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There’s an old saying that corn should be “knee high by the Fourth of July.” Farmers would annually measure their crops against that standard come Independence Day. Thanks to advancements in technology, farmers expect their corn to be much taller by this point in the year. In 2018, most corn was taller than the average person, with much of it tasseling. Little did we know, the next twelve months would bring a harvest season that extended, for some, into January, and a planting season that is only just wrapping up. That is, of course, for the land that isn’t still under water. Even in extreme conditions, our farmers have persevered. According to the Nebraska Corn Board, 99% of Nebraska’s corn crop has emerged and 74% of the corn is in “good” or “excellent” condition.
Those impacted by this spring’s flooding have several options for assistance, but those deadlines are fast approaching. Information on all relief programs impacting agriculture can be found on the Nebraska Department of Agriculture website under ‘Disaster Relief Information Sheet’. The Farm Service Agency (FSA)’s deadline for the Prevented Planting Report is due July 15. Producers are encouraged to reach out to their local FSA office regarding the completion of both their spring crop acreage certification and their prevented plant acres reports. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCP)’s deadline for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) is July 19. This program is for farmers who could not plant their crops due to flooded or wet fields. This program would provide technical and financial assistance to help farmers plant cover crops. If you have any questions on either of these services, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture Hotline at 800-831-0550.
For all Nebraskans who suffered damage to their property from flooding, a recent state law allows those affected to seek a reduction in the value of damaged real property for tax purposes. If your property was damaged or destroyed on or after January 1 and before July 1, you can file a “Report of Destroyed Real Property – Form 425” with the county assessor and the county clerk. This form applies for reassessment of property and would provide tax relief for the damaged property. The deadline for this report must be filed by July 15. The form can be found at www.nefb.org/form-425. Many farmers will be unable to achieve “knee high by the Fourth of July,” but there are programs available to assist with their recovery from this spring’s historic flooding. If you have any questions about these or other aid programs, please feel free to reach out to my office.
As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln NE 68509-4604; telephone: 402-471-2733; email: email@example.com.