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      Top Ag Stories 2013: Farm Bill, Drought, Taxes, Ag Literacy

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      Nebraska recovers from drought, but farmers and ranchers still don't have the certainty of a new Farm Bill. 2013 was a year of ups and downs in agriculture.

      As George Hohwieler of Aurora Cooperative says, "Never bet against the American farmer."

      Farmers started 2013 in drought, but close the year with strong yields and increased livestock production.

      Nebraska's governor says there's no doubt agriculture makes the state's economy strong.

      "Agriculture, innovation and research, greater yields than ever before," Gov. Dave Heineman told NTV this summer.

      The year started with seven dollar corn, but ended around four dollars.

      Meanwhile, land prices and property taxes seem to keep going up.

      Farmer Ben Keep said, "Land values in the last four years have skyrocketed through the roof compared to what they used to be."

      Spring 2013 was cool and wet, with snow on the first of May impacting calving and corn planting.

      "Miserable. Had a couple of newborn calves we had to bring in the garage," Kristen Klein of Cairo said at the time.

      It was a year where farmers continue to speak out, becoming more vocal, even at a young age.

      Ag literacy was a big focus of organizations like AFAN and Farm Bureau, and also FFA.

      "Farmers need to take a stand," state FFA officer Morgan Kowalewski of Gothenburg said.

      PETA visited the State Fair and HSUS visited Nebraska as well, condemning what it calls factory farming.

      In politics, Governor Heineman attempted to reinstate sales taxes on equipment, feed, and inputs that had been exempt, but farmers said no. Now they work with the governor hoping for property tax relief.

      And as they said a year ago, farmers hope for a Farm Bill in the coming year.

      2013 also saw the launch of NTV's Grow, a weekly farm and ranch program airing Sunday nights at 10:35 p.m.

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