J U L Y 2013
▼ Neb. 4-H county fairs to feature commodity carnivals LINCOLN — 4-H Commodity Carnivals will take place throughout Nebraska this summer at county fairs.
The carnivals are the result of a gift from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group. The goal of the partnership program is to increase the public’s understanding of the value of agriculture and increase agriculture literacy across the nation.
NEBRASKA 4-H The new initiative, which will include an interactive learning activity, will debut at county and state fairs in 11 states, including Nebraska. Developed by The Ohio State University Extension, the Commodity Carnival will consist of two hands-
on mini carnival games – Invest and Grow and Pig-Linko – to introduce the concepts of agriculture futures, options and commodity trading to the target audience of families and youth ages 814. Each activity will guide the participants through the process of
producing a commodity (i.e., hogs) and selling it. Nebraska Commodity Carnival locations, dates and contacts are as follows: n Cedar County Fair, Hartington, July 19-21, Jackie Steffen, 402-2546821, firstname.lastname@example.org n Lincoln County Fair, North Platte, July 27-28, Brenda Aufdenkamp, 308-532-2683, email@example.com n Cheyenne County Fair, Sidney, July 30Aug 1, Cynthia Gill, 308-254-4455, firstname.lastname@example.org n Morrill County Fair, Bridgeport, July 30-Aug. 1, Annette Haas, 308-632-1480,
email@example.com n Scotts Bluff County Fair, Mitchell, Aug. 5-7, Annette Haas, 308-6321480, firstname.lastname@example.org n Cuming County Fair, West Point, Aug. 8-11, Patricia Bohaboj, 402-372-6006, email@example.com n Cherry County Fair, Valentine, Aug. 911, Jody Dexter, 402-3761850, firstname.lastname@example.org n Otoe County Fair, Syracuse, Aug. 11-14, Sarah Purcell, 402-2692301, email@example.com 4-H is in UNL Extension in the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Farm Bureau’s young farmers, ranchers talk Farm Bill EPA regulations have been a source of contention since they were finalized in 2009 By KYLEE PLANER Nebraska Farm Bureau
LINCOLN — Members of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee participated in a national affairs visit to Washington, D.C., July 6-10, urged Nebraska’s Congressional delegation to do what they can to help secure the passage of a comprehensive new farm bill. “As young farmers and ranchers we support passage of a farm bill that doesn’t guarantee a profit, but protects farmers and ranchers from catastrophic occurrences. There is con-
siderable risk involved in agriculture, but those risks are amplified for young people working to get their start in farming and ranching. A farm bill safety net is critical to those of us building our operations from the ground up,” said Shelly Thompson, who co-chairs the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee with her husband Thorpe. The Thompsons are ranchers from Whitney, Neb. In addition to passage of a farm bill, committee members advocate for the passage of legislation to fix Environmental Protection
‘New normal’ for ag industry predicted By BARBARA SODERLIN World-Herald News Service
A team of state economists forecasts a “new normal” ahead in agriculture, the state’s largest industry, with farm income expected to fall this year and next and then stabilize as it comes down from record levels in 2011. Meanwhile, most state industries — including construction, retail and manufacturing — can expect modest and steady job growth through 2015, the Nebraska Business
Forecast Council said in its latest long-range report. Unemployment will stay low and nonfarm personal income will grow in 2013, although that growth will slow to 2.2 percent, then bounce back in 2014 to the 4 percent range as the effect of the federal payroll tax rate change dissipates and job growth improves, according to the report to be issued today by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Bureau of Business Research. Please see NEW, Page 4
Agency regulations governing above-ground oil storage on farms. EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure oil spill regulations have been a source of contention since the finalized in 2009. Nebraska Farm Bureau has since advocated for legislation that would raise the oil storage capacity threshold that triggers regulatory requirements. “The original intent of the oil spill regulations was to govern large-scale, oil refinery type operations, not farms and ranches. Agriculture has no history of oil spills and raising the threshold for compliance would help eliminate costly regulatory requirements for young people in agriculture,” said Thompson. The president’s new
Following the Nebraska breakfast on July 10, the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers committee spoke with Congressmen Jeff Fortenberry. climate initiative was also on the minds of committee members. In late June, the Administration released details of a climate plan that would impose deadlines
for EPA to limit carbon dioxide emissions at U.S. power plants which could drive up energy costs for farmers. The proposal also includes new fuel economy stan-
dards on heavy-duty vehicles which could raise the cost and limit availability of new heavyduty vehicles used on Please see YOUNG, Page 5
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House farm bill has no SNAP Praise from Midlands Republicans is muted, measure’s future unclear By JOSEPH MORTON World-Herald News Service
WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday finally approved a new farm bill, but only after ditching the part that dealt with food stamps. All Republican members from Nebraska and Iowa supported the measure, but they weren’t exactly doling out high-fives afterward. As Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., walked off the House floor after the 216-208 vote, he said it wasn’t the legislation he would have
preferred, but at least it moved the process forward. He noted that the bill does include his proposal to cap farm payments, a move that was also included in the Senate-approved version. “That is an important reform element on the farm side, so it helps me get through the angst of this farm bill fiasco process,” he said. The decision to strip food stamps from the legislation came after last month’s stunning defeat for the farm bill on the House floor. Many placed the
blame for that debacle on a last-minute amendment that would have allowed states to put work requirements on food stamps. Conservative Republicans have been looking to make deeper and deeper cuts to the nutrition program, which has doubled in cost in recent years in large part due to the recession. Nutrition assistance now represents $80 billion a year, or about 80 percent of the farm bill. Democrats are looking to keep any cuts to the program modest. They slammed the legislation approved Thursday, saying it would take food from the nation’s needy. Rep. Steve King, RIowa, voted for the bill but said he wished
House leaders had sought to keep the original farm bill together in order to force changes to the food stamp program. Taking this route simply allows Democrats to avoid making any such changes, he said. “Democrats have long been for expanding the dependency class in America,” King said. Still, Democrats said leaving food stamps out of the farm bill will make the program more vulnerable to cuts in the future. That concern was shared by advocates for food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Please see HOUSE, Page 7
NEW from Page 4
