Tag Archives: Nebraska

According to recent findings from the USDA Agricultural and Resource Management Survey, agricultural land rent totaled $2.44 billion in Nebraska for 2018. The survey found rent as the third-largest farm and ranch production expense (USDA-NASS 2019). Natural disasters limiting the ability of farmers or ranchers to fully utilize rented land pose a financial risk to these operators.

The 2019 floods and related natural disasters lave left many landlords and tenants across Nebraska wondering how resulting damages will influence their agricultural properties. Contractual lease arrangements may have not fully accounted for these natural disasters. This article provides guidance on evaluating damages, considerations for remediating land issues, and natural disaster lease provisions.

Evaluating Damages

Natural disaster events on land may leave minor or major damages on agricultural property. Documenting these issues for federal, state, or local authorities remains critical to participate in various disaster recovery programs when available. Issues with each of these two broad types of disasters might include the following:

Minor damages may include various kinds of debris or foreign objects scattered across a field. There may also be minor erosion or washout issues. Use of common agricultural equipment and implements in addition to hand labor may be necessary to remedy minor damage.

Major damages may include major transformations to the land such as large washouts, extreme erosion, and large deposits of foreign materials such as soil or debris. These issues may limit farmers or ranchers from utilizing a portion or all of the property. Specialized heavy construction equipment may be necessary to correct major damage.

Landlords have the primary responsibility for correcting natural disaster damages on rented land and remediating the sites to suitable states for farming or ranching. Depending upon the landlord or tenant engaged in these lease arrangements, the limited ability of one party over the other may require hiring outside resources to correct the issues (Vyhnalek 2019).

Considerations for Remediating Land Issues

The ultimate goal of remediating natural disaster issues on properties is restoring the land as close as possible to the condition prior to the major event. Depending upon the type of lease and the provisions, this will influence the rights and delegation of duties for each party.

Lease Types

Cash rent and crop share account for the majority of land lease arrangements across Nebraska. In cash leases, landlords receive a cash payment for use of crop or grazing land. Contractual language in the lease likely requires full payment for the use of the land unless other provisions specifically address the issue.

Under contract law, if an event renders the property unusable for the entire growing season, the tenant may have cause for vacating the premise and avoiding any lease payment obligations. Exercising this option may cause dire consequences between landlords and tenants. Tenants eligible for prevented planting with crop insurance might consider payment rates that at least allow landlords to cover property taxes for the land.

Producers operating on a crop share lease may not have to revise the provisions of the lease due to the inherent risk-sharing feature of the rental rate. As crop yield varies, the lease payment (crop yield) fluctuates in proportion to the yield. Prevented planting and disaster assistance payments pay landlords and tenants in proportion to their respective share of the yield if both parties purchase crop insurance or participate in a particular government program. Understanding the terms of crop insurance as part of a crop share arrangement remains crucial for both parties involved in a lease and a key factor to visit about with crop insurance agents.

Contributions of Tenants

Many retired and absentee landowners may not have the ability or time to help correct damages on their rented property in the event of a major disaster. Tenants possessing the ability, time, or equipment might be able to fix minor issues on properties. Some tenants may even be able to correct major damages if they own very large or specialized equipment.

Accounting for these contributions remains important for lease arrangements. Prudent landowners may consider negotiating a discount on cash rent when the tenants provide use of their time, skills, or equipment in fixing a disaster issue. In cases where tenants may be willing and able to correct minor or major damages, adjusting the effective cash rental rates might be an equitable method for incentivizing the other parties to help correct these issues.

The terms and obligations of each party must be documented as part of the lease arrangement. Depending upon the disaster event, various forms of financial assistance may be available from the federal, state, or local government authorities to offset the expense of correcting issues.

Natural Disaster Lease Provisions

Accounting for the unknown provides the greatest insurance policy for landlords and tenants engaged in an agricultural lease. Identifying the responsibilities, duties, and role of the parties involved in the lease ensures activities happen in a timely manner.

Adjusting Rental Rates

Setting equitable rental rates which account for the requirements of parties engaged in a land lease needs to be a priority when considering future adjustments. Landlords have fixed expenses such as property taxes. Tenants may pre-pay for inputs on cropland or need forages each year for grazing livestock. Disruptions to the annual production cycle for landlords and tenants create difficulties for each party.

