March 26, 2015

Study sees farmland values slip about 3% statewide

corn fieldThe average value of Nebraska farmland has dropped for the first time in years.

UNL Extension educator Jim Jansen says the just-released Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey Report indicated a modest but definite fall.

Jansen says, “The average Nebraska farmland value, which is a weighted average of cropland as well as rangeland, pasture and hay land, the value in Nebraska has declined slightly, by about 3%, to $3,210 an acre.”

Jansen says there were declines in most of the other agricultural lands in the state, especially for dry land.

“For the dry land crop ground, we’ve seen values flip in the ten-percent range on average across the state,” Jansen says. “Irrigated crop ground is also declining but not quite at the rate that the dry land crop land was, and we did see an increase in some of the hay land as well as grazing land in the state.”

Jansen says the recent drop in prices for big crops like corn and soybeans was the primary cause of the slippage in the average farmland values.

“General trends in Nebraska farmland values basically reflect the rental rates and they reflect the changes in agricultural commodity prices,” he says.

The Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey has been conducted every year since 1978.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton


Omaha aspires to be a global agri-business leader

Omaha hopes to benefit from Nebraska’s strong agricultural sector to become one of the top five agri-business leaders in the world.

Senior Vice President Randy Thelen with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce sees value-added agriculture as a key to making the city a global leader in food processing, biofuels, and bio-chemicals.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth of the Cargill campus up in Blair over the years,” Thelen told reporters during the 27th annual Governor Agriculture Conference in Kearney. “We want to see that to continue to grow and we see a new wave of investment taking place across the country in that space and we want to be a leader in that.”

Thelen said precision agriculture will need those who can help manage the huge amount of data needed.

“How can we best translate the data that is being collected today in a meaningful way that provides better abilities to manage the farms, manage these businesses around the world; not just here locally, but around the world?”

Thelen said it only makes sense that the urban areas of Nebraska would attempt to build off the strong foundation laid by agriculture.

Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this report.

Nebraskans honor their agricultural roots and the future of farming

FFA LogoThe 7,000-plus FFA members in Nebraska are celebrating FFA Week. The program teaches high school students about the world of the ag industry.

FFA spokesman Kurt Veldhuizen doesn’t see any letting up in the program that’s nearly 90 years old.

“I think it’s very strong and when you look at ultimately FFA’s tie to agriculture, that’s what we’re rooted in, the future of agriculture is very strong,” Veldhuizen says. “Agriculture has and it will continue to evolve. Today we do things way different than we did 100 years ago.”

He tells students there will always be careers in agriculture available.

“When it comes down to it, as long we’re on earth, as long as there are humans on earth, we will need agriculture in one form or another and that’s really the exciting things for these kids,” Veldhuizen says.

He also tells students the advancing technology is constantly changing agriculture and there may be new jobs available by the time they enter the workforce that weren’t around when they started school.

“With young kids looking for careers and jobs I always tell them what great job security,” according to Veldhuizen. “We are always going to need to feed people. By 2050, we are going to need to feed nine billion, that’s the big push in agriculture right now. You know, what great job security to be a part of that industry.”

There are some 600,000 FFA members nationwide. Learn more at


Kearney hosts Agri-Eco Tourism conference, starting this afternoon

NE Tourism logoThe Nebraska Tourism Commission is opening its annual three-day Agri/Eco Tourism Workshop today in Kearney.

The event is designed for people who want to learn more about the tourism industries surrounding agriculture and the environment. Commission spokeswoman Karen Kollars says a host of activities are planned through Wednesday.

“We’ll start out with a three-hour workshop with business consultant Joe Calhoon who will be helping people grow their business in a simpler fashion,” Kollars says. “We will also be providing sessions on safety, making sure your farm is safe to have visitors and how to plan in case there’s an emergency.”

An event at the conference on Tuesday evening is designed to showcase a range of Nebraska-made products.

“Food products as well as soaps or lotions, different things that people could sell in their gift shops,” Kollars says. “It’s a great opportunity to know what else is out there for businesses to cross-market. Like if a winery wants to serve cheese, they’ll know what Nebraska cheese places are there.”

She says the gathering is a great place to find out how to develop a new attraction, increase income potential and create limitless opportunities.

The conference is underway at the Holiday Inn in Kearney.

By Brent Wiethorn, KKPR, Kearney


Winery & Grape Growers Forum March 5 – 7

The 18th annual Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Forum and Trade Show is rapidly approaching. University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension viticulture specialist Paul Read says Nebraska has seen a nice sustainable growth in the wine industry.

In just over 20 years the number Nebraska wineries has grown to 30 and there are more than 100 grape growers in the state. Read says several white wines in Nebraska have won international competitions.

The event will be held March 5th through the 7th at the Omaha Marriott. Read says this is the first time the event is being held in Omaha. He says typically they cover three areas during the forum that include business practices, wine making and grape growing. 

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