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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Tidbits does not include links to crop progress charts this week due to the Veterans Day holiday. Thanks to those who serve or have served in our nation’s armed forces. “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”—Winston Churchill.

Friday’s USDA crop production estimates project Nebraska corn production will equal 1.77 billion bushels, down 1 percent compared to last year. The average corn yield for Nebraska is estimated at 182 bushels per acre, off 10 bushels from last year.

Links with California dominate Nebraska food flows according to research performed by researchers with the University of Illinois and Kansas State University. The analysis examined food flows between counties and Freight Analysis Framework (FAF) zones in the United States.

Another interesting aspect of the Xiaowen Lin et al. study were the estimates of corn flows between counties which were part of the analysis. Figure 2 illustrates corn flows between counties in several Midwest and Plains states including Nebraska and was taken from the study.

Come December, the world may be losing its forum for resolving trade disputes with the collapse of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) dispute settlement system. Next month, two appellant judges will fulfill their terms on the appellant body and must retire.

“An old trader friend of mine would always say to me, ‘You can’t start or stop the waves, but only have yourself in position to surf them.’” Kevin Van Trump, The Van Trump Report, October 24, 2019.

Easy-to-read charts which plot the weekly crop progress reports for Nebraska released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics can be found here.

Tidbits highlighted the latest cash rent data for Nebraska a few weeks ago, but one story on cash rents just doesn’t do the topic justice. This week, changes in rental rates between 2017 to 2019 across Nebraska counties are highlighted.

A voluntary groundwater conservation program launched this year by the Tri-Basin Natural Resources District (TBNRD) seeks to use financial incentives to encourage irrigators to conserve water. In the program, the TBNRD will pay irrigators who enroll for a portion of water saved.

The University of Nebraska Extension and the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) are planning a series of Farm Bill education meetings in late November through December to assist producers as they begin to make farm bill related decisions.

“If you’re in agriculture, you either accommodate to what the world wants, or the world will leave you behind.” Dhamu Thamodaran, Smithfield Foods, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Agricultural Symposium, July 17, 2019.

Easy-to-read charts which plot the weekly crop progress reports for Nebraska released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics can be found here.

Consolidation in production agriculture is evidenced by the growth of average farm size in Nebraska. According to the USDA Census of Agriculture, the average farm size in Nebraska increased 130 acres between 1997-2017, from 841 acres to 971 acres.

Nebraska extension will be hosting a series of risk management workshops for cattle producers across the state during November and December. The workshops will focus on strategies to reduce risk exposure and achieve a better financial outcome in uncertain times. The workshops will be held in Chadron, Sidney, Arthur, Columbus, and Broken Bow. The first workshop is scheduled November 5 and the final one December 9. The workshops will be held in the evenings. For more information on dates and times, and to register, go to: https://ssp.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_73Cig3Kobmr0rnD.

Commerce, like water, will find ways to seep through or work around government barriers. The current trade dispute between China and the United States is no different. Despite the tariffs levied by both countries designed to thwart or make trade and commerce more costly, private companies are adjusting in order to continue to conduct their businesses, albeit in a less efficient manner.

102819 CotM

Source: American Farm Bureau

102819 Hmmmm

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. Crop Progress Reports for this edition of Economic Tidbits can be found here.

U.S exports of commodities produced in Nebraska continue to lag in 2019 compared to 2018 according to the latest data from the USDA Economic Research Service. Nebraska’s top export commodities include soybeans, corn, beef, animal feeds (ddgs.), pork, wheat, and hides and skins. Figure 1 compares U.S. export value of these commodities from January through August of this year to the same period last year.

Dr. Elliot Dennis, an assistant professor of Livestock Marketing and Risk Management at the UNL Department of Agricultural Economics, reports Nebraska feedlots have moved away from feeding lower weight cattle and towards feeding heavier cattle (800+ pounds) since 1996.

The Daily Livestock Report (DLM) reported last week the price spreads between choice and select cuts of beef have widened significantly this year compared to recent years. A factor contributing to the widening spread according to the DLM is fewer cattle are going to packers which grade choice.

“It was also reported that one of the largest hog operations in China, C.P. Pokphand, imported 906 breeding hogs from Denmark in August, the first such import since the outbreak began. The hogs were brought in on a charter plane, but there was no word if they were in coach, business, or first class.” Dan Hueber, The Hueber Report, Oct. 9, 2019

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.