Provisions in the lease may outline the methods for adjusting the rental rate when a disaster limits the ability of a tenant to utilize a property. Provisions may also define compensation rates for tenants providing remediation services to a property. Certain minimum rental rates on cropland might be designed to cover fixed expenses, such as property taxes, and be offset by prevented planting payments when applicable. In any case, the adjusted rental rate seeks to minimize the financial burden on landlords and tenants.

Documenting Disaster

Documenting damages remains essential in understanding the extent of issues on the property resulting from natural disasters. Lease provisions can define the party responsible for documenting and communicating the damages to the other party or government agency. Tenants may be willing to provide this service if landlords are absentee or have limited ability to visit the land. Other terms to include in the lease might be the time frame in which the damages must be reported to the appropriate authority.

Correcting Damages

Designating the responsibilities of each party to correct minor and major damages in a lease develops a plan for dealing with these unforeseen events. In cases where tenants provide remediation services to correct land issues, specific lease provisions might include the timeline for carrying out the work and reimbursement rates.

Amending the Lease

Any changes made to the land lease to address disaster damages should be placed in writing and documented appropriately as an addendum to reduce any issues arising between landlords and tenants.

While rural Nebraskans have mixed opinions about the impact of immigration on rural Nebraska, those more likely to have lived alongside recent immigrants have more positive views, according to the 2019 Nebraska Rural Poll.

Overall, 38% of respondents to the Rural Poll — the largest annual poll of rural Nebraskans’ perceptions on quality of life and policy issues — agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska, while 30% disagree. One-third agree that on balance immigration has been good for rural Nebraska, while 27% disagree. At least one-third of rural Nebraskans neither agreed nor disagreed with both statements.

Experience with immigrants appears to be related to perceptions of immigration, a survey official said. Persons living in or near larger communities, who are more likely to be aware of recent immigrants in their community, are more likely than those living in or near smaller communities to agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska. Similarly, the poll found that persons living in both the south-central and northeast regions, which are more likely to be aware of recent immigrants in their community, are more likely than those living in other regions to agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska.

Younger persons are more likely than older persons to agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska. Just over half of persons 19 to 29 agree with the statement, compared to 31% of those 65 and older. Looking at immigration trends, Nebraskans 29 and younger are likely to have grown up with more foreign-born immigrants.

“Overall, there is a consistent theme from the data,” said L.J. McElravy, associate professor of youth civic leadership at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “Respondents believe immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska when they are more likely to interact with immigrants, whether that exposure is a result of where they live or their age.”

The poll also found that rural Nebraskans have concerns about language issues and the effect illegal immigration may have on wages. Eighty-four percent of rural Nebraskans surveyed agree that immigrants should learn to speak English within a reasonable amount of time. In addition, half of respondents disagree that communities should communicate important information in other languages as well as English. And 44% agree that undocumented immigrants drive down wages in rural Nebraska, while just under one-quarter disagree.

When asked about immigration policies, most rural Nebraskans surveyed agree with policies that try to prevent illegal immigration. Almost three-quarters agree that government should tighten borders to prevent illegal immigration, and about the same proportion agrees that businesses employing undocumented workers should be penalized. Almost two-thirds agree that undocumented immigrants should be deported. A similar percentage disagree that the government is too aggressive in deporting those who are in the United States illegally.

However, many respondents also support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers. Sixty-two percent agree that an undocumented immigrant who has been working and paying taxes for five years or more should be allowed to apply for citizenship, and slightly less agree that there should be a way for undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements to stay in the country legally. Seventy percent agree that immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children should be allowed the chance to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements over a period of time.

Many opinions about immigration policies remain about the same as they were in 2006, the last time immigration questions were asked in the Rural Poll. However, fewer rural Nebraskans today support the government tightening borders to prevent illegal immigration than did in 2006. Then, 83% of respondents agreed that the government should tighten borders. In 2019, this fell to 74%. And, the proportion who agree that an undocumented immigrant who has been working and paying taxes for five years or more should be allowed to apply for citizenship increased slightly, from 58% in 2006 to 62% this year.

