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Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Advocate for Action on the Farm Bill in DC

LINCOLN, NEB. – Securing the next Farm Bill is essential for creating a sustainable future for agriculture and is at the forefront of producers’ minds across the country. Movement on the Farm Bill was one of the key messages Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Committee members shared with the Nebraska congressional delegation during their annual fly-in to Washington, D.C.

Enhancing federal crop insurance remains a top priority for NEFB members and ensuring that it is not tied to climate focused practices is crucial for the long-term success of operations and the integrity of the program. NEFB commends the House Agriculture Committee for passing a bipartisan bill out of committee, but YF&R members called for both the full House and the Senate to take up the legislation.

“Having the Farm Bill pass out of the House Ag Committee is a huge step in the right direction,” said Daniel Hasart, YF&R committee member and cattle rancher from Cherry County. “It is important that the Farm Bill includes a legislative fix to California’s Proposition 12 and Massachusetts’s Question 3 to ensure that one state or locality cannot control how we produce livestock and meat products for the rest of the country and world.

As domestic workforce availability continues to be a challenge, the H-2A program became increasingly essential in agriculture. Just under 4,000 H-2A positions were used in Nebraska alone in FY2023, however, this growth does not convey how needlessly complex and expensive the program has become. Between six straight years of exponential wage growth, agency regulation overreach, and persistent congressional inaction, many agriculture operations- including many small and medium sized operations- are struggling to operate through the program.

“We need Congress to pass legislation that pauses the Adverse Effect Wage Rate for the H-2A program at 2023 levels,” said Grant Jones, a YF&R committee member, row crop farmer, and cattle rancher from Chase County. “Supporting the Farm Operations Act and freezing the wage rate will allow farmers and ranchers to pay their employees without risking financial upset of their operation.”

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) allowed reduced tax rates for many farm and ranch businesses. The law, which includes many important tax provisions, is set to expire in 2025 which would drastically increase taxes if let lapse.

“Not extending the TCJA would be detrimental to my operation,” said Courtney Nelson, Madison County YF&R Committee member and row crop farmer. “From unpredictable markets to weather disasters, agriculture operates in a world of uncertainty. We need a tax code that provides certainty and will allow me to continue to operate and grow my farm and ranch.”

The YF&R committee connects young farmers and ranchers from across Nebraska to develop their leadership skills, engage with their peers, advocate for policy, and serve as the next generation of agricultural leaders.

“When young producers sit across the table from their senators and congressmen, they are reminding policymakers that agriculture is thriving, innovative, and sustainable for generations to come,” said Audrey Schipporeit, director of generational engagement at NEFB. “Amplifying young producer voices encourages more young people to advocate for the future of agriculture.”

In addition to meeting with all five of Nebraska’s congressional delegates, the group also met with officials from the House Agriculture Committee, the EPA, Chief Economist with USDA, and the Chief Economist for the Senate Ag Committee.

YF&R committee members that participated in the visit to Washington, D.C. included:

  • Grant Jones, Chase County
  • Courtney Nelson, Madison County
  • Daniel Hasart, Cherry County

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.

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