How big an investment do Nebraska corn farmers make each spring? Every man, woman, and child in Nebraska could go to the movies 200 times and still not spend the $3 billion Nebraska farmers will.
But that investment is on hold, because of cold and rain.
Tim Scheer of the Nebraska Corn Board is among those anxious to begin planting. For now, her gets chores done on the farm while he waits to plant corn.
"It'll be nice when we get planters rolling and ease everyone's fears," he said.
Weather has planting two weeks behind schedule. But dollar after dollar changes hands, $3 billion in all, across Nebraska.
Scheer said, "You're looking at $280 worth of investment into every acre in the state of Nebraska for corn. That doesn't include other crops with similar inputs and that's just fertilizer, seed, things like that, doesn't include land, labor, anything like that."
After the initial investment, there's the cost to irrigate plus property taxes.
"Tax implications for our schools and roads and everything else we use tax money for in the state of Nebraska. Without the ag economy and success we've had, we'd be looking at a completely different picture," Scheer said.
The USDA estimates Nebraska farmers will plant just short of 10 million acres of corn this year, that will later be harvested and sold to co–ops, ethanol plants, and export markets.
Scheer said, "It's a huge impact not just on small towns but the whole state."
Officially, one in three Nebraska jobs is related to agriculture. Scheer says that's not the whole story.
"I would say darn near three in three jobs is related to agriculture," he said.
Planting keeps people employed through seed dealers, co-ops, and other ag providers.
A kernel at a time, the $3 billion investment becomes much more.
"Reverberates through the rest of the economy," Scheer said. "If you figure a 2.5 multiplier, that's $7 billion economic impact."
For more on planting season, tune in for NTV's Grow, Sunday night at 10:35.