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Annual survey finds Nebraska ag land values up 5%

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Annual survey finds Nebraska ag land values up 5%


The market value of agricultural land in Nebraska increased 5% over the prior year, to an average of $4,015 per acre, according to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s 2024 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey preliminary report. This marks the third consecutive year of increases, setting another high in non-inflation-adjusted statewide land value.

The report is issued annually by the university’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Center for Agricultural Profitability. It is based on a survey of land industry experts across Nebraska, including appraisers, farm and ranch managers, agricultural bankers and other industry professionals.

Those responding to the survey attributed the rise in Nebraska’s agricultural real estate values to purchases for farm expansion, current livestock prices, 1031 tax exchanges, the amount of land offerings for sale, and hedges against inflation. Farms or ranches in strong financial positions looked to expand their operations by purchasing additional land. Competition for land remained strong in the industry, as fewer acres were available for sale.

According to Jim Jansen, an agricultural economist with the university who leads the survey and report, many operations acquired tangible assets, such as land, machinery and equipment, to hedge against inflation and rising prices.

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“The Federal Reserve’s policies to slow inflation have led to agricultural real estate loans moderating around 8%,” Jansen said. “Future changes in the market value of land across the state will be tied to the profitability of farm and ranching, along with long-term interest rates for financing real estate purchases.”

The survey reports the market values on seven types of land by region across Nebraska, as well as an average for the entire state. The estimated market value of dryland cropland without irrigation potential rose 3% across the state compared to the prior year. Center pivot-irrigated cropland increased 4%, while gravity-irrigated cropland rose 3%. According to Jansen, lower grain prices contributed to gains in cropland values moderating from the growth seen in 2023.

Jansen also said that rising cattle prices and competition for more acres helped drive grazing land and hayland market values up by an average of 6% to 8% in the state.

The survey found that average cash rental rates for dryland and irrigated cropland are also moderating this year compared to the rates of increase seen in recent years, experiencing between a 7% decline and 5% increase, thanks in part to lower crop prices and favorable yields across the United States.

“Survey participants expressed concerns about drought, input expenses and water availability for the upcoming growing season in certain regions,” Jansen said. “Accounting for actual crop revenue, production expenses or irrigation limitations might be features to consider in a flexible lease for 2024.”

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The preliminary report is available on the Center for Agricultural Profitability’s website here. The final report is expected to be published in June.

Two virtual workshops covering land and leasing issues, estate planning and the newly published land values and cash rental rates, will be held March 27 and 28. The March 27 workshop is scheduled for 9 to 11:30 a.m. Central time and will be geared toward viewers in central and western Nebraska. The March 28 workshop is set for noon to 2:30 p.m. Central time and will feature examples more relevant to viewers in eastern Nebraska. The general information presented in both meetings will be the same. Registration is free here.



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Nebraska

AARP Nebraska celebrates new family caregiver tax credits for ‘unsung heroes’ • Nebraska Examiner

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AARP Nebraska celebrates new family caregiver tax credits for ‘unsung heroes’ • Nebraska Examiner


LINCOLN — AARP Nebraska is celebrating a newly passed proposal that would help cover family caregivers’ costs as they care for and support eligible family members.

State Sen. Eliot Bostar of Lincoln, center, is flanked by State Sens. Carolyn Bosn and Beau Ballard, from left to right, both of Lincoln. April 10, 2024. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Lawmakers approved Legislative Bill 937, which includes Lincoln State Sen. Eliot Bostar’s Caregiver Tax Credit Act, on a 45-0 vote during the final legislative day on April 18. Bostar designated the bill as his personal priority this year; it awaits Gov. Jim Pillen’s approval.

The nonrefundable credits, which would begin Jan. 1, would be equal to 50% of eligible expenditures related to a family member’s care or support of their loved one during the tax year.

​​“Caregiving is a critically important public health issue that affects the quality of life for millions of individuals nationally and thousands across Nebraska,” Bostar said in a statement.

