Monday, October 13, 2014

Don't Forget The Value Of Livestock

Sure, it's harvest time and there is a lot of cash in those corn fields and soybean acres.  
But let's not forget how much economic strength lies in the surrounding feedyard and livestock lots.

Last week, a group of three dozen young livestock producers from across southern and central Iowa embarked on a two day bus trip to Nebraska sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Beginning and Young Livestock Producers Network.

One of the group's first stops was Dorchester's Weber Feedyards.  When groups from outside our state travel here to inspect our local livestock facilities, that's a positive sign that producers in our area are doing something right.

According to a new UNL report, "Nebraska's uniquely intertwined agricultural economy, although still the engine of the state's economy, may not be operating to its full potential."

Saline County has nearly 26,000 head of cattle and more than 28,000 hogs. And we hope that number only grows -- for the sake of our farming community.  

Ethanol was booming ten years ago. Today, we know ethanol is not nearly as promising due to production efficiency and consumer preferences for regular gasoline.  Feeding domestic livestock is still the most profitable sector for our area farmers.  

Even the Nebraska Corn Board, when it isn't busy airing ethanol commercials, admits that "livestock production is the engine that powers state’s economy. It is a more than $7.5 billion industry that is fundamental to the well-being of Nebraska – and contributes in some way to the financial health of every Nebraskan."  

Saline County has been designated one of Nebraska's "livestock friendly counties."  We need to encourage more livestock producers to expand or relocate in our surrounding countryside.  If they did, our schools would see a boost in students and revenue; area businesses benefit; and any resident who pays property taxes would realize some relief in the pocketbook.

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