KEARNEY, NEB. – Farmers and ranchers from across the state set Nebraska Farm Bureau policy for the coming year and elected leaders as part of the organization’s 104th Annual Meeting and Convention held Dec. 5-7 in Kearney. Delegates discussed a wide range of agricultural policy issues to provide direction for the organization.
“Growing our rural communities and expanding opportunities for agriculture related enterprises is a high priority for our members, but our delegates also covered a wide range of other policy issues that impact their operations” said Mark McHargue, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.
Voting delegates supported a number of issues related to rural economic development, including policy to address the lack of rural housing, labor, and childcare in rural areas. Recognizing the impact value-added agriculture has on economic development, delegates also adopted resolutions to grow Nebraska’s livestock sector.
“Ensuring e-connectivity and expanding broadband into underserved areas is critical to any form of rural economic development regardless if you’re a farmer, rancher, or main street business owner. That’s why our delegates supported efforts to build broadband and cell phone infrastructure in rural Nebraska,” said McHargue
Delegates also adopted several policies related to cybersecurity, backing resolutions to invest in the infrastructure needed to defend against cyber-attacks and encouraging the U.S. government to work across agencies to protect the country and businesses.
“As recent cyberattacks have hit agricultural processors, farmers and ranchers want to ensure that officials at the state and federal level take necessary action to secure and protect producer and company data. A secure food production and processing sector is vital to the economic future of our state and county,” said McHargue
With environmental markets emerging, voting delegates discussed and adopted policy to be proactive in conservation by researching best management practices and nutrient management. Delates also backed measures to support young and beginning farmers through the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s NextGen program.
“Our delegates covered several issues that make a difference in the lives of farmers, ranchers, and all Nebraskans. Their work is critical to not only shaping the future of 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.
Sherry Vinton, an Arthur County Farm Bureau member, was re-elected as the organization’s First Vice President. Vinton and her husband Chris operate a cow-calf operation near Whitman.
Dennis Beethe, a Johnson County Farm Bureau member, was re-elected to represent the Southeast Region. Beethe and his wife Nadine have a cow/calf operation in Elk Creek.
Andy DeVries, a Keith County Farm Bureau member, was elected to serve as the representative for the Northwest Region. DeVries and his wife Laura have four children and raise corn, popcorn, soybeans, and dry edible beans on the family farm near Ogallala.
Matt Jedlicka, a Colfax County Farm Bureau member, was elected to serve as the Central Region representative. Jedlicka and his wife Sharee partner with his family and grows row crops and operates a cattle feed yard near Schuyler.
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.