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How to qualify

To qualify, a caregiver must have a federal adjusted gross income of less than $50,000 (or $100,000 if filing as a married couple jointly). They must care for a relative who requires assistance with at least two activities of daily living, as certified by a health care provider, and who lives in a private residence — not an assisted living, nursing or residential care facility.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Home improvements or alterations for the caregiver or eligible family member to permit mobility, safety and independence.
  • Purchases or leasing of equipment necessary for the family member to carry out one or more activities of daily living.
  • Costs related to hiring a home care aide, respite care, adult day care, personal care attendants, health care equipment or technology.

Costs must be directly related to care and cannot include general household maintenance, such as painting, plumbing, electrical repairs or exterior maintenance.

Individual caregivers can claim up to $2,000 in credits per fiscal year, or $3,000 if the individual is caring for a family member who is a veteran or has a diagnosis of dementia. If two or more caregivers claim an available credit for the same family member, the maximum credit would be divided between each caregiver.

Up to $1.5 million in credits could be claimed each fiscal year through June 30, 2027. The limit increases to $2.5 million in consecutive years.

Supporting ‘unsung heroes’

AARP Nebraska said Nebraska has approximately 179,000 family caregivers, and while each serves in a “labor of love,” the experience is “stressful, isolating and has a real financial cost” — on average more than $7,200 per household per year. 

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In total, this is more than 168 million hours in care, valued at $2.8 billion, which AARP Nebraska said mitigates more costly, taxpayer-funded long-term care and nursing home stays.

“When lawmakers agree on an issue regardless of political affiliation, the message is clear,” Todd Stubbendieck, state director of AARP Nebraska, said in a statement. “AARP is proud of the Nebraska Legislature for recognizing this critical need to help our state’s unsung heroes.”

The deadline is end of day Wednesday for Pillen to sign the bill or submit his objections to the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office. As of Monday, the bill had not been signed, according to the Clerk of the Legislature’s Office. 

A spokesperson for the governor said Pillen will be presented with LB 937 on Tuesday for his consideration. 

More tax credits and exemptions

LB 937 also contained various other proposals for tax credits and exemptions, including these:

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  • LB 1002, from State Sen. Tom Brandt of Plymouth, sets the maximum amount of tax credits under the Nebraska Biodiesel Tax Credit Act for $1 million in the next fiscal year and $1.5 million the following years.
  • LB 1022, from State Sen. Rita Sanders of Bellevue, establishes the Cast and Crew Nebraska Act, with up to $500,000 available beginning July 1, 2025. It will provide a refundable tax credit equal to at least 20% of a film and TV production company’s qualifying expenditures for projects produced in Nebraska.
  • LB 606, from State Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston, establishes the Nebraska Pregnancy Help Act, allowing Nebraskans to claim a nonrefundable credit of up to 50% off their state income tax liability on contributions made to qualifying pregnancy help organizations. Total credits are limited to $500,000 in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2025.
  • LB 58, from State Sen. John Cavanuagh of Omaha, exempts diapers from state sales and use tax. The proposal is estimated to reduce state revenue by $1.2 million in the next fiscal year, then $6.7 million and $8.8 million in subsequent years.
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The Huskers take series against Maryland with 16-4 seven-inning win

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The Huskers take series against Maryland with 16-4 seven-inning win


The Nebraska baseball team concluded its three-game series against Maryland on Sunday afternoon. The Huskers responded to their 11-2 loss to the Terrapins the day before by delivering a 16-4 seven-inning win.

Nebraska produced 16 hits and 14 RBIs in total on the afternoon. The Huskers built an 11-1 lead over Maryland before the Terrapins attempted a comeback by cutting the lead down to 11-4 in the sixth. Nebraska responded with a five-run inning in its eventual 16-4 win.

