Even as agriculture enjoys strong commodity prices, uncertainty clouds an otherwise sunny future, a future to be discussed next month during the 25th annual Governor’s Ag Conference.
Gov. Dave Heineman acknowledges while the Governor’s Ag Conference in Kearney next month looks long term, drought conditions will be ever present during discussions.
“If we have a water short year, the drought continues, we’re going to have tension among the various users of our water resources in this state. That’s primarily agriculture, businesses and cities,” Heineman says.
Another uncertainty is federal farm policy. Congress extended the current Farm Bill, approved in 2008, after failing to pass a new bill.
State Agriculture Director Greg Ibach can only speculate about what a new Farm Bill might contain.
“We’re going to stay very flexible in how we may need to address those issues when that conference actually does start,” according to Ibach.
The conference will be held February 12th and 13th at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney. This year the 25th anniversary of the Conference will be celebrated with the theme “A Platform for Nebraska Agriculture’s Future.”
The conference features several national and regional experts on a variety of ag-related topics. The conference begins Tuesday afternoon with a discussion of biotechnology and its potential in Nebraska by Dr. Roger Beachy with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO.
Beachy previously served as director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the United States Department of Agriculture.
The future of livestock production will be discussed by Tyson Redpath with The Russell Group of Arlington, VA and Dr. Ronnie Green, vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Redpath will address the effects of state animal welfare laws on interstate commerce. Green will outline an analysis by UNL of Nebraska’s position as a food producer in the United States.
Agriculture journalist Jerry Hagstrom, with the Hagstrom Report, will discuss the latest activity in Washington on farm legislation.
State Climatologist Al Dutcher with UNL will provide a forecast for the coming season.
For details on the conference click here or call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture toll-free at 1-800-831-0550.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]