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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Jenny's REESources

Letter to the 38th Legislative District


Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension
It was good seeing combines going again and hopefully this coming week will greatly help with harvest!
Dicamba update: Dicamba volatility was a problem this past year in Nebraska and I shared much about that throughout June and July. Regarding potential considerations for next year, the following is what the extension weed specialists and I have discussed. First, much of the volatility started with corn applications. According to Monsanto's research, they found adding ammonium sulfate (AMS) to the soybean dicamba formulation increased volatility 10X; thus, the new soybean dicamba formulations didn't allow the use of AMS with them. However, dicamba products used on corn can be used in conjunction with AMS and we speculate that aided in increased volatility this past year. Weed specialists are meeting with industry partners to discuss this for consideration of label changes for 2018. Second, we may see that dicamba can only be applied before a certain date of the year and even between certain times of the day (for example mid-morning to mid-afternoon). Hopefully, if a date is mandated, it will be at a time that we can still use this tool in our crops.
Third, while this won't work for non-irrigated fields, irrigating after rain-fast or label-specified time may be encouraged to help reduce volatility.
Fourth, we may see changes regarding weather conditions for applying dicamba products. Fifth, we may see the use of smoke bombs or other tools used more to help with anticipating temperature inversion situations. Beyond sharing in pesticide training, I plan to have dicamba and palmer amaranth update meetings this winter and will share more once I get them scheduled.
What we know thus far is what was released in the following statement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When we see the word "drift," what we mostly saw this past year was actually "volatility." EPA has reached an agreement with Monsanto, BASF and DuPont on measures to further minimize the potential for drift to damage neighboring crops from the use of dicamba formulations used to control weeds in genetically modified cotton and soybeans. Manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to label changes that impose additional requirements for over the top use of these products next year including: classifying products as "restricted use," permitting only certified applicators with special training and those under their supervision to apply them; dicamba-specific training for all certified applicators to reinforce proper use; requiring farmers to maintain specific records regarding the use of these products to improve compliance with label restrictions; limiting applications to when maximum wind speeds are below 10 mph (from 15 mph) to reduce potential spray drift; reducing the times during the day when applications can occur; including tank clean-out language to prevent cross contamination; and enhancing susceptible crop language and record keeping with sensitive crop registries to increase awareness of risk to especially sensitive crops nearby.
Manufacturers have agreed to a process to get the revised labels into the hands of farmers in time for the 2018 use season. EPA will monitor the success of these changes to help inform our decision whether to allow the continued over the top use of dicamba beyond the 2018 growing season. When EPA registered these products, it set the registrations to expire in two years to allow EPA to change the registration, if necessary. For more information:
If you're interested in learning more about proper spraying techniques for dicamba and 2,4-D products, on Nov. 15 there will be a sprayer clinic at the College of Technical Ag in Curtis. The clinic begins at 12:30 p.m. with the first part of the clinic held in the Nebraska Ag Industry Education Center, where spraying the new dicamba formulation and new Enlist Duo and Enlist One will be discussed. At 1:30 p.m. participants will move to the Livestock Teaching Center, where a variety of sprayers will be displayed and technicians will be available to discuss the features of each sprayer. For more information on the sprayer clinic, contact Robert Klein, Nebraska Extension western Nebraska crops specialist,, or Brad Ramsdale, associate professor of agronomy, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, CCA credits are available for participating in the clinic.
Workshop: So you've inherited a farm, now what? and cash rent information: Anyone who owns farmland may want to participate in this seminar to be provided information and education about that ownership. It will be held on Nov. 13 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the 4-H Building in York. Participants can use this workshop to learn about: Am I keeping the farm, or selling it? How do I manage a farm? If leasing, what are key lease provisions? What legal considerations do I have with this decision? And, how do we manage family communications and expectations when other family is involved? This workshop will also share updated cash rent numbers and considerations.
Pre-registration is requested by Nov. 12. Advanced registration is requested to ensure enough handouts for the program. This program is offered free and open to the public with funding provided by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Workshop, Estate Planning: People of all ages are invited to attend a farm and ranch estate planning discussion hosted by UNL Extension. This workshop will held on Nov. 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the 4-H Building in York. Cost to attend is free, but please register by Nov. 12.
The presentation will focus on the decisions and situations which should be addressed when thinking about how your farm or ranch estate will be passed. Topics will include: the need for planning, proper family communications, who makes the decisions, concept of fair versus equal, preparing to meet with an attorney, and much more. The presentation is designed to give some basic information to those that haven't yet started to think about their succession or transition plan for their assets.
Allan Vyhnalek, UNL extension educator for farm succession, will be the presenter. He was just assigned to the ag economics department to work on farm and ranch succession and transition.

