Monthly Archives: January 2015
One of my favorite winter conferences! Interested in ag technology? Be sure to check it out!
If you are using technology in your farming operation or business, the NeATA conference is one you should attend.
Keep up with emerging ag technologies for your farm at the 2015 Nebraska Agriculture Technology Association Conference, Feb. 4-5 in Grand Island.
Constant technology advances in precision agriculture are transforming today’s farms. The 2015 Nebraska Agriculture Technology Association (NeATA) Conference on February 4-5 at the Mid-Town Holiday Inn in Grand Island, NE will focus on the latest products, practices, and services available to producers in managing tomorrow’s farm. The symposium registration starts at 8:30 am on Wednesday, Feb. 4 and the conference registration starts at 7:00 am on Thursday, Feb. 5.
NeATA is Nebraska’s newest grassroots agricultural-based non-profit associations. The association was founded by innovative Nebraska farmers and agribusiness representatives that share a common desire to stay abreast of emerging agricultural technologies. The annual symposium and conference is co-hosted by NeATA…
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Great opportunity to learn more about career opportunities and majors at UNL!
Thursday, April 2, 8:30am-12:00p.m.
An event where you’ll learn how the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) prepares students for careers in everything from animals to plants, soil to climate, golf to business, mechanization to leadership, and food to forensic science.
You’ll meet faculty, staff and current students to get the scoop on what life at UNL is really like. Explore campus in person and get a true sense of the UNL CASNR experience.
- 8:30 a.m. Registration/Browsing Session
- 9:15 a.m. Welcome and Overview
- 9:45 a.m. Move to First Session
- 10:00 a.m. First Session
- 10:30 a.m. Move to Second Session
- 10:45 a.m. Second Session
- 11:15 a.m. Lunch/Wrap-Up/Scholarship Drawing
- 12:00 p.m. East Campus Tour (optional)
- 1:00 p.m. City Campus Experience/Tour (optional)
Please register by March 26 at http://go.unl.edu/springday
I’ve really enjoyed working with producers and landlords on looking at farm bill decisions for individual operations. A quick caution again regarding supplemental coverage option (SCO), you can only take price loss coverage (PLC) into account not PLC+SCO if you haven’t plugged the information into the Texas A&M farm bill tool correctly (meaning 10 years of yield data and all production information broken into crop insurance units for each FSA farm number). You can always discuss SCO with your crop insurance agent but the tool itself won’t provide correct output without inputting numbers correctly. You can simply remove SCO from the tool information by not selecting a crop insurance option on the first home screen of each farm unit you input into the Texas A&M tool. I have screen shots with additional information in this blog post.
I’m willing to work individually with those interested in looking at the Texas A&M tool for your decisions. Please call (402) 762-3644 to set up an appointment. You will need to bring the following with you:
- Your CC yields from FSA (the ones sent in July/August tend to have all your CC yields for all your current base acres). You could also request your FSA 156-EZ form for this information. Or better yet, ask for FSA’s eraser sheet for each of your farms.
- Your base acres and potential base reallocation information FSA sent you.
- Yield production history from 2008-2012 by crop. If you were in the ACRE program during the last farm bill, please also ask them for the screenshot of all your yield production history. Since you had to prove yields with that program, your production information is already in their system. If you weren’t in ACRE, you will need to fill out the price loss coverage form FSA sent you. You can obtain this information from your crop insurance records or from scale tickets by farm if you don’t have crop insurance information. You will not have to prove yields at the time of signing up, but please keep your records as you will need to prove how you obtained this information in the event you are spot-checked. Here’s more information regarding yields.
When determining your yield history from 2008-2012, for combined counties, FSA is looking for a total combined production (not a weighted production based on irrigated vs. dryland acres). If you have crop insurance information, add up the total production in bushels for irrigated and dryland by crop (ex. Corn) for each FSA farm number and total the acres of each production entry. Then divide production by total acres to determine your yield. It’s important you use RMA production data, not APH yield as the APH yield may incorporate other modifications to actual production.
For split counties, I’ve been recommending to keep dryland and irrigated production split on the top part of the FSA PLC form and then the combined yields at the bottom part of the form. This allows you to have the split yield information for the Farm Bill Decision Tool and also the combined yield data that FSA needs. Add up dryland production by FSA farm number and irrigated production by that farm number. When inputting data from a split county into the Texas A&M decision aid, you will need to allocate base acres on a percentage of the irrigated vs. dryland acres. For example, if 50% of the land in one FSA farm number is irrigated and you have 200 acres, then 100 acres would be used for the base acres in the decision tool for irrigated yields and 100 acres would be used in the tool for dryland yields. Your CC yield will remain the same for both irrigated and dryland by crop.