“The poll results mirror the tensions we see across the country in terms of immigrants and immigration — respondents tended to be evenly split across a variety of the questions,” said Jason Weigle, associate extension educator with Nebraska Extension. “On the balance, though, respondents wished to see a pathway for undocumented migrants who have been trying to be productive members of American society to become residents. Focusing on opportunities for integration across the state can help Nebraska move forward positively.”

This year’s Rural Poll was mailed to 6,260 randomly selected households in nonmetropolitan counties in March and April. One-thousand-seven-hundred-seventy-six households responded, a rate of 28%. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2%. Complete results are available at http://ruralpoll.unl.edu.

The university’s Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the poll with funding from Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.

Farm and ranch production expenditures for Nebraska totaled $24.2 billion in 2018, up 7 percent from a year earlier, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Livestock expenses, the largest expenditure category, at $8.09 billion, increased 28 percent from 2017. Feed, the next largest expense category at $3.10 billion, increased 3 percent from 2017. Rent, the third largest total expense category, at $2.44 billion, increased 2 percent from 2017.

Livestock expenses accounted for 33 percent of Nebraska’s total production expenditures. Feed accounted for 13, rent 10, and farm services 8 percent.

The total expenditures per farm or ranch in Nebraska averaged $528,105 in 2018, up 8 percent from 2017. The Livestock expense category was the leading expenditure, at $176,253 per operation, 7.69 times the national average. Rent expenditures, at $53,159 per operation, were 3.73 times the national average. The average feed expenditure, at $67,538, was 2.54 times the national average. Farm services expenditures per operation, at $43,791, were 2.01 times the national average.

These results are based on data from Nebraska farmers and ranchers who participated in the Agricultural Resource Management Study conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Producers were contacted in January through April to collect 2018 farm and ranch expenses.

 

2018 United States Total Farm Production Expenditure Highlights

Farm production expenditures in the United States are estimated at $354.0 billion for 2018, down from $357.8 billion in 2017 according to USDA. The 2018 total farm production expenditures are down 1.1 percent compared with 2017 total farm production expenditures. For the 17 line items, 7 showed an increase from previous year, while the rest showed a decrease.

The four largest expenditures at the United States level total $178.1 billion and account for 50.3 percent of total expenditures in 2018. These include feed, 15.2 percent, farm services, 12.5 percent, livestock, poultry and related expenses, 13.1 percent, and labor, 9.6 percent.

In 2018, the United States total farm expenditure average per farm is $175,169, down 0.4 percent from $175,935 in 2017. On average, United States farm operations spent $26,622 on feed, $22,911 on livestock, poultry and related expenses, $21,822 on farm services, and $16,775 on labor. For 2017, United States farms spent an average of $26,798 on feed, $21,193 on farm services, $20,455 on livestock, poultry, and related expenses, and $17,702 on labor.

Total fuel expense is $12.3 billion. Diesel, the largest sub component, is $8.1 billion, accounting for 65.9 percent. Diesel expenditures are up 8.0 percent from the previous year. Gasoline is $2.13 billion, down 3.2 percent. LP gas is $1.41 billion, up 0.7 percent. Other fuel is $660 million, down 17.5 percent.

The United States economic sales class contributing most to the 2018 United States total expenditures is the $1,000,000 – $4,999,999 class, with expenses of $113.3 billion, 32.0 percent of the United States total, down 2.2 percent from the 2017 level of $115.9 billion. The next highest is the $5,000,000 and Over class with $92.5 billion, up from $91.2 billion in 2017.

In 2018, crop farms expenditures decreased to $181.9 billion, down 1.5 percent, while livestock farms expenditures decreased to $172.1 billion, down 0.6 percent. The largest expenditures for crop farms are rent at $24.1 billion (13.2 percent of total), labor at $24.5 billon (13.5 percent), and farm services at $24.8 billion (13.6 percent). Combined crop inputs (chemicals, fertilizers, and seeds) are $53.2 billion, accounting for 29.2 percent of crop farms total expenses. The largest expenditures for livestock farms are feed at $52.3 billion (30.4 percent of total), livestock, poultry and related expenses at $44.2 billion (25.7 percent), and farm services at $19.3 billion (11.2 percent). Together, these line items account for 67.3 percent of livestock farms total expenses. The average total expenditure for a crop farm is $208,026 compared to $150,108 per livestock farm.