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Letter to the 38th Legislative District
By Sen. John Kuehn,
Nebraska Legislature
The discussion of property taxes commonly references the taxes paid on the assessed valuation of real estate, including your home, buildings, land and other improvements physically fixed to your property. One advocacy group and some state senators have recently been advocating for reform of the personal property tax system in Nebraska. Of the $3.9 billion of property taxes collected, almost six percent of the total is assessed on personal property. Personal property includes all items owned that are not physically associated with a piece of real estate.  
Under Nebraska law, intangible personal property ­­ financial wealth in the form of stocks, bonds, cash, bank accounts and contracts ­­ has been exempt from taxation since 1967. Tangible personal property includes all other "things" owned, such as equipment. Most Nebraska taxpayers are unaware a tax exists on tangible personal property, likely because they do not pay personal property taxes.
A simple way to know if your family is impacted the personal property taxes is whether or not you prepare a depreciation schedule with your annual tax return. Household goods, motor vehicles, personal items and non-depreciable property are exempt from taxation. Therefore, unless you have a business, you are not paying taxes on personal property you own.
Not all items owned by a business are subject to the personal property tax. Inventory for resale or materials used in production are exempt. In agriculture, livestock and grain inventory are not taxed. In 2015, the Nebraska Legislature passed a bill exempting the first $10,000 of taxable personal property from taxation for every business owner. All personal property owned by data centers, wind energy generators and charities is also exempt from personal property tax.
Because the tax is assessed only on depreciable property, items are only taxed for the duration of their depreciated lifespan, which may or may not match the time of use or ownership. Unlike real estate which is valued at market rate, the value of personal property is determined by "net book value." Items are depreciated over a period of three, five, seven, 10, 15 or 20 years, depending on the item. As each year passes, a depreciation factor is applied that reduces the value of the equipment over time. After the value of the item is fully depreciated, the tax no longer applies even if the property is still owned and used. Thus, the taxes paid over time always decrease for an item of personal property.
Because only property owned by business, and not even all property owned by all businesses, is subject to taxation, the distribution of personal property taxes across communities and different taxpayers is highly variable. To illustrate, neighboring farmers in the same county with similar sized operations may have very different property tax bills. A beginning farmer can qualify for an exemption of $100,000 per year for three years on their machinery. A farmer who regularly trades for new equipment will pay more property taxes than a farmer who owns similar equipment but of older age. A horse used by a ranching operation is not taxed, but an ATV is.
Similar variation is found among other businesses. A restaurant that installs all new equipment will have a higher tax bill than a competitor who purchases used equipment. The same restaurant owner will pay less taxes over time on the same equipment as it depreciates in net book value, regardless of its functionality or potential for generating income.
As discussion about personal property tax reform continues, taxpayers must be careful to not confuse it with property taxes on their home, farmland, or improvements. Since not every taxpayer is subject to the tax, or even a majority of property tax payers, metrics based on population of a town or county such as "per capita" are of little value to the discussion.
All taxes deserve strict scrutiny and evaluation for the principles of simplicity, transparency, neutrality and stability. Voters need to understand the nature of the personal property tax, including its application and exemptions, when deciding whether or not it is the top priority for reform among the mix of different taxes.