Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen will be presented with the Nebraska Rural Radio Association’s prestigious “Service to Agriculture Award” at the NRRA’s annual meeting on November 12, 2018 in Lexington. The “Service to Agriculture Award” has been presented to 34 recipients since it was first presented in 1987 to former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Yeutter. The NRRA’s Board of Directors nominate and then select a recipient to be honored for significant contributions to rural Nebraskans. Hansen says his is humbled to received the NRRA’s “Service to Agriculture Award” and appreciative of it.
John K. Hansen comes from a diversified grain and livestock farm near Newman Grove, Nebraska. When elected president of Nebraska Farmers Union in 1990, Hansen discontinued his farming operation and moved his family to Lincoln, Nebraska. Born in 1951 and raised on his family’s farm, Hansen attended a one room country school without running water for grades K-8 and from grades 9-12 attended Newman Grove High. He was a FFA State Farmer and Hansen attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for three years in teachers college until his grandparents sold him the Hansen home farm in 1972.
At the state level, Hansen serves as Secretary for the Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation and the Nebraska Farmers Union political action committee, NEBFARMPAC and manager of the Nebraska Farmers Union Enterprises. In the 105 year old Nebraska Farmers Union history at 29 years, John is the organizations longest serving President.
At the national level, Hansen serves is a member of the National Farmers Union Budget and Audit, Legislative Committee, and Regenerative Agriculture and Local Foods Committees. He Chairs the NFU Meritorious Service Committee, and is a board member of the NFU Service Association. Hansen is the longest serving current National Farmers Union Board member, and within one year of the longest serving board member ever.
Hansen describes the “chronic, underpricing of agricultural products” as among the biggest changes he’s observed in Agriculture over the years. He continues that “the reduction in the amount of marketplace competition and the attrition that lack of value has caused in agriculture” has led to fewer and fewer people staying or returning to the farm and ranch “because the finances just didn’t work.” That trend has led to what he sees as “fewer and fewer traditional family farmers and ranchers, where mom and dad and all the kids worked on the farm and were actively engaged in the farm operation.” Hansen says keeping debt load low while maximizing off-farm income is key to viable ag operations today.
The Nebraska Rural Radio Association was formed in 1948 with the goal of bringing information to farmers and ranchers in the state, including daily grain and livestock markets, weather and farm reports. Its first station, KRVN-AM, Lexington was started in 1951. The NRRA also includes KNEB Radio, Scottsbluff; KAWL Radio, York, KTIC Radio, West Point and the Rural Radio Network, a coalition of radio stations carrying agricultural reports and information.