Welcome to Agriculture Economic Tidbits, a weekly e-newsletter (emailed Mondays) for farmer and rancher members of Nebraska Farm Bureau. Agriculture Economics Tidbits will provide you with timely tidbits of economic information and policy analysis focused on Nebraska’s largest industry, agriculture, and its key players, Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.  The newsletter will break down global and national economic trends and what they mean for Nebraska agriculture, stay abreast of latest market movements, and provide the latest results from Farm Bureau research on current policy issues like property taxes, school funding, farm programs and international trade—all with the goal of helping you maintain a viable farming or ranching operation.

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The most recent USDA production estimates indicate Nebraska corn production will equal 1.81 billion bushels, up 1 percent compared to last year. The average corn yield is estimated at 186 bushels per acre, 6 bushels less than last year.

Cuming County almost captured the Nebraska Triple Crown for highest average cash rental rates on irrigated, dryland, and pasture ground in 2019. The county led the state in average cash rents on irrigated and dryland ground with rents of $294/acre and $244/acre, respectively.

Nebraska farmers planted 39 percent of their soybean acres to dicamba-tolerant seeds in 2018 according to the USDA Economic Research Service. Nationwide, 43 percent of soybean acres were planted to dicamba-tolerant seeds.

“It turns out that for the common man, capitalism, with all of its alleged shortcomings, is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires.” Walter Williams, Creators Syndicate, Omaha World Herald, May 26, 2019.

Agriculture Economic Tidbits is now providing easy-to-read charts which plot the weekly crop progress reports for Nebraska released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Services. To see the latest report, click here.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reports old crop corn stocks in Nebraska on September 1 totaled 233 million bushels, up 11 percent from last year. Stocks in on-farm storage were up 30 percent compared to 2018, while stocks in off-farm storage were up just 3 percent. On-farm stocks accounted for 34 percent of the total stocks in storage. Nebraska had the fourth highest amount of corn in storage, trailing Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. Overall, U.S. corn stocks were down 1 percent.

Nebraska agriculture would look vastly different and would not be the economic power it is absent irrigation. Sometimes, though, it’s good to be reminded of the breadth of irrigation in the state relative to the rest of the nation.

German consumers would pay increased taxes on their bratwurst if some German politicians have their way. Fitch Solutions reports a coalition of German politicians has proposed increasing the value added tax (VAT) on meat to 19 percent. Meat is currently taxed at a rate of 7 percent like other food staples. Denmark and Sweden have also seen similar proposals in recent years.

“Fair markets? No. Markets aren’t supposed to be fair. They never have been and, unless artificially manipulated, never will be.” Bart Rutherford, Market become the target in a frustrating ranching climate. Beef Magazine. Sep. 25, 2019

Agriculture Economic Tidbits is now providing easy-to-read charts which plot the weekly crop progress reports for Nebraska released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Services. To see the latest report, click here.

The Nebraska economy grew by 1.4 percent in August according to a measure used by the Bureau of Business Research (BBR) at the UNL College of Business. The August change continued the alternate pattern of growth/decline in the measure over the past six months. The measure includes factors like electricity sales, private wages, and business conditions, all of which improved during August, along with agricultural commodities which were off slightly for the month.

The need for greater control of local spending has been mentioned repeatedly during tax reform discussions over the past few years. School spending, because schools account for roughly 60 percent of the property taxes levied, are often a focus of the spending control discussions. This week, Tidbits delves into trends and the history of school spending since school year 1996-97.

The Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in cooperation with the Nebraska Farm Bureau is presenting a one-day conference entitled “What’s on the Horizon for International Trade?” The summit will be held Thursday, Oct. 10, at the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln.

China and India rank 1st and 2nd in population and combined account for almost 37 percent of the world’s population. The United States ranks 3rd and accounts for just over 4 percent of the world’s population.

Like death and taxes, one can always count on U.S. agriculture to run a trade surplus with the rest-of-the-world. A trade surplus means the U.S. sells more to the rest-of-the-world than it imports. U.S. agricultural exports typically consist of corn, soybeans, beef, pork, poultry, animal feed, and other products.

Price movements in both cattle and boxed beef markets (Figures 2 & 3) following the fire at the Tyson processing facility in Holcomb, KS have sparked considerable discussion within the beef industry. In the wake of the fire, packers’ gross margins reached record levels as boxed beef prices soared and cattle prices fell.

The differences in numbers of cattle on feed in Texas and Nebraska between January 2006 and May 2019.

092319 cotmSource: Amarillo Brokerage Company as cited in The Van Trump Report, Aug. 28

“Alas, the first texts of history contain no philosophical insights, no poetry, legends, laws, or even royal triumphs. They are humdrum economic documents, recording the payment of taxes, the accumulation of debts and the ownership of property.” Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, HarperCollins Publishers, 2005.

Agriculture Economic Tidbits is now providing easy-to-read charts which plot the weekly crop progress reports for Nebraska released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Services.  To see the latest report, click here

The Nebraska Department of Revenue announced the property tax credit on agricultural land in 2019 will amount to roughly $116 million statewide, or $2.52 per acre on average. Non-agland property will receive a credit equaling almost $159 million.

United States agriculture operates in a global marketplace and faces stiff competition in overseas markets. In some markets, the U.S. competes well and has secured sizable market shares. In others, stiff competition, the value of the dollar, and other non-market factors keep U.S. market shares low.

The Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in cooperation with the Nebraska Farm Bureau is presenting a one-day conference entitled “What’s on the Horizon for International Trade?”

“Jyske Bank, Denmark's third-largest bank, said recently that customers would now be able to take out a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of -0.5%. Yes, you read that correctly. A bank in Denmark is offering borrowers the chance to take out mortgages at a negative interest rate, effectively meaning that it will pay customers to borrow money!” The Van Trump Report, August 21, 2019.

Agriculture Economic Tidbits is now providing easy-to-read charts which plot the weekly crop progress reports for Nebraska released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Services.  To see the latest report, click here

The Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in cooperation with the Nebraska Farm Bureau is presenting a one-day conference entitled “What’s on the Horizon for International Trade?” 

Nebraska remains one of the top states in the use of reduced and no-till tillage practices on farms. The 2017 Census of Agriculture showed that no-till cropland acres in the state equaled 10.3 million acres, or 46 percent of total cropland acres.

“The fact is meat alternatives snagged only $4.3 billion of the $900 billion-plus global meat market in 2018. Market analysts see mock meat sales rising 6.8% per year through 2023, to an arguably unimpressive $6.3 billion, even as real meat sales grow faster.” Alan Guebert, Farm and Food, Lincoln Journal Star, September 8, 2019.

Agriculture Economic Tidbits is now providing easy-to-read charts which plot the weekly crop progress reports for Nebraska released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Services.  To see the latest report, click here

Since the USDA released its August production estimates two weeks ago, the trade has largely turned its attention to predicting this year’s yields. The Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour was in Nebraska last week and reported a potential corn yield of 172.5 bushels per acre and an average soybean pod count of 1,210.8 pods.

The fire at the Tyson beef packing facility in Kansas and the subsequent movements for cattle and boxed beef prices along with soaring packer margins has brought about renewed attention on the competitiveness of cattle markets.