The council’s earlier forecast of 1.3 percent job growth in nonfarm industries this year and 1.5 percent next year remained unchanged from a February report. National public policy choices, while beneficial in the long run, are for now holding back faster private-sector growth, the group said, including federal “sequestration” budget cuts and declining bond purchases. The council said Dodd-Frank financial regulations and the Affordable Care Act may reduce growth in the near and long terms, as would a failure for political leaders to make reforms to entitlement programs and the federal tax code. Farm income will fall 3.7 percent to $5.2 billion this year and then to $5 billion in 2014 before leveling off, the report’s authors predict. Still, at that point, farm income will be considerably higher than in any year leading up to the 2011 record. “This amount is effectively the 45>new normal’ for Nebraska agriculture,” said Eric Thompson, director of the business research bureau. Researchers said corn prices will fall by harvest because of fading drought effects, and farmers will face $400 million in cuts to direct subsidy payments. Other industry sector highlights: n Construction: The housing recovery is benefiting the state economy, with building permits and housing starts expected to continue to rise despite rising interest rates. While several major commercial projects are winding down, new infrastructure spending including state road projects will contribute to projected
job growth of 3.5 percent this year and 4 percent in 2014. n Manufacturing: Growth in employment will fall by 2015 to 0.5 percent for durable goods and 0.8 percent for nondurable goods, with weakness in ethanol and the farm sector. But overall, the group said, the state will benefit from increased foreign demand for food and strong growth in the energy sector. n Transportation: Difficulty finding and retaining workers will temper growth in Nebraska’s transportation sector, which is strengthened by its Interstate 80 location, skilled workforce, training programs and low entry costs. The rate of job growth will “gain momentum,” expanding from 2 percent this year to 3 percent by 2015. n Services: The service sector is one of the state’s largest and fastest-growing industries. Health care employment will grow by 2 percent and more a year, adding 7,300 to 9,600 jobs a year to the economy. n Government: Federal government jobs will decline by 1 percent annually through 2015 while state and local governments will start to add jobs cautiously, at less than 1 percent annually. n Retail: It takes solid sales growth to bring even modest employment growth in retail, the economists said, because of increasing productivity. They predict retail employment to grow 0.3 percent this year and 0.4 percent in 2014. n Information: The industry that includes telecommunications, website development and media will stabilize and maintain current employment levels despite rising labor productivity.
Farmers worry about fate of immigration bills Shortage of fruit pickers could become reality over next few months across Mich. orchard belt ATWOOD, Mich. (AP) — For northern Michigan fruit grower Pat McGuire, the most potent symbol of the immigration debate isn’t grainy television footage showing people slipping furtively across the U.S.-Mexican border. Instead, it’s plump red cherries and crisp apples rotting on the ground because there aren’t enough workers to pick them — a scenario that could become reality over the next couple of months.
YOUNG from Page 3
the farm and ranch. “When it comes to climate-related initiatives, we favor efforts that focus on developing technologies and production practices rather than establishing additional regulations. New regulations only put a greater burden on the economy and harm farmers and ranchers,” said Thompson. Members of the committee also shared support for funding U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections at U.S. horse processing facilities. A Government Accountability Office report released last summer documented the harmful impact of processing restrictions noting the nu-
Across the state’s orchard belt, cherry trees already sag under the weight of bright-red clusters, yet many trailers and wood-frame cottages that should be bustling with migrant families stand empty. McGuire is waiting to hear whether crews will show up to pick his crop in mid-July. “We’re running out of time,” he said, pulling aside leafy branches to inspect his ripening fruit on gently sloping hillsides a mile inland
from Lake Michigan. From Christmas tree growers in the Appalachians to Wisconsin dairy farmers and producers of California’s diverse abundance of fruits and vegetables, agricultural leaders are pleading with Congress for an immigration bill that includes more lenient and less complex rules for hiring farm workers. A measure that recently cleared the
merous and rising cases of horse abandonment and neglect since the last U.S. processing plant closed in 2007. Funding for horse inspections is in question in Congress where votes removing USDA funding for horse inspection have advanced through the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. “Horse slaughter provides a much needed avenue for the removal of unwanted horses. We know many animals have already suffered from starvation and abandonment due to the loss of a viable horse market. USDA-approved inspection at horse processing facilities allows for a humane end to these animals lives,” said Thompson.
Representatives of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee met with all five members of Nebraska’s Congressional delegation. Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee members visiting Washington, D.C., in addition to Thompson and her husband, included Matt and Elizabeth Albrecht of Cozad; Tim and Stephanie Hruby of Hemingford; and Ben and Jamie Keep of Scotia. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee helps farmer and rancher members up to age 35 develop their leadership skills and provide them opportunities to meet and socialize with their peers.
Please see FATE, Page 6
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This June 28 file photo shows a farm market owned by Patrick McGuire of Atwood, Mich., who grows cherries, apples and other tree fruits but is concerned about getting enough laborers to harvest them because of the immigration controversy.
The Associated Press
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Democratic-led Senate contained provisions that the farm lobby said were promising. The Republican-controlled House is expected to take up the issue shortly. But with agriculture’s once-mighty political influence in decline as its workforce has fallen to 2 percent of the population, it’s uncertain how the industry will fare. Farmers’ complaints about a shrinking labor pool are being overshadowed by the ideologically charged issues of border security and giving legal status to people in the country illegally. McGuire, 42, a self-described conservative who usually votes Republican, was among representatives of the American Farm Bureau Federation who
made their case on Capitol Hill last week. His Michigan group went to the offices of eight lawmakers and to the Senate floor, buttonholing members or their staffers. “Each office had their party speech,” McGuire said, recalling one member’s argument about border security. But the border must already be pretty secure, McGuire said, “because we don’t have the labor in this country that we used to have.” Michigan farmers hire about 45,000 seasonal workers in the typical year, many of them immigrants. Some of the asparagus crop was left in the field this spring because too few pickers were available. In neighboring Wisconsin, immigrant workers make up more than 40 percent of the hired labor force at increasingly large dairy
“The truth is, not even farm workers are raising their children to be farm workers.”
