Inside Profitability Series

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Inside Profitability Series is a series of webinars, podcasts, and social media events focused on producer profitability. The series will center on topics identified by Nebraska Farm Bureau members key to managing and maintaining economically viable farm and ranch operations. 

If you have recommendations for subjects you would like to include in the series, please email Austin Harthoorn at

Upcoming Webinars

Crop Insurance Deadline Incoming!

Premiered: March 1 @ 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Speaker: Corty Walters, UNL Ag Economics
Moderator: Austin Harthoorn, economist, NEFB

The deadline to elect for crop insurance coverage and enroll in FSA farm programs is March 15. With the cutoff date rapidly approaching, growers should be considering level of coverage as they manage their operation’s risk exposure. But with many different coverage options and no one-size-fits-all combination, choosing a crop insurance approach can be a stressful decision.

In this edition of NEFB’s Inside Profitability Series, we hope to guide your thought process and provide you with new insights as you think about your crop insurance coverage. While we’ll leave most of the advising to your insurance agent, we can take a deeper look at some of the options at your disposal. Cory Walters from UNL Ag Economics joins us to discuss these, while also diving into potential price outcomes and operation-specific factors impacting your crop insurance decision.

Past Webinars

EDPs: What Do All Those Numbers Mean?

Premiered: January 18, 2023 @ 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Speaker: Dr. Matt Spangler, professor/beef genetics specialist, University of Nebraska
Moderator: Heidi Pieper, Southwest regional manager, Nebraska Farm Bureau

It’s the time of year where mailboxes start to fill up with bull sale catalogs and fliers. It’s always enjoyable to look through the bulls, but it’s known that so much more goes into selecting a herd sire than just a pretty picture. Expected progeny differences (EPDs) have been applied to improve the genetics of beef cattle for almost four decades. EDPs are predictions of the genetic transmitting ability of a parent to its offspring and are used to make selection decisions for traits desired in the herd.

This edition of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Inside Profitability Series aims to give an opportunity to better understand how specific EPD data is derived and how producers can use the information to make better informed decisions. Dr. Matt Spangler, a professor and beef genetics specialist with the University of Nebraska, will walk through EDP numbers and how to put them to work in a way that not only fits producer’s needs, but also enhances profitability.

Lay of the Land: Rental Rates & Lease Negotiations

Recorded on: December 14, 2022 @ 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Speaker: Jim Jansen, agricultural economist, Nebraska Extension
Moderator: Austin Harthoorn, economist, Nebraska Farm Bureau

With harvest 2022 wrapped up and a “unique” crop year now in the rearview mirror, Nebraska’s growers can begin looking ahead to what’s next. For many, this will include negotiating lease agreements and planning acreage put into production next year. Landlords and tenants have a lot to take into consideration in these conversations with the agricultural economy featuring relentless input costs, higher crop prices, and record land sales, just to name a few.

This edition of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Inside Profitability Series aims to provide some guidance in this arena. Jim Jansen, an agricultural economist with Nebraska Extension, joins us as we walk through rental rates and some common concerns amongst landlords and tenants. We’ll discuss the situation for irrigated ground, dryland, and grazing land, providing some background to lean on as you approach these lease negotiations this winter.

Protecting Against Pasture Losses – PRF Insurance

Recorded: November 9, 2022 @ 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Speaker: Aaron Berger, beef education, Nebraska Extension
Moderator: Austin Harthoorn, economist, Nebraska Farm Bureau

The drought has left many agricultural producers across the state in disarray, and those with grazing and haying ground are no exception. According to the latest Crop Progress Report, 82 percent of Nebraska’s pastures and rangelands are currently scored as poor or very poor. With forage taking such a large hit in 2022, many may be interested in seeking out ways to protect against these losses going forward. Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage (PRF) Insurance is a great option at the producers’ disposal, and one that can put some money back in their pocket after dry years.

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Inside Profitability Series webinar dives into the specifics of the PRF insurance program with the help of Aaron Berger, a Nebraska Extension Beef Educator in the Panhandle region. Aaron discusses the functionalities of PRF, the logistics behind the program, its effectiveness in protecting grazing and haying ground, and some guidelines in selecting coverage. As a reminder, the deadline to enroll in the PRF program is December 1, and we encourage those interested to work with their crop insurance agents in planning for the upcoming year.

A Peek Behind the Drought Monitor

Recorded: October 19, 2022
Dr. Mark Svoboda, Director of the National Drought Mitigation Center

A drought monitor released in October 13 shows 100 percent of the state under some form of drought, with 65 percent of the state categorized as in severe, extreme, or exceptional drought. This year’s drought has brought increased attention to the drought monitor. Along with the attention, several producers have wondered how the monitor map is created, what data and information are used to develop the map, and how the information is used to trigger government drought assistance programs.

