockpot Mexi Chicken

Pg A5 - Crockpot Mexi chickenIngredients

1 Can Mexican Corn
1 Can Black Beans
I Can Chopped Tomatoes
4 Boneless & Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 Can of Chicken Broth
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Cumin
Mozzarella Cheese (optional)
Salsa (optional)

Directions

1. In crockpot mix Mexican corn, black beans and chopped tomatoes.
2. Top with skinless chicken breasts.
3. Add chicken broth, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin.
4. Cook on low 8 hours
5. Shred chicken before serving and mix well.
6. Place in tortilla.
6. Serve with salsa and mozzarella cheese. (optional)

 

 

Recipe Courtesy of Megan Kvols of Cedar County

S’More Pudding Sandwiches

Pg A5 - Recipes smore puddingIngredients

1 package instant chocolate pudding
1 ½ cups cold milk
1 8-ounce container thawed whipped topping
2 cups mini marshmallows
9 rectangular graham crackers, broken into 18 squares

 

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, whisk pudding and milk. Let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Fold in whipped topping and marshmallows.
3. Line the bottom of an 8”x8” baking dish with 9 graham cracker squares.
4. Pour the pudding mixture on top of the crackers.
5. Top the mixture with remaining graham crackers, and press slightly to form a firm bond.
6. Cover dish with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, approximately 6-8 hours.
7. Cut into individual squares and wrap each separately. Return to freezer until ready to serve.

Yield: 9 Servings

Cake Mix Banana Bread

Pg A7 - bananna breadIngredients
1 stick butter
3 very ripe bananas
1 box of Butter Pecan Cake Mix (white or yellow will also work)
2 eggs

 
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly coat a bread loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.
3. Mash the bananas in the bowl with the butter to form the liquid base for the bread.
4. Pour the cake mix on top of this mixture. Add the eggs.
5. With a hand mixer, beat the ingredients until smooth.
6. Pour into the prepared bread pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
7. Allow the bread to cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the pan.

 
Yield: Approximately 12 Slices