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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Jenny's REESources

Letter to the 38th Legislative District

 

Jenny's REESources, by Jennny Rees, UNL Extension
Farmers and Ranchers College program will start at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Bruning Opera House. The agricultural economic reset is in the mid inning, analogous to a baseball game. What forces will change the current economics? How will interest rate and land value changes influence profitability and your balance sheet? David Kohl, professor emeritus from Virginia will present his challenges and opportunities tool kit to help your business position for success.
This year's program will focus on how to be a better borrower in these economic times. Dr. Kohl will discuss burn rates on working capital and burn rate on collateral.
A special segment will examine what adjustments producers are making to navigate the economic white waters and position the business to evaluate opportunities.
Because of the generous support of area businesses and organizations, this program is free, but arrive early to save yourself a seat! Registration starts at 12:30.
To speed up the registration process, online registration is available at fillmore.unl.edu; this will enable you to put your initials by your name, rather than filling in your full name and contact information.
The 2016 Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo on Thursday, Dec. 15, will assist soybean producers in planning for next year's growing season. The expo, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., will be in the pavilion at the Saunders County Fairgrounds, 635 W. First St. in Wahoo.
Presenters include University of Nebraska researchers and specialists, Nebraska Soybean Checkoff representatives, soybean growers and private industry representatives.
If you missed hearing him speak at the palmer amaranth resistance field day, Jason Norsworthy, a weed scientist at the University of Arkansas, will discuss the current status of herbicide resistance in the United States with specific detail given to the extent of the problem in Nebraska cropping systems. Norsworthy will outline reasons for the development of herbicide resistance and provide strategies for growers to maximize weed control and protect against further resistance.
Roger Hoy, director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory, will discuss large equipment, tires and compaction. 
Loren Geisler, Nebraska Extension plant pathologist, will provide the latest on management of soybean sudden death syndrome. 
Cory Walters, assistant professor and grain and oilseed economist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will discuss marketing for soybean and corn crops.
The expo also will include an update on the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff and association information.
Producers will be able to visit with representatives from seed, herbicide, fertilizer and equipment companies and view new farm equipment during a 30-minute break at 9:45 a.m. A complimentary lunch will be served at noon. The Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization requests that each participant donate one or more cans of nonperishable food to the food pantry. Registration is available the day of the expo at the door. There is no registration fee.  For more information about the program or exhibitor information, visit http://ardc.unl.edu/nebraskas oyexpo, call 800-529-8030 or e-mail kglewen1@unl.edu.  The program is sponsored by Nebraska Extension, the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff, Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization and private industry.
Thanks to a team effort, cover crop briefs were written by UNL researchers and shared at an in-service we had for Extension, NRCS, and US-MARC employees. These 'briefs' are two-page summaries that provide a short, easy-to-understand description of the research conducted and the application for producers. Check them out this week at UNL's CropWatch http://cropwatch.unl.edu.
Over the past month, I've received a few phone calls asking about potential farm bill program payments going forward. Brad Lubben recently wrote an article about this. As we had anticipated when we worked through farm bill decision simulations, ARC-CO looked really good early on for many farmers and PLC later in the farm bill cycle on other fields. As I worked with farmers on decisions, I encouraged splitting risk wherever possible by putting some fields into ARC-CO and some into PLC.
Hopefully some did that to hopefully receive some price support in the years ahead. You can read the entire article which explains both programs and shows potential projected payments for each at: http://go.unl.edu/pnw9.
The eighth grade robotics team at Heartland Community Schools asked if I'd share a survey with farmers. This year their challenge is called "animal allies" and they wish to develop their challenge around how farmers interact with wildlife. This survey was designed to find a main repeating problem that farmers have with wildlife.  You can fill out the survey at: https://goo.gl/forms/6O5yVT9xGf2hbZKG2 .  
This winter's Successful Farming Series will focus on timely topics in workshops featuring experts from the University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Friday morning workshops offer a relaxed setting to hear from the speakers and discuss that week's topic with producers and landowners, as well as UNL and industry experts. Workshops will be held every other Friday (except Dec. 30) from Dec. 16 through March 3. Each workshop starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 11:30 a.m. and will be held at the Lancaster Extension Education Center, 444 Cherry Creek Road, Lincoln. The cost is $5 for each workshop or $15 for the entire series. Cash or check is accepted at the door. For more information, call 402-441-7180 or email Tyler Williams at tyler.williams @unl.edu. To preregister go to go.unl.edu/farmerseriesregistration.

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Letter to the 38th Legislative District
By Sen. John Kuehn,
Nebraska Legislature
Incentivizing companies to locate, stay and expand in Nebraska is a never ending conversation among local and statewide leaders in both the private sector and government. Gaining headlines when companies leave Nebraska and take jobs with them, such as recently with Con-Agra and Cabella's, state incentives offered to private companies have become a mainstay of business recruitment. Incentives take many forms, from offering land, infrastructure or utilities at a reduced rate to reduced tax rates, tax credits and tax exemptions.
In theory, the incentives promote economic sustainability by attracting and retaining businesses that create jobs, purchase local goods and services, invest in infrastructure and create additional economic activity. The supporting argument purports that the cost of the incentives ­­ either in direct investment or forgiven tax bills ­­ will be less than the additional economic activity and income generated by the company. The logic relies on the "but for" principle: that a company would not create those jobs, make the investment, or produce those goods without the incentive being offered. Nebraska would lose out on that economic activity but for the incentives.
The legislative performance audit committee recently released a report detailing the first major attempt to evaluate the outcomes of the business incentive package known as the Nebraska Advantage Act. Created by LB 312 in 2005, the Advantage Act is a multi-tiered program of business incentives, primarily offering a reduction in the taxes paid by a qualifying company. Companies qualify for tax credits for specific levels of investment, as well as compensation credits for addition of new full time equivalent (FTE) positions. Evaluation of the performance of the Advantage Act is overdue, as the annual cost of the program has exceeded the original $60 million originally projected in 2005. I serve as the vice-chairman of the performance audit committee, and have been involved in the study process.
Determining the actual impact and return on investment of the Nebraska Advantage Act is not a straightforward task. Many of the important questions asked by the committee were impossible to answer with certainty. These include the number of new full time jobs created, the salary level of incentivized jobs, and the permanency of the new FTEs. Specific reporting of these metrics was not required of companies who received the tax breaks. For example, the addition of a single FTE does not equal a new position associated with a single person.  It could be additional hours added for multiple part time workers, or several new part time jobs for two or more workers. Salary data and length of time the job existed, including whether the job remained after the incentives were provided, was not tracked for the incentivized FTEs.  
From the data that was available to analyze, the cost to create each new full time equivalent job ranged from $24,500 to $320,000. Of the 78 companies that participated in the Advantage program, only nine were new to Nebraska. Whether those statistics are meeting the objectives of the incentive program or falling short is impossible to assess, as benchmarks were not established clearly identifying what constitutes "success" of the Advantage Act when it was passed into law in 2005.
Revision of the Nebraska Advantage Act and the state's package of business tax incentives will be a topic of significant debate during the coming legislative session. The performance audit report demonstrates how important clearly identifying objectives, setting benchmarks for performance, and collecting needed data are for the development of good public policy. Growth of the economic base of Nebraska is vital to the sustainability of our communities. Now, more than ever, effective policy that achieves the desired outcome is vital to Nebraska's growth.