Gov. Pete Ricketts is on a tour of a number of agricultural producers during National Ag Week.
Ricketts sees trade as the path to bringing up sagging commodity prices and sees nothing wrong with President Trump’s preference for bilateral trade agreements over those involving multiple countries, such as Trans Pacific Partnership.
“But, we’ve got to get moving, because we need to get these markets opened up for our producers,” Ricketts tells reporters. “We need to level the playing field. We need to get some of these tariffs down. And that’s one of the things we would encourage the Trump Administration to do is to move quickly on these trade agreements so we can open up those markets.”
Nebraska farm income peaked at around $7.5 billion in 2012/2013. It has steadily declined since, settling at $4.5 billion in 2015, a nearly 40% drop. The freefall in farm income has hurt state revenue, causing a revenue shortfall for the coming two-year budget approaching $1 billion.
Ricketts is highlighting the importance of agriculture to the state economy during his tour of Nebraska agricultural producers. He and state Agriculture Director Greg Ibach began the tour Tuesday. They wrap up on Thursday.
Stops have been scheduled for Ainsworth, Auburn, Fremont, Friend, Grand Island, Omaha, Plattsmouth, Scottsbluff, Wakefield, and West Point.
Ricketts says he understands the Trump Administration is concerned about trade deficits.
“But, with regard to agriculture, we have a trade surplus,” Ricketts says. “We export more agricultural products than we bring in to this country.”
The public is invited to attend many of the Ag Week events. Private events are indicated below.
Wednesday, March 22nd:
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Tour of Beel Ranch
Beel Ranch – 41347 Beel Lane, Johnstown
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Luncheon Event
Mountain Time The Flight Deck, 250023 Airport Terminal St., Scottsbluff
3:30-4:30 p.m. Raising Nebraska Open House
Raising Nebraska, S Locust St. & State Fair Boulevard, Grand Island
Thursday, March 23rd:
8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Pork and Poultry Industry Breakfast
Pour House, 511 2nd St., Friend
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Auburn FFA Tour and Town Hall Student Luncheon
2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Tour of Midwest Hop Producers
18003 Club View Drive, Plattsmouth
4:00 – 6 p.m. Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce Celebration of Ag Week
Upstream Brewing Company, 514 S. 11th Street, Omaha
RSVP required as space is limited. Please RSVP directly to:
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]
Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this article.