In celebrating 100 years of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s service to farm and ranch families, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson highlighted past achievements, current challenges, and pointed to the future in delivering his annual address to more than 350 farmers and ranchers from across the state at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and Convention, Dec. 3-5 in Kearney.
Nelson pointed to Nebraska Farm Bureau’s first major advocacy win in 1919; the passage of state legislation to help farmers and ranchers deal with grasshopper infestations that were destroying farmer’s and rancher’s crops.
“Those who founded our organization wanted an association that brought farmers and ranchers together to make life better for themselves, their families, and their communities. Most importantly, they knew that by working together, they could get more done than they could by working alone,” said Nelson. “That common belief united the founders of our organization in 1917 and it’s that same belief that’s brings us together still today.”
In sharing organizational successes, Nelson pointed to the organizations efforts to push back on animal rights extremists seeking to harm animal agriculture, preventing regulatory initiatives to stop children from working on farms, helping defeat legislation to expand tax burdens on farm and ranch families, as well as stopping implementation of EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” rule to expand federal regulatory authority over private land.
“Everyday, for the last 100 years, the Nebraska Farm Bureau has been here to fight the good fight for the collective good of its members and agriculture. Today we celebrate this major milestone,” said Nelson.
In addressing current challenges, Nelson pointed to the organization’s ongoing efforts to address high property taxes in Nebraska and the need to continue to push for expanding markets for Nebraska agricultural commodities through international trade.
“We continue to work to find a legislative solution to the property tax problem and I still believe there’s an opportunity to work with Governor Ricketts and the Nebraska legislature to deliver tax relief and get us on the right track on property taxes into the future. We also continue to engage with interests focused on taking this issue directly to Nebraska voters through a ballot measure. There’ll be no stone left unturned. We remain committed to bringing home property tax relief,” said Nelson.
Nelson pointed out the importance of international markets in regard to the organization’s continued focus on expanding trade opportunities.
“Today nearly one-third of gross net farm income comes from trade and one out of every three U.S. acres is planted for export. With 96 percent of the world’s population living outside U.S. borders and three-fourths of the worlds purchasing power outside of the U.S., exports are where the future lies for our Nebraska agriculture commodities,” said Nelson. “It’s why we participate in trade missions to build relations with trade partners and advocate for trade agreements. We need this Administration to make smart trade policy decisions. It’s critical to our farms and ranches, but also our state’s agriculture-based economy.”
In looking to the future, Nelson pointed to the need for the organization and its members to adapt to an ever-changing environment where fewer people have a direct connection to production agriculture.
“Those of us in agriculture need to engage at a higher level to build relationships so that we can continue to shape our future. Just as building relations with our international partners is critical to trade, building relations that fill information gaps and tear down barriers is just as important with our elected leaders and others who impact our well-being,” said Nelson. “We must lead. That’s how Nebraska Farm Bureau will continue to serve our members and keep agriculture strong for the next 100 years.”