Crops, Livestock, Uncategorized

Ag Land Management, Back to the Basics

Anyone who owns or leases farm ground or leases it to someone else will want to attend this day-long seminar providing information and education about that ownership.  Learn management strategies for this asset by attending this seminarnature-field-sun-agriculture.jpg at the Adams County Fairgrounds, 947 S. Baltimore Ave, Hastings, NE. The event will be held Thursday, August 31st with registration starting at 9:00 a.m., program starting at 9:30 and ending around 3:00 p.m.

Participants can use this seminar 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? What does a soil test tell me?  I hear about organic or natural production; how does that vary from what my farmer is currently doing?  If corn and soybeans aren’t making money why don’t we raise other crops? What should I expect for communications between the landlord and tenant?  What are key pasture leasing considerations?money bag.jpg

“I am contacted monthly from citizens who have had their parents pass away, and now they are managing a farm for the first time in their lives,” said Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator and event speaker.  “They may have even grown up there, but haven’t been around for 30 or 40 years, and need to understand that farming practices and management concepts have changed,” Vyhnalek continued.

The workshop is designed to provide primer education for those that haven’t been on the farm much, or on the farm much recently.  It is also designed to be a refresher course for those that would like to have the latest information on land management and rental.

Pre-registration is requested by Monday, August 28, 2017.  Registration fee is $20 per person or $30 per couple.  The fee covers handouts, refreshments and lunch.  Contact Twila Bankson at the Adams County Extension Office, P.O. Box 30, Hastings, NE 68901,, or 402-461-7209 to register.

The program is being provided by Allan Vyhnalek, Aaron Nygren, and Jim Jansen, Extension Educators from Nebraska Extension.  They provide the farm land management and agronomy education in eastern Nebraska.


Cash Rental Rates Released

The cash rental rates survey published by UNL Extension is one of the most popular agricultural publications sought. Last week these were released so I’ve decided to share some of the highlights in this column. Authors Jim Jansen, Research Analyst and Roger Wilson, Budget Analyst Farm Management both from UNL’s Ag Economics Department reported that “even with the strong increases in farmland values over the past several years and the reduction in commodity prices experienced during 2013, agricultural land markets in Nebraska remained steady early in 2014.”

The survey shows that 2014 cash rental rates for cropland on average declined with lower commodity prices, while pasture and cow-calf pair rental rates significantly increased, due to higher beef cattle prices, the lingering effects of the drought and the conversion of some marginal land to crop production. Lower anticipated grain prices in 2014 have led to lower average cash rental rates for dryland, gravity irrigated and center pivot irrigated cropland, as profit margins begin to tighten. This survey data is obtained from land appraisers, farm managers or agricultural finance professionals in Nebraska. Our area is located in the southeast district for the survey and shows that the average value of Nebraska Farmland is $6,105/acre, a 6% increase. Dryland cropland is valued at $5,355/acre in the southeast district, while $8,280/acre was reported for gravity irrigated cropland and $9,745/acre in center pivot irrigated cropland.

Average cash rental rates for the southeast district in center pivot irrigated cropland is $331/acre, a 4% decrease from last year. Average dryland cash rental rates were estimated at $175/acre and gravity irrigated cropland at $290/acre, a 3% decrease. Pasture cash rental rates were estimated at $50/acre in the southeast district. For a copy of this survey, go to the UNL Agricultural Economics webpage at or stop by your local extension office to pick one up.

As always, this survey is not meant to be a “one-size fits all” rate. These are merely guidelines and a starting place. The landlord and tenant must communicate with each other so appropriate factors are taken into consideration and a fair rate is established.

Crops, Programming

Farm Leasing

Landlord/Tenant Cash Lease Workshop

On November 20, 2013 a Landlord/Tenant Cash Lease workshop to help landlords and tenants develop a lease that is right for both parties while maintaining positive farm lease relations will be held at the Community Building in Shickley, NE starting at 9:00 a.m. The Nebraska Soybean Board and North Central Risk Management Agency sponsors this free workshop with lunch provided by the Farmers & Ranchers College and additional presentations continuing until 3:00 p.m. Afternoon presentations include information on programs available for producers, including information on the Beginning Farmer program.

