News media are invited to attend the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting and Convention, Dec. 4-6 at the Younes Conference Center, in Kearney. Nearly 500 farmers and ranchers from across the state will gather for leadership development and discussion of key food and farm issues. Contact Tina Henderson, 402-310-0497 or Craig Head, 402-432-4723 to arrange interviews with farmers and ranchers, Farm Bureau leadership and staff, event speakers/presenters, or elected officials. The media room is in Ruby 1.

Story Ideas/Agriculture Issues

Tax Reform and Agriculture – Nebraskans pay the 7th highest property taxes in the nation and farmers and ranchers are among those who have seen their property taxes grow at unprecedented levels. As a result, property taxes are now one of the highest costs and greatest expenses associated with farming and ranching in Nebraska. Tax reform is one of Farm Bureau’s top issues and will be a key issue in the 2017 legislative session.

State of the Farm Economy – The agriculture economy continues to slow, impacting Nebraska farm and ranch families, rural communities, and the state’s broader economy. How is the slow down affecting farmers purchasing decisions and how is that impacting Nebraska’s overall economy?

Livestock Production – Livestock production is a key part of Nebraska agriculture. Livestock farmers are preparing for new rules regarding the use of antibiotics on their farms. How will they be impacted by USDA’s Veterinary Feed Directive and what’s that mean for consumers?
Livestock farmers are also looking closely at a new initiative by the Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture targeted to helping both farmers and rural communities site new livestock farms in a way that benefits both. What is the “Livestock Siting Matrix” and how would it help in efforts to grow Nebraska’s livestock sector?

Future Farm Bill – Discussions are already underway about the next Farm Bill. What are farmers and ranchers looking for in the next round of agriculture programs and why is the farm bill important to Nebraskans, including those who don’t live or work on the farm?Monday, Dec. 5 – Leadership Development

Monday, Dec. 5 – Leadership Development

Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech – “Straight Talk, Straight Actions: Agriculture in a Changing Economy”“Straight Talk, Straight

“Straight Talk, Straight Actions” says it all in the title of this high energy, no-holds-barred approach session. Straight talk on the global economic trends that will impact your business’ bottom line. Decision making will be presented in a manner that links global economics to your business, family, and personal life. Dr. Kohl will provide insight and answers to the most common questions asked by producers, owners, and managers. This energetic session will provide information and perspectives, that are valuable in balancing business and lifestyle.

(Dr. Kohl will deliver the keynote address at 9:30 a.m. in Diamond 4,5,9,10)

Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president – The State of Nebraska Agriculture

What are the key issues facing Nebraska farm and ranch families? How is Farm Bureau making life better for members and strengthening Nebraska? Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson will address those issues and more in his annual State of Agriculture address.

(Nelson will deliver his State of Agriculture address at 12 p.m. during the lunch function in Crystal 1-3)

Workshops

Dr. Ron Hanson, Professor Emeritus, Harlan Agribusiness – Farm Succession Planning

Farm succession planning for the next generation brings about many challenges as well as emotional issues to resolve between family members. Parents must have a vision for the future of their farm and then initiate the process of transferring the eventual ownership of a family farm from parents to their adult children. It can be an overwhelming task for many families. Dr. Hanson, who recently retired from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and currently serves as the Harlan Agribusiness Professor Emeritus, will cover this topic and help map out a plan for succession.

(Hanson will lead workshops running from 1:00 - 2:15 p.m. and then again from 2:30 - 3:45 p.m. in Diamond 3)

Jordan Dux, Director of National Affairs, Nebraska Farm Bureau – Now What? Federal Ag Policy Outlook 2017

The 2016 election cycle generated a lot of hype, debate, division, and criticism throughout the year. Dux will provide an honest look at what we can expect the new President and Congress to tackle in the upcoming year. From the next Farm Bill to federal regulations and trade, his presentation will provide a look at some of the issues that will be discussed in the beltway that may have a direct impact on your farm or ranch.

(Dux will lead workshops running from 1:00 - 2:15 p.m. and then again from 2:30 - 3:45 p.m. in Diamond 2)

Kristi Boswell, Director of Congressional Relations, American Farm Bureau – Now What? Federal Ag Policy Outlook 2017

Now that the election is over Boswell will give a post-election update on how the new president will view agriculture and where he stands on issues such as immigration reform. Boswell handles labor and food safety issues at American Farm Bureau in Washington, D.C. and is the daughter of Ken Boswell of Clay County Farm Bureau.

(Boswell will lead workshops running from 1:00 - 2:15 p.m. and then again from 2:30 - 3:45 p.m.in Diamond 2)

Hilary Maricle, Promotion and Education Committee Chair, Nebraska Farm Bureau and Tina Henderson, Vice President of Communication Strategy, Nebraska Farm Bureau – Making the Connection: Agriculture, Consumers, & Kids

Maricle and Henderson will lead a hands-on workshop where Farm Bureau members will learn to communicate the story of agriculture sharing their own personal stories and messages to help connect agriculture to non-farm audiences.

(Maricle and Henderson will lead workshops running from 1:00 - 2:15 p.m. and then again from 2:30 - 3:45 p.m. in Diamond 6)

Megahn Schafer, Executive Director, Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focusing on philanthropy to help develop agricultural awareness throughout Nebraska, build consumer knowledge on their sources of food, fiber, and fuel, and fund scholarship and leadership opportunities in agriculture. The mission of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is to engage youth, educators, and the general public to promote an understanding of the vital importance of agriculture in the lives of all Nebraskans.

(Please contact NFBF staff to arrange interviews with Schafer on Foundation programming and activities)

Tuesday, Dec. 6 – Farm and Food Issues

Voting Delegate Session

The agriculture policy development portion of the annual meeting provides farmers and ranchers from across the state the opportunity to discuss and debate agriculture issues and determine Nebraska Farm Bureau’s positions on agriculture issues for the coming year.

(General Session will run from 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. and then will resume from 1 - 4:30 p.m. in Diamond 4,5,9,10 – Nebraska Farm Bureau staff can aid in identifying farmers and ranchers to discuss key issues affecting farmers and ranchers)

Banquet Speakers

Several dignitaries will be on hand to address attendees to the convention’s closing banquet.

(Interviews with speakers will need to be conducted prior to the Banquet which starts at 6:30 p.m. in Crystal 1-3. Please contact Farm Bureau to pre-arrange interviews)

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts

(Ricketts will provide remarks to banquet attendees)

Mark Boehm, Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska

(Boehm will provide remarks to banquet attendees)

Doug Gibson, Former Chief Administrator Secretary/Treasurer, Nebraska Farm Bureau

(Gibson will receive Nebraska Farm Bureau’s highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award during the annual banquet at 6 p.m. in Crystal 1-3)

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.