State Agriculture Director Steve Wellman says Nebraska farmers and ranchers are resilient.
“I think Nebraska agriculture in general is optimistic even though there are definitely some economic challenges within ag over the past few years,” Wellman tells reporters during a conference call on the agriculture conference.
The annual ag conference will be held March 7th and 8th at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney.
The governor’s office says the conference will feature discussions on issues currently impacting the agricultural industry, such as international trade, ag diversification, and Nebraska ag leaders undertaking national leadership