The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at email@example.com
I consider myself fortunate that I married into a farming family. It has truly been an eye-opening experience. I discovered early on that it is not easy. But I love the hard work, the early mornings and late hours. I have never doubted – nor regretted – my love for the farm for a second.
With nearly 50,000 farms and ranches across the state – combined with other agriculture related businesses – I’m proud to be part of the team that makes this state great. Our agriculture industry is the economic engine for our state.
One great example of Nebraskans working to grow our agriculture economy was on display Monday, October 2nd, when Thurston County received it’s designation as a Livestock Friendly County. This designation is given to counties that actively support the livestock industry. Since 2003, when it was first adopted, Nebraska has had 43 counties receive this designation.
Nebraska also leads the nation in a number of agriculture-related metrics:
Nebraska ranks first in commercial red meat production, first in Great Northern bean production, and first in popcorn production. Our state ranks near the top in ethanol production, alfalfa, sorghum, and soybeans– the list goes on and on.
In 2015, Nebraska exported $6.4 billion worth of agricultural goods. We rank number one in the nation for beef and veal exports, bringing in $1.1 billion.
Governor Ricketts has just returned from a trade mission to Japan to expand our trade opportunities and I have worked with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development on ways that the legislative branch can encourage Nebraska’s export opportunities.
While we want to encourage growth of our agriculture industry, I’m also committed to making sure family farm operations are able to compete. I want to find ways to encourage the next generation of farmers – to keep younger Nebraskans in their small downs and combat the “brain drain” that is happening in so many areas of our state.
As Chair of the Nebraska Legislature’s Business & Labor Industry and a member of the Agriculture Committee, one of my main goals is to make sure our state’s agriculture producers and businesses have the resources and freedom they need to survive and thrive.
The ag industry generates 25 percent of all jobs in Nebraska, and creates employment in other industries such as construction, finance, insurance, technology and law. If this is going to continue, we need to find ways to bring younger farmers into the fold.
Yes, hard times come and go and right now we are facing a downturn in the agriculture economy. This has created a lot of sleepless nights for many throughout our state.
I’m concerned about weak prices and tight margins, both as a state senator and as an agriculture producer myself. Unfortunately, there is no way to legislate success. My goal is to work to ensure that the opportunity for success is available to all.
The second half of the 105th Legislature will kick off in early January. It will be a short, 60-day session, but there will be time for us to discuss issues that impact our agriculture industry.
If there is one thing I’ve learned is that our ag producers are resilient. We are going to keep working to feed the world and keep Nebraska strong.
Nebraska will continue to be an agriculture leader thanks to the thousands of farmers and ranchers in our state. I’m proud of what you have accomplished and I look forward to working with them to strengthen our ag economy.
Harvest is just around the corner, so I want to make sure that everyone has a safe and bountiful year!