ABOUT IMMIGRATION REFORM
operations, according to a 2008 University of Wisconsin study. Kevin Krentz, who milks 500 cows near Berlin, said finding enough help locally is a constant struggle. “It’s not a job that’s 9to-5,” Krentz said. “It’s a job that’s done when the cows are fed, when the cows are milked, when the crops are harvested.” The situation poses a test for the House GOP, said Tom Nassif, president of Western Growers, a trade organization that represents the
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fresh produce industry in California and Arizona. A Republican who held several positions in the Reagan administration, Nassif said some in the party are so concerned about illegal immigration that they’re trying to sabotage any chance for reform. But if the House doesn’t find something it can pass, he said, voters “are going to lose complete faith in the party’s ability to legislate. All the national statistics show the American people believe in immigration reform.” The industry insists its chronic labor shortage isn’t a matter of low pay, but too few Americans willing to deal with the long hours, hot weather and
other hardships of farm labor. “The truth is, not even farm workers are raising their children to be farm workers,” Nassif said. The Senate bill would enable experienced farm workers already in the country illegally to obtain “blue cards” making them eligible for year-round residency and ultimately citizenship, on a faster path than other people here illegally. Applicants who entered the U.S. illegally would have to pay a fine, catch up on taxes and pass a background check. Another new program would allow farmers to hire foreign “guest workers” who would be issued three-year visas. But such policies might be a hard sell with House conservatives who deride the idea as “amnesty.” Rep. Justin Amash, whose western Michigan district includes the city of Grand Rapids and outlying farm country, is typical of Republicans feeling pressure from both sides. Home-state farmers visited his Washington, D.C., office twice last
week. Mark Youngquist, an apple grower from Amash’s district, later gave one of his aides an orchard tour. During a town-hall meeting the same day, the secondterm Republican described the farm labor shortage as “a problem we should deal with” and called for compromise on immigration. But Amash’s comment that deportation wasn’t a realistic way to deal with all 11 million people believed to be in the country illegally drew angry shouts. “They’re criminals,” one man protested. Youngquist, 53, another staunch Republican, said he wished his fellow conservatives were more sympathetic toward immigrants who fill jobs that no one else will take. The more intense border enforcement appears to be taking its toll, he said. His migrant labor housing that is usually half-full for the approaching apple harvest is now “at zero,” he said. “We’re sitting on a beautiful crop of apples. Unless things change, none of it is going to get picked.”
▼ New tanker gives wildfire fighters an important tool
available thanks to the Nebraska Legislature’s passage this year of the Wildfire Control Act. That act also enable creation of three SEAT LINCOLN — Nebras- bases at airports in ka has a new tool for Valentine, Alliance, fighting wildfires – a Chadron and a mobile single engine air tanker, SEAT base that can be which arrived in Valen- moved to an airport tine Monday (July 15). near any forest fire The equipment, needing airdrops of known as SEAT and un- fire retardant. der contract to the NeThe SEAT bases will braska Emergency be managed by the NeManagement Agency, is braska Forest Service.
HOUSE from Page 4
“While the farm bill is clearly very important for Nebraska, SNAP is a vital support for thousands of Nebraskans who struggle with food insecurity,” Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould said in a statement. “When Congress returns its attention to SNAP, they must ensure its continued vitality and avoid cuts that would harm our state. We call upon them to protect the Nebraska families that are helped by this program.” The bill spends about $20 billion a year on federally subsidized crop insurance, conservation programs and other federal support for farmers and ranchers. The Senate already approved its own version of the farm bill that includes food stamps. It remains unclear how the
two could be reconciled to actually send something to the president’s desk. Rep. Frank Lucas, ROkla., chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said he would begin work on a separate food stamp bill but could make no guarantees how that would turn out. Reps. Adrian Smith and Lee Terry, both Nebraska Republicans, voted in favor of the legislation Thursday. So did Rep. Tom Latham, RIowa. Rep. Bruce Braley, DIowa, who is running for Iowa’s open Senate seat, voted against it. He noted that more than 530 farm groups opposed the move because they said it undermines the traditional urban-rural coalition that lies at the heart of farm bills. “This is a fake farm bill,” Braley said. “It’s nothing less than a wolf in sheep’s clothing that would dismantle the farm bill itself.”
