LINCOLN, NE – As the flood water recedes and snow melts, farmers and ranchers are getting a better look at the amount of damage their operations have suffered from last week’s extreme weather events.
One of the more significant losses experienced by landowners has been livestock death. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has assistance available to help landowners cope with the aftermath of livestock death.
Through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program, commonly referred to as EQIP, farmers and ranchers can apply for assistance to properly dispose of dead livestock. Applications are being accepted now through July 1, 2019.
NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “This was an unprecedented and devastating event for Nebraska. Some ranchers are dealing with hundreds of dead animals. This is not only damaging to their bottom-line, but if these animals are not disposed of properly, there could be negative impacts to water quality and other natural resources. NRCS conservationists are available to provide technical and financial assistance to help producers dispose of livestock carcasses in a safe manner.”
Producers who have not already disposed of livestock can apply for EQIP now. Producers can then get a waiver to allow them to begin working to dispose of deceased livestock before having an approved EQIP contract.
“Typically, producers cannot begin working on an EQIP practice before their EQIP contract has been approved. But since this situation is so time-critical, NRCS is encouraging producers to sign up for EQIP first, then submit a waiver to go ahead and begin animal disposal prior to having their EQIP contract approved,” Derickson said.
Producers in the area who suffered other damages due to the blizzard and flooding – such as damaged fencing, water sources, or windbreaks – may also seek assistance from NRCS through general EQIP funding. The sign-up period for general EQIP is continuous and has no cut off application date.
Derickson said, “NRCS is committed to helping producers get back on their feet after these extreme weather events while also ensuring Nebraska’s natural environment remains healthy and productive.”
For more information about the programs and assistance available from NRCS, visit your local USDA Service Center orwww.ne.nrcs.usda.gov.
Governor Laura Kelly yesterday toured counties damaged by flooding in Kansas and Nebraska with Maj. General Lee Tafanelli from the Kansas National Guard, Deputy Director Angee Morgan from the Kansas Department of Emergency Management and Acting Director Earl Lewis from the Kansas Water Office. They flew by helicopter to Leavenworth and then up the Missouri River Basin surveying the damage and relief efforts.
Kelly signed an executive order yesterday easing motor carrier regulations to expedite emergency relief and restoration. Last week, the governor issued a state of disaster emergency declaration for several counties affected by flooding. Local, state and federal partners will continue to work together to address the needs of communities and rural areas.
With the Federal Reserve hinting at leaving interest rates unchanged in 2019, the farm economy has one less chance for deterioration. Low-interest rates have been cited as the reason the current farm economy has not reached the crisis seen in the 1980s.
Politico reports that while farmers are having losses, those losses don’t compare to the 1980s when interest rates were between 10 and 20 percent, compared to the five or six percent rates seen today. Despite declining farm income and low commodity prices, the low-interest rates are keeping land values strong.
The Federal Reserve bank this week signaled interest rates will not likely be raised in 2019, veering away from the previous plan that included two interest rate hikes this year. Chairman Jerome Powell noted that there is “major uncertainty” regarding the U.S. economic picture, suggesting that the outlook is overall positive, but growth “is slowing somewhat more than expected.”
CURTIS, Neb. – Animal science is a profession and passion for Doug Smith, a Texan-turned-Nebraskan.
The professor who has coached students in livestock evaluation, instructed hundreds of college freshmen and sophomores, and mentored young people into agricultural careers for the past eight years at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis was recently honored for those efforts.
Smith was one of three senior faculty to receive the Holling Family Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“Dr. Douglas Smith embodies the outstanding work of our faculty here at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis,” said Ron Rosati, NCTA dean.
“His work adds significant impact to NCTA Aggie students, as well as youth and adult education across Nebraska.”
Smith, an associate professor and chair of the NCTA animal science and agriculture education division, was introduced at a March 12 awards ceremony in Lincoln by NCTA graduate, Karlee Johnson of Pender.
