The House of Representatives passed the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act (S. 1822). The bill, approved by the Senate last year, will now go to President Trump for his signature.

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A weather disaster can strike any moment. Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health (UMASH) has created a checklist so you can be ready for a variety of emergencies on your farm.

Check List Here

This weekend at the Annual Nebraska Statehood Day Dinner, former NEFB President Keith Olsen and his wife Doris were honored with the distinguished NEBRASKAlander Award for their service to Nebraska. Congrats Keith & Doris!

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Share your Farm Bureau member benefit story for a chance to win a VIP Season Pass to Silver Dollar City Attractions and a $100 Visa gift card from Farm Bureau Bank.

Share Your Story

Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) is a proud partner of Nebraska FFA with our members supporting FFA at the county, state, and national levels. In celebration of National FFA week, NEFB promoted a contest for Nebraska FFA chapters. We are happy to announce the Crawford and Burwell FFA Chapters will be receiving a $250 for their chapter.

Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson, Chair of the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee discusses LB 992, a Farm Bureau supported bill targeted to boosting broadband across Nebraska.

Hearings End, Priority Bills Named

This week was the last for Legislative Committees to hold hearings on bills. Every bill introduced is required to have a public hearing. With hearings over, the Legislature will move to all-day floor debate next week. The deadline for priority bill designations by the Speaker of the Legislature, committees, and senators passed last week, meaning the stage is set for what floor debate will look like for the remainder of the session as priority designations largely dictate what bills will be taken up on the legislative floor. Check out this week’s happenings below.

Click HERE for NEFB’s updated Bill Summary

We’re halfway through the 2020 Legislative Session…a farm friendly transportation bill is on the move, property tax relief negotiations continue, and priority bills have been designated to inform what will get discussed the rest of the session. Be sure to check out this week’s edition of Policy Watch hitting with highlights from the Capitol.

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We’re halfway through the 2020 Legislative Session…a farm friendly transportation bill is on the move, property tax relief negotiations continue, and priority bills have been designated to inform what will get discussed the rest of the session. Be sure to check out this week’s edition of Policy Watch hitting with highlights from the Capitol.

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Farm Safety of Mind Resources

Several of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s State Board of Directors will be in Washington D.C. next week to advocate on behalf of Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. Broadband expansion, growing agriculture markets, tax issues and economic conditions of the farm will be on the slate of topics Farm Bureau leaders will cover in meetings with members of Nebraska’s Congressional delegation and other government entities.

According to Nebraska’s Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, U.S. water productivity for all six livestock products- beef, pork, chicken, turkey, milk, and eggs- has improved substantially since 1960. Learn how efficiently U.S. producers have converted water into food over the last 65 years.

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There is no better time than now to nominate your FFA Advisor for the Advisor of the Year Award! Nominations are being accepted until, this Sunday, March 1.

Nominate Here

LB 974, a bill which lowers property taxes and reforms K-12 school funding, was up on the legislative floor for debate. Get the latest update on the bill and where it is headed this session.

LB 974 (Property Tax Relief & School Funding Reform)

The mainline property tax relief and school funding reform bill, LB 974 was on the floor of the Legislature for three hours of first round floor debate this week. Nebraska Farm Bureau has thrown its full support behind a LB 974 as it would provide significant property tax relief and start Nebraska down the path of reforming K-12 school funding. Introduced by Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn and other members of the Revenue Committee, the bill would allocate additional state aid dollars to replace local property taxes, in turn lowering Nebraskans’ property tax bills. The legislation would direct an additional $490 million in state aid to K-12 schools, while delivering an estimated $336 million in property tax relief when fully implemented. All property taxpayers would benefit under LB 974 as its estimated statewide property tax collections would drop by more than 8 percent with the bill. Equally important, is the tax relief the bill would provide to agricultural landowners who’ve seen the biggest tax increases. Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates agricultural landowners could see an 11 percent reduction in land taxes when compared to taxes levied in 2019. When LB 974 relief is combined with relief from the state’s Property Tax Credit Fund, ag landowners could see up to a 22 percent reduction in their land taxes. In addition to providing significant tax relief, the bill incorporates both foundation aid and basic funding provisions ensuring the state of Nebraska provides some state dollars to help cover education costs for every K-12 student, regardless of where they live. Today, most rural schools receive little to no state equalization dollars. Despite the fact every school will get more state aid, the bill has faced opposition from schools due to provisions that would collectively limit Nebraska schools’ tax asking ability by 1.5 percent. The property tax relief provided by the bill is substantial, while the limitation on tax asking for schools is minimal and not without a release valve. Any school that experiences a reduction in their ability to levy property taxes will continue to have the option of replacing those funds with a levy override. With the bill having gone its first three hours of debate, it’s unlikely that the bill will come up again until Sen. Linehan can demonstrate to the speaker the 33 votes needed for cloture, a measure to end a filibuster of the bill and allow the body to vote on advancing the measure. Watch the video update on LB 974 HERE.