As crop budgets tighten, it is more important than ever to learn the latest information about leasing options and issues. Please call the Fillmore County Extension Office at (402) 759-3712 to preregister.

Relatives and Farm Leasing

Hopefully you plan to attend the program described above, but if you were unable to participate, I’ve included excerpts of a recent CropWatch article written by Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator in Platte County. Clearly dealing with relatives can be one of the hardest issues to address as it relates to farm leases. However, with good communications and a written lease agreement, you can set up relationships that are not hard on the family.

First, have all leases in writing. This cannot be stressed enough. The handshake lease made by grandparents and great uncles and aunts does nothing but create suspicion and confusion because when that generation passes on, no one knows exactly what the agreement was.

Next, understand there are ownership costs for that land that the tenant is probably just providing without compensation. Items like: mowing road ditches, spraying weeds, controlling volunteer trees, maintaining terraces, maintaining buildings, grading and rocking driveways, and keeping fences up are just a few of the landowner costs that in many cases are just taken care of by the tenant.

In some cases, landlords think they don’t receive enough cash rent from a relative. When we discuss the land ownership costs and how they are taken care of, the landlord quickly realizes that the tenant is providing the labor and cash investment in those items. If the rent isn’t the going “coffee shop” rate, the landowner is simply recognizing that the tenant is receiving a discounted rent as compensation for their efforts to keep the land and property in good order.

The rent to a relative doesn’t have to be at the ‘”top” of the range, but it should be fair. What one family does will be very different from another family. Tenants need to communicate clearly by sharing information about the farm. Information like actual yields and prices received will go a long way to building good trust for the family to continue the leasing arrangement for another generation.

Vyhnalek summarizes the most compelling reason to have a lower rent for a relative is that they are relatives. Especially if we have younger folks coming to replace our older generation, this provides an opportunity to help that generation establish themselves. Utilizing the land resource properly is a business, and the lease should be fair to both parties. With clear communication and having the lease in writing, most problems with lease terms can be minimized.

Crops, Programming

Landlord/Tenant Workshop & Returning to the Farm Program

Developing farm cash leases that meet the needs of both landlord and tenant, while maintaining a positive relationship, is the goal of these workshops.  Both tenants and the landlord are encouraged to attend!  A team of UNL Extension Educators will be on hand to discuss these topics and provide common sense tips during the presentation.  Managing the 2012 drought and implications for 2013 will also be discussed.

Session presenter Al Vyhnalek points out that “Putting together the right lease isn’t about what is being discussed at the coffee shop, or what a university survey of cash lease rates says; it is about what fits both the landlord and tenant for their circumstance and situation. Attending this presentation will provide a set of ideas to work from as those specifics are discussed.”

Topics include:  Expectations from the lease, including goal setting for the rental property; Lease communication, determining appropriate information sharing for both the tenant and landlord; Tips for farm leases that include relatives; Alternative cash lease arrangements, flexible provision considerations for your situation; How the 2012 drought affects leases, irrigation systems, grain bin rental, and other topics related to leases will be discussed as time this presentation will provide a set of ideas to work from as those specifics are discussed.”

This free workshop is sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board and the North Central Risk Management Agency in collaboration with our local Famers & Ranchers College committee.  A meal and handouts are included. Handouts and materials will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. This program will be on November 13, 2012 at theFairmont Legion from 11-3:00 p.m. with registration at 10:30 a.m. Please RSVP by November 6th. To register, contact our office at (402)759-3712 or via email at

 Returning to the Farm Workshop Planned

The past several years our UNL Agricultural Economic Department has conducted “Returning to the Farm Workshops” designed for farm families transitioning their operation.  This year the sessions will be held Friday Dec. 7th from 2:00 – 9:00 p.m. & Saturday Dec. 8th from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Friday Jan. 11th from 2:00 – 9:00 p.m. and Sat. 12th from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Lincoln at the Holiday Inn Downtown.

The cost of the conference is $350 for the first 4 family members, plus $40 for each family member after the first 4. This fee covers instruction, handout materials, meeting room costs, refreshment breaks, Saturday continental breakfast and most meals.  The registration deadline is November 30, 2012 and it’s limited to the first 15 families with paid registrations.