Drought Impacts Checkoffs

By: Megan Johnson Email
By: Megan Johnson Email

The drought means less yield for Nebraska farmers, and that means less corn being sold which also means less checkoff dollars for the Nebraska Corn Board.

"When we started out the year our budget projections were 9.6 million acres and I think we've dropped them down to 9.1 now," says Corn Board Member Curt Friesen.

Friesen says they've made about $1 million worth of budget adjustments this year already, but says the the checkoff rate increase (from 1/4 to 1/2 cent per bushel that took effect on Oct. 1) is helping.

"Most of the corn that's going to be marketed, new crop corn, will fall under the new checkoff rate so that helps us considerably in our budget matters also," he says.

Other Nebraska commodities besides corn earn checkoff dollars too. The Nebraska Beef Council says the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which just ended September 30, came in a little over their $9.6 million budget.

That's partly in thanks to the drought - with more producers decreasing their herds, more animals are being sold, so the Beef Council has more money to budget with.

But the executive director says only time will tell what kind of effect the drought will have on this year.

"We did budget $9.6 million for the next fiscal year, but we were very conservative as well in all of the projects that were funded just to make sure in case we don't get any rain we are still going to be able to fund projects that are very important to be executed," says Executive Director Ann Marie Bosshammer.

Officials say though it's hard to predict the long term forecast, they're optimistic that next year will be better.

"Right now everybody's looking at some record acres being planted next year because of prices and trying to make up for the drought year," says Friesen.

"Depending upon the drought and mother nature, that's really going to be the thing that determines how our checkoff collections will be," says Bosshammer.

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