Farmers and ranchers from across the state met virtually Dec. 8 to set policy for the Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) as part of the organization’s 2020 Annual Meeting and Convention. NEFB is Nebraska’s largest general farm and ranch organization, representing farmers and ranchers who produce virtually every agricultural commodity in the state.
“Our delegates engaged in robust discussions on numerous topics that impact the prosperity of our farm and ranch families,” said Mark McHargue, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “The majority of which this year related back to agricultural markets, market development, rural economic development, and tax policy.”
Voting delegates supported numerous resolutions related to issues in cattle markets. Among them were resolutions calling for further development of risk management tools, exploration of ways to increase negotiated cash sales in fed cattle markets, reforms to mandatory price reporting to improve market transparency, while also reaffirming policy encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Justice Department to vigilantly enforce provisions of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
Delegates also supported expanded marketing opportunities for livestock producers, backing resolutions favoring the use of state economic development funds to increase livestock and poultry processing in the state, while urging reforms to provide greater regulatory flexibility for small and medium sized meat processors.
“Our delegates also adopted resolutions supporting economic development programs and incentives to expand entrepreneurs, microbusinesses, and agriculture related enterprises to help reverse population losses in rural areas,” said McHargue. “Ensuring e-connectivity and expanding broadband into underserved areas is critical to any form of rural economic development regardless if you’re a farmer, rancher, or main street business owner. That’s why our delegates supported utilization of our public power infrastructure to expand e-connectivity.”
The issues of property taxes and tax reform was also part of the delegate debate, with specific action taken to reaffirm policies calling on local officials to hold the line on local spending and support for spending restraints and revenue caps to aid local officials in making budget and spending decisions.
“Property taxes will always be a concern for our members because, like so many other issues in agriculture, they directly impact our profitability. We’re very interested and look forward to engaging in the broader state discussions centered around modernizing our state’s tax structure to reflect our modern economy,” said McHargue.
Farm Bureau delegates also discussed renewable fuel issues, sharing support for having E-15 be the standard ethanol blend for the state. Delegates also adopted a resolution in favor of U.S. agriculture taking a proactive and influential role in climate change conversations.
“Our delegates covered a wide array of issues. Their work is critical to shaping the future of agriculture as our member-adopted policy provides guidance to our Board of Directors as we develop the organization’s policy priorities for the year,” said McHargue.