Last week was enjoyable working with farmers on Farm Bill decisions. I’ve decided to work with producers on an individual basis. If you are interested in help looking at your potential options using the Texas A&M model or would like another set of eyes to make sure the data was inputted correctly, please call (402) 762-3644 and Deanna or Holli will get you scheduled for a time.
One caveat is that this model is only as good as the data you input into it and your decisions
are based on where you feel potential prices the next five years will be. You need your CC yields and base acres from FSA as well as production history since at least 2008 (2003 if you wish to run crop insurance tool). Requesting a copy of the FSA “eraser sheet” is a great tool to check on planted and crop production planted acres and to see if reallocated base jives with the computer program. The Texas A&M simulation at https://usda.afpc.tamu.edu/ isn’t difficult to run, but it can be confusing as to what number to input where. Begin by registering at the site by providing an email address and password. Then login and you will see the following screen.
If you do not want to look at crop insurance decision but wish to consider the first three decisions, then for counties such as Clay County with COMBINED irrigated and dryland county yields, completing the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Yield Worksheet (CCC-859) from FSA with your combined irrigated and dryland yields for each FSA number will greatly aid you in inputting the data. For counties with any splits in irrigated and dryland yields, I recommend placing irrigated and dryland production separately on the top of the PLC Yield worksheet, and then combining production by crop towards the bottom of the worksheet. Regardless of if your county has the opportunity for a split irrigated/non-irrigated payment, all CC yields in Nebraska are combined by crop (regardless of irrigation or not), so FSA will want a combined yield by crop on their form.
EACH crop needs to be entered as a separate farm unit. I have created a fake account to walk you through a simulation.
For entering separate crop insurance tracts, the CC yield should remain the same for all dryland tracts under one FSA farm number (same for irrigated). However, you will have to split out base acres amongst the tracts and you need to make sure the acres inputted add up; please double check this!
For your yield update and base reallocation information: For some of you, the base reallocation acres in the tool have been slightly different than what you received from FSA office. That may be because risk management agency (RMA) acres were used and were different than the production acres FSA had on file. You need to use the FSA acres for planted acres when using this model if they differ from the RMA ones.
When running this model, on many farms PLC + SCO looks favorable for some crops. A word of caution, you can consider PLC but should not consider SCO in your decision if you have not broken everything out into crop insurance tracts and included 10 years of production history into the tool. So in the decision of reallocating base acres or not, in the final summary section that gives you total numbers, anytime PLC+SCO is shown for a particular crop and you have not included the proper crop insurance info, you need to re-calculate the final total by hand using PLC ONLY from the table above that area. It normally doesn’t change the outcome that the decision tool provides, but it can. I’m not saying that SCO shouldn’t be considered, what I’m saying is that the numbers provided in the tool are not accurate if you have not inputted the data in the way needed to look at crop insurance decisions.
Some of you have questioned why PLC even lists a payment when prices are inputted higher than the benchmark price of $3.70 for corn, etc. The Texas A&M tool is giving you essentially a bell curve of 500 random outputs with the distribution of that curve around the particular price you input for each crop. So with every given price you input, there’s a certain probability that the price will be at, above, or below that particular price. That’s essentially what the red, green, yellow bars are showing you on the analysis. So you’re assessing where you feel prices will be, what decision will allow you to best sleep at night, the potential of spreading out risk with several farm numbers by choosing different options, etc. You can also view the YouTube videos from Texas A&M with more information!
Tis the season for winter programming! The following are a few upcoming meetings occurring this week. Winter program brochures were mailed a few weeks ago, so please check those for additional meetings. Looking forward to seeing you at upcoming meetings this winter! A reminder that if you plan to attend any of the upcoming Crop Production Clinics, that you need to register online by 3:00 p.m. the previous day of the clinic. Crop Production Clinics this week will be held in Kearney on Tuesday the 13th and at York on the 14th.
Farm & Ranch Business Succession & Estate Planning Workshops: This is a very important topic for farm families to consider! Two workshops will be held in our area; one in Blue Hill at the Community Center on January 13th and one in York at the Country Club on January 15th. The workshop will go from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There is no charge for the workshops, but you need to register by calling the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258. Please register by January 10 for Blue Hill and January 12 for York.
The workshop is intended to be useful for established farm and ranch owners, for their successors, and for beginners. Topics include: the stages of succession planning, contribution & compensation, balancing the interests of on-farm and off-farm heirs; the importance of communication, setting goals, analyzing cash flow, and balancing intergenerational expectations and needs; beginning farmer loan and tax credit programs; the use of trusts, wills, life estate deeds and business entities (such as the limited liability company) in family estate and business succession planning; buy-sell agreements, asset protection, taxation (federal transfer taxes, Nebraska inheritance tax, basis adjustment), and essential estate documents. Presenters are Dave Goeller, Deputy Director, Northeast Center for Risk Management Education at UNL and Joe Hawbaker, Agricultural Law attorney from Omaha.
