Monday Extension Report – May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015

Tractor Safety training June 1 & 2 in Valentine

A Tractor Safety Course will be held in Valentine on June 1&2. Any youth 14 or 15 years of age who works on a farm or ranch other than his parents’ is required to be certified through a tractor safety course.

The most common cause of death in agriculture accidents in Nebraska is overturns of tractors and ATVs. During the class we stress overturn prevention. We also concentrate on instilling an “safety first” attitude. will learn respect for agricultural jobs and the tools involved.

The class will be at the Cherry County Fairgrounds. On Monday, June 1, it will run from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, June 2, it will go from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 or until we get done with the driving tests. Registrations are due by May 26.

Health and outlook of Nebraska Agriculture

I want to switch gears and talk a little bit about what I learned at a meeting last week. Last week I went to a training for extension educators who have an interest in economics. We had the chance to hear the Farm Credit Services of America’s Chief Financial Risk Officer and a speaker from the Kansas City Branch of the Federal Reserve.

Of course they talked a lot about how lower corn prices are creating some hardship in the farming sector. However they said that agriculture remains very strong for the most part. There are farmers who are in trouble though. They gave two basic reasons that hurt those farmers. One, they are still paying for too much expensive equipment that they bought when times were good and two, high cash rents that have not come down with the price of corn.

They also said that if farmers want to remain financially strong, they have to know their cost of production. The said that if their cost of producing corn is less than $3.50 a bushel, then they should be ok, but if the cost is more than $3.50, they had better come up with a better plan, or they could be in trouble.

They also talked about the livestock industry. They both were very positive long term about proteins in general. They feel that livestock producers are generally more conservative than farmers and may be less susceptible to the bigger, better, shinier toy syndrome.

I think ranchers can take a lesson from the farmers and pay close attention to your cost of production. Know your costs and invest some of the current profits into lowering your cost per pound of calf produced. That investment is going to look different for each producer. For some it may be fences and water development to get better pasture utilization. For others it might be that new piece of equipment. Still others might explore creating a new enterprise on the ranch that will have hit it’s stride by the time calf prices retreat.

Whatever it is going to take to make your operation more competitive now is the time to make the needed investment.

Overall, the news from that meeting was very good, especially for cattlemen.

As always, you can call the extension office at 402-376-1850 for more information.


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