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The new air tanker will complement the existing aerial fire suppression program, which has been successfully used for many years. Aerial applicators will be the first choice for grass and rangeland fires, on which foam retardant is most effective. SEATs
are more effective in fighting forest fires, where their loads of heavy, slurry type retardant can penetrate tree canopies and help firefighters get control of flames. The Legislature passed the Wildfire Control Act to beef up the state’s approach to
wildfires in the wake of massive summer blazes last year that threatened property and strained local budgets. The effort to place more firefighting resources in remote corners of the state comes as forestry officials warn the state is likely to face more massive wildfires
in the future. Scott Josiah, state forester, has said he expects Nebraska to have larger and more intense “mega-fires,” citing heat, drought and climate change, as well as the spread of the highly flammable eastern red cedar tree. — IANR News
Heat, dry weather lead to emergency haying Farm Service Agency announces 54 Nebraska counties authorized due to drought conditions By ROBERT PORE World-Herald News Service
GRAND ISLAND — Hot, dry weather continues to hit area crop and grazing land. Farm Service Agency Director Dan Steinkruger announced on Tuesday that 54 Nebraska counties are authorized for emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for 2013 due to drought conditions. The counties approved for emergency haying and grazing include Boone, Custer, Garfield, Greeley, Howard, Loup, Merrick, Nance, Valley and Wheeler. The authorization for both emergency haying and grazing began on July 16, which coincided with the end of the primary nesting and brood rearing season in
Nebraska. According to the Farm Service Agency, provisions of a CRP contract prohibit harvesting of the conservation cover for the life of the contract except in certain emergency situations when the secretary of agriculture authorizes emergency haying and grazing to assist livestock producers who are suffering forage losses due to severe drought. “Drought has been ongoing in Nebraska counties for more than a year, and forage losses have impacted livestock producers to the extent of drastic herd reductions,” Steinkruger said. “In 2012, USDA opened CRP acres for emergency haying and grazing, and Nebraska farmers and ranchers utilized over 300,000 acres under the program.” A rainy start for the
SD Corn Palace renovations OK’d SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A quirky eastern South Dakota landmark dedicated to all things corn is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation, including new lit domes resembling ears of corn, in an effort to draw in more maize-curious visitors. The Corn Palace bills itself as the world’s only palace dedicated to the grain plant. New murals using about 275,000 ears of corn of various sizes and colors decorate the exterior and interior of the sprawling building each year in the small
town of Mitchell. About 200,000 tourists visit the attraction annually. Originally established in 1892 for settlers to display the fruits of their harvest, the Corn Palace has undergone several changes over the years and is now used for a variety of local activities, including graduations, proms and basketball games. But local officials are looking for something more exciting. The Mitchell City Council approved a $7.2 million upgrade Monday to the attraction and Please see CORN, Page 15
year brought 6.77 inches of precipitation in May, easing drought conditions after the driest year on record for Grand Island. But drought conditions returned as June received 1.63 inches of precipitation, which was 2.67 inches below the 30-year average, according to the National Weather Service in Hastings. As of Tuesday, July has continued the dry spell as Grand Island has only received 0.26 of an inch of precipitation. That’s 1.45 inches below the 30-year average. So far this month, the weather service has reported the average daily temperature for Grand Island as 2.6 degrees above the 30-year average. Dry, warm weather is expected through the week, though there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunder-
storms Friday through Sunday. Temperatures will be in the upper 80s and low 90s. Nighttime lows will be in the low 70s. Dryland crop conditions for the week ending July 14 declined due to above-normal temperatures and limited rainfall, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The service’s weekly weather and crop report, issued on Monday, reported that temperatures averaged 4 degrees above normal with irrigation in full swing. Wheat harvest was complete in southeastern areas and is expected to gain momentum in Panhandle counties. Statewide, wheat conditions were rated 23 percent very poor, 24 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 18 percent good and 2 percent excellent. Wheat turning color was 99 percent, behind 100 percent last year but equal to the 99 percent
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average. Wheat ripe was 57 percent, well behind 100 percent last year and the 71 percent average. Twenty-nine percent of the crop was harvested, well behind 96 percent last year and the 42 percent average. Last week, the statistics service reported that, based on July 1 conditions, Nebraska’s winter wheat crop is forecast at 41.76 million bushels, down 8 percent from the June 1 forecast due to fewer acres estimated for harvest, down 22 percent from last year and the smallest production since 1944. Average yield is forecast at 36 bushels per acre, up one bushel from last month but down five bushels from last year and the lowest since 2006. The service reported that the second cutting of alfalfa was 48 percent
complete with excellent harvest conditions reported, though behind last year’s 89 percent and the 60 percent average. Alfalfa conditions were 4 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 46 percent good and 5 percent excellent. Alfalfa’s second cutting was 48 percent complete. The high temperatures and humidity resulted in some livestock losses during the week. In the Grand Island area, the heat index was over 100 degrees last week. The report said stock water supplies were rated 7 percent very short, 16 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. Pasture and range conditions were 12 percent very Please see HEAT, Page 9
from Page 8
poor, 26 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 22 percent good and 1 percent excellent. Hay and forage supplies were rated 21 percent very short, 33 percent short, 46 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture supplies declined and were rated 17 percent very short, 45 percent short, 38 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus, the report said. Statewide, subsoil moisture sup-
plies also declined and were rated 28 percent very short, 41 percent short, 31 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. All corn conditions, according to the report, were rated 2 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 22 percent fair, 54 percent good and 17 percent excellent. Like last year, when irrigation pumps were working nearly non-stop, irrigated corn conditions rated 81 percent good or excellent, compared to the 78 percent average. Dryland corn conditions
were rated 57 percent good or excellent, compared to the 69 percent average. Steinkruger said eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying or grazing of CRP land must request approval before haying or grazing eligible acreage. Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for more information on CRP emergency haying and grazing. Additional information is also available on the web at www.fsa.usda.gov/ne.
NEWS AT A GLANCE
Corn crop harvest estimates downgraded slightly
vest about 13.95 billion bushels, 55 million fewer bushels than predicted in June. That still beats the 2009 record by about 858 million bushels. A bushel of corn, when on DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The the ears, weighs about 70 pounds. U.S. Department of Agriculture The USDA also said farmers are slightly lowered its estimate of the corn crop on Thursday, a reflection now expected to harvest about 89.1 million acres of corn, down from of late planting in the Corn Belt the 89.5 million acres expected a due to the wet spring. Farmers are now expected to har- month ago.
