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Each year, Nebraska Farm Bureau, along with the Aksarben Foundation and the Nebraska Association of Fair Managers, pays homage to the dedicated and hard-working Nebraska farm families who have met the incredible milestone of owning their farmland within one family for 100 and 150 years.

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On July 5, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposed 2020 renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The proposal failed to include any increases in conventional ethanol usage to make up for waivers granted in past years to small refineries, in addition to falling short of RFS statutory targets.

According to reports, the White House is expected to send legislation to Congress for ratification of the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) sometime after Sept. 1. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters earlier this week that the Trump administration is encouraged by the discussions that are underway with Speaker Pelosi and Democrat leaders in the House which are critical to securing bipartisan support for the measure. Last month Mexico became the first country to ratify the trade deal.

USMCA and Nebraska Agriculture

Nebraska Farmer magazine’s Tyler Harris recently sat down with members of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s governmental relations team to discuss the how agriculture fared during the 2019 legislative session. Despite ongoing work on property taxes, the session yielded several wins for agriculture.

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Sen. Tom Briese of Albion hit the nail on the head in a recent Associated Press article where he pointed out that renewal of state business incentives and property tax reform must be a package deal. Bills on both measures failed to advance in the waning days of the 2019 legislative session.

Good records make it possible to track a farm or ranch's true financial position. Inaccurate records can lead to misguided management decisions. For tips and insights to help make sure you’re getting the most out of your operation’s records, the University of Nebraska Extension is hosting a series of “Good Farmer to Great Manager” classes in July. Classes are being held in Lincoln, Bridgeport, and Grand Island.

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Nebraskans who've suffered damage to real property as a result of flooding or other natural disasters have until July 15 to seek a reduction in the value of damaged real property for tax purposes due to a recent change in state law.

U.S. trade relations with Japan, one of the largest purchasers of Nebraska agriculture commodities, will be front and center this weekend as President Trump is slated to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Abe during the G20 summit.

The power of Farm Bureau is vested in members’ grassroots policy development. Check out Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 2019 Policy Development Guides that highlight a few issues that have surfaced and let us know what you think on those and other topics that matter to you, as we head toward policy development meetings this fall.

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Nebraska Farm Service Agency has extended the deadline for producers to report their spring prevented plant crop acres to the agency.

Nebraskans who’ve suffered damage to real property as a result of flooding or other natural disasters can now seek a reduction in the value of damaged real property for tax purposes due to a recent change in state law. Property owners must file the report by July 15.

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Past efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require farmers and ranchers to report air emissions from their operations were nothing more than regulatory overkill. Administrator Wheeler’s recent action to eliminate EPA’s unnecessary air emission reporting requirements for livestock farms under EPA’s Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) regulations is greatly appreciated.

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If you think the assessed value for your house, farmstead, or real estate is too high, you can file a protest with the county clerk’s office. There is no fee to file a protest and appeals can be done in person or by mail. Appeals must be submitted in triplicate, signed, dated, and postmarked by June 30. If you’re looking to protest, Nebraska Farm Bureau has developed a guide to help members work through the process.

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The 2019 legislative session is in the books, with senators adjourning Sine Die Friday, May 31. The session brought several “wins” for agriculture. Check out Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Top 5 list.

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The delay in planting this year’s crops has prompted much discussion on prevented planting coverage, the merits of planting soybeans instead of corn, and whether there might be market implications due to lower yields and reduced production. Nebraska Farm Bureau Economist Jay Rempe has provided and an examination on historical yield responses for corn and soybeans in Nebraska during years with delayed planting.

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The Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund has opened a second round of aid distributions. Applications are welcome from new and repeat applicants. More than $2.5 million has been donated with 100 percent of the funds going to help farmers, ranchers and rural communities. Apply online or with the help of a Farm Bureau Financial Services agent. Applicants must apply by June 21, 2019.

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Property tax relief is still in play at the State Capitol as lawmakers work to piece together a path forward with few days remaining in the legislative session. The schedule got tighter this week when the Speaker of the Legislature announced the body will adjourn for the year Friday, May 31, a week earlier than previously planned. The Revenue Committee’s major tax and education funding reform bill is still available but has yet to garner the 33 votes need for debate to resume on the bill. A separate measure to put more money into the state’s Property Tax Credit Fund that surfaced this week, is also in the mix.

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Nebraska Farm Bureau registered opposition this week to LB 720, a bill that would provide millions of dollars in corporate incentives, noting that the Legislature should be focused on providing property tax relief first for hardworking Nebraska families. Lawmakers debated LB 720 for three hours this week. The bill’s introducer, Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward, will need to show 33 votes in favor of the measure for legislative debate to resume.

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Japan has eliminated its long-held restrictions on American beef imports, opening full access to U.S. cattle products after more than 15 years. According to USDA, the expanded access could increase U.S. beef and beef product exports to Japan by up to $200 million annually.

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The American Farm Bureau is urging President Trump to bring a swift resolution to the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. In a letter, AFBF President Zippy Duval pointed to the six-year downturn in farm prices that has produced “near-unprecedented economic uncertainty and hardship” is worsening as a result of Chinese tariffs.”

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