This workshop is made possible by the Nebraska Network for Beginning Farmers & Ranchers, the Farm and Ranch Project of Legal Aid of Nebraska, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s Farm Mediation, and the University of Nebraska Extension. More information can be found here.
Farm Bill Education Training January 14th: For those of you that would like to learn more about the Texas A&M Agricultural Food Policy Center comprehensive Farm Bill Decision Aid computer program, a hands-on training will be held Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at the new Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive in Lincoln, Nebraska. Workshop presenters will be Dr. James Richardson, Ag. Economist from Texas A&M and Dr. Brad Lubben, UNL Extension Ag. Economist. Dr. Richardson is the author of new, cutting edge, computer decision tool, endorsed by USDA. Those attending will learn how to use the Texas A&M Computer Decision Aid, how to interpret the results and how managing risk is integrated into the model. Participants are encouraged to bring their own iPad, tablet or laptop computer. For information about the workshop go to: http://bit.ly/1wh96bm. Participants need to pre-register at http://go.unl.edu/farmbill. The workshop will be from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with morning registration and refreshments available starting at 8:15 a.m. at the new NIC auditorium. There is a $30.00 registration fee which includes the noon meal, refreshments and meeting materials. Web links to the meeting can also be purchased by contacting the Saline County Extension Office at (402) 821-2151. For additional information about the farm bill go to: http://farmbill.unl.edu.
Next Heuermann Lecture will be Jan. 13th at 7:00 p.m. at Nebraska Innovation Campus (2021 Transformation Drive in Lincoln, Nebraska) on the topic of “Genetically Modified Animals: the Facts, the Fear Mongering, and the Future”. Presenter will be: Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California – Davis, 2014 Borlaug CAST Communication Awardee. For more information, go to: http://heuermannlectures.unl.edu/. If you cannot make it to Lincoln, you can watch it live via video at the website link.
Happy New Year! Wishing all of you and your families a wonderful 2015! As I look back at 2014, there are several ag-related observations that I noted throughout the year.
The first observation continues to be the way communities and people in this County/area pull together in difficult times. Whether after tornadoes/wind storms or helping other farm families who had an injured family member or had lost a family member, it’s just a blessing to see the way people pull together to help each other in time of need. It was also a blessing for many who were unable to harvest in 2013 due to the August 1st storm, to harvest fields in 2014, and for many in the area to experience really good irrigated and dryland yields this year.
The dry winter of 2013/14 allowed for very mellow ground during planting time. Often seeding depth ended up ½-1” deeper than intended. The dry winter also didn’t allow for good residue decomposition leading to problems during planting and ensuing stand emergence. Cutting off residue and high rains in May led to unintended consequences of replant situations when residue was moved off of farmers’ fields onto neighboring fields, suffocating emerged plants in portions of fields. I’m not sure what the solution is for the future other than it really needs to be something worked out with neighboring farmers, but perhaps mentioning it here opens an opportunity for future conversations.
Cover crops have been incorporated into more operations in recent years, yet the ultimate goal for using them remains important in determining what species/crops are used in the fields. We also realized the importance of determining amount grazed prior to turning cattle into fields (whether for grazing cover crops or crop residue), as high winds in winter 2013/14 in overgrazed fields led to soil blowing throughout the winter.
The May frost showed us emerged soybeans at the cotyledon stage held up well to the frost compared to the corn. We also again watched Goss’ wilt show up systemically by 6 leaf corn that was injured early by frost or hail in fields where Goss’ wilt had been a problem in the past. We need more research/understanding of this disease. Wheat continues to show us its resiliency as it winterkilled in portions of fields, withstood drought-stress, and then made up yield in the last 4-6 weeks.
Perfect pollination conditions coupled with high solar radiation, low night-time temperatures, and timely rain events were keys to the bountiful corn crop we experienced this year. Soybeans were more of a mixed bag. In walking fields and in conversations with farmers, I think the disappointment in some irrigated yields could be attributed to early/over-irrigation, disease problems, and planting date. UNL on-farm research showed on average a 3 bu/ac yield increase when soybeans were planted in late April to first week of May (regardless if growing season was warm/dry or cold/wet like it was this year) and those I’ve talked to who achieved 80+ bu/ac in the area this year planted in that time-frame. I’m curious if there’s something to planting a 2.4-2.5 maturity early vs. a 3.0+ maturity early as some area producers are seeing strong yields from a shorter season hybrid planted early the past few years. So if you’ve also seen this and/or are interested, that will be an on-farm research project to try next year. Please let me know if you’re interested!
Here’s wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2015!