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Inside Profitability Series webinar provides a peek behind the drought monitor and tackles these questions with the help from Dr. Mark Svoboda, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center. Dr. Svoboda provides a background on the team, process, data, and information used to create the weekly drought monitor. In addition,

Agriculture & Inflation – What it Means for Producers

Recorded: August 31, 2022
Krista Swanson, Agricultural Economist & Visiting Research Specialist, Univ. of Illinois
Don Cantrell, farmer from Custer County

Inflation in the U.S. has reaches levels not seen since the 1970s and 1980s. The latest figures show an overall inflation rate of 8.5 percent over the past year. Inflation has affected farmers and ranchers in numerous ways. Expenses are higher for fuel, feed, fertilizer, chemicals, and other inputs. Interest rates are moving higher, increasing borrowing costs. For many operators, this is the first time in their farming/ranching careers in dealing with the financial conditions seen today. Managing a farm or ranch during inflationary times can bring a unique set of challenges.  

Inflation and what it means for agriculture will be the focus Nebraska Farm Bureau’s next Inside Profitability Series webinar. Featuring Krista Swanson, an agricultural economist and visiting research specialist with the FarmDoc team at the University of Illinois, and Don Cantrell, a producer in Custer County Nebraska, the webinar focuses on tactics and strategies for farmers and ranchers when managing an operation in inflationary times. Swanson will discuss watching debt levels, interest costs, and other means to mitigate the financial uncertainties of inflation and rising interest rates. Cantrell will discuss his experiences farming during the 1980s farm crisis of high in

Drought & Crop Insurance: What to Know

Recorded: June 22, 2022
Speaker: Zach Hyland, regional crop consultant, Farm Bureau Financial Services

Temperatures have begun to push 100 degrees in many parts of Nebraska. The latest drought monitor shows 94 percent of the state under some form of drought, with 45 percent of the state categorized as severe, extreme, or exceptional drought. The latest National Weather Service long-term forecast for Nebraska calls for a hot and dry summer. All these signs point to the persistence of drought this summer. Drought raises many questions for producers with crop insurance. Must producers continue to maintain the crops if its suffering from drought? When do claims need to be filed? Can irrigation water be diverted? What if the drought persists into the fall when planting wheat?  

These questions and more are the focus this Inside Profitability Series webinar. The webinar will highlight what farmers should do under their crop insurance policies if their crops are damaged by drought. The speaker discusses options farmers have under crop insurance if crops suffer from drought and what producers should do if they want to cut a portion of the crop for silage or divert water from one crop to adequately water another crop. They will also touch on Pasture, Range, and Forage Coverage and how drought impacts Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) .

Irrigation & Water Management During Drought

Speaker: Steve Melvin, Irrigated Cropping Systems Extension Educator, UNL

The latest National Weather Service long-term forecast for Nebraska calls for a hot and dry summer, meaning the state’s drought is likely to continue. As such, effectively managing irrigation during the growing season will be paramount for a successful crop. Irrigation scheduling, consistent application rates, soil water monitoring, energy costs, and more factor into effective water management. 

This webinar will focus on water and irrigation management during drought. Steve Melvin, an Irrigated Cropping Systems Extension Educator located in Central City with the University of Nebraska, will discuss factors irrigators should keep in mind when managing irrigation applications this year. Steve’s work focuses on working with farmers to conserve water and effectively manage their irrigation equipment. Proper pressure, soil water monitoring, irrigation timing, end of season applications, and other water management factors will be discussed. 

Marketing Grain this Year with Drought/International Events

Speaker: Kevin Gonnerman, risk management consultant, StoneX

The latest National Weather Service long-term forecast for Nebraska calls for a hot and dry summer, meaning the state’s drought is likely to continue. At the same time, planting problems elsewhere in the U.S., strong demand, and world turmoil have pushed crop prices higher this year. Given the uncertainties and volatility in today’s grain markets, should Nebraska crop producers be looking to market a portion of their crops prior to harvest? Do the typical seasonal price trends hold during period of drought?  Are there other factors farmers should consider when selling crops in drought years?

This webinar will focus on grain marketing this year given the influence of drought and unusual volatility in current markets. Featuring Kevin Gonnerman, a risk management consultant with StoneX in Omaha and former farmer from York County, the webinar will discuss marketing tools farmers can use to take advantage of seasonality in commodity markets. Kevin will also examine potential profitability this year for corn and soybean producers and discuss how farmers can lock in positive returns for a portion of this year’s crop.

Listen to Podcasts

View Past Webinars