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2012 irrigated corn and soybean yields second best ever Dryland showed lowest averages in about 30 years World-Herald News Service
LINCOLN — Nebraska irrigated corn and soybean yields reached their second-highest averages in history in drought-plagued 2012, but yields for their dryland counterparts were at their lowest averages in about 30 years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service reported state average yields of corn and soybeans of 190 bushels per acre and 59 bushels per acre, respectively, under irrigation — second only to 2009 for corn and 2011 for soybean. Under dryland conditions, average yields were 61 bushels per acre for corn and 25 bushels per acre for soybeans, the lowest since 1983 for the former and ‘84 for the latter. “The low dryland yields were not surprising given that the rainfall during the crop growing season did not exceed 10 inches at most locations, which is about half of the rain amount in a typical year,” said Patricio Grassini, research associate professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s agronomy and horticulture department.. The 2012 irrigated corn yield average was 10 bushels above the 2011 yield and five bushels above the 2005-
11 average. Highest county level averages were reported in south central Nebraska, ranging from 205 to 220, according to NASS. It was a very different story for dryland corn. That 59-bushel per acre average was 74 bushels below the 2011 average and 68 bushels below the 200511 average. The highest countylevel average dryland corn yields, in the range of 80 to 100 bushels per acre were reported in counties on the east central and east south edges of the state and in two counties in south central Nebraska. The statewide irrigated soybean yield in 2012 of 60.7 bushels per acre was only 0.4 bushel below the 2011 irrigated soybean average and two bushels above the past sevenyear average (2005-11). The highest countylevel average irrigated soybean yields, in the range of 66 to 70 bushels, were reported for counties in south central Nebraska. For dryland soybeans, the statewide average yield of 25 bushels/acre was 23 bushels below the 2011 average, and 20 bushels below the past seven-year average (2005-11). The highest countylevel average dryland soybean yields, in the range of 32 to 38 bushels per acre, were reported for counties in the east central and east south edges of the state and for two counties in south central Nebraska.
â–ź Ark. agency: Hay mowing methods can spare wildlife LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) â€” The blades of hay mowers can cut
NEWS AT A GLANCE
short the lives of Arkansas wildlife, but the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says farmers can adopt methods that can help animals get clear of danger. The agency said
Wednesday that mowing from the middle of the field will help flush animals to safety. Mowing around the perimeter can drive animals to the interior of the field, where they could meet up
with the blades. The commission also says that mowing from the inside gives animals cover when they flee beyond the perimeter of the field, thus exposing them to fewer predators.
The agency says farmers can attach wildlife flushing bars on tractors. Also, raising the height of a mower can create enough clearance to miss nests and turtles.
YOUR SOURCE since 1881 www.nptelegraph.com
Robots to revolutionize farming, ease labor woes Machine can thin field of lettuce in the time it takes 20 workers to do job by hand SALINAS, Calif. (AP) — On a windy morning in California’s Salinas Valley, a tractor pulled a wheeled, metal contraption over rows of budding iceberg lettuce plants. Engineers from Silicon Valley tinkered with the software on a laptop to ensure the machine was eliminating the right leafy buds. The engineers were testing the Lettuce Bot, a machine that can “thin” a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 workers to do the job by hand. The thinner is part of a new generation of machines that target the last frontier of agricultural mechanization — fruits and vegetables destined for the fresh market, not processing, which have thus far resisted mechanization because they’re sensitive to bruising.
Researchers are now designing robots for these most delicate crops by integrating advanced sensors, powerful computing, electronics, computer vision, robotic hardware and algorithms, as well as networking and high precision GPS localization technologies. Most ag robots won’t be commercially available for at least a few years. In this region known as America’s Salad Bowl, where for a century fruits and vegetables have been planted, thinned and harvested by an army of migrant workers, the machines could prove revolutionary. Farmers say farm robots could provide relief from recent labor shortages, lessen the unknowns of immigration reform, even reduce costs, increase quality
The Associated Press
In this May 23 photo, field operations manager Matthew Rossow tests the lettuce bot in Salinas, Calif. In the Salinas Valley, the lettuce capital of the world, entrepreneurs with the Silicon Valley company Blue River Technology are testing the Lettuce Bot, a boxy robotic machine that can thin fields of lettuce, a job that now requires detailed hand work by 20 farm workers. and yield a more consistent product. “There aren’t enough workers to take the available jobs, so the robots can come and alleviate some of that problem,” said Ron Yokota, a farming operations manager at Tanimura & Antle, the
Salinas-based fresh produce company that owns the field where the Lettuce Bot was being tested. Many sectors in U.S. agriculture have relied on machines for decades and even the harvesting of fruits and vegetables
meant for processing has slowly been mechanized. But nationwide, the vast majority of fresh-market fruit is still harvested by hand. Research into fresh produce mechanization was dormant for years because of an over-abun-
dance of workers and pressures from farmworker labor unions. In recent years, as the labor supply has tightened and competition from abroad has increased, growers have sought out machines to reduce labor costs and supplement the nation’s unstable agricultural workforce. The federal government, venture capital companies and commodity boards have stepped up with funding. “We need to increase our efficiency, but nobody wants to work in the fields,” said Stavros G. Vougioukas, professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of California, Davis. But farmworker advocates say mechanization would lead to workers losing jobs, growers using more pesticides and the food supply becoming less safe. “The fundamental question for consumers is who and, now, what do you want picking your Please see ROBOTS, Page 15
This announcement is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy any of these Securities. The offer is made only by the Prospectus.
Investments AMERICAN MORTGAGE COMPANY, offers an Investment Note Certificate-Series B. The minimum investment is $1,000.00 and maturities range from 3 months to 10 years. This investment opportunity is available to residents of Nebraska only. The interest rates for new investments are set monthly. The interest rate for the month beginning 07/01/13 is 2% for an investment maturing in 12 months and 3.5% for an investment maturing in 60 months. Accrued interest can be paid quarterly, semi-annually, or annually as requested by investor. Copies of the prospectus may be obtained from E. Dean Niedan, Jackie Pinkerton, Kim Barnhart and Cindi Hill at American Mortgage Company.
