Selling farmland in central Nebraska is my passion...it is what I love to do and it is how I make a living. What it isn't, is work. That old saying, “when you love what you are doing, it isn’t work” rings true for me.
A long time ago I thought I would never hear myself saying that. "Right", I said. (Or something like that laced with extra special words.) But I do believe it is true.
I began to focus on selling farmland in Nebraska. Central Nebraska farm land primarily. Even today, many years later, people still ask me why and how and when I started and why haven't they heard of me and all kinds of great questions. I find myself repeating the story a lot.
So I decided to list 20 reasons why I Love to Sell Nebraska Farm Land. I know there are way more.
Why Mike McCann Loves to sell Central Nebraska Farm Land…in no particular order:
1. Farmers. I wish everyone could come and ride with me for a day or two as I visit the Nebraska farms. You would then find out what I have known for years. Farmers are some of the hardest working and by far smartest people in the world. Most of my closest friends are either farmers or are working in a business that serves the industry. That is not hard to do as virtually all families have some tie to farming around here.
2. Farms. There is something about being near the dirt...the land was here before man and will be here long
after. The smell of the dirt, the feel and looks of the crops as they grow, the views, the wildlife, the harvest are all parts of it. My wife asks me why it is such a big deal for me to be around farms and I really have an odd answer. It feels good. It feels powerful. It feels overwhelmingly large. It feels like you are helping others to simply survive. Farm land is very finicky. You cannot just plant anything or throw any kind of fertilizer on it and expect it to grow. It has to be done correctly with crop rotations and stewardship. The farmers know this and
most are very aware of their responsibility to both today’s and future generations.
3. Water. The lifeblood of any farm anywhere.
Without water...Little will grow...but with a little...a lot will grow! Without water or food...well...you know the answer. The farmer is much more aware of proper water usage and conservation than in the past decades. This is crucial for the future generations of farmers.
4. Rivers. There are a multitude of rivers that traverse Nebraska. I get to experience at least 5 river basins each and every month...not many people get to do that. My favorites are the three Loup Rivers that I grew up near and swam in as a child and young adult. These rivers recharge the ground water and spring forth with exuberance every spring. The Platte River crosses Nebraska from the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming to the Missouri River!
Breath taking views are a daily occurrence for me.
5. Sunsets. There is simply no place like Nebraska for beautiful sunsets. As the sun arcs closer to the horizon, the small dust particles in the air from the gravel roads and fields bend the rays into dazzling hues and colors of the rainbow. And this happens year around.
6. Sunrises. On the days I get to see the sun come up over the horizon, I am belted with reds and oranges before the sun rises high in the sky. Incredible feeling of awe and respect for a wonderful new day! In the summer you can see the dew lift from the crops as the sun warms the fields.
7. Land Auctions. I love the excitement of an auction and the opportunity to bid. I am an Auctioneer and call the sale when auctioning farm land in central Nebraska. The excitement and thrill are exhilarating and intimidating all at once. Knowing I am helping the Seller and Buyer reach their goals in what appears to be a short time is very humbling. It may look like a lot of bravado is involved…but that is not really the case. The lead up month to the auction is critical to the success. I hope to continue to do auctions on central Nebraska farmland over the next decade or two for those that have the need.
8. Farm Shows. There are numerous farm shows and conventions year around that allow an opportunity to speak with a large number of farmers in a short period. For me they are important as I know the farmer is busy and is not sitting on the porch waiting for me to show up and talk shop. I sometimes think they hide or something when they see my Suburban coming up the drive!!! (Not really)
9. Springtime. About the middle of March when we have our first warm spell, you will see some farmers jumping on their tractors and getting started early on field work. I really enjoy when spring comes around in April, May, and early June. If the weather cooperates and allows the timely planting of the seeds…and Mother Nature doesn’t freeze young plants or drown them out, the farmer will be optimistic and full of energy and excitement. It is contagious. You take in the awesome smell of fresh turned dirt and watch the plants emerge. The wheat that emerged in the fall and winter months begins to turn a golden yellow and is an absolute sight to behold.
10. Summertime. The old saying knee high by 4th of July is now shoulder high by 4th of July. When a good stand of corn is chest high in the fields…few things are more beautiful. The leaves have a full and bright glow of dark green and the makings of a good crop in the fall. Central Nebraska farm land is some of the best dirt in the world and Nebraska is one of the highest producers of corn and soybeans in the U.S. The soybeans and other crops are beginning to fill out and put on a great show as they develop the fruits of the farmers labor. And the produce farms are selling sweet corn, tomatoes, melons of all kinds, and dozens of other vegetables and fruits. I am hungry thinking about the farmers markets.
