Monthly Archives: January 2019
Farm Bill: I need to clarify something I mentioned last week and I apologize for misunderstanding this. I heard the farm bill presentation for the third time this winter and after asking this question, realized I had misunderstood and incorrectly informed you all last week. This is in regards to base acres and which crops were planted the past 10 years. I incorrectly told you that (for example) if you had sorghum base acres and hadn’t planted sorghum the past 10 years, that your payments would be reduced. It is true that this idea was proposed in negotiations (so keep in mind for the future). However, that idea did not pass; the correct statement is if you planted a crop that is not approved for program payments, your base acre payments will be reduced. So, for example, if you planted industrial hemp instead, which currently is not an eligible crop for program payments, your base acre payments would be reduced. So just wanted to correct this on my end.
York County Corn Grower Tour Feb. 5: The York County Corn Grower’s Association is sponsoring a tour on February 5th. We will meet at the York County Extension Office at 6:45 a.m. and plan to leave for Grand Island by 7:00 a.m. Morning tour stops include the Case IH Axial-Flow Combine Plant followed by Hornady which produces bullets, ammunition, and reloading products. Lunch will be held at Kindaiders Brewery in which attendees will also receive a tour. The group will then tour Klute Manufacturing near Bradshaw which produces Warren dump boxes, Circle D and H&H trailers, pickup flatbeds, and vehicle accessories. The final stop will be the York Agricultural Education Program which was recognized as one of the top six programs in the nation by the National Association of Ag Educators. Attendees must wear closed toed shoes and be able to walk without a cane/walker based on the requirements of the places we’re touring. Please RSVP no later than Feb. 4th to the York County Extension Office at (402) 362-5508.
Nebraska Ag Technologies Association Conference: Learn about the latest developments in precision agriculture technologies January 31 at the Nebraska Agricultural Technology Association (NEATA) Conference. The group’s annual meeting and agriculture industry conference will be held at the Kearney Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Kearney. Conference topics will include precision economics, nutrient and water management, data collection, and precision equipment. Featured guest speakers include Brian Arnall, precision nutrient management extension specialist, Oklahoma State University; Jim Smith, executive director, Blueprint Nebraska; and Cathy Anderson, chief specialist, Nebraska State Farm Services Agency Office. Attendees will also be able to choose from 10 breakout offerings. The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To view the conference program and register, visit https://neata.org/. The fee is $175 when pre-registering and $195 the day of the conference. Students may register for $25.
Managing Ag Land for the 21st Century: This workshop for current and future landowners and tenants will cover current trends in cash rental rates, lease provisions, and crop and grazing land considerations. There will be two meetings in the area. One on Feb. 12 at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva. The other will be held on Feb. 25 at the Butler County Event Center at the Fairgrounds in David City. Both meetings will begin with registration at 9:15 a.m., with the program starting at 9:30 a.m., and ending by 3:00 p.m. There is no charge for these programs. To attend in Geneva, please RSVP at (402) 759-3712. To attend in David City, please RSVP at (402) 367-7410.
Hamilton County Ag Day will be held Feb. 13 with registration at 9 a.m. and program from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The program will include updates from Nebraska Corn Growers, Farm Service Agency, and Natural Resources Conservation Service. Additional topics include Managing Soil Microbes 101, Stalk and Grain Quality Concerns with Corn, Land Rental Considerations for 2019, Pivot Wheel Track Management, Corn Stalk Grazing Economics, Benefits of Corn Stalk Grazing, and a weather update from Al Dutcher. There is no charge for the program but please RSVP to (402) 694-6174 for lunch count.
Nebraska Cover Crop and Soil Health Conference will be held Feb. 14 at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (former ARDC) near Mead. The program runs from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. with registration at 8:30 a.m. Topics and presenters include: “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” David R. Montgomery, professor of geomorphology, University of Washington; “Rebuilding and Maintaining Life in the Soil,” Jay Fuhrer, soil health specialist, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bismarck, North Dakota; “How My Farm has Responded to Cover Crops and Crop Rotation,” Ray Ward, founder, Ward Laboratories; “Northeast Nebraska Farmer’s Perspective on Cover Crops,” Jeff Steffen, Crofton farmer; “How I Graze My Cropland Without Owning Livestock,” Scott Heinemann, Winside farmer; and a farmer panel. There is no fee to attend, but individuals must pre-register by 5 p.m. Feb. 8 to ensure meals and resource materials are available. Seating is limited. To register, call 402-624-8030, email email@example.com or use the form at https://go.unl.edu/tmj5.