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ROBOTS from Page 13
food; a machine or a human, who with the proper training and support, can” ... take significant steps to ensure a safer, higher quality product, said Erik Nicholson, national vice president of the United Farm Workers of America. On the Salinas Valley farm, entrepreneurs with Mountain Viewbased startup Blue River Technology are trying to show that the Lettuce Bot can not only replace two dozen workers, but also improve production. “Using Lettuce Bot can produce more lettuce plants than doing it any other way,” said Jorge Heraud, the company’s co-founder and CEO. After a lettuce field is planted, growers typically hire a crew of farmworkers who use hoes to remove excess plants to give space for others to grow into full lettuce heads. The Lettuce Bot
uses video cameras and visual-recognition software to identify which lettuce plants to eliminate with a squirt of concentrated fertilizer that kills the unwanted buds while enriching the soil. Blue River, which has raised more than $3 million in venture capital, also plans to develop machines to automate weeding — and eventually harvesting — using many of the same technologies. Another company, San Diego-based Vision Robotics, is developing a similar lettuce thinner as well as a pruner for wine grapes. The pruner uses robotic arms and cameras to photograph and create a computerized model of the vines, figure out the canes’ orientation and the location of buds — all to decide which canes to cut down. Fresh fruit harvesting remains the biggest challenge. Machines have proved not only clumsy, but inadequate in selecting ripe produce. In addition
to blunders in deciphering color and feel, machines have a hard time distinguishing produce from leaves and branches. And most importantly, matching the dexterity and speed of farmworkers has proved elusive. “The hand-eye coordination workers have is really amazing, and they can pick incredibly fast. To replicate that in a machine, at the speed humans do and in an economical manner, we’re still pretty far away,” said Daniel L. Schmoldt at the U.S. Agriculture Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. In southern California, engineers with the Spanish company Agrobot are taking on the challenge by working with local growers to test a strawberry harvester. The machine is equipped with 24 arms whose movement is directed through an optical sensor; it allows the robot to make a choice based on fruit color,
quality and size. The berries are plucked and placed on a conveyor belt, where the fruit is packed by a worker. Still, the harvester collects only strawberries that are hanging on the sides of the bed, hence California’s strawberry fields would have to be reshaped to accommodate the machine, including farming in single rows, raising the beds and even growing varieties with fewer clusters. Experts say it will take at least 10 years for harvesters to be available commercially for most fresh-market fruit — not a moment too soon for farmers worried about the availability of workers, said Lupe Sandoval, managing director of the California Farm Labor Contractor Association. “If you can put a man on the moon,” Sandoval said, “you can figure out how to pick fruit with a machine.”
CORN from Page 8
the adjacent soon-to-be vacated City Hall building, including new domes that will look like an ear of corn with the silks of the corn coming off, said Corn Palace director Mark Schilling. A balcony, larger murals and a widened lobby are also planned, along with upgrades to the building’s heating and cooling systems. “The Corn Palace is the pride and joy of Mitchell, so we want to make sure our icon is kept fresh and looking good,” Schilling said. The renovations will also help honor the attraction’s roots, Schilling added, noting that photos of the original Corn Palace in 1892 show larger murals and different types of domes.
The murals are created with corn of various colors, including blue, orange and black, and are changed annually based on a different theme. They’ve portrayed such things as Mount Rushmore and cowboys riding horses. But Doug Dailey, chairman of the Corn Palace Area Development group, said people often drive by and take pictures, without stopping to take a look inside the Corn Palace, which is a free attraction. So the group plans to add exhibits, including one recently purchased from the Indiana State Museum. “The idea is that people want something to do when they get there, and there really hasn’t been anything to do other than to look at it,” he said.
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Hot, dry conditions affecting crops in central Nebraska Topsoil readings continue to be well above the previous year despite lack of moisture By ROBERT PORE World-Herald News Service
Dry, hot weather continues to grip central Nebraska as both topsoil and subsoil conditions are below average and irrigation is providing the needed boost for the area corn crop. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s crop report issued Monday afternoon, topsoil moisture supplies statewide rated 14 percent very short, 39 percent short, 46 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. While dry conditions are impacting topsoil conditions, they continue to be well above the previous year, when the area was in a state of drought. Statewide, subsoil moisture supplies rated 25 percent very short, 35 percent short
and 40 percent adequate. May saw 6.77 inches of precipitation in Grand Island, which was 2.36 inches above the 30-year average. However, June turned dry with 1.63 inches of precipitation, which was 2.67 inches below the 30-year average. As of Monday, July continues the dry streak with Grand Island 0.77 of an inch below the 30-year average. The National Weather Service in Hastings reported that June was the 18th driest on available weather records. The weather service in Hastings forecast a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms before 9 a.m. today, then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 5 p.m. It will be mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 97 degrees. Heat index values
could be as high as 101. The wind will be from the south at 5 to 10 mph, becoming north in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent. July 16, there was a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 8 p.m. On Wednesday, it was mostly sunny, with a high of 86 degrees. A north wind blew at 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. . Thursday will bring a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 8 a.m. It will be mostly sunny, with a high near 89 degrees. On Thursday night, it will be partly cloudy, with a low around 70. On Friday, it will be mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 97 degrees. Friday night will be partly cloudy, with a low around 75. For Saturday, it will be mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 97. Saturday night will be partly cloudy, with a low around 73 degrees.
For Sunday, there’s a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. It will be mostly sunny, with a high near 90. While dry conditions continue, drought conditions have improved compared to last year. For Grand Island, there had been 15.02 inches of rain for the year as of Monday, compared to 7.02 inches during the same period last year. The USDA reported that corn conditions statewide rated 1 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 56 percent good and 20 percent excellent. Irrigated corn conditions rated 83 percent good or excellent, compared to the 77 percent average. Dryland corn conditions rated 66 percent good or excellent, compared to the 71 percent average. Corn silking was 1 percent complete, behind
46 percent last year and the 16 percent average. Soybean conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 63 percent good and 13 percent excellent. Twenty percent of the crop was blooming, behind 35 percent last year but near the 21 percent average. Sorghum conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 31 percent good and 20 percent excellent. Wheat conditions rated 24 percent very poor, 26 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 18 percent good and 1 percent excellent. Wheat turning color was 92 percent, behind 100 percent last year but near the 95 percent average. Wheat ripe was 30 percent, well behind the 97 percent last year and the 48 percent average. Twelve
percent of the crop was harvested, well behind the 90 percent last year and the 27 percent average. Alfalfa conditions were 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 51 percent good and 6 percent excellent. Alfalfa first cutting was 99 percent complete, compared to last year’s the 100 percent and the 98 percent average. Alfalfa second cutting was 19 percent complete, well behind last year’s 86 percent and the 43 percent average. Pasture and range conditions were 11 percent very poor, 27 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 21 percent good and 2 percent excellent. Hay and forage supplies rated 24 percent very short, 34 percent short and 42 percent adequate.
