SAN JUAN, PR. – Nebraska farmer and rancher delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 104th Annual Meeting and Convention adopted policy that will provide direction to the organization from its grassroots members in 2023. Key issues included protecting farm and ranch families from Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) regulations, strengthening risk management programs, and ensuring access to valuable crop protection tools.
“The strength of Farm Bureau is in its members. When farmers and ranchers from across the country come together to discuss issues important to agriculture, it ensures that members are directing our policy positions. We’re pleased that many of the policies recommended by Nebraska farmers and ranchers will now become policy of the American Farm Bureau,” said Mark McHargue, Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) president.
With the most recent farm bill set to expire at the end of 2023, delegates wasted no time discussing national farm policy and voting to expand baseline funding, developing more flexible disaster relief programs, and extending protection to more specialty crops.
“Crop insurance continues to be a vital safety net for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. As more and more conversations center around climate and agriculture, it’s important that when we talk about climate initiatives, we don’t tie those practices to access to and funding of crop insurance protections,” said McHargue
Another policy issue put forward by Nebraska that delegates discussed related to Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG), a movement that is growing within corporate America where companies make business decisions based on environmental or social stances.
“What concerns farmers and ranchers is the potential for ESG to drive how banks lend money, especially in livestock operations such as cattle feed lots. Farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of our environment, asserting subjective standards to evaluate investment opportunities will have meaningful consequences on the ability of farmers and ranchers to produce the food, fiber, and fuels,” said McHargue.
Other policies adopted by the delegates at the convention included measures to ensure crop protection tools remain in the toolbox for farmers, policy that supports more timely delivery of cattle to meat packers, and formalizing Farm Bureau’s position opposing the 2022 Waters of the U.S. rule.
Nebraska Farm Bureau state board members serving as delegates to the AFBF Annual Convention included Mark McHargue of Central City (NEFB President), Katie Olsen of Atkinson (NEFB 1st Vice President), Jason Perdue of York (At-Large), Lance Atwater of Ayr (Youth-At Large), David Grimes of Minden (South Central Region), and Andy DeVries of Ogallala (Northwest Region).
Beyond policy changes, Nebraska Farm Bureau members also participated in American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) competitive events during the annual convention. Adam and Kaylyn Venteicher, Pierce County Farm Bureau members, were recognized as Nebraska’s representatives for the Achievement in Agriculture award. Clay Patton, a Dawson County Farm Bureau member, competed in the YF&R Discussion meet, advancing to the Sweet 16 Round.
Nebraska company TreadSure was also a semi-finalist in the Ag Innovation Challenge and earned $10,000 in startup funds. The Ag Innovation Challenge provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations in agriculture.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service, and advocacy efforts. More than 55,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.