Please RSVP to the York County Extension Office if you’re interested in attending!
Stress. We all have it in life. I didn’t really think about how stress can be good until my colleague Brandy VanDeWalle asked us some questions during her presentation at the Cow-Calf College. She asked us what we look like with good stress. Thinking about it, good stress allows me to be that much more productive in achieving tasks. I’m not a procrastinator, but long gone are the days where I used to color code my planner. My experiences with the military and being in Extension allowed me to give all that up for being spontaneous and flexible with the changes and deadlines placed upon me each day. So that’s me and good stress. We were also asked what we look like with bad stress. Many of us shared we tend to withdraw from others and be shorter/abrupt in responses than we intend. Weather perhaps plays a huge role in adding stress to lives for those of us in agriculture.
Research has shown each person has around 70,000 thoughts per day with 80% of the more repetitive thoughts being negative. Wow-80% negative! That blew me away. But they don’t have to be. Research also showed that taking a 10 minute walk reduced cortisol (stress hormone) in the brain by 50-70%. Even if a person doesn’t walk, taking a break can help. Last week we lost a couple of Nebraska farmers and my heart goes out to their families. The National Farm Medicine Center in Wisconsin tracked farm suicides during the 1980’s in the Upper Midwest and found that the suicide rates were 58 for every 100,000 farmers and ranchers. Suicide rates today are more than 50 percent higher than they were in the 1980’s at the peak of the farm crisis.
It’s so hard to know what others are going through; so often we wear masks. I’ve done this too. We’re all prone to much pride in life, especially in the midst of struggling. I challenge us all to do more in 2019. Let’s pay more attention to those around us, spend more time connecting, be more honest about our situations. There’s so many times a simple text, phone call, email, or visit changed the outlook on my day. Last week a farmer shared how the weather made for a challenging time with calving; a neighbor stopped by and brought him a slice of breakfast pizza. That simple act of noticing his struggle and taking time to talk changed his outlook. So let’s check in with each other more and have the courage to be honest about how things are truly going. There’s also a number of free resources for help including: Nebraska Farm Hotline – 1-800-464-0258; Farm Mediation Clinics 1-800-464-0258; Nebraska Legal Aid: http://www.legalaidofnebraska.com.
Economics: In thinking through options for lowering input costs, there’s several things that come to mind. Some may even be good on-farm research projects to test. One consideration with the new farm bill is the fact that there will be an increase in CRP acres. So, producers have a decision to make regarding potentially enrolling acres into CRP. And, if doing that, perhaps converting some land next to that area into an annual forage system is another option if you have cattle. I will go into the details of this in another column. We have had some guys doing this and it’s just another alternative to consider.
Reducing soybean populations without affecting yields has been proven via on-farm research for 12 years now. I’ve documented this regardless of what has happened in-season. We even had a York county producer who did this study in 2018 and raised 93 bu/ac with a final average stand of 67,000 plants/ac! And, for those with dectes stem borer, my observation has been that dectes doesn’t penetrate the stems as easily on these thicker stems in lower population fields. I don’t have any research, though, so if you’re interested in testing that, please let me know.
Common thinking is that max yield provides max returns. There’s some things like early soybean planting that I will always push for increasing yields. But otherwise, I tend to look at that statement differently and ask if we always have to look at max yields. What if we looked at maximizing economics instead? I realize a lot of seed purchases have been made. There’s some strong flex hybrids that yield really well in non-irrigated environments. A couple of farmers have also mentioned this to me. We’re curious what would happen if we put them under irrigation at lower populations. It could even be an on-farm study to compare a low pop (28K or less), lower input system to one’s current system with higher inputs. However, the question would be which is most economical in the end. Please let me know if you’d be interested in trying this.
I’ve also had a handful of guys mentioning they were interested in sorghum because of the reduced input costs. For those of you who I worked with during the last farm bill who kept sorghum base acres, I mentioned it may be wise to plant sorghum somewhere on those farms before the next farm bill because we never know what will happen regarding payments. We’ve learned in this new farm bill that there will be a payment reduction for any crop not grown in the last 10 years that you have base acres for. So that may be another reason to consider planting some sorghum for the future. If it’s been awhile since you’ve planted sorghum, there’s a free sorghum symposium on January 24 in Grand Island at the Extension Office. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and you can RSVP at: 402-471-4276.
Thank you to all the committee members, sponsors, exhibitors, presenters, attendees, and media coverage of the York Ag Expo last week! Great to see so many turn out for the educational sessions as well!
