There are issues in just about every legislative session that in some way would directly affect how a farmer or rancher does business. This year the biggest concern was proposals introduced by Gov. Dave Heineman to either eliminate or cut income tax in exchange for increased sales taxes. This would have meant increased sales taxes for the state’s number one industry, agriculture. As in every session, Nebraska Farm Bureau
worked hard to protect the interests of farmers and ranchers.
"I think being a member of Nebraska Farm Bureau has really paid off for Nebraska farmers and ranchers this year, and it’s time to ask your neighbors and friends to join," Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president, said Feb. 18. "An annual Farm Bureau membership is around $50, a small investment to make, especially when you consider Farm Bureau has been working hard to prevent an average increase of $25,000 paid in sales tax on equipment and agricultural inputs purchased by farmers and ranchers. We thank those Farm Bureau members who called their state senators, talked with revenue committee members or spoke directly to the Governor to help get this tax conversation moved in a different direction."
Nebraska Farm Bureau Board member, Jason Kvols who raises corn and soybeans near Laurel, Neb., sees Farm Bureau’s biggest asset as a grassroots organization.
"The beauty of the organization lies in its grassroots policy making process, because the policy that is developed at the state level comes from the County Farm Bureaus. That is the core of why I am involved with Farm Bureau, and why I see Farm Bureau as the organization that anyone can be involved in and be a part of and have their voices heard. With Farm Bureau’s help we were able to share our concerns with our state senators and get things turned around on the sales tax exemption issue," Kvols said.
Ryan Sonderup of Nance County Farm Bureau, a young farmer who raises row crops and purebred Charolais cattle, is just getting started in agriculture. He understands the importance of being involved with a general farm organization like Nebraska Farm Bureau and how they can make a difference.
"The impact that Farm Bureau has allows my voice to be heard along with hundreds of others in a grassroots organization," Sonderup said. "We may not always see eye-to-eye on an issue, but it allows us to voice our concerns and be heard."
Young rancher Tim Hruby of Dawes County Farm Bureau has a cow/calf herd and raises some yearling cattle as well. He also owns a windmill service business, so his ties to agriculture run deep. He belongs to Nebraska Farm Bureau to pass on agriculture’s legacy to his children.
"If you want stay in business 30 years from now, you have to take time in your busy life to become a member of Nebraska Farm Bureau," Hruby said. We believe being involved in the grassroots decision making in Nebraska Farm Bureau is a valuable use of our time, he said. "I know everyone has the excuse, ‘we’re so busy’ and my wife, Stephanie, and I are no exception. I own my own business, we have three small children and she teaches at the local educational service unit, so we can define busy. But Farm Bureau opens so many doors and keeps things moving for us. We know Nebraska Farm Bureau will be working hard to make sure our children get to ranch and passing on that legacy, that is why we belong to Nebraska Farm Bureau."
Seward County Farm Bureau member Lisa Eggerling, who farms near Milford, Neb., raises corn, soybeans and has a cow/calf herd, is afraid that the number of farmers and ranchers are getting smaller and you need a united voice through Nebraska Farm Bureau to be at the state Capitol protecting Nebraska farmers and ranchers.
"Nebraska Farm Bureau is a strong voice for Nebraska agriculture, and if we are not out there telling people how we feel about what is going on in our government, county, state and nation, then representatives may think we don’t care and that they can do whatever they want to us. We need Farm Bureau to bring one voice together with many and tell our representative how we feel," Eggerling said.
Young farmer Greg Villwok of Wayne County Farm Bureau raises corn, soybeans and has a cow/calf herd. Making the farm sustainable for his children to come back to the farm is his reason for joining Nebraska Farm Bureau.
"A regulatory proposal introduced a few years back required a CDL license to drive a tractor. But the problem was that in order to get your CDL license you have to be 18 years or older and that prevented our own children from working on the farm. How can we teach our children to be safe on the farm without being hands-on with the equipment?" Villwok said. "Nebraska Farm Bureau worked with regulators and helped them realize the impact this change would have on farmers and ranchers across the state."
As you can see from these examples everyone has their reasons for becoming a member of Nebraska Farm Bureau.
"We need you to ask your neighbors and friends to join the Nebraska Farm Bureau
family. Anyone can be a member, and remember, the more members we have, the more we can accomplish," Nelson said.