LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation's political action committee (PAC) has named three Congressional canidiates 'Friends of Agriculture'. The ‘Friend of Agriculture’ designation is given to selected candidates for public office based on their commitment to and positions on agricultural issues, qualifications and previous experience, communication abilities and their ability to represent their district.

1st Congressional District - Rep. Jeff Fortenberry

“Congressman Fortenberry has been a strong proponent of biofuels and renewable energy production. He has also supported value-added agricultural opportunities and new food markets,” said Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NFBF-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Fortenberry has played an important role in working to restore fiscal sanity back to Washington, while at the same time protecting certain aspects of the federal budget that are important to Nebraska's farm and ranch families,” McHargue said.

According to McHargue, Fortenberry has a strong grasp of agriculture within his district. “The 1st Congressional District is diverse in its constituency. Rep. Fortenberry understands the importance of agriculture to the district and the state. From his work on pushing for a sound federal budget to his work to keep regulatory agencies in check, Congressman Fortenberry has truly worked hard for Nebraska's farm and ranch families,” McHargue said.

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2nd Congressional District - Rep. Brad Ashford

“Agriculture is the backbone of Nebraska and it’s also crucial to Omaha’s economic vitality through the large number of agribusinesses that call Omaha home. Congressman Ashford understands this and has worked hard on behalf of farmers and all the citizens of the district,” said Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NFBF-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Ashford received the designation based on consideration of his record of supporting small businesses and promoting economic growth.

“He’s stood with farmers and ranchers in opposing efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to greatly expand their regulatory control over farms and ranches. Congressman Ashford has also been a strong advocate for growing international trade opportunities and moving Nebraska products, including agriculture products, into those markets by supporting key trade agreements,” said McHargue. “We’re glad to include Ashford among those receiving the ‘Friend of Agriculture’ designation.”

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3rd Congressional District - Rep. Adrian Smith

“Congressman Smith has a thorough knowledge of Nebraska agriculture and how it is affected by federal policies and regulations. He has supported many initiatives that have directly benefited Nebraska agriculture,” said Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NFBF-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Smith has been an advocate for agriculture and shares Farm Bureau’s philosophy on numerous issues affecting the well-being of farm and ranch families.

“Congressman Smith believes science and facts, not rhetoric, should drive policy on issues such as regulation of GMO products and responsible use of antibiotics in producing livestock. He also understands the importance of moving Nebraska agriculture products and other Nebraska goods into the international marketplace through trade agreements, which are vital to the long-term prosperity of Nebraska,” said McHargue. “He’s also well positioned to promote trade initiatives as a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.”

According to McHargue, Smith also recognizes how excessive regulation hurts Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.

“Adrian has been a leader on common sense approaches to regulatory oversight, while working to reign in the long arms of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other federal regulatory efforts handed down by Washington bureaucrats that create unnecessary red tape for Nebraskans. He led the effort in the House of Representatives to repeal EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS) which is one of the largest abuses of executive power in modern history,” said McHargue. “We are pleased to count Congressman Smith among those receiving our ‘Friend of Agriculture’ designation.”

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The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation 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.