07-17 Small Changes, Big Payback; UNL exhibits key to strengthening Nebraska’s ag economy

Husker Harvest Days exhibits put on by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will help show farm and ranch families how small changes can bring big payback.

“Small Changes, Big Payback: Strengthening Nebraska’s Agricultural Economy” is the theme for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources exhibits at the Sept. 12-14 Husker Harvest Days show near Grand Island.

“Exhibits will outline a wide range of decision points, strategies and tools for farmers, livestock producers and farm families that can have a direct impact on their economic well being—many of which are incremental in nature, but can have dramatic impacts on their bottom line,” said University of Nebraska Vice President and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), Mike Boehm.

Exhibits inside IANR’s trademark Husker Red steel building at Lot 321 on the south side of the exhibit grounds will provide information on:

  • Specific strategies for managing family budgets during challenging economic times; making informed choices in terms of food, entertainment, utilities and other monthly expenses.
  • The relationship between cost, nutritional value and impact of various feed sources for cow/calf operations in order to make better management decisions
  • Understanding the county-by-county differences in the risk factors that affect crop insurance rates and how they affect profitability and management decisions for farmers
  • How farmers can better utilize the Farm Bill safety net during a time of transition into new realities in the agricultural marketplace
  • Benchmarking the true costs of pumping irrigation water in order to better control input costs and make decisions related to pump efficiency and energy usage
  • Crop production strategies that can have a positive bottom-line impact on cost-per-acre and profit margins
  • Using crop budgets to analyze the true operating costs for a farm in order to become a low-cost producer
  • An update on the UNL annual survey of agricultural land value and rental rates in Nebraska, which provides valuable data for land owners, renters and lending professionals.

Outdoor exhibits adjacent to the building will feature a variety of demonstrations related to improving irrigation efficiency and reducing irrigation pumping costs including variable rate irrigation, variable frequency drives, running sprinklers down in the canopy, and using the IrrigatePump app.

The outdoor area will also feature a solar-powered cell phone charging station, free of charge to attendees.

Back inside the building, IANR faculty and staff will be available to answer questions on a variety of extension and research-related topics, provide copies of helpful NebGuides, and direct those needing further information to extension experts in their local area.

Showgoers can also learn about the latest opportunities for students at the university’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis. College representatives will be available throughout the show to answer questions from potential students. Those interested in the Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education Action Development) program can also visit with a LEAD representative.

“We view this event as an excellent opportunity for us to bring the best of IANR and Nebraska Extension and research to Husker Harvest Days and we take that very seriously,” Boehm said. “This year marks Husker Harvest Days 40th anniversary and IANR has been a proud part of it ever since the very first show in 1978,” he said.