Gov. Dave Heineman says the growth of agriculture spurred the great economic growth Nebraska has enjoyed the past few years.
And Heineman says agriculture in Nebraska is more diverse than it was 25 years ago.
“What I mean by that is the foundation of our economy is agriculture, but agriculture today doesn’t mean just the individual farm and ranch,” Heineman tells Nebraska Radio Network. “It means value-added agriculture. Well, one of the first things you think about there is the ethanol industry in the state. We’ve now become the second-leading ethanol producer. That helped us, along with our water resources and corn resources to become the number one cattle feeding state in America.”
Food processing also has become an economic driver in Omaha and Lincoln, according to Heineman.
Nebraska ranks high on many national economic rankings of states. It has the second lowest unemployment rate in the country, well below the national rate.
Heineman says agriculture remains the foundation.
“Agriculture is bigger, more diverse than we’ve ever had it before and it’s more inclusive than most of us think,” according to Heineman. “And then that’s led to the fact that we’ve got smart manufacturing in the state, more technology than we’ve ever had, our ethanol plants and others. We’re a leading insurance industry state. We’re a leader in transportation. But all of it kind of starts with agriculture.”