11. Harvest. Many people think harvest starts in the fall…but for many crops it is earlier than that. Wheat in Nebraska is mostly harvested in June. Alfalfa and hay are cut in the spring and early summer and if the weather cooperates, also in the late summer and maybe even fall. Corn can be cut early for silage in the feedlots. Or picked with higher moisture content for feed in the feedlots and is usually picked as early as Sept 1 depending on the year. Regular corn will be harvested all fall and sometimes even the spring if there were early snowstorms the previous fall. Be careful on the roads as the gravel roads and highways are full of farm equipment and grain trucks moving the product to the market.
12. Fall. What a glorious time of year in Nebraska. My absolute favorite time of the year. The harvest is in full swing with farmers picking field corn and soybeans. The air is cooler and crisper as late Autumn approaches. The apples are ready to be picked. The elevators are bursting at the seams with crops to store and ship off all over the world. On a side note…most of the corn grown is not what you buy at the store and eat. This also is the time that my Farm Land selling business is beginning to get busy as the Land auctions will take place mostly between November and March. Some will occur at various times…but most happen during this time period when the farmers are the most active and in the buying mood.
13. Farm Equipment. The size and abilities of today’s tractors and combines and grain carts and planters are incredible. You can now pick a whole semi-truck load of grain and dump in the cart and take to the trailer. Mind boggling how many switches and buttons and levers are in a piece of equipment. I can drive some and stay far away from some as I am not qualified at all to be in the driver’s seat. (Did I mention how smart farmers are?) A/C, GPS, electric coolers, and much more are available in most.
14. Windshield Time. I have never been one to want to sit at a desk every single day and selling Nebraska farm land affords me to be on the go…a lot. I generally average 30,000 miles a year of road time for work. I get out and about throughout the area talking with people about farm land. There has been days when I have driven hours to spend 30 minutes looking at a piece of ground. With the continued improvement of various satellite photos it is easier to see the land from above, but not the lay of the land. You have to walk or drive the land to find that out.
15. Gravel Roads. 70% of the miles I put on will be on gravel roads. Most central Nebraska farms have great access as the counties in Nebraska do a great job with the roads and access to the farms. My speed is slower but my view is so much more enjoyable and it allows me see what various farms are doing in respect to management. Many times a one hour drive will take me two hours or more because of unplanned stops to talk with a farmer or look at something or both. The views can be unique and so enjoyable.
16. Dirt. “They ain’t making any more of it” Will Roger said or something close to that. Central Nebraska has many types of soil (dirt). It used to be that you could expect great dirt to produce great crops and mediocre quality dirt to have mediocre results. Now marginal ground also produces much higher yields. The soil and the ease of farming are huge in determining the value of a farm. The large equipment is not set up to farm small patches and the large farmer may shy away from a small piece of ground. All dirt is valuable though and I sell it all when I am asked by the owner.
17. Irrigation I mentioned water earlier. In Nebraska there are two primary ways to irrigate. With the use of surface water or with underground water. Some farmers may have both. Neither is free. But without irrigation on central Nebraska farm land, the crop yields would be about half or less than current crops and most farmers would soon be out of business. My first farm job was setting tubes and fixing washouts. I am not sure if anyone even uses tubes much anymore and even gated pipe is less popular with the advent of pivots and now an underground system for watering called “tape”. Farmland that is irrigated is worth double the value or more in central Nebraska versus dryland. In eastern Nebraska, dryland is more prevalent but that area gets a lot more rain. Central Nebraska sits on top of the Ogallala Aquifer. Great care is now given to manage the aquifer and not overuse it. Water usage changes from year to year based on the level of water. There are hundreds of monitoring wells throughout the aquifers footprint.
18. Thunderstorms. I personally love the power of a large thunderstorm. The beautiful clouds and the lightening and the thunder all combine to make a wonderful experience as long as the experience is not damaging to the crops and the homes. The rain can make or break a dryland crop for a farmer. The rainbows that follow and the clean smell can be cathartic and even overwhelming in awe of the power of Nature.
19. Wildlife. There is so much wildlife and various animals and birds in central Nebraska. From the Sandhill cranes to the deer, rabbits, squirrels, river animals, bald eagles and hawks, upland game birds like pheasants and quail, and the millions of geese and ducks that pass through. The sad note on wildlife is many animals are nocturnal and freeze up in the glare of car lights and we lose a lot of animals on the highways. Some animals are hard on the crops but that is the price of doing business in their domain.
20. People. I have been fortunate enough to live on the southeast coast in Florida and the Front Range of Colorado. Each time I was drawn back to central Nebraska because of the land and the people. The people are caring and sharing and help each other. Just last week I was driving down the road and a gal had slid her van off the road. One guy stopped and my wife and I stopped. I had a tow rope and he crawled under and pulled her out with his pick-up. We exchanged pleasantries and good luck and away we went. No money…no worries…no tow truck…no cost. That is truly what central Nebraska exemplifies.
Each day I get up and thank the Lord that I get to participate in this wonderful day. The mountains still tug at me to go back. But I can go visit them and we do go. And then I come back home to central Nebraska so that I can help someone else buy or sell a farm. That is what I do and who I am…and I like that.