Potential Nebraska ag losses pegged at $3.7B from pandemic


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska potentially faces nearly $3.7 billion in agricultural losses from the coronavirus pandemic if economic conditions do not improve, the Nebraska Farm Bureau said Wednesday.

Its estimate projects revenue losses for this year’s commodities, including corn, soybeans, wheat, beef cattle and pork production, as well as dairy and ethanol products, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. It does not account for any financial assistance farmers and ranchers receive from COVID-19 relief programs.

Jay Rempe, the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s senior economist, said the analysis “clearly demonstrates the magnitude of the financial challenges currently facing farm and ranch families,” adding that impact could be felt across the broader rural economy.

The analysis pegs potential estimated losses in the beef cattle sector at nearly $1 billion in 2020. Potential corn and soybean losses were estimated at $1.17 billion.

Losses in the ethanol sector could reach $1.3 billion, assuming that ethanol plants are unable to operate at more than 75% of capacity for the remainder of the year.

Other potential losses: pork, $166 million; dairy, $66 million; wheat, $8.7 million.

“Farmers and ranchers are really struggling,” Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said.