Farm Bill: I was extra pleased with the excellent questions and discussion with the afternoon educational sessions at the York Ag Expo. The following are the major changes that Dr. Brad Lubben, Extension Farm Policy Specialist, shared during the Farm Bill
presentation. Farmers will have the opportunity to make a new election for either ARC-CO or PLC for the years 2019-2020 (a two year decision), after which the decision will be a yearly one (beginning in 2021) until the end of the farm bill period. There’s more changes to the ARC program than PLC. For ARC, the primary source of yield data will most likely be RMA crop insurance data instead of NASS survey data. The 25% factor used to establish ARC-CO coverage by irrigated or non-irrigated practice is no longer in effect. Instead, a farmer can make a request to the FSA committee if not less than 5% of the acreage was irrigated or not less than 5% was non-irrigated during the 2014-2018 crop years. Coverage is now tied to a physical county regardless of administrative county. The plug yield in ARC-CO increased from 70% to 80% of the transitional yield. There will also be a trend yield adjustment similar to the Federal crop insurance trend-adjusted yield endorsement. When Brad showed what this looked like if applied to the previous farm bill, it increased the bu/ac in all the examples he showed. Thus, he speculates it should improve the ARC-CO benchmark. Regarding PLC, producers will have the opportunity to consider updating yields on farms. There’s a specific equation that will be used and because it’s focused more on the 2008-2012 period to help those farms most effected by drought, it may not provide a benefit to all farms. It would still be worth working through the equation just to make sure for your individual farms. The other change to PLC is the equation for the effective reference price. In 2014, several of us in Extension worked individually with you to help you through these decisions using decision support tools. Money was not provided in this farm bill to support the computer tools so we’re still waiting to see if they will be developed. We’re assuming they will be. Yet the decisions this time may be more straightforward with making a decision for the first two years followed by annually vs. the life of the farm bill like what happened in 2014. All resources and information can be found at http://farmbill.unl.edu. Regarding ARC vs. PLC decisions, Brad shared the following points:
- Under stable, lower price levels, PLC support will kick in before ARC support for downward price movement.
- Under modestly increasing price levels, ARC and PLC support may quickly disappear.
- Under substantially higher prices, moving average price in ARC benchmark and moving average price in PLC effective reference price could rachet up support to near equivalent levels.
Survey: Every year in Extension we write annual reports to justify the work we accomplished during the year. Last week I shared a survey link to provide me feedback regarding 2018 efforts. Thank you for those who have responded; I appreciate it!!! The survey truly is anonymous. For those who haven’t responded, I would greatly appreciate your feedback on this short survey at: https://app2.sli.do/event/q2p1sedv/polls. A year ago I changed the way I did my email list and news columns. My hope is that the format is more beneficial for us all in spite of the extra time it takes me each week. I’m genuinely open to and desirous of your feedback. Also, if you’re reading this and would like to be added to my email list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you.
Crop Production Clinics and Nebraska Crop Management Conference: Thank you to all who requested via surveys, emails, or phone calls in 2018 that you wanted to see the Crop Production Clinic back in the area! You were heard and one will be held in York at the Holthus Convention Center on January 17th! You can see the full schedule at http://agronomy.unl.edu/cpc. The Nebraska Crop Management Conference in Kearney on Jan. 28-29 has the same topics as Crop Production Clinics with additional topics and out of state speakers. You can view the registration for that conference at: https://agronomy.unl.edu/NCMC. While I realize many of you attend CPC for specific reasons, there is an opportunity this year to participate in a university research study and be paid for your time. Simanti Banerjee, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, is studying producer behaviors in response to farm bill programs. The study will take up to two hours. Average earnings from participating in the study are expected to be up to $100, depending on your decisions and those of other participants. All information collected is confidential and your responses are anonymous and will not be connected to your name. You can read more and register to participate in this study at this site: https://agronomy.unl.edu/crop-production-clinic-study-consent. Looking forward to seeing those who attend the upcoming CPC and NCMC!
Cow Calf College moved to the Clay County Fairgrounds on January 14, 2019.
With the government shut-down, the Meat Animal Research Center is closed, thus we are forced to move the Cow/Calf College program to the Clay County Fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds are located on the west side of Clay Center, located off of West Johnson Street. Registration is filling quickly, so if you would like to attend, please register.
