What’s on Farmers’ Minds at the Nebraska Power Farming Show
Good times or bad, farmers still like to kick tires, marvel at new technology, and share the ups and downs of farming at winter farm shows. One of the first of the 2019 season is the Nebraska Power Farming Show, held recently at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln. While wandering among the 740 exhibits of big iron and flashy technology, here’s what a few of them told Successful Farming magazine.
Dave Schultmeyer, Elgin, Nebraska: “I come to this show every year, just to see what’s new. Specifically, I’m looking for a camera to put in the back of a grain cart [so I can see when it’s full from the tractor cab]. I like the ones I’ve seen here, but I haven’t bought yet.
“My biggest concern is the prices of our crops. I want to be positive and think that we’re going to get some trade things worked out with China. My mood is in between – not too high, not too low. We’re all hoping for better times.”
Nathan Hohman, Elmwood, Nebraska: “I’m here to look at the new things, and I’m wondering if I should upgrade some equipment. We are interested in a new cattle squeeze chute and have also been looking at mineral feeders.
“I’m 27 years old and have only been full-time farming for about a year. I’m pretty positive about the future. There are lots of things to look forward to. The cattle markets are pretty good, and the grains are looking up, too. I think President Trump and China will find some common ground. Where will China get the soybeans it needs, except from us?”
Don Bausch, Burchard, Nebraska: “I’m very worried about the prices of our farm crops. Our President says that his tariffs are going to straighten things out, but then nothing happens. We hear how ‘hot’ the economy is, but I can tell you, it’s not too hot for farmers.
“We had our best yields ever; our beans averaged about 46 bushels an acre. If you take a big crop times a low price, you can still make things work. Without those yields, we’d be in a lot more trouble.
“We have cattle, and that market does seem a little better than the crops. We’ve had a lot of rain and snow already, and our cattle lots are a muddy mess. I’ve got cows that should be out on stalk fields, and calves that should be weaned. We need it to dry up so we can get things done.”
Darren Pohlman, Beatrice, Nebraska: “We’re here to look at the new technology, not necessarily to buy anything. When you come to a big event like this, it sort of feels like a kid in a candy store.
“We’re trying to be positive and look forward to a better year ahead. We’ve already bought our seed for next year, if that tells you anything.
“The thing I think about is the cost of inputs. If you pencil a budget, it’s just about breakeven, the income and expense. We had good yields this year, 240 bushels on our irrigated corn. You have to put on a lot of fertilizer and other inputs to get those yields. It takes a lot of money. But if you’re going to stay in farming, you just have to stay optimistic.”
Richard Yoesel, Rulo, Nebraska: “I’m here to look for some LED lighting for our farm shop. I found some I like but didn’t buy yet. I also had some questions about diesel injectors on a tractor, and I got the answers.
“I’m positive about prices getting better. I think soybeans are going to be $10 next year or the year after. I’ll store them until then, then sell. I have livestock, too, and they are more dependable than grain markets. Most farmers in my area are in a pretty good mood. They got better yields than they expected, given the dry weather we had. I don’t see many people leaving farming. When they do, it’s usually an age thing.”
Rachel Stevens, Fall City, Nebraska: “I farm with my dad, and we’re at this show to look for things to make a few improvements to our older equipment and maybe help profits. I keep up with technology pretty well, so I can’t say that I’ve seen anything here that is too surprising.
“I also have an off-farm job where we consult with farmers. We’ve had a couple of dry years, and that’s making most of them pretty cautious about investments this year.”