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601 Custom Farm Work
W H E AT T O C U T. H a v e 2 late model JD combines & all supporting equipment. Please call Derek Sumner 785-871-0962
604 Farm Machinery New, Used & Rebuilt tractor parts. Most makes and models. Buying tractors, combines & hay equipment for salvage. Miller Repair LLC, Maxwell, NE. 308-582-4303. Email: millerrepair@yahoo. com
604 Farm Machinery Melroe Bobcat Hydrostatic 1,288 original hrs. $6,000. Tw o D u m p b o x e s , 4 y a r d and 5 yard. $900 for the pair. (308) 532-1330 New Holland BR780 R o u n d B a l e r, l e s s t h a n 6500 bales, net wrap o n l y, w i d e p i c k u p . P r i c e d to sell at 12,500. (402) 430-8943
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604 Farm Machinery
828 Household Goods
CASE 40XT SKIDSTEER 18172 hours, scrap bucket. Miller DC/AC welder. (308) 530-3098
Complete set of Jungle Themed decorations for a child’s bedroom. Inc l u d e s : 2 P a l m Tr e e Shelves, Monkey picture board, Monkey Clock with swinging tail, Monkey Lamp, Set of 3 wall plaques (lion, giraffe, elephant), and 2 picture prints with jungle animals. EXCELLENT CONDITION! Retail at over $300, asking $150. Please call 308-520-3318
Farmall 656 gas double Kosch 7 mowers, John D e e r e 5 3 5 B a l e r, g o o d shape. (308) 834-3239
613 Feed/Hay/Grain WA N T E D C o r n s t a l k s f o r fall grazing with dry p r e g n a t e c o w, i n a n a r e a f r o m A r n o l d t o H e r s h e y, Referances available. call 308-530-6045 Have Big round bales of NEW Prairie hay (308) 532-7967 or 308- 539-7967
WE BUY AND SELL TRAILERS FOR MORE INFO! 308-532-9263
L a n d i s L 7 C a r d i o Tr a i n e r Tr e a d m i l l . EXCELLENT CONDITION. $1,700. OBO. New $4,400.00 A l s o W a s h e r a n d D r y e r, works perfectly and in great condition. $400. for the pair (402) 937-3717 Brand NEW never used 66” aquatic whirlpool tub with 8 water jets, $1500. (308) 326-4417
849 Pets AKC Lab pups, Chocol a t e , B l a c k , Ye l l o w. P a r ents on site. 1st shots, dews. Pointing bloodlines. 308- 340-0936 SOLD Ê SOLD Ê SOLD Miniature Donkeys: Mothers with babies, 2 white miniatures & some brown. ÈSOLD ÈSOLDÈ SOLDÈ Miniature Stud Has been showed, 7 year mare 1/2 Mini 1/4 Shetland 1/4 Welch. (308) 368-7743
AKC Registered Cocker Spaniel puppies, (2) Male black/tan born April 6th, 2013 Up to date on shots. (308) 534-5039 or (308) 530-5134 www.tlazyjcockers.com
& 10 Automotive Transportation
KZ 2007 DURANGO - 31’ 5th wheel, 16’ slide out, Central air and heat, fiberglass sides, power jacks, storm windows, fireplace, surround sound many extras. $19,000 OBO. (308) 289-2111
FORD 1997 F250 EXTEND CAB- Diesel, low miles, flat bed, 4 wheel drive, excellent condition. Please call (402) 430-8943
TERRY 1981 T R AV E L T R A I L E R w i t h r o o f a i r, sleeps, 4, several new parts 28’ asking $2,100. Call (308) 532-2852
F O R D 1 9 9 5 M U S TA N G COBRA SVT - 5.0 engine, 5 speed manual, 35,000 original miles. Mint condition. $15,000. (308) 539-3698. F O R D 1 9 9 6 TA U R U S g r a y, l o a d e d , w i t h r e m o t e s t a r t e r, c l e a n a n d sound. Great work and School c a r. $1,800. (308) 534-5841 F O R D 1 9 7 7 LT D L A N DAU2 d o o r, P i l a r d H a r d To p P o w e r s t e e r ing, power brakes, curise, tilt wheel, Air Conditioning, Am FM, clean & straight & good r u b b e r, 3 0 8 - 5 3 2 - 8 2 6 0 o r 308- 650-8260
1013 Campers/RVs DANNY BOY 1971 16’ PULL CAMPERwith drop down cycle loader $1,200. Call (308) 660-1157
8 Merchandise 828 Household Goods
CHEROKEE 2011 GREY WOLF- 28’ Bunk house, 1 slide, cargo rack, like new. S TA R CRAFT 2000 1710 BOW RIDER- boat with matching tailer 135hp Mercruise good condition. 308-520-4379
1025 Motorcycles HARLEY D AV I D S O N 2 0 0 4 H E R I TA G E S O F T TA I L Fuel injection, 10,000 miles, $10,000. (308) 962-6147 HARLEY DAVIDSON 2004 ULTRA CLASSIC Dark blue, Vance & Hines exhaust, navigation, low miles, $11,900. 308-530-4199
1031 Pickups CHEVROLET 2003 S105 speed, clean pickup, $3100. t GMC 2002 SONOMA- $2500 OBO. t 16’ Aluminum fishing boat 10 hp motor & trailer, $1800. (308) 532-0549 before 8am or after 7pm.
