AFBF Holds Council of Presidents Meeting in Washington, DC 

Last week, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue and staff were in Washington, D.C. for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Council of Presidents and AFBF Board Meeting. This annual event brings all the State Farm Bureau presidents together to get updates on all the different policy and organizational happenings at AFBF. Topics discussed included getting the Farm Bill done this year, labor, Prop 12, and many others. Participants also had the opportunity to attend several receptions as part of the event which brought together agricultural industry leaders as well as elected officials, including House Ag Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson and Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member John Boozman.

Participants also had the opportunity to meet with a few members of Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation as well as a few folks at USDA. The USDA meetings were held along with leadership from University of Nebraska- Lincoln’s (UNL) Institute of Ag and Natural Resources and were focused on continued support for the National Drought Mitigation Center housed at UNL. The Center helps trigger about eight federal disaster programs, yet has never had permanent federal funding. One of our policy goals is to finally get permanent funding for the Center. At USDA, attendees had the opportunity to meet with Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics Chavonda Jacobs-Young, and USDA Deputy Administrator for Agricultural Marketing Service, Livestock and Poultry Programs Jennifer Porter.  

Farm, Forestry, Environmental and Hunger Advocates Unite Behind 2023 Farm Bill  

Twenty groups representing agricultural, environmental, forestry, wildlife, nutrition, and hunger advocates have launched the “Farm Bill for America’s Families: Sustaining Our Future” campaign to urge passage of the 2023 farm bill this year. 

Farm Bill for America’s Families brings together stakeholders who support the farm bill and recognize its profound impact on the well-being of all Americans. The campaign seeks to engage consumers, leaders, and lawmakers alike on the importance of the farm bill and highlights five core objectives: food security, job creation, conservation, risk management, and addressing hunger.  

Farm Bill for America’s Families believes that together, we can ensure our food system remains thriving and sustainable for all Americans, for generations to come. Other organizations that share the campaign’s mission are invited to join today at

For more information, visit  

Brand Committee Executive Director Announces Intention to Resign 

Nebraska Brand Committee Executive Director John Widdowson has informed the Nebraska Brand Committee of his intention to resign his position later this year. Widdowson, a fifth-generation family farmer and rancher, has served as the Brand Committee’s Executive Director since February 2020 and previously served as a member and Chairperson of the Brand Committee.    

“It has truly been an honor to serve the Nebraska Brand Committee as a member and as its Executive Director. When I took this job, I told the Committee that I would remain in this position only until the ship was righted. It’s not only righted but is now recognized as an industry leader. With our current Committee members and the outstanding leadership team we’ve assembled, now is the time to entrust the Committee to the next Executive Director and for me to return to production agriculture,” explained Widdowson.  

While at the Committee, Widdowson and the leadership team spearheaded efforts to modernize the Committee, including the their move to electronic brand recording and recordkeeping. 

“John has been instrumental in building a strong leadership team and a positive culture at the Brand Committee that is dedicated to the industry we serve,” explained Chris Gentry, the longest-tenured current member of the Nebraska Brand Committee.  

Widdowson has agreed to remain with the Nebraska Brand Committee to assist with the process for selecting a new Executive Director and the transition to new leadership. 

In light of Widdowson’s announcement, Brand Committee Chairperson Duane Gangwish stated that interested individuals may submit their applications by sending a cover letter and resume to Chairperson Duane Gangwish at The application period will remain open until Friday, August 11, 2023.  

Current members of the Nebraska Brand Committee are: Chairperson Duane Gangwish, Vice-Chairperson Tanya Storer, and members Christopher Gentry, Marie Farr, and Steve Stroup.  Nebraska Secretary of State Robert B. Evnen and Nebraska Agriculture Director Sherry Vinton also serve as non-voting ex officio members of the Committee. 

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