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      Nebraska Corn Board Says Planting Season is Big Investment into State's Economy

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      According tothe U.S. Department of Agriculture, Nebraska farmers will be planting slightly less corn this year than what was planted last year.

      The USDA says Nebraska corn farmers will plant 9.4million acres of corn, about 94 percent of last year's total of 9.95 million acres.

      Estimates from the University of Nebraska Extension show that farmers will spend about $280 per acre getting the crop in the ground and off to a good start. That's about $2.6 billion being invested by corn farmers over a two-month period on things like seed, fuel and fertilizer.

      And while the number of acres expected to be used for corn nationally has dropped, if estimates hold true, this year's corn crop could still be the fifth largest in the U.S. since 1944.

      Nebraska Corn Board chair Tim Scheer says the planting of so many acres of corn could add nearly $3 billion worth of economic activity to Nebraska, not including extra expenses that occur throughout the rest of the year.

      "This continues to be an economic booster for the rest ofthe year and those dollars reverberate through the rural economy and multiplyto support Main Street, Nebraska," Scheer said.

      Gettingthe crops in the ground is not the only area bringing economic activity to the state. The Corn Board says the full economicimpact of planting reaches close to $6 billion for the state's economy.

      "Farmerswill invest $2.6 billion in seed and fertilizer to get their crop planted, yetthe economic value of that crop is even greater when harvested and that corn isconverted to meat, milk and eggs, ethanol, distillers grains, bioplastics andmore," explained Kelly Brunkhorst, director of research for the Nebraska Corn Board.

      This season won't be easy for farmers as they face lower commodity prices and higher input costs, in addition to the ever-lingering concern over soil moisture.

      According to the USDA's April crop report, topsoil moisture supplies in Nebraska rated13 percent very short, 42 short, 45 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisturesupplies rated 17 percent very short, 43 short, 39 adequate, and 0 surplus.

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