The Midwest region contributed the most to United States total expenditures with expenses of $104.7 billion (29.6 percent), down from $107.8 billion in 2017. Other regions, ranked by total expenditures, are the Plains at $91.7 billion (25.9 percent), West at $76.2 billion (21.5 percent), Atlantic at $45.0 billion (12.7 percent), and South at $36.3 billion (10.3 percent). The Midwest decreased $3.1 billion from 2017, which is the largest regional decrease.

Combined total expenditures for the 15 estimate states is $232.8 billion in 2018 (65.8 percent of the United States total expenditures) and $236.0 billion in 2017 (65.9 percent). California contributed most to the 2018 United States total expenditures, with expenses of $36.8 billion, (10.4 percent). California expenditures are down 2.7 percent from the 2017 estimate of $37.8 billion. Iowa, the next leading state, has $25.3 billion in expenses, (7.2 percent). Other states with more than $20 billion in total expenditures are Texas with $25.1 billion and Nebraska with $24.2 billion.

Farmland values slipped some during the first half of this year in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. However, Farm Credit Services of America says overall that the market for cropland values continues to make adjustments to the current agricultural economy.

The value of the 64 benchmark farms that FCSA keeps track of declined an average of 0.59 percent in the first half of this year. Since the farmland market peaked back in 2013, cropland values have dropped 20 percent in Iowa, 21 percent in Nebraska, and 12 percent in South Dakota in the company’s benchmark farmland study.

Tim Koch, FCSA’s Chief Credit Officer, says, “Despite continued tight commodity price margins in 2018, real estate values remained stable and were supported by favorable interest rates, market facilitation payments, and equilibrium in supply and demand for real estate.” While Iowa farmland had the biggest decline in value during the benchmark study, values are still up 2.7 percent from a year ago. The average quality of land has not changed in the past year, and buyer demand for high-quality ground remains strong.

Lincoln, NE —AFAN has announced the hiring of Rylee Stoltz of Bassett, Neb., as its new Livestock Programming Coordinator. Her appointment was effective July 8.

AFAN (The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska) is a non-profit organization formed by leading agricultural membership groups in Nebraska to encourage the development of environmentally responsible and economically viable livestock production in the state.

Stoltz’s responsibilities at AFAN include creating and managing programming events for producers and communities and assisting with communications activities to enhance understanding about the importance of the agriculture industry in Nebraska.

She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness focusing on business and finance. She also holds the Associate of Science degree from Northeast Community College, Norfolk. Until joining AFAN, she was a loan administrative assistant at Sandhills State Bank in Bassett. While in Bassett, her community activities included founder of the Rock County Growth, Inc., Youth Engagement Committee and chair of the Rock County Growth, Inc. Housing Board.

“Rylee is a most welcome addition to our team,” said AFAN Executive Director Steve Martin.  “Her skills and experience will be used to expand AFAN’s outreach efforts by helping create and carry out programming services on behalf of livestock producers and by getting the word out about how critical agriculture and livestock is to Nebraska’s economy.”

Nebraska property taxes are the tenth highest in the United States, sales taxes are the ninth-lowest, and both income taxes and total state taxes are in the middle. Property taxes account for 38% of total state and local tax collections in Nebraska, the highest of any tax. Sales taxes are 29% of total tax collections, and income taxes are 26%. If property taxes, sales taxes and income taxes were equalized as sources of state and local revenue, property taxes would need to be reduced over $600 million.

Sixty percent of property taxes go to K-12 education funding. Nebraska state school aid is the second-lowest in the United States, while the local share of K-12 school spending is the second-highest.

Nebraska property taxes on agricultural land historically have been high in Nebraska relative to other states as a percent of net farm income. Since 1950, Nebraska property taxes on agricultural land are 46% higher than the United States average. In 2017 agricultural property taxes paid were 47% of Nebraska net farm income. When other taxes are taken into account this means that most Nebraska farmers or ranchers were paying 50-60% of their net farm income in taxes.

This agricultural property tax crisis has led to two efforts to place property tax relief proposals on the ballot. The 2018 initiative would have given property taxpayers a refundable state income tax credit of 30% of property tax payments, effectively reducing property taxes 30%. It also would have cost the state treasury $1.1 billion, 25% of the General Fund budget, and would have forced sharp cuts in state spending as well as major increases in-state sales and income taxes.