Johnson is in her fourth year of an agriculture education program which began at NCTA, and is now completing her bachelor’s degree at UNL. Next fall, she will student teach at Lyons-Decatur Northeast High School.
“Doug has helped as an advisor, professor, and mentor throughout my two years in Curtis by giving students many opportunities and hands-on experience, including the bridging (from NCTA to UNL),” Johnson said.
“He is someone I still look to for advice as I continue on my education, and will throughout my career.”
Smith earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sam Houston State University, and a doctorate from Texas A & M. He and his family moved to Curtis in the summer of 2011.
He coaches the NCTA Livestock Judging team and works with Nebraska Extension in livestock programming and industry events across Nebraska. Smith also teaches and supervises students as a Professor of Practice in the animal science and agricultural education departments at UNL.
Additionally, he is active in the Curtis community serving on the Medicine Valley Public Schools board of education and in the United Methodist Church. In November, he became the chair of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Education Committee.
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas Farm Bureau’s Foundation for Agriculture has donated $10,000 to assist Nebraska farmers and ranchers recover from record flooding affecting the state. The money will go to Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Disaster Relief Fund. The fund will distribute 100 percent of its proceeds to Nebraska farmers, ranchers and rural communities.
“Our hearts go out to the individuals and families affected by the catastrophic flooding in Nebraska,” Rich Felts, president of Kansas Farm Bureau says. “Our foundation board voted unanimously to assist our neighbors in their recovery process. We feel privileged to play a small role in restoring the livelihoods of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.”
(Video) ‘BOMB CYCLONE’; Damage and Looses from in Nebraska More than $1 Billion
A two-day “bomb cyclone” dumped snow and rain across frozen ground across the Plains in early March. Some Nebraska communities received nearly 18 inches of snow, while others recorded nearly four inches of rain. That moisture caused runoff that swelled rivers and streams to record levels.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association is excited to announce that Governor Kristi Noem has signed Senate Bill 68, the “Fake Meat” bill.
SB 68 relies on existing statutory definitions of meat food products and meat by-products and makes it clear that a food product may not be labeled in a false, deceptive, or misleading manner that intentionally misrepresents the product as a meat food product as defined in § 39-5-6, a meat by-product as defined in § 39-5-6, or as poultry (as defined in the bill).
Lab-grown meats are moving closer to market introduction. The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association believes these alternative products need to be clearly delineated from actual meat and should not be allowed to benefit from the generations of hard work that have gone in to creating the current day market for actual meat food products. Consequently, The SDSGA is grateful to the legislature and to the Governor for stepping up and providing leadership on this issue for producers and consumers in South Dakota.
“The Fake Meat bill was legislation to which we dedicated a great deal of time this legislative session. Not only is this bill good for our agricultural producers, but it is also great for consumers, as it gives them the knowledge they need when making decisions at the grocery store for their families,” said Gary Deering, South Dakota Stockgrowers President.
“This was a fun bill to lobby. Soliciting sponsors for legislation can be a challenging task. SB 68 was that rare bill that was so popular legislators were coming to us and asking to sign on.” exclaimed Jeremiah M. Murphy, Stockgrowers’ lobbyist. “We received great support from legislators and from a broad spectrum of SD agriculture groups.
“My first Legislative session has been a great one for the Stockgrowers. Seeing this bill signed puts the icing on the cake.” said James Halverson, Stockgrowers’ Executive Director. “It has been fun and rewarding working on an idea like this. It started at the grass roots level, at a meeting of ours, and drew increasing support as it went through all of the legislative steps up to and including the governor’s signature. This truly goes to show what a difference organizations like the Stockgrowers can make,” added Halverson.
“We are grateful to the legislature and especially the bill’s prime sponsors, Sen. Art Rusch and Rep. Oren Lesmeister, for their leadership and hard work on this bill,” said Deering. “We are also grateful to Governor Noem. At the beginning of session she asked Jeremiah and I for the Stockgrowers’ priorities, and we told her the fake meat bill was at the top of our list. We appreciate her support in signing SB 68. She deserves a lot of credit for standing up for South Dakota producers.” added Deering.
