Ag community looks forward to putting 2019 behind them

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - It's been a tough year for farmers and ranchers with flooding and severe winter weather across the state, leaving most ready for a new year.

Mark McHargue farms a popcorn field in Central City. He said they dealt with rising ground water after heavy rains this year, and is looking forward to put this year behind him. (Source: Mark McHargue)

Although the flooding missed Merrick County in March, Mark McHargue's popcorn farm suffered from rising ground water after heavy rain a few months later.

He said that led to a lower than usual yield, which could take a toll even through next year.

"We know that we're not always going to be getting record breaking years," McHargue said. That was demonstrated this year. So probably can't plug that really high yield number in. We're kind of running the numbers, and it's tight. It doesn't look like there's going to be a lot of opportunities."

McHargue added he's trying to be optimistic about 2020, and said looking forward and planning ahead does help the mental state.

Steve Nelson, the president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, discussed the state of the ag economy Monday at the group's annual conference in Kearney.

The Farm Bureau reported the ag economy suffered a $1 billion loss after flooding in March, taking a toll on the entire community.

"I'm concerned about the financial health of agriculture. I'm concerned about the stress levels that there are in agriculture caused by lots of different things. So it's important that we keep these things in perspective," Nelson said.

The Farm Bureau started their own Disaster Relief Fund, giving out more than $3.5 million to farmers and ranchers all across the state impacted by the flood.

Nelson said they're continuing to find new ways to help farmers and ranchers, and improve the ag economy.