It feels like a long time since I wrote! Being burned out, I wasn’t ready to reflect on 2018 in my previous column. Perhaps some of you felt that way too? There were plenty of challenges for agriculture in 2018. Grateful for breaks. Grateful for a new year! Grateful for good new hires in Extension to help with the work load throughout the State! As I reflect on the past several years, thank you for your support as I’ve done my best to cover a lot of counties to the best of my ability. Grateful for the opportunity to serve Nebraskans via Extension and to enjoy this work! And while it comes at the expense of our farmers, I’m grateful for the continual opportunity to learn with every new crop/pest problem. I know a few of you have wished these problems didn’t have to happen to you so I could learn! Yet I do appreciate the phone calls to work through situations with our farmers and ag industry professionals. While each year presents unique challenges, I’m always inspired by the resiliency of our farmers and those in the ag community. Looking forward to serving you in 2019!
Short Survey: In Extension, we always need to prove that what we do in our work brings value to those of you we serve. Would you please consider completing this short survey for me to provide feedback, specifically regarding my email newsletter, news column, any specific way I helped you last year, and ways I can improve in my Extension role in 2019? All feedback is anonymous. Please go to the following direct link: https://app2.sli.do/event/q2p1sedv/polls or you can also go to https://www.sli.do/ and enter the code 7708. Thank you for considering this!
York Ag Expo: Reminder of the York Ag Expo this week! Hoping to see many people come out to view the exhibits and also come to the educational sessions. I try to train people to RSVP for all my educational events, but walk-ins are always welcome. Chemigation is on January 9th from 9 a.m.-Noon with Steve Melvin. Then come out and hear the latest on the Farm Bill, Crop Insurance decisions, and Farm Taxes from 1-4 p.m. from Brad Lubben, Cory Walters, and Austin Duerfeldt. On January 10th, I will present private pesticide training from 9 a.m.-Noon. Then come out for residue and manure management from 1-4 p.m. with Mary Drewnoski, Michael Sindelar, Tim Mundorf, and myself. From 4-5 p.m. will be the keynote speaker Chad E. Colby. Agribusiness after-hours from 5-6 p.m. Ag appreciation lunch both days and all exhibitors and sponsors can be found at: https://yorkchamber.org/event/ag-expo/. Hope to see you there!
RUP Dicamba Training: On the Nebraska Department of Ag website, you will now see the list of UNL face-to-face trainings, the link to the UNL online dicamba training, and a list of certified applicators who have completed dicamba training. I took the online course on Friday so I could better answer questions. This year, it allows you to take one of two tracks: presentations by Dr. Bob Klein or Dr. Greg Kruger. You are also welcome to take both for more information. There are instructions with screenshots on the online dicamba training webpage: https://pested.unl.edu/dicamba-training-instructions. Some reminders regarding this, the applicator’s name and applicator ID number need to be listed when registering for the online course. Last year we had some wives complete the registration for husbands and then the wives were listed as certified and not the husbands. This year anyone applying RUP dicamba must complete approved RUP dicamba training and must also be a certified licensed pesticide applicator. Regarding face to face trainings, I am not having a dicamba training during the York AgExpo, but there are many options available that can be viewed on the NDA website. For that training, you will need to bring your certified applicator number. If you are a new pesticide applicator who hasn’t received a number yet, you will put ‘pending’.
York-Hamilton Cattlemen’s Banquet: The York-Hamilton County Cattlemen are planning their 71ST Annual Cattlemen’s Banquet for Tuesday January 29, 2019 at the Holthus Convention Center in York. Dave Thorell of Loomis, NE will be the featured entertainment. Dave Thorell is a regionally known speaker, avid agriculture advocate, humorist, story teller and was the voice of Agriculture News for over forty years on KRVN Radio. Thorell was elected into the Nebraska Broadcaster Hall of Fame. The Cattlemen will also recognize Rich Pearson of Hordville and Allen Roehrs of Bradshaw as Honored Guests for the evening for their contributions to the area livestock industry and the Cattlemen’s Association. The evening starts at 6:30 with social time, a Prime Rib meal at 7:00 with entertainment and recognition of honored guests to follow. Cattlemen’s Banquet tickets are $25 per person. Sponsorships are also available that include two banquet tickets and recognition at the banquet for $150. Cattlemen’s Banquet tickets can be purchased from any of the York-Hamilton County Cattlemen’s Directors including Brian Blase of Hordville; Brock Ekhoff and Terry Ross of Aurora; Jeff Underwood of Exeter; Allen Klute and Mark Klute of Hampton; David McDonald of Phillips, Jeff Meradith, Kim Regier and Josh Chrisman of York; Kim Siebert of Henderson, plus the Extension Offices in York County and Hamilton County.