In case you hadn’t heard, the Eastern Nebraska Research & Extension Center near Mead is serving as a collection location for hay (large bales) donations and fencing materials for livestock owners/managers who were impacted by the recent adverse weather events in Nebraska. This has been a rather quick developing project, so thank you for your patience as the details have come together, as I know people are anxious to learn about what is going on.
Below are details that are also shared on the website….
Donations can be brought to ENREC between the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. But it is important to contact us first at the number listed in the directions below! Material unloading equipment/operators provided.
Directions for making donations follow:
· Call (970)759-8626 or (402)624-8000 to let us know the day and approximate time that you plan to deliver hay(large bales only, no small bales) or fencing supplies. And please let us know what you are donating. Collection hours at ENREC near Mead, NE are between 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Material unloading equipment/operators provided.
· Hay Donations – LARGE BALES ONLY – Large round and square hay donations will be collected approximately 1/2 mi. west of the intersection of County Road 10 (blacktop road that goes south out of Mead, NE) and County Road H. Click on the link for the Google map. Coordinates are: 41.161543 -96.482925. Enter from the EAST and exit to the WEST. Small bales should be taken to the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln.
· Fencing Materials Donations – Fencing materials donations will be collected at a designated location at the ENREC Farm and Facilities Operations Shop. Click on the link for the Google Map. Coordinates are: 41.176711 -96.469526. Follow redwood directional signs off County Road 10 (blacktop road that goes south out of Mead, NE) and County Road J. Look for the redwood “Farm Operations” sign.
· Download the printable flyer. The flyer includes directions from Omaha and Lincoln, as well as pertinent details about hay and fencing donations.
· For those affected by the recent flooding that wish to obtain donated hay or fencing materials, please contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 1-800-831-0550. Load out hours 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Material loading equipment/operators provided. Additional resources are available at: http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/resources/index.html.
Flooding in the central-U.S. is halting rail traffic, including shipments and deliveries from agricultural facilities. Union Pacific noted the flooding has caused “significant damage” to the company’s rail network.
Five routes of the Union Pacific rail network are closed due to flooding and track washouts in the Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska four-state area. Meanwhile, BNSF Railway reported track closures in the same area, along with additional closures in North and South Dakota, and Illinois near the Mississippi River. The track closures impact shipments of grain and rail services from ethanol plants in the region as the floodwaters continue to migrate down the Missouri River basin.
(Video) Vice President Mike Pence assess flood damage and emergency response efforts
The rail companies say crews from across the county are in the region to restore service as soon as possible. Meanwhile, a more than 100 mile stretch of Interstate 29 that runs parallel by a few miles along the river was closed Tuesday. Vice President Mike Pence also visited flood-damaged areas of Nebraska and Iowa, along with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. Missouri Governor Mike Parsons toured flooded areas of his state earlier over the weekend.
Livestock groups warn any trade allowing Brazil to export beef to the U.S. would put the U.S. beef industry at risk. President Donald Trump and his counterpart from Brazil discussed trade issues Tuesday, including beef, sugar and ethanol. However, some livestock groups expressed concern regarding the potential reopening of fresh beef exports to the U.S. market.
The United States Cattlemen’s Association reiterated its strong opposition to the move that the organization says would compromise the “health of the domestic cattle herd for the sake of increased beef exports, especially from a country marred by scandal.” The group urged President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to strongly consider potential animal health issues stemming from possible trade with Brazil, including the 2017 discovery that Brazilian meat inspectors had been caught accepting bribes to allow expired meats to be sold and sanitary permits to be falsified.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Farmer Jeff Jorgenson looks out over 750 acres of cropland submerged beneath the swollen Missouri River, and he knows he probably won’t plant this year.