The 2018 initiative campaign was called off April 27, 2018, and did not appear on the 2018 ballot. However, property tax reduction groups are attempting to place a new version on the 2020 ballot, called the “35% solution.” This proposal would give property taxpayers a refundable state income credit of 35% of property taxes paid. It would work like this for a homeowner: $150,000 house x 1.6% tax rate x .35 = $840 refund. For a farmer or rancher it might look like this: $2.5 million farm x 1.2% tax rate x .35 = $10,500 refund.

Implementing the proposed 35% solution would cost $1.5 billion, which would require even larger state spending cuts and/or state tax increases. If Nebraska lawmakers cut state spending $750 million and increased state sales and income taxes $750 million, the state tax increase would be 17%. If there were no spending cuts, sales and income taxes would increase by 33%. If there were no state tax increases, state general fund spending would need to be reduced one third.

To avoid these sharp tax increases and spending cuts, lawmakers have tried to find a political path to property tax relief with enough votes to overcome legislative filibusters (33 votes) and a likely gubernatorial veto (30 votes). Several property tax relief bills were introduced in 2019 and a consensus bill, LB289, emerged late in the session. The product of intense negotiations among Revenue Committee members and other senators active in the property tax-school finance debate, LB289 would have

  1. raised the state sales tax rate from 5.5% to 6.25%, a 14% increase;
  2. begin collecting sales taxes on candy, pop, bottled water, plumbing services, moving services and veterinary services for pets, among others;
  3. increased cigarette taxes 56% to $1/pack;
  4. provided state school aid of 33% of total education costs per pupil to all schools; and
  5. limited school spending increases to consumer price index increases and growth in student numbers.

Every item on this list is politically controversial, and LB289 came up five votes short of the 33 votes needed to end a legislative filibuster. The proposal would have provided between $350-$500 million in property tax relief.

Rural senators did manage to tie passage of property tax reform with reform of state economic development programs. The economic development program overhaul–LB720–was stalled when a handful of rural senators withdrew their support after the property tax relief proposal was filibustered. This political hardball does provide an improved chance that if enough common ground can be negotiated before next January, both LB289 and LB720 could be enacted early in the 2020 legislative session.

There are many challenges and uncertainties ahead. Urban senators may feel their constituents are not being treated fairly under LB289–urban taxpayers will pay much of the higher sales taxes paying for property tax relief, but most of the increased school aid and property tax relief will go to rural areas. School districts across the state will want to evaluate the impact to them of modifying the complex state school aid formula. Counties in flooded areas may need state financial assistance in rebuilding damaged roads and bridges. Agricultural land property values could continue their gradual decline and be joined by associated declines in agricultural land property taxes assessed and paid (which most agricultural landowners would welcome). The Governor might veto LB289 and the legislative veto override attempt might fall short. The proposed 35% solution may be on the 2020 ballot and voters could find it more attractive than LB289. The way ahead is anything but clear. But significant progress was made in 2019–LB289 appeared to have the support of at least 28 senators, which is something to build on. Stay tuned, and hold on to your hat—it is likely to be a very bumpy ride.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Some Nebraska and Iowa businesses are still struggling to recover from flooding that damaged their properties or otherwise kept customers away from their doors.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated that in Nebraska alone, more than 1,000 businesses were affected by March’s severe weather.

Flooding continued into May and June in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, especially along the Missouri River. Central Nebraska got hit by flash floods earlier this month this month, hurting Kearney’s hotel and tourism industry.

The Omaha World-Herald reported that businesses and boosters have been taking extra steps to send a message: Our towns and businesses haven’t been wiped out, and we need customers now more than ever.

In northeast Nebraska’s Knox County, for example, officials have been handing out maps so visitors can navigate flood-damaged roads and bridge reconstruction. The community of Verdigre held an event called “Good As New” at the end of May.

A Harley-Davidson dealership in Iowa’s Pacific Junction threw a party at the end of June to celebrate the dealership’s return to its regular location after cleaning up and repairing soggy drywall. Loess Hills Harley-Davidson moved employees and motorcycles to a temporary building in nearby Glenwood for months after taking on 18 inches of water.

“We can either sit back and say we’re victims and we’re going to play the pity party or say, hey, were going to take the opportunity to make something good out of something bad,” general manager Dan Roland said.

