KEARNEY, NEB. – Farmers and ranchers from across the state set Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) policy for the upcoming year as part of the organization’s 105th Annual Meeting and Convention held Dec. 4-6 in Kearney. Delegates discussed a wide range of agricultural policy issues to provide direction for the organization.
Farmers and ranchers are leading the way in climate-smart practices that reduce emissions, enrich the soil, and protect our water quality. That was evident in discussion by NEFB delegates as they took a position of support to continued use and adoption of science-based best management practices to ensure water quality.
“Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are passionately committed to improving agriculture’s impact on the environment and go to great lengths to preserve our soil and protect our water quality. But it is important that agriculture has a seat at the table when we talk about environment and climate initiatives to ensure they work for farm and ranch families,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue.
Delegates continued their support for the “Livestock Friendly County” program and took a position of support for additional funding for career and technical education programs in schools across Nebraska. They also supported the state to actively promote programs to help connect new and beginning farmers and ranchers with owners interested in helping them get started in the agricultural industry.
Nebraska Farm Bureau’s voting delegates reinforced the need for rural economic development, including policy to address the lack of childcare in rural areas.
“As Nebraska Farm Bureau President, the one thing I have heard repeatedly is that we need to expand childcare in rural areas. The lack of childcare disproportionately impacts Nebraska’s farm and ranch families and that was reflected in discussions at our Annual Convention,” said McHargue.
Nebraska’s farmers have expressed concern for the continued promotion and further development of ethanol and biofuels. Delegates set policy to include hydrogen as an alternative fuel source, while supporting incentives to expand access to ethanol and biofuels.
“Nebraska’s farm families rely on the biofuels industry as a critical market for our homegrown corn, soybeans, and other commodities. Expanded access to ethanol will not only benefit Nebraska farmers, but our state’s economy, and consumers looking for greater access to cleaner burning biofuels,” said McHargue.
Members also discussed environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), a movement that is growing within corporate America where companies make business decisions based on environmental or social stances. Delegates raised concern over proposed ESG regulations and policy regarding ESG will be further discussed the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting Jan. 6-11 in Puerto Rico.
Other national issues advanced to the national convention included defining “regenerative agriculture” a term used by many but lacks a consistent federal definition. Considering next year’s Farm Bill debate, delegates also voted to ensure excessive environmental and climate practices weren’t directly tied to the federal crop insurance program. A program vital to the long-term health of farm operations.
“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.
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.