LINCOLN, NEB. –During a national affairs trip to Washington, D.C., members of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s (NEFB) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Committee asked for more economic stability and pushed for the passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) this fall.
“It’s important for our young agricultural leaders to travel to Washington, D.C. to let Nebraska’s Congressional delegation know how important issues like USMCA, trade with China, and broadband expansion is so important to young farmers and ranchers,” Mark McHargue, NEFB first vice president said, July 18. McHargue farms and raises livestock near Central City.
The passage of the new USMCA remains a top priority for Nebraska Farm Bureau. Lance Atwater, who farms near Ayr and serves as youth at-large on the NEFB board of directors, asked Nebraska’s congressional delegation to take up and pass the new agreement quickly to provide a level of certainty for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.
“In 2017, Nebraska sold $979 million of major agriculture commodities to Canada and $889 million to Mexico. We must ensure free and open access with two of our largest trading partners and closest allies. We need to create stability for younger producers,” Atwater said.
Improving trade rations with China was also a heavily discussed topic during the national affairs visit. Chairs of the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, Jason and Karah Perdue, raise grain and livestock near York and also serve as South Central representatives on the YF&R Committee. Lack of access to the Chinese market has already imposed clear economic strain to Nebraska’s agricultural and overall economy.
“In 2017, Nebraska sold $937 million of Nebraska commodities to China. We need good outcomes to current negotiations with China, Japan, and the European Union,” Jason Perdue said.
Nebraska Farm Bureau leaders also talked about rural broadband and how important it is to farmers and ranchers and their bottom lines. Luke and Erin Norman are ranchers near Crawford, Nebraska in Dawes County. Internet connection in rural areas is sketchy at best.
“Farmers and ranchers depend on broadband just as they do highways, railways, and waterways, to ship food, fuel, and fiber across the country and around the world. Current and future generations of rural Nebraskans are being left behind because they are without affordable high-speed internet service. We asked our congressional delegation to support a bill called the Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2019,” Luke Norman said.
“While the list of challenges young farmers and ranchers face is long, the need for young people in agriculture to answer the call of growing food for our nation and world remains as strong as ever. Continuing to communicate our message to key decision makers is vital to the future success of our farm and ranch families,” McHargue said.
Those attending the National Affairs visit were:
- Mark and Judi McHargue, Mark serves as first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau – Merrick County
- Lance and Krystal Atwater, Lance serves as Youth At-Large, NEFB Board of Directors – Adams County
- Jason and Karah Perdue, Chairs on the YF&R Committee – York County
- Luke and Erin Norman, Northwest Region representatives on the YF&R Committee – Dawes County
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.