LINCOLN, NEB. – Delegates to Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention will discuss and form policy positions on several key issues that affect the well-being of Nebraska farm and ranch families. Farmers and ranchers will gather Dec. 2-4 at Kearney’s Younes Convention Center to establish policy for the organization on state issues and recommend policy on national matters to the American Farm Bureau, which holds its national meeting in January.
“Our annual meeting is about serving members, and our policy development process is critical to bringing together the collective voice of our members to help shape the public policies that directly affect the livelihood and our ability to raise food for a growing population,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.
Among the key issues for discussion at the convention will be the state of the ag economy, trade, tax reform, food technology, and rural broadband.
“Net farm income in Nebraska has fallen substantially in recent years and income for 2018 looks like it will at best remain steady to lower. Delegates will discuss policy regarding profitability in agriculture from a state and national perspective,” said Nelson.
We have been tackling the issue of property tax reform on the delegate floor and this year will be no exception.
“Property tax relief and reform is still high on the minds of our members, and our delegates will further discuss what they would like to see done in that area,” said Nelson.
Delegates will also consider resolutions targeting the labeling of synthetic meat and who should regulate the process United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), Federal Drug Administration (FDA) or both.
“Nebraska is a beef state and our delegates will consider a number of resolutions that examine the labeling of synthetic meat products. While our members aren’t necessarily interested in banning these products, they are worried about consumer confusion and want to ensure the good-will bought and paid for with producer dollars via checkoff programs, isn't harmed by this new technology. It should be a very good discussion on the delegate floor,” Nelson said.
Other issues for deliberation by delegates include topics such as private property rights and nuisance laws, the use of blockchain technology in agriculture as well as discussion surrounding the use of data to monitor and verify the source and origin of commodities and food from the farm through the processors, shippers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, among other topics.
Outside of action on agriculture policy, attendees to the Annual Convention will have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions designed to help farm and ranch families address operational needs. Sessions will be held to help attendees with issues surrounding the transfer of the farm or ranch from one generation to the next, gain insight on trade deals, and the impact the next farm bill will have on the agriculture economy.
“The Nebraska Farm Bureau was established many years ago to help Nebraska’s farm and ranch families deal with challenging issues, while the times and issues may have changed, our mission has not,” Nelson said.
Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention will also serve as the backdrop for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s Grower’s Gala event Dec. 3.
“Annual Convention will highlight the Grower’s Gala fundraiser, and there is no better place to capture what the Foundation is doing to broaden their reach and provide high quality agricultural literacy programming across the state. We welcome their insight on how to continue the excitement of an industry that provides necessities, quality of life, and exciting career opportunities. The future in Nebraska is bright because of our Foundation,” Nelson said.
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 61,000 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.