Family farms are the perfect example of roots. Many of us may have memories of riding in the tractor with grandpa or going out to feed the cows with dad. Those memories create roots, and we grow from our roots. Establishing a positive beginning is key to a positive experience. Without family farming, we essentially wouldn’t have anything. People who work in most ag fields today got their taste of agriculture through family farms. Continue reading
Agriculture is the driving force for the Nebraskan economy. With one fourth of our great state’s jobs being involved in agriculture, youth involvement has become crucial in keeping this industry thriving. In July, over 200 Nebraska students were able to network and meet with countless industry professionals at the 47th annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute. The institute is free of charge thanks to many generous donations, allowing young ag minded people to network and gain friendships with like-minded people across the state. “The opportunity to network and share idea with people from all over the state that have the same passion for agriculture as me.” Emily Zimmer, a Pleasanton senior said about her experience.
The average age for a farmer in the United States is 58.3 years, growing by 8 years in the past 30. Nebraska needs young farmers and ranchers and thanks to the many programs offered around the state youth have been able to find their path back to the farm. When asked how being involved with NAYI helped him make his decision on his future, Mikael Harrop, a recent graduate of Ansley Public Schools said “NAYI helped me choose what major I wanted to go into and pushed me to do things I thought i would never do.”
For myself, I have been involved with production agriculture my whole life. Growing up on a small cattle ranch and being involved in 4-H, but it wasn’t until my high school began an FFA chapter that I then myself into the field head first. Through my past advisor, a Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council Alumni, I was introduced to this program. Through my involvement I was able to find a career path that I have a true passion for, Agricultural Education and Beef production. Kate Cooper, a recent Waverly graduate said that for her “agriculture is about combining the tradition and innovation to provide healthy, high quality products for the world”.
In an ever-changing industry, currently exploding with new technology, having the means to work with others from different backgrounds has been incredibly important for myself and many others. Major changes are coming our way, one being ethanol. Ethanol production in the United States displaced 560 million barrels of crude oil last year alone. This is just one of the many changes that the coming generation of agriculturalists will experience. KAAPA Ethanol was able to educate youth at NAYI about how this new change will positively affect our industry and future.
Youth across Nebraska are showing more and more passion and drive to become involved in agricultural careers. With the opportunities available and various social media platforms youth are staying connected and making connections across the state. Young people are not just the future, we are the present. Being involved in various agricultural groups I have seen how youth are changing, and will continue to change this industry to feed the world. I hope the world is ready for the change that is coming.
Nebraska Farm Bureau sponsored the 2018 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute held in Lincoln July 9-13.
Wyatt Hubbard is a graduate of Elm Creek High School and is attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this fall double majoring in Animal Science and Agricultural Education. While in high school Wyatt was extremely involved in nearly every activity especially 4-H and FFA. Wyatt hopes to be able to expand his impact on social media while in The Crew and spread awareness for ag related issues and events.
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
Some Nebraska farmers have said they aren’t too concerned with the ongoing trade tensions with China, the largest customer for U.S. soybeans. If the tensions were bad for the soybean market, they state, soybean prices would have dropped. Price haven’t dropped, so the Chinese trade tensions are not a problem. Sometimes, though, timing is everything—could it be the timing of rising Chinese trade tensions coincided with other market happenings which mitigated any price response?
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
Last week China issued a list of 106 U.S. products and goods, 37 of which are agricultural, that will face additional tariffs in retaliation to the April 3 announcement by the Trump Administration that the U.S. intends to enact tariffs on $50 billion of imports from China. The latest Chinese list includes soybeans, corn, and beef, the top three exports commodities from Nebraska, and are in addition to a list announced earlier which included added tariffs on pork and ethanol. Last Friday, it was revealed President Trump has instructed administration officials to investigate whether tariffs on another $100 billion of Chinese goods is warranted. Thus, it appears the U.S. and China are rapidly escalating to a full-fledged trade war. Continue reading
The value of Nebraska’s 2017 corn crop is $5.55 billion and the soybean crop is $2.95 billion according to recent USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) estimates. The corn production value is third-highest in the nation, falling behind Iowa at $9 billion and Illinois at $7.7 billion, and the soybean crop value is the fifth-largest. The figure below shows the values of Nebraska’s corn and soybean crops since 2010. The 2017 corn crop value is lower compared to 2016, but the soybean crop value is slightly higher. The corn crop value exceeded $9 billion in 2011, but has since fallen to where it has been around $6 billion or less in recent years. On the other hand, the value of the soybean crop has consistently hovered around $3 billion through the years. The drop in corn prices and acres in production are both reflected in the lower crop values for corn. Soybean prices have also come down, but increases in acres and higher yields have mitigated the effects on overall crop value. Continue reading
The U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world has been getting a lot of attention lately. In January, the deficit was estimated to be $56.6 billion, the highest level in nearly a decade. President Trump believes the trade deficit is bad and argues the U.S. is losing to other countries with which it trades. Accordingly, he believes the U.S. must renegotiate trade agreements and enact tariffs on imported goods to rectify the large deficits. The President’s arguments raise two questions: Are trade deficits inherently bad? And, is the U.S. losing to the rest of the world by having such large trade deficits? Continue reading
Nebraska crop producers received $646 million in Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage—County (ARC-CO) payments last fall for the 2016 crop year. In total, the USDA distributed $6.9 billion in payments to participating producers under these two programs.
This year’s Nebraska corn production is forecast to be 1 percent less than last year, and soybean production is forecast to be 1 percent more, according to the latest USDA- NASS estimates released on Thursday. The latest estimates peg Nebraska corn production at 1.683 billion bushels and soybean production at 316.4 million bushels, a record for the state. U.S. corn production is forecast at 14.3 billion bushels, down 6 percent from last year, while soybean production is forecast at a record 4.43 billion bushels, up 3 percent from last year. The percentage changes in production for Nebraska crops are shown in Table 1.
Table 1. Percentage Change in Crop Production, 2016 to 2017
|Sorghum||– 19 %|
|Dry Edible Beans||+49 %|
|Sugar beets||+1 %|
|Sunflowers||– 4 %|
|Alfalfa Hay||+ 4 %|
Corn and soybeans together typically account for 90 percent of Nebraska’s total crop cash receipts. As such, changes in revenues for these commodities, along with changes in beef sector revenue, will dictate the overall health of the state’s agricultural economy. Calculations using the latest USDA production and price estimates suggest cash receipts received by corn and soybean producers could be less for this year’s crop. Combined receipts for the two crops are estimated to decrease $389 million, or 4.48 percent from last year. Revenue for the 2017 corn crop is estimated to be $325 million less, or 5.69 percent; revenue for the 2017 soybean crop will be $64 million less, or 2.16 percent less. The reduction in revenue would result in an estimated 0.61 percent reduction in net farm income, or $30.7 million, assuming corn and soybean receipts as a percentage of net farm income is the same as the average from 2008 to 2015. The decline doesn’t necessarily mean total net farm income for the state will be down, as the beef feedlot sector has enjoyed positive returns for awhile this year. But any positive returns in the beef industry or other commodity sectors must overcome the declines in corn and soybeans revenues to result in an uptick in income for the state.
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.