June 16, 2016

Limited Acres. Unlimited Opportunities.

Nebraska’s crop producers are among the most productive in the world, continually breaking yield records as they grow more corn, soybeans and other commodities with fewer and fewer inputs. The true opportunity for Nebraska’s economic future is to transform that abundance into added value.

We only have so many available crop acres in the state, so the only way we can make significant gains in crop production is through continual improvements in yield, technology and innovation—and that is happening,” said Greg Ibach, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. “But if we really want to create a new engine of wealth in our communities, we need to be talking about livestock expansion and value-added processing.”

Livestock expansion can be as simple as a farmer adding a hog or poultry barn on a pivot corner, an area of the field that typically does not produce high grain yields. A couple of those barns can generate enough income to support a son or daughter returning to the farm or be used as a strategy to mitigate risk.

“When you add livestock to a crop operation, you have two enterprises at work to determine farm profitability instead of just one,” Ibach added. “It adds diversity and improves the risk management and potential profitability for an individual farmer.”

Groups such as the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN), supported in part with Nebraska corn checkoff dollars, are working with farmers and ranchers to expand responsible livestock production in ways that are sustainable, environmentally sound and neighbor-friendly.

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