A levy hearing is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, for the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s 2020 budget.

The NRD board meeting will begin at 2 p.m. with taking place at the NRD office, 215 Kaufman Ave. in Grand Island.

The 2020 fiscal year budget approved last month was almost $20.9 million, with a tax request estimated at $4.2 million; which is down $323,412.83 compared to the 2019 budget. Based on last year’s valuation, the levy for fiscal year 2019/2020 is approximately 0.02392 compared to 0.02576 last year.

A homeowner with a home valued at $100,000 will pay $23.92 for conservation benefits provided by the Central Platte NRD including flood reduction, nitrate management, water use management, soil health, cost-share to producers, recreation, and education.

In other agenda action:

-- The water quantity committee will review four proposals to evaluate management alternatives for property purchased in Dawson County adjacent to the Orchard Alfalfa Canal. A recommendation will be taken to the board.

-- The water quantity committee will also review a recharge agreement for the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program and take their recommendation to the board.

n The board will take action to elect a voting delegate and alternate for the Nebraska Association of Resources District’s annual conference in September.

Fischer calls for flexibility for livestock haulers

Sen. Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, recently wrote letters to Chairman Heath Tarbert of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Administrator Raymond P. Martinez of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration seeking to mitigate the effects of a fire at a Tyson beef processing plant in Holcomb, Kan., on Nebraska agriculture.

Specifically, Fischer called for commodity market oversight and flexibility for livestock haulers:

“With already high margins and heavy supplies, the Tyson fire could not have come at a worse time for cattlemen and the beef industry,” Fischer said in her letter to Tarbert. “This is in addition to an already difficult year that has brought extreme weather events and looming trade uncertainty. Accordingly, I ask that the CFTC remain vigilant in their oversight of this market to ensure that market participants do not use uncertainty to price gouge, manipulate, or take advantage of the burdensome obstacles our producers are currently facing.”

In writing to Martinez, Fischer said, “Due to this situation, drivers will need to haul live cattle to different facilities hundreds of miles away and cross state lines to continue processing. It is imperative that cattle processing continues and other plants can absorb the lost processing capacity. Cattle are scheduled to be processed months in advance and the cattle currently scheduled to be processed in the Holcomb plant cannot wait in feedyards indefinitely – they must be transported to different facilities.”

Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board to host workshops

The Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board will host four workshops for new and returning sorghum producers, educators and industry partners in September. The workshops will provide pertinent information in regard to the harvesting and marketing of grain sorghum. Each workshop will last approximately two hours. Workshop participants are encouraged to bring a bag lunch. Refreshments will be provided.

The Central Nebraska workshop is planned for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Buffalo County Extension office, located on the fairgrounds at 1400 E. 34th St. in Kearney.

The workshops will begin with a brief introduction by Nate Blum, executive director of the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board, followed by a 45-minute presentation on grain sorghum harvesting tips and tricks from Lucas Haag, agronomist at Kansas State University. United Sorghum Checkoff Program Regional Marketing Director Zach Simon will provide a presentation on direct marketing.

“Supporting new and returning sorghum growers in Nebraska is of critical importance.” Blum said. “The Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board is committed to offering every tool available to producers as they prepare for harvest following a very difficult planting season.”

Workshops will also be offered in in Nebraska City, Norfolk and McCook.

Workshops will also be live-streamed via the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board Facebook page.

And finally ...

According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, 81% of Nebraska farms had access to computers in 2019. This compares to the national average of 73%. Eighty-four percent of farms in Nebraska had internet access, unchanged from the last time this data was collected in 2017.

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I cover business, ag and general reporting for the GI Independent.

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