Evolve Sit to Stand mac h i n e , l i k e n e w, $ 1 2 0 0 O B O . E x c e l l w h e e l c h a i r, $100 OBO. Golden brand s c o o t e r, $150 OBO. (308) 636-6694
Find the per fect pet in the classifieds .
Super 8 Motel has Bedspreads (full size and Queen sizes) assorted colors. $20. each. Pictures with wood frames $5.00 each. 220 Eugene Avenue, North Platte, NE NO PHONE CALLS.
FORD 2004 F350Flatbed, (308) 530-3098
SOLD IN JUST 3 DAYS Class ads work GMC 2002 SIERRADuramax, Allison transmission, 20000 pound 5th wheel slider hitch, 4 wheel drive, air bags, new rear shocks, new tires. 56000 miles, $19,500.
T O Y O TA 2 0 0 4 TA C O M A extended cab, 5 speed, 4 wheel drive, V6, Red, 11 0 , 0 0 0 miles mostly highway miles, cruise c o n t r o l , b e d l i n e r, e x t e n d e d w a r r a n t y. 308520-5810 or 308-5209947
ZAP 2008 XEBRA - All electric no gas! 72 volts, b u i l t i n c h a r g e r, p l u g i n t o 11 0 o u t l e t , t r u c k b e d turns into a flatbed. 1,400 miles. $4,300 OBO. (308) 520-1105.
OPEN HOUSE :: SUNDAY 7/21 FROM 1:00pm - 4:00pm Located 2 miles North of North Platte @ 5868 N. Eshleman Road. House & Shop for Sale near Hall S c h o o l a n d To w n . 2,900 sf House (3 BR/2.5 Baths) & 60’x40’ Shop. Bright & Sunny + VIEWS! (Agent related to Seller) Contact Rona Empfield, Listing Agent of Lashley Land and Recreational Brokers 308-532-9300(work) / 203-803-7034 (cell).
F O R D 2 0 11 F - 1 5 0 X LT - 4 Wheel drive, Super Cab 5 . 0 L i t e r V- 8 , C h r o m e & To w P a c k a g e , L e v e l e r K i t , B e d C o v e r, $ 2 6 , 5 0 0 . Call 308-530-7686 & leave a message.
FORD 2002 F250 SUPER D U T Y- s u p e r c a b , 7 . 3 Powerstroke, 4 wheel drive, runs great, 228,500 miles, $10500. 308-520-0525 or 308660-5654
PONTIAC 1998 GRAND AM SE- Good condition $1800. (308)520-4857
LOTS AND LOTS OF KITTENS NEED A LOVING HOME!
RAVEN - Adult, spayed female, declawed. Litter trained. Prefers to be an only cat, can test with dogs. Loves people! She is a bigger girl who misses being part of a family! She just wants to be loved...
RAY RAY - Adult, female. Litter trained. Calm, relaxed but engaging. Quiet and would make the purrfect companion! She has been waiting for weeks! Please don't look past her!
SATURN - 7 month old, intact male, Lab blend. He is becoming very depressed in the shelter. He has waited for weeks now. He can sit on command and was partially housebroken. Just a pup! Please consider him!
CAPTAIN - Adult, neutered male, Corgi Blend. Possibly housebroken. Needs to be an only dog. Very spunky and needs to get out of the shelter! He's getting frustrated & his voice is hoarse from begging from attention... don't judge his kennel behavior, give him a chance!
CHANCEY - 9 month old, intact male, Dachshund/Heeler Blend. Housebroken, good with kids & cats and likes smaller dogs. Very sweet boy, unique and likes to be around people. Super good boy.
CHARM - Adult, spayed female, declawed. Litter trained. Mellow, affectionate and has been waiting awhile! Has a curled tail that lays atop her back! Great family cat! Super cool, neat girl!
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SMOKEY - 6-7 year old, neutered male, German Shepherd. Housebroken. Likes little dogs & is good with kids. Can cat test. He thinks the shelter is real boring & wants to be part of a family again!
BAMBIE - 5-6 year old, female, Beagle Blend. Scared in the shelter but warms up quick. Likes to be on your lap and be near you. Need a furry forever companion? Here she is!
COSMO - Adult, neutered male, declawed. Litter trained. Outgoing, personable, and very loving. Has been in the shelter way, way too long & needs a home, asap!! Fun & funny!
PAULY - Adult, neutered male, Catahoula Blend. Possibly housebroken. Likes to be near people, good on a leash. Well mannered and laid back.
PUMPKIN - Adult, neutered male, declawed. Litter trained. Good with kids, cats & dogs! VERY SAD! He's a big boy with a lot of love to give! He is SO awesome! He needs a home!
Fur the Love of PAWS passionately dedicated to saving animals in need at the North Platte Animal Shelter as well as animals in the community facebook.com/FurtheLoveof PAWSRescue
South Jeffers Small Animal Hospital
SHELBY - 2 year old, female, American Pit Bull Terrier Blend. She was very scared at first, but is warming up to being kenneled and in the shelter. She really is a sweet doll and loves people. Take her for a walk! Get to know the gem inside!
(308) 532-4880 220 W. Fremont Dr • North Platte
VETERINARY CLINIC Dr. Susan Sjeklocha
1306 N. Buffalo Bill • North Platte • 308.534.1257
Westfield Small Animal Clinic 308-534-4480
WHEELS NORTH PLATTE VETERINARY CLINIC USED CARS 308-532-0366 308-532-8829
NORTH PLATTE 308-534-7636 800-303-7636 MAYWOOD 308-362-4228 800-233-4551
Cans for Critters Recycling Program Proceeds benefit the Rescue of Shelter Pets & Homeless Animals of NP Area. Call for Drop Off Locations 520-7762
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