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Farm Bureau Members Set Policy on Key Issues and Elect Leaders at Annual Meeting and Convention

KEARNEY, NEB. – Delegates representing farm and ranch families from all 93 Nebraska counties outlined key agriculture policy priorities and elected new leaders for Nebraska Farm Bureau as part of the organization’s 106th Annual Meeting and Convention held Dec. 3-5 in Kearney. Delegates discussed a wide range of agricultural policy issues to provide direction for the organization.

Livestock production is vital to Nebraska’s economy but the process for livestock facilities to be sited continues to be a challenge for farmers and ranchers. Delegates approved policy to support livestock producers and remove speculative barriers from zoning decisions, as well as ensuring those decisions are made in a timely manner.

“Today, Nebraska represents the third largest agriculture production complex in the country worth $100 billion. Growing the livestock sector is key in growing that worth another $20 billion in the next five to ten years. Streamlining the process for livestock facilities to be approved would not only make sense for farmers and ranchers, but would also add more revenue for local economies,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue.

While in recent years progress has been made to address the state’s overreliance on property taxes, a situation that has led to Nebraska being one of the highest property tax states in the nation, it was evident in discussion by delegates that more work is needed. Delegates voted to support tax changes that help grow communities and that do not harm agriculture.

“We have made tremendous strides working with the governor and the Legislature in delivering property tax relief, equaling a 28 percent decrease in agriculture’s property tax burden, but the three-legged stool of taxes is not balanced and that was reflected in discussions at our Annual Convention,” said McHargue.

Nebraska’s farmers have expressed concern for the labor shortages in Nebraska, taking a position of support for legislative and non-legislative efforts to address those concerns. Delegates also set policy to address the emerging issues related to polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS.

“PFAS are chemicals that have been used in many consumer products since the 1940s. As regulatory agencies continue to develop strategies concerning PFAS contamination, NEFB members passed policy stating farmers and ranchers should not be held liable for the cost of chemical contaminants and cleanups where they had no management oversight or control of decision making” said McHargue.

National policy issues advanced to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting and Convention in January include a limited regulatory role for the federal government on Artificial Intelligence as well as supporting EPA pesticide label changes that give applicators broader options to make pesticide applications and more credit for utilization of best management practices. 

“Our delegates covered several issues that make a difference in the lives of farmers, ranchers, and all Nebraskans. Their strong leadership is critical to not only growing agriculture, but the prosperity of our entire state,” said McHargue.

In addition to setting state and making national policy recommendations, delegates also held elections for positions on the Nebraska Farm Bureau board of directors.

Mark McHargue, a Merrick County Farm Bureau member, was re-elected as the organization’s President. McHargue and his wife Judi raise corn, popcorn, and soybeans utilizing organic and conventional cropping methods and run a nursery and finishing hog operation near Central City.

Andy DeVries, a Keith County Farm Bureau member, was re-elected to serve as the representative for the Northwest Region. DeVries raises corn, popcorn, soybeans, and dry edible beans on the family farm near Ogallala.

Adam Boeckenhauer, a Dixon County Farm Bureau member, was elected to serve as the Northeast Region representative. Boeckenhauer and his wife Michelle have a row crop operation, grow alfalfa, and raise cow/calves near Wakefield.

Greg Hoegermeyer, a Washington County Farm Bureau member, was elected as the Producer/Ag-Related Business At-Large representative Hoegermeyer and his wife Patti have a diversified livestock, grain, and forage operation near Herman.

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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