Agricultural company Cargill has helped employees pay for hotels in Nebraska City to ensure operations at its plant there weren’t interrupted too much by road closures and detours. Interstate 29 across the river in Iowa was closed by flooding, and the Iowa Highway 2 link to the bridge over the Missouri to Nebraska City was underwater for weeks as well.

Developers are speeding plans to build more housing on the Nebraska City side of the Missouri, in case Iowa residents hurt by flooding decide not to rebuild, said Dan Mauk, executive director of the Nebraska City Area Economic Development Corp.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers who want to update the state’s largest tax incentive program for businesses are getting ready to try again with a lot of confidence, despite a major setback that stalled their package earlier this year.

Senators who worked on the new incentives said they strongly believe the measure will pass in the 2020 session, just in time to replace the state’s current program before it expires at the end of that year.

“We as a state are not going to not have a package,” said Sen. Mark Kolterman, of Seward, the proposal’s lead sponsor. “I can almost guarantee that.”

Nebraska’s tax incentives have faced increased scrutiny in recent years amid suggestions that they are inefficient and the money is going to companies that would have come to the state anyway. In neighboring Iowa, state officials faced criticism for giving Apple $208 million in tax breaks to build two data shortage centers in Des Moines in a deal that would create at least 50 jobs. Business advocates defend the credits as necessary to compete given that every state offers them.

Nebraska’s influential business groups suffered a rare and surprising defeat in May when lawmakers rejected the “ImagiNE Nebraska Act” because of a spat over property taxes. Several rural lawmakers helped sink the measure after their top priority, an unrelated property tax package, failed to advance. Business and farm advocates have been at odds in recent years over who should get priority for tax breaks, with farmers arguing that their property taxes have soared over the last decade as farm incomes declined. The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry counters that tax cuts and incentives will make the state more attractive for investment.

“We’re very worried about our ability without incentives to compete with states like Iowa and Minnesota,” said Bryan Slone, the group’s president.

Supporters said the new incentives bill would allow Nebraska’s incentive program to continue but make it more transparent, easier to use, and do a better job of holding companies accountable for their progress in creating jobs. It also would focus more on attracting higher-paying jobs than the current “Nebraska Advantage Act” program.

Kolterman said the bill likely would have passed this year if not for the opposition from senators who wanted to lower property taxes, and he doesn’t plan to make any major changes.

Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, chairwoman of Nebraska’s tax-focused Revenue Committee, said she’s confident lawmakers can reach an agreement this summer that would allow both business incentives and property tax reductions to advance.

“We need an incentive package,” Linehan said. “Are we going to be the only state in the union without one? No.”

Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts said he remained hopeful lawmakers would update the state’s tax incentive program to keep Nebraska competitive, but “we can’t take it for granted.”

“We need to make the case for why this is the program we want to have moving forward,” Ricketts said in an interview.

Supporters may still face a challenge from lawmakers who helped sink this year’s business incentive measure. Rural lawmakers who have pushed hardest for property tax cuts said they’ll work with other senators on incentives, but only if they’re tied to a property tax package.

Sen. Tom Briese, an Albion farmer, said he’s concerned that “one will get left behind while the other advances” if the bills remain separate. Rural senators are outnumbered in the Legislature and are likely to lose another seat when lawmakers draw new districts for themselves in 2021, but they still have enough influence to block measures they oppose.

“Business incentives and property tax reform have to advance together, or neither should advance,” Briese said. “The best way to ensure that is to have them both in one bill.”

Following torrential rainfall earlier in the week Lexington and other central Nebraska towns quickly flooded. Families were displaced and left with few options for lodging and immediate assistance. The American Red Cross came set up a shelter inside the Lexington High school.

The River morning show host Lana Greene talked with Vicki Halligan who helped oversee the shelter. Halligan explained that more than 150 people came through the shelter seeking multiple types of assistance from first aid, to meals and dry clothes. 15 families even stayed overnight. By Wednesday all, but one family had found more long term housing and the majority of other needs were met. Halligan said they plan to close the Lexington Shelter Thursday (July 12)  morning and move it to Wood River to serve the towns now experiencing the flooding.

Halligan was impressed and amazed to see the outpouring of support from the community.

 

See the interview and flooding images here: