Tag Archives: agriculture

MANHATTAN, Kan – Following a national search, Susan Metzger has been appointed senior executive administrator for the Kansas State University College of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension. She will assume her new role on March 12

Metzger currently serves as deputy secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, where she leads the agency’s policy evaluation and development related to water and natural resources. Before joining KDA, she worked for the Kansas Water Office for 11 years as chief of planning and policy, manager of the watershed coordination unit and as an environmental scientist. She also was instrumental in developing the Vision for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas.

Before moving to Kansas in 2003, Metzger managed the environmental section of a land development and engineering firm in Chantilly, Virginia. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington and a master’s degree from Old Dominion University, both in biological sciences.

Metzger will work directly with John Floros, dean of the college and director of K-State Research and Extension, and his senior leadership team to continue the organization’s success in teaching, research and extension.

“I am delighted to have Susan join our team,” said Floros. “She brings a wealth of experience related to agriculture, water and other environmental issues important to Kansans. Her experience communicating with Kansas legislators and agricultural stakeholder groups will be an asset as she represents K-State at various events. Susan’s outstanding management and organizational skills make her an excellent choice for this position.”

She is on the board for Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education and Certified Crop Advisors. In 2015, she received the Commander’s Award for Public Service from the Department of the Army, and Kansas State FFA awarded Metzger with an Honorary FFA State Degree in 2017.

“Joining the College of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension is an exciting opportunity for me,” Metzger said. “I look forward to serving the agricultural community in this position — building and maintaining current relationships and establishing new partnerships.”

She replaces Steven Graham, who retired in June 2017 after serving as assistant to the dean and director for more than 20 years.

Governor Pete Ricketts: “This year, the Legislature has an opportunity to deliver major property tax relief for hardworking Nebraskans.  The time is now.  I am very willing to work with this committee and all senators who are genuinely interested in providing the needed tax relief provided by this proposal.”

 Senator Jim Smith: “The Nebraska Property Tax Cuts and Opportunities Act provides a road map for major property tax relief and reasonable income tax rate reductions to help grow our state.  I appreciate the continued commitment of all senators and groups who are working together to deliver tax relief for Nebraskans this legislative session.”

 Department of Economic Development Director Dave Rippe: “Business recruitment between states is highly competitive and the tax rate reductions in LB 947 will help targeted companies create long-term models that demonstrate Nebraska as a top state for conducting business.  We must constantly be innovating to maintain a competitive edge, and our tax policy is a critical strategy to growing our state.”

Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman: “Our farm families need relief now.  This proposal helps solve the problem in a manageable way with major property tax relief stepped up as the economy grows.  LB947 is the best opportunity to bring senators together to do tax relief this session.  It can unite urban and rural.  It fits within the budget.  And it truly delivers tax relief rather than simply shifting taxes around.”

 Nebraska Farm Bureau and Major Ag Groups: “I want to thank Senator Smith, Governor Ricketts, and other Senators – including those of you on this committee –  for your ongoing efforts to work towards property tax relief for all Nebraskans.  In short, we are generally supportive of the concepts outlined to amend LB 947 in a manner that would statutorily increase refundable income tax credits for agricultural land and farm and livestock buildings.  Furthermore, our support is contingent upon such refundable income tax credits reaching a tax credit equal to 30% of the total property tax burden over time.”

Nebraska State Chamber and Lincoln Chamber of Commerce: “The Chambers have long supported making the maximum tax rates for individuals and corporations equal, as reflected in LB947.  It is commonly repeated that plus or minus 90% by number of Nebraska businesses report their taxable income to Nebraska through the owners’ individual returns.  The Chambers are also very supportive of the workforce development focus of LB947.  The bill would provide an additional $10 million over two years for job training programs.  Currently, there are no job training dollars available for the state’s key programs, including Intern Nebraska.”

 Americans for Prosperity-Nebraska: “During the State of the State address, Governor Ricketts outlined a pathway for meaningful tax reform which would also balance the state budget.  We applaud the Governor’s forward-thinking approach to the state budget that ensures state priorities such as: public safety, transportation infrastructure, workforce development and protection of the state’s most vulnerable are properly funded while simultaneously making the difficult decisions to promote another top priority: relief for Nebraskans who pay some of the highest taxes in the country.”

Platte Institute for Economic Research: “If there’s no significant action in this legislative session, Nebraskans could force a property tax ballot initiative. If it passes, the state would likely be forced to significantly cut spending on services and increase state tax rates at the same time.  LB947 offers a reasonable path to steer the state away from this kind of uncertainty.  It would have the state taking a greater role in property tax relief for Nebraskans in the years ahead, while safeguarding the state budget from unrealistic promises.”

