As ethanol plants look to idle back or shut down in response to economic conditions, cattle producers may find themselves with limited or no access to distillers grains. Karla Wilke, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cow/Calf Systems and Stocker Management specialist provides some insight as to what producers can do during a distillers grains shortage.

CARES Act – Economic Impact Payment

NEFB continues to work through the implications of the passage of the federal stimulus/COVID-19 relief bill for farmers and ranchers. This week the Internal Revenue Service updated guidance for the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) of which Nebraska farmers and ranchers will be eligible for. Here are more details on the EIP

Nebraska Farm Bureau joined 25 other state farm bureaus in asking USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to explore all options within his authority to provide relief to cattle producers across the country in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the inception of the COVID-19, live cattle futures have declined by roughly 28 percent. In a joint letter to Sec. Perdue, the organizations emphasized the need to provide direct support to stocker and cow-calf producers who’ve shouldered the brunt of the market decline. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson was also among Farm Bureau leaders who joined Sec. Perdue on a conference call this week to discuss this and other topics.

Read Letter Here

The Small Business Administration (SBA) began rolling out details this week on financial assistance programs initiated by passage of the federal stimulus/COVID-19 relief bill. While many questions remain around the programs, we know farmers and ranchers are eligible to participate in SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll. The program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and self-employed persons). The first step for any ag producer interested in the program should be to contact their lender as application can be made through SBA approved lending institutions, including the Farm Credit System. Look for more details from Farm Bureau in the coming days as complete information is available.

PPP Program Details

PPP Program Application

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has issued guidelines for Livestock Auction Markets to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Even though livestock markets are not considered gatherings under the Directed Health Measures (DHMs) issued by the state, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture strongly recommends that livestock markets adhere to the guidelines that have been suggested, which means changes not only for auction markets, but livestock buyers and sellers.

Read Guidelines

Do your farm employees know what’s expected if you can’t work due to COVID-19? Do you know what your obligations are to employees if they get sick? Farm Bureau continues to update its COVID-19 checklist to help make sure your farm or ranch is ready for extended spread.

Review Checklist

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation selected two recipients for the FFA Advisor of the Year award. Gary Maresh from Central City High School and Dan Mowinkel from Logan View High School in Hooper were honored during a Facebook LIVE ceremony on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s Facebook page on Thursday, April 2. The winning advisors received a plaque and a $1,000 donation to their FFA chapter.

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Watch Facebook Event

The Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) program is offering virtual at-home learning resources for teachers, students, and parents during the COVID-19 outbreak. The new virtual and at-home learning resources include live experiences, self-guided opportunities for students, and activity guides to aid parents and teachers.

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Now is the time to apply! With school out of session for many students across Nebraska now is the time to apply for scholarships, there are numerous scholarship opportunities that are available for high school and college students.

County Scholarships

Student Project Grant Application

Hall County Farm Bureau Scholarship

Kenneth E. Schwartz Memorial Scholarship

Dr. Jeffrey Gold, the chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, was the featured speaker on Nebraska Farm Bureau’s “COVID-19 and Rural Health” Facebook Live event this week. How real is the risk to rural Nebraskans? What challenges will rural health providers face? How can I lower my risk of being exposed? Dr. Gold provided answers to those questions and many more. Missed it? We’ve got you covered!

Congress Passes $2 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Measure

Congress passed a massive $2 trillion COVID-19 aid bill this week. The U.S. Senate approved the measure Wednesday, March 25, followed by U.S. House action on the bill Friday, March 27. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act “an important first step” in providing relief to Nebraska farm and ranch families whose operations have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 outbreak. Earlier in the week, Nebraska Farm Bureau sent a letter to members of Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation outlining the organization’s priorities for COVID-19 relief actions. All five members of Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation supported the measure and Nebraska Farm Bureau thanks them for their efforts. The CARES Act was signed by President Trump this afternoon. Overview below for full details.

Watch NEFB’s Bill Review Here

The Nebraska Legislature passed $86 million in emergency funding earlier this week to help the state respond to COVID-19 and Congress followed suit passing a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief measure opening the door for financial stabilization assistance to Nebraskans, including Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. Get the full details in this week’s Policy Watch.

Read Policy Watch

Watch NEFB Policy Review -Congress Aid Bill

Nebraska Farm Bureau has developed a COVID-19 webpage specifically to provide resources to Nebraska farmers and ranchers. The page contains several resources to help navigate the coronavirus outbreak, ranging from information on personal health to getting your farm or ranch COVID-19 ready.

COVID-19

COVID-19 Farm and Ranch Preparedness Checklist

More than 400 Farm Bureau members from across the state joined a live Telephone Town Hall this week hosted by the Nebraska Farm Bureau to gather information from members regarding the impacts of COVID-19 to their families and agricultural operations. Among the wide range of concerns identified during the call were commodity prices, manipulation in cattle markets, operation financing, potential ethanol and processing plant shutdowns, trucking issues, pesticide applicator renewals, broadband connectivity, rural healthcare, mental health, and general well-being of businesses in rural communities, in addition to numerous others. The feedback provided is being used to help in Farm Bureau’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Listen to Telephone Town Hall

NEFB President Steve Nelson joined Governor Pete Ricketts and State Director of Agriculture Steve Wellman for a proclamation signing and news conference for National Agriculture Week, highlighting the critical role Nebraska farmers and ranchers are playing in providing a stable supply of food in the United States during the COVID-19 crisis.

Watch Here

Agriculture can be a difficult business, particularly in times like these. When faced with uncertainties, managing stress can be challenging, but there are many things you can do to help yourself and others.

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The Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) program is offering virtual at-home learning resources for teachers, students, and parents during the COVID-19 outbreak. The new virtual and at-home learning resources include live experiences, self-guided opportunities for students, and activity guides to aid parents and teachers.

Read More

Now is the time to apply! With school out of session for many students across Nebraska now is the time to apply for scholarships, there are numerous scholarship opportunities that are available for high school and college students.

County Scholarships

Collegiate Farm Bureau Scholarship Form

Student Project Grant Application

Hall County Farm Bureau Scholarship

Kenneth E. Schwartz Memorial Scholarship

Nebraska Farm Bureau is advising farmers, ranchers, and other rural Nebraskans to not underestimate the risk posed by the spread of COVID-19. In this week’s Newswire video, NEFB President Steve Nelson is urging all Nebraskans to take precautions and encouraging farmers and ranchers to prepare for possible impacts to their rural communities and agricultural operations.

Legislature Back Next Week?

The COVID-19 outbreak has put the Nebraska Legislature on hiatus. The body recessed March 12 and ultimately did not return this week due to COVID-19 concerns. It’s rumored state senators might return to Lincoln next week to pass emergency funding to address the outbreak. Lawmakers return would likely be brief and limited to that subject matter. Property tax relief, business incentives, and other issues are unlikely to be discussed. No official announcement regarding the body returning has been made.