Tyler Stone started the day off for Nebraska, delivering a two-run home run. Garrett Anglim rounded out the Huskers’ outing with a two-RBI single in the sixth. Riley Silva and Cayden Brumbaugh each produced three RBIs in the win.

Brumbaugh almost completed a cycle by delivering an RBI single, an RBI double, and an RBI triple. Silva finished with two hits in the game, producing two singles for two RBIs while hitting a sacrificial fly to earn his third RBI.

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Will Walsh started on the mound and earned the win for Nebraska, improving his record to 4-2. Walsh faced 23 batters across 5.1 innings and threw seven strikeouts while surrendering six hits and four runs.

Nebraska moves to 25-12 on the season and 8-4 in conference play. It will remain home to face Kansas in a single-game showdown on Tuesday night. The first pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. and can be viewed on B1G+.

Contact/Follow us @CornhuskersWire on X, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Nebraska news, notes, and opinions.

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New facility grows opportunities for Nebraska Statewide Arboretum

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New facility grows opportunities for Nebraska Statewide Arboretum


Possibilities are sprouting at the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s new plant production greenhouse.

The arboretum’s new facility on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s East Campus will be the home of its public spring, summer and fall plant sales. Growing the plans on campus will allow more freedom for arboretum employees and volunteers, offer educational opportunities for students, and promote native plants across Nebraska.

“We’re helping to create the demand,” said Bob Henrickson, horticulture program coordinator. “Then in turn nurseries are maybe shifting part of their focus to native plants.”

The project was funded by private donations and a grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Construction began early last year and was completed in time for this production season. Staff began planting in February and are preparing for the first sales of the season, and the first ever at the new greenhouse.

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Henrickson said the facility is prioritizing native and well-adapted plants because of the positive environmental effects and benefits to local wildlife. Some of the roughly 100 species growing in the new greenhouse include penstemon, coneflowers, bee balm, and a variety of trees like oak, hickory and catalpa.

“Our mission is to get these plants out into gardeners’ hands, putting them out in front of people so people start asking of native plants more,” Henrickson said. “You shouldn’t have to water these plants once they’re established, you shouldn’t have to provide any fertilizers or insecticides, and they can deal with our climate extremes.”

The new building takes over the function of a facility in Mead, Nebraska, where the arboretum had been borrowing a production greenhouse at the Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center. Henrickson and horticulture program volunteers were driving to and from Mead several days a week. Having a production greenhouse on campus will bypass transportation risks and costs and also allow for a longer production season each spring. The production season in Mead lasted from February through April. Henrickson hopes that will now extend into June.

“Getting everything done in two months, it’s hard to fathom,” Henrickson said. “In the past, if I had plants I wanted to increase in size and get ready for sales, I often didn’t have the space to do that in.”

Hanna Pinneo, executive director of the arboretum, is also hoping to offer more opportunities for students. Husker students will be able to pick up part-time jobs, and classes of all ages will be able to visit the greenhouse to see something different from the high-tech research greenhouses on East Campus.

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Sometimes students don’t realize what career opportunities are available in this field, Pinneo said, and student work and classroom observation could open their eyes to more options for their future.

“We need people moving into the nursery and growing industry,” she said. “This is a realistic look at what you could do if you had a little bit of land and some seed money to put up a greenhouse. It gives those students who are interested and thinking about that as a career a chance to know what that would look like.”

The goal is not to compete with existing nurseries, Pinneo said, but to support and help the industry. It’s a way to encourage planting native species while showing what the arboretum is capable of in the future.

“This is one of the biggest undertakings our organization has ever done, so showing our supporters we can do these big projects opens up people’s minds to the possibilities,” Pinneo said.

The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum will host a ribbon cutting and and members-only sale at the new greenhouse on May 2, with more sales at the facility on May 4, 17, 24 and 31 and June 21 and 28. The organization is also hosting its annual Spring Affair plant sale April 25-27 at the Sandhills Global Event Center.

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