Tax Foundation: “Your neighbors are making their tax codes more competitive.  The federal government has changed the rules of the game. Nebraska’s 1967 tax code is out of date, and its rates are out of line with peer states.  Nebraska has an opportunity to make the tax code more competitive, and LB 947 offers a way forward.  Tax reform isn’t easy, but neither is continuing to operate under a tax system that is falling behind other states.  This committee has an opportunity for a robust debate about tax reform.  It is a challenge worth embracing.

Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce: “Like the Governor and Senator Smith, the Chamber’s number one priority is growing our state.  It is imperative that we look for every opportunity to advance that agenda.  This entails many elements, but certainly that includes a tax policy that fosters growth—one that does not discriminate between business models; one that imposes the reasonably lowest tax rates; one that provides for a competitive business environment in an ever more competitive world.  LB 947 is a good first step in that direction.”

Nebraska Bankers Association: “LB 947 is designed to provide true property tax relief for residential and agricultural property owners.  In addition, the proposed reductions in individual and corporate income tax rates will benefit individuals and businesses, the majority of which operate on a ‘pass-through’ tax basis.  We believe that the combined property and income tax relief proposed under LB 947 will serve to grow our state’s economy and make Nebraska more competitive with surrounding states.”

 National Federation of Independent Businesses: “Nebraska, by all measures, is a high-tax state, with only Iowa, from among our bordering states, imposing a higher income tax rate on its citizens.  The current individual income tax rates hinder our long-term ability to expand our economy.  The small business owner members of NFIB also favor a significant and meaningful property tax relief.  We support the provisions of LB 947 which would provide property tax relief to residential and agricultural land owners.”

Innovation and technology: Common words in today’s world – applied to many things and many industries. In fact it would be difficult to go through a day and not hear those words used somewhere. Hearing them so often implies we understand them. I know I hear technology and I automatically associate it with day to day tech – I think of my phone, my watch, my car and a whole list of household and work-related items. But I think these words are much bigger than just some thing or some device or some solution.

By definition “innovation” is the “introduction of something new, a new idea, method or device.” Pretty straightforward, but technology on the other hand is “the practical application of knowledge, especially in a particular area.”

Practical application of knowledge – I don’t know about you but that sounds like agriculture to me.

We definitely have knowledge and we most certainly know about practical application, and that’s not new. Technology by its definition can happen at any moment – the moment of application, the moment that practical knowledge yields something new. Look at how we moved from human power to horse power to machine power in the fields – who could have imagined the size and capability of where we are today? But it happened because of innovation, it happened because of a need. Someone took their knowledge and applied it to create something new. And as is true with new things – it causes reactions, emotions and change. It can also cause hesitancy and doubt.

For some people technology and innovation are words that represent the future. These people are the innovators, the early adopters, they are willing to face the unknown for the early chance to benefit from the potential. Others watch and wait to see if it actually works first- a little less risk feels more appropriate, and for others they watch even longer – possibly never adopting the changes because they don’t believe it is worth it. Those reactions define a typical adoption curve – one that even applies to agriculture.

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s book of the year, “John Deere, That’s Who” by Tracy Nelson Maurer, highlights one man’s story as he brought change and progress through innovation and technology. Even in the book you see the adoption curve applied to John Deere and his self-scouring plow—you also see how he applied his knowledge in a practical way—to innovate and in that time create a new technology.

But, it’s what is behind that innovation and technology that matters. Agriculture is what it is today because of dreams and ideas — and our success will be determined by what we are willing to try.

We talk about the future as things, but shouldn’t we talk about how what’s next depends on what you are looking to accomplish? What if instead of talking about change and innovation and progress or technology we talk about farming and making the good even better? What if we talk about believing in something so much that you will work with great determination to make it happen?

Agriculture is challenging, it’s complicated and unpredictable at times and is without a doubt an example of hard work and sweat. So much so that we can get caught up in the day-to-day and do not notice how far agriculture has come and how progressive we are – that the future of agriculture is happening today because you are determined – you are creating the demand for the future technologies and solutions.  When you hear the words innovation and technology, it can be easy to say and think that’s not us, that’s not me. But, it is—agriculture is one of the most technologically advanced industries out there – we are innovation and technology from the seeds to the equipment to the data and beyond.

I challenge you to find another industry that has continuously reinvented itself, improved itself and done more with so much on the line. I also ask you if we are moving fast enough. Agriculture is more than just an industry – it is a way of life. It is a passion, it is a steadfast belief that you can make good even better as you produce food, fiber and fuel for your families, your community and the world and that requires dreams and action and adoption. The future of agriculture is today and it starts with you.