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Fall is a busy time of year in Nebraska. Farmers across the state are getting to see the results of a long summer of growing their crops and are busy harvesting their fields before winter comes. Harvest is the most highly anticipated event of the year nearly every farmer, and involves weeks of heavy labor. However, the relief and reward of a successful harvest is indescribable, and is worth all the hard work that is put into this season.
Nebraska is an agricultural leader in the United States. As of 2019, nearly 45 million (44,900,000) acres of our state are a part of a farm operation, including both farming and ranching. This is approximately 91% of our entire state! Obviously, that makes agriculture an extremely important part of Nebraska’s economy. A study found that, in 2018, cash receipts from farm marketings contributed more than $21 billion to Nebraska’s economy, which was 5.7% of the U.S. total.
Our farmers also help the economy in our own state. One out of every four jobs (25%) in our state is related to agriculture, as compared to a national average of 11%. Therefore, much of our employment is related to farming. Also, every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.28 in additional economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing and production. In 2018, the $6.8 billion in agricultural exports translates to $8.7 billion in additional economic activity.
District 1 itself is an important part of the agricultural superpower of our state. According to the USDA, last year, our five counties harvested an average of 53.63 bushels of winter wheat, 149.86 bushels of corn and 51.9 bushels of soybeans per acre! Our farmers work hard to boost our state’s economy and feed our nation’s residents, and now is one of the craziest times of year for them.
In our state, each farm operation works 982 acres on average, and our property taxes have negatively impacted our farmers to a great extent. They are simply too high. Here in the Legislature, I have been working hard to provide property tax relief to the farmers in District 1. The passage of LB 1107 in this past session will help to alleviate some of the burden that our farmers have faced, but I don’t want it to stop there. The only thing that our farmers should have to worry about is just that, farming.
We should all be supportive of our farming communities at this time because, again, harvest can be a very stressful part of the year. Our farmers and their families will be in my prayers, and I wish all of them luck during this time!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org