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. 

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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”.

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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.

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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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Congressman Adrian Smith and Congressman Don Bacon thank Farm Bureau members for being designated as a “Friend of Agriculture”.

LB 992 (Expanding Broadband)

Hamilton County Farm Bureau member Zach Hunnicutt testified before the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee this week to offer Nebraska Farm Bureau’s support for LB 992. Introduced by Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson, the bill would implement several provisions recommended by the Nebraska Rural Broadband Task Force last November. In testimony, NEFB supported the creation of a broadband coordinator position, but suggested housing that position in the Department of Economic Development, similar to other states. NEFB also encouraged the addition of language to ensure a priority of coordinator position is to focus on securing federal dollars for state deployment of rural broadband. NEFB also registered support for the new position assisting in the formation of broadband cooperatives.

Don’t miss out on the latest events impacting agriculture at the State Capitol. Be sure to check out this week’s edition of Policy Watch highlighting Farm Bureau’s work this week to expand broadband, reduce regulations for livestock producers, and protect individual’s ability to appeal local zoning decisions, among other items.

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Join us for Nebraska Farm Bureau “Day at the Capitol” on Thurs., Feb. 13, to support property tax relief. The “Day at the Capitol” event will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Nebraska Farm Bureau home office and will conclude at 12 p.m. Don’t just watch the legislative process, come to Lincoln and be a part of it and represent rural Nebraska. Contact Jay Ferris at (402) 421-4409 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

The 2020 Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Conference was held Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney. More than 190 young farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness professionals came together to get insights into agriculture trends, knowledge on leading issues facing farmers and ranchers in Nebraska, and building a strong network of lifelong allies needed to thrive in agriculture.

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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. To help make decisions Nebraska Farm Bureau has developed a list of “10 Things to Remember” when signing up for the farm bill.

Ten Things to Remember

View FSA Here

USDA has released its biannual U.S. cattle inventory report showing U.S. cattle totals as of Jan. 1. The report provides inventory data for the nation’s cattle herd, including estimates of the number of breeding animals for beef and milk production, as well as the number of heifers being held for breeding herd replacement. The report shows the first herd contraction since 2014.

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The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation has selected Arlys Cupp for the 2020 Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year honor. The Teacher of the Year is awarded to outstanding teachers that incorporate agriculture into their classroom through innovative ideas and lessons.

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LB 863 (Restricting Game and Parks Land Ownership)

Nebraska Farm Bureau offered support this week for LB 863. Introduced by Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango, the bill would limit land ownership by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC).  Nebraska Farm Bureau believes conservation and economic productivity are enhanced by private land ownership. Currently, NGPC owns, leases, or manages just short of 287,000 acres at around 360 sites across the state. While NGPC makes payments in lieu of taxes, its land is assessed based upon the use it had at time of acquisition by the Commission, not including any improvements either before or after the purchase. In testimony, NEFB noted that public land ownership should not come at the expense of private landowners, who in many instances will be responsible for making up lost tax dollars and dealing with the bureaucracy of bordering publicly managed land.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Board of Directors have set the organization’s public policy priorities for 2020. Each year the Board identifies priorities to guide the organization in its efforts to support Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.

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Nebraska Farm Bureau thanked President Trump this week for signing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement into law. The new deal will open the door for new sales of Nebraska wheat, poultry, and dairy products to these critical trade partners, while maintaining much needed market access for other major commodities.

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Nebraska Farm Bureau offered support this week for a bill that would expand the scope of use of the state’s overweight harvest permits. Nebraska Farm Bureau State Board Member Lance Atwater provided the organization’s testimony in support of LB 931.

Nebraska Farm Bureau offered support this week for a bill that would expand the scope of use of the state’s overweight harvest permits. Nebraska Farm Bureau State Board Member Lance Atwater provided the organization’s testimony in support of LB 931.

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U.S. Rep. Don Bacon has been designated a “Friend of Agriculture” by NEFB-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Bacon is seeking re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.

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A two-day campaign management training seminar was held by Nebraska Farm Bureau, Jan. 27-28 in Lincoln. The seminar was held for candidates who are running or plan to run for public office, their spouses, and their campaign managers. This is an opportunity for participants to have meaningful, hands-on experience and to test techniques, tools and methods when it comes to running for office.

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Nebraska Farm Bureau testified in support of LB 974 this week, the Revenue Committee’s bill (LB 974) targeted to lowering property taxes and reforming the way Nebraska funds K-12 schools. Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, Chair of the Legislature’s Revenue Committee, explains what the bill does and how you can help deliver tax relief!

Hearing Report – LB 974 (Property Tax Relief)

NEFB President Steve Nelson testified in support of LB 974, before the Revenue Committee this week. Introduced by members of the Revenue Committee, the bill proposes to increase funding to K-12 schools in an effort to reduce the state's overreliance on property taxes. Supporters of the bill included members of the Agriculture Leaders Working Group, the Platte Institute, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, the Nebraska Bankers Association, and other associations advocating for lower taxes, as well as individuals. Education interests opposed the bill. Testifiers in opposition included the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association, Schools Taking Action for Nebraska Children’s Education, which represents mid-sized schools, and the Greater Nebraska Schools Association which represents large schools which receive the bulk of state equalization assistance. The Open Sky Policy Institute also testified in opposition along with a handful of individuals who don't believe LB 974 provides relief fast enough.

Nebraska Farm Bureau is backing a bill to ensure groundwater rights can’t be separated from overlying land in Nebraska. The bill, LB 802, was introduced by Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango. Furnas County Farm Bureau President Doug Winz gave Farm Bureau’s supportive testimony before the Natural Resources Committee this week. Click below as Sen. Hughes and Doug Winz share insights on the bill.

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USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Nebraska State Executive Director Nancy Johner reminds agricultural 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.

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The Trump administration successfully enacted a new clean water rule effectively replacing the highly controversial Obama era 2015 “Waters of the U.S.’ Rule”. This action is a major victory for Nebraskans and others who support private property rights and respect the rights of states to manage waters as directed by Congress under the Clean Water Act.

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