The Nebraska Farm Bureau is holding a Campaign Management Training Seminar January 16-17 at the Nebraska Farm Bureau office at 5225 South 16th Street in Lincoln. The purpose of the seminar is to help candidates run for public office, whether veteran office holders or first-time participants and to, plan and execute successful political campaigns.
“Our seminar welcomes anyone running for office,” said Ansley Mick, Director of NFBF-PAC & State Governmental Relations.
The Campaign Management Training Seminar was developed by the American Farm Bureau Federation with the input from political consultants and staff of both political parties.
Lincoln Senator Suzanne Geist, who represents District 25 in the Nebraska Legislature believes that running for office can be intimidating and the Nebraska Farm Bureau Campaign Training Seminar offers important strategies to work in a campaign.
“I found Nebraska Farm Bureau’s campaign school to be a very valuable experience. I was introduced to other candidates, whom I now serve with in the Legislature. It also provided me with the information I needed to put together committees and the needed strategies to run a successful campaign. I highly recommend this school to any candidate wanting to run for public office,” Sen. Geist said.
If you know someone who wants more information about the Campaign Training Seminar, contact Jay Ferris at
Ag-Friendly Candidates Needed; A Custer County Story
This is a story about how the Custer County Farm Bureau supported one of their own, rancher J.B. Atkins, to help stop excessive spending at the local school and how their message is to get ag friendly candidates to serve in local and state government.
J.B. Atkins, a Custer County Farm Bureau member, was elected in 2016 to the Broken Bow School Board. At the time, he was one of three people who represented agriculture on the school board. Atkins is a Nebraska rancher and runs a cow/calf operation near Broken Bow and is a territory manager for Vermeer, selling hay equipment to farmers and ranchers in Nebraska and Wyoming. In his travels across Nebraska what he hears the most is that property taxes in this state have become the highest expense for farmers and ranchers. It also holds true for his operation.
“There is a fine line between having great schools and raising property taxes to do it. I ran for the Broken Bow School Board to see how we can provide a great education, but also keep excessive spending in line,” Atkins said. At the time the School Districts tax levy was at $1.05, the maximum allowed under state law without voter approval. As the downturn in agricultural commodity prices and a reduction in farm incomes continued to worsen, as a school board member, Atkins advocated for reducing the district’s tax levy from $1.05 per $100 of assessed property value to 90 cents.
“We can’t continue as a district to tax our county and city land owner at the max levy for $1.05, because that has increased taxes tremendously. And because we’re primarily an ag-based economy here in Broken Bow, it affects everybody,” Atkins said. When assessed valuations on property rise, property taxes increase even when tax levies remain the same.
At that time, the majority of the board adopted the tax rate cut, but not everyone in the Broken Bow school district was satisfied. A very loud group, but one that did not represent the majority, portrayed Atkins as someone unconcerned about children’s education and started a recall process.
“No one wants to be accused of harming children, so I think things like school spending get very little oversight or are not questioned in any way. The Custer County Farm Bureau stood by me and helped defeat my recall effort and I appreciate all of their help,” Atkins said.
Custer County Farm Bureau did what they could to support J.B. Atkins. “Our Farm Bureau policy supports reducing property taxes and providing a quality education economically,” Tim Krause, president of the Custer County Farm Bureau said.
Because Atkins was a rancher and land owner, the Custer County Farm Bureau board understood how important it is to have people in agriculture stand up and represent the industry. The Custer County Farm Bureau recognized the importance of supporting local agriculture candidates.
Ag Friendly Candidates Needed
“It is important that we elect people who understand that agriculture in Nebraska is the number one economic driver of local communities. As a farm organization, we want our elected leaders to understand the issues that farmers and ranchers face. It’s imperative because we live in a state where one in five jobs are dependent on agriculture,” Krause said.
At the Nov. 14 special election, about 60 percent of school district voters chose to keep Atkins in office. Since the election to stop the recall was so successful, membership in the Custer County Farm Bureau has increased.
“Especially at the $100 Century Club membership level. The extra money goes back to our local County Farm Bureau, so we can do things that benefit our community,” Krause said.