Property taxes, broadband, water rights were all on the Legislature’s topics for discussion this week and the environmentalists are suing EPA over the new Clean Water Rule that replaced WOTUS. Check out this week’s Policy Watch for all that and more.

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At Nebraska Farm Bureau we care about our members and farm and ranch families! That’s why we want you to be safe on your operation. As we wrap up Grain Bin Safety Week, please take a few minutes to learn more about grain bin safety and hear a Farm Bureau member’s real-life experience.

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The American Farm Bureau is among twenty-one farm and ranch groups that have launched a new coalition committed to environmental and economic stability. The Farmers for a Sustainable Future (FSF) coalition will serve as a primary resource for lawmakers and policymakers as they consider policies.

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced his “Agriculture Innovation Agenda” this week, a department-wide initiative to align resources, programs, and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will stimulate innovation so that American agriculture can achieve the goal of increasing production by 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050.

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Gregg Doud, Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Ted Carter, President of the University of Nebraska will be featured speakers at the Governor’s Ag Conference, March 9-10 in Kearney.

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The American Farm Bureau Federation will host two sessions of Women’s Communications Boot Camp in 2020 – June 9-12 and Oct. 13-16. The training is open to all female members interested in building skills needed to communicate about agriculture and for Farm Bureau. Online applications for the summer session (June 9-12) will be accepted through March 28.

Apply Here

Most consumers identify themselves as meat eaters, but nearly 50 percent of people have eaten a plant-based alternative to animal meat. That’s one of several findings from a recent consumer survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation. The survey also showed that nutrition facts are more influential than the ingredients list when it comes to plant-based products.

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The United States Department of Agriculture released its average annual count of licensed dairy farms in the United States this week. According to the listing, the U.S. had an average of 34,187 dairy farms in 2019, down from 37,468, or 8.8 percent.

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LB 974, the main property tax relief bill has advanced from the Revenue Committee and could be debated on the legislative floor as early as next Wednesday (Feb.19). Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson provides an update and what you can do to help lower property taxes.

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On the Move
Several bills of interest have moved out of Committee and to the full Legislature making them eligible for full floor debate. Among them are LB 974, Nebraska’s priority bill for property tax relief. LB 974 advanced with an amendment and could be up for debate as early as next Wednesday (Feb.19). Also, the Revenue Committee advanced LB 1070. The bill which would clarify header trailers and head haulers qualify for the Nebraska ag machinery sales tax exemption. A committee amendment to the bill would also incorporate seed tenders. Lastly, the Transportation & Telecom Committee advanced LB 996 which deals with broadband mapping. NEFB had a few recommendations in committee to improve 996 which we'll continue to pursue as the bill advances.

In addition to the property tax bill advancing, several other bills of interest to agriculture have moved out of committee this week. Don’t miss out on the latest. Be sure to check out this week’s edition of Policy Watch hitting on all this week’s highlights. 

Read Policy Watch

Read 2020 Bill Summary

Nebraska Farm Bureau members travelled to Lincoln on February 13 for a “Day at the Capitol”. Members were able to talk to their state senator and be a part of the legislative process. Thank you to all the members that joined Nebraska Farm Bureau for a “Day at the Capitol”.

Engage Now

The Aksarben Foundation, along with Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Association of Fair Managers, announces that applications for the Nebraska Pioneer Farm and Nebraska Heritage Farm Awards are being accepted now through May 5, 2020.

Apply Now

Enjoy free admission and fun activities that explore how food gets on our plate, at the Kearney Children’s Museum. On Thursday, February 20, from 4-8 p.m., join the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for a fun free evening of activities. Make your own butter, create ice cream in a bag, learn where popcorn grows, and plant a seed.

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You’re invited to a Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Regional networking night for pizza and brews! Join YF&R on Thursday, February 20, from 6-8 p.m. at the Brush Creek Brewing Company in Atkinson, NE.

Questions?
Contact Tiffany Lechtenberg at (402) 340-8796.

The USDA Farm Service Agency is urging producers to sign up now for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. The deadline to choose between ARC or PLC and complete enrollment for the 2019 crop year is March 16, 2020. Bobbie Kriz-Wickham with USDA Nebraska Farm Service Agency share’s more details on why shouldn’t wait.

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