NEFB Newspaper

President’s Column – April/May 2024

Spring is a time of planning, planting and new growth on farms and ranches. From preparing to plant seeds for the next crop to tending to the needs of a newborn calf and its momma, farmers and ranchers are working hard to make sure they have good crops and healthy herds in the months ahead.

Similarly, the Nebraska Farm Bureau is hard at work to protect and serve our farm and ranch families. On the federal side we are making it a top priority to get a new, modernized farm bill passed; advocate for voluntary, incentive-based programs to advance sustainability; and to protect tax benefits that help family farms and ranches stay in business. We’ve pushed back on burdensome, non-science-based or economically unsound regulations that again would affect the bottom line of your farm or ranch.

We are coming to a period on the state side where the legislative season has ended, and we are reaping the benefits of the work our legislative team has accomplished. Our team has done really great work, and I am extremely proud of our staff commitment to agriculture.

This session all hands were on deck working to control spending on state government and education, to find more property tax relief for members and to communicate our successes to our counties. While we did not get a property tax relief package across the finish line this session, Gov. Jim Pillen is expected to call state lawmakers back to a special session to address the growing concern over rising property taxes.

We surveyed our members and heard you loud and clear regarding the high cost of healthcare being one of your main concerns. Nebraska Farm Bureau worked with state Sen. Robert Dover to sponsor LB 1313, a bill that would make it easier to provide healthcare to small businesses across the state, including farm and ranch families. LB1313 clears a path for more affordable healthcare options for farmers and ranchers as well as other small businesses that rely on the Affordable Health Care Act for health insurance. The Affordable Care Act premiums are often unaffordable, and our survey indicated that our members either do not purchase health insurance or rely on a spouse who works for an employer that offers those benefits. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Pillen on April 2. Nebraska Farm Bureau is excited to be able to provide a health care plan that will be affordable and may allow spouses to stay home instead of working to provide health insurance. (See story on page 8.)

At Nebraska Farm Bureau, we are planting seeds that will yield a strong harvest for Nebraska agriculture. We want to provide you with the opportunity to grow your farms and ranches; tell your story of commitment and love for the land; to do the right thing; and leave an everlasting legacy. As farmers and ranchers perform their spring rituals, I ask you to take your time and be safe. Nebraska Farm Bureau is working on your behalf.

Until next time,

Mark McHargue

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