But that’s not his biggest worry. He and other farmers have worked until midnight for days to move grain, equipment and fuel barrels away from the floodwaters fed by heavy rain and snowmelt. The rising water that has damaged hundreds of homes and been blamed for three deaths has also taken a heavy toll on agriculture, inundating thousands of acres, threatening stockpiled grain and killing livestock.
In Fremont County alone, Jorgenson estimates that more than a million bushels of corn and nearly half a million bushels of soybeans have been lost after water overwhelmed grain bins before they could be emptied of last year’s crop. His calculation using local grain prices puts the financial loss at more than $7 million in grain alone. That’s for about 28 farmers in his immediate area, he said.
Once it’s deposited in bins, grain is not insured, so it’s just lost money. This year farmers have stored much more grain than normal because of a large crop last year and fewer markets in which to sell soybeans because of a trade dispute with China.
“The economy in agriculture is not very good right now. It will end some of these folks farming, family legacies, family farms,” he said. “There will be farmers that will be dealing with so much of a negative they won’t be able to tolerate it.”
Jorgenson, 43, who has farmed since 1998, reached out to friends Saturday, and they helped him move his grain out of bins to an elevator. Had they not acted, he would have lost $135,000.
Vice President Mike Pence surveyed flooded areas in Nebraska Tuesday, where he viewed the raging Elkhorn river, talked to first responders and visited a shelter for displaced people. He promised expedited action on presidential disaster declarations for Iowa and Nebraska.
“We’re going to make sure that federal resources are there for you,” Pence told volunteers at Waterloo, a town of less than 1,000 residents about 21 miles (34 kilometers) west of Omaha that was virtually cut off by the floodwaters.
(Video) On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence flew into Nebraska to assess flood damage and emergency response efforts.
The flooding is expected to continue throughout the week in several states as high water flows down the Missouri River. Swollen rivers have already breached more than a dozen levees in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
The flooding, which started after a massive late-winter storm last week, has also put some hog farms in southwest Iowa underwater. The dead animals inside must be disposed of, Reynolds said.
The water rose so quickly that farmers in many areas had no time to get animals out, said Chad Hart, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University.
“Places that haven’t seen animal loss have seen a lot of animal stress. That means they’re not gaining weight and won’t be marketed in as timely a manner, which results in additional cost,” he said.
In all, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson estimated $400 million of crop losses from fields left unplanted or planted late and up to $500 million in livestock losses.
In a news release issued Tuesday, Gov. Pete Ricketts said there have been deadlier disasters in Nebraska but never one as widespread. He said 65 of the state’s 93 counties are under emergency declarations.
In neighboring Missouri, water was just shy of getting into Ryonee McCann’s home along a recreational lake in Holt County, where about 40,000 acres (16,188 hectares) and hundreds of homes have been flooded. She said her home sits on an 8-foot (2.5-meter) foundation.
“We have no control over it,” the 38-year-old said. “We just have to wait for the water to recede. It’s upsetting because everything you have worked for is there.”
The Missouri River was forecast to crest Thursday morning at 11.6 feet above flood stage in St. Joseph, Missouri, the third highest crest on record. More than 100 roads are closed in the state, including a growing section of Interstate 29.
Leaders of the small northwestern Missouri town of Craig ordered an evacuation. The Holt County Sheriff’s Department said residents who choose to stay must go to City Hall to provide their name and address in case they need to be rescued.
In nearby Atchison County, Missouri, floodwaters knocked out a larger section of an already busted levee overnight, making the village of Watson unreachable, said Mark Manchester, the county’s deputy director of emergency management/911.
Officials believe everyone got out before thousands of more acres were flooded. But so many roads are now closed that some residents must travel more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) out of their way to get to their jobs at the Cooper Nuclear Station in Nebraska, he said.
“It’s a lot harder for people to get around,” Manchester said.
River flooding has also surrounded a northern Illinois neighborhood with water, prompting residents to escape in boats. People living in the Illinois village of Roscoe say children have walked through floodwaters or kayaked to catch school buses.
Flooding along rivers in western Michigan has damaged dozens of homes and businesses.