A coalition of major Nebraska agricultural groups has endorsed a proposal designed to lower property taxes and ensure state funding for K-12 schools by raising cigarette and alcohol taxes and eliminating other tax breaks.
Members of the Nebraska Agriculture Leaders Working Group hailed the proposal Monday as “the best bill from which to start.”
The bill would eventually guarantee that all Nebraska schools get at least 50 percent of their basic education funding from the state. Many rural schools currently receive no state equalization aid.
The bill includes some controversial proposals, including the elimination of sales tax exemptions for groceries.
Farm groups and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson, say the bill could change and they’re willing to consider other ideas.
The New Year will bring changes for owners of utility and farm trailers in Nebraska. From January 1, owners of utility or farm trailers will be asked to include the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of their utility or farm trailer when registering their trailer for the first time, or when renewing their registration. If the trailer does not have a VIN, or if the VIN is unknown, the County Treasurer office will provide one. The County Treasurer will also provide a decal to display the assigned VIN on the trailer at no additional cost to the owner.
“This is an important step to bringing the registration of utility and farm trailers into line with other, similar types of trailer,” said Rhonda Lahm, Director of the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles. “By including the VIN, or allocating a VIN to a trailer which doesn’t have one, we are able to track ownership of trailers more accurately. In the event of theft, a VIN displayed on the trailer and registration document will assist in pairing the trailer with its owner.”
Currently, Nebraska residents are not required to provide a VIN to the County Treasurer office when registering a utility or farm trailer. In 2017, there were 184,770 utility and 81,784 farm trailers registered in Nebraska.
“Without a VIN recorded on the registration document, it can be a challenge to track ownership of a trailer,” said Betty Johnson, Administrator of the Driver and Vehicle Records Division. “We have been working closely with County Treasurer offices and agricultural groups to prepare for the upcoming changes. Existing utility and farm trailer owners do not need to do anything until their trailer registration is renewed. At that time, they can renew their trailer as normal and include the trailer VIN to ensure it is properly registered. The new information will ensure greater consistency in how trailers are registered and result in us providing a more comprehensive service to our customers.”
New trailer registration is completed at the owner’s local County Treasurer office. Renewals can be completed online at dmv.nebraska.gov, by mail, or at their local County Treasurer office.
Ag producers from across the Midwest came to Kearney to learn more about pulse crops at UNL’s Pulse Crop Expo. The expo was started with opening keynote speaker Luscas Haag, a K-State researcher with nearly a decade of pulse experience. Haag spoke to producers about the plant properties and his current research in growing pulses. Following the opening keynote producers had numerous breakout sessions to choose from. As well as networking opportunities with the seed dealers and end users that were also in attendance. The expo has been spearheaded by UNL extension researcher Strahinja Stepanovic and he was excited to see the strong producer turnout.
Pulses are a leguminous crop that are harvested solely for the dry seed. Dried beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas are the most commonly known and consumed types of pulses.
For many farmers in Nebraska and surrounding states pulses are becoming a popular cover crop option. There use as livestock feed and forage is also starting to gain popularity. One organic operation near Bertrand Nebraska is using pea’s in their crop rotation to help battle palmer amaranth.
Over the last year ag producers have become accustom to volatile international trade and its effect on commodity markets. The UNL Pulse Crop Expo offered an opportunity to for some to see if pulses could be a cash crop alternative. Todd Schulz, of the USA dry pea and lentil council, showed that pulses are under the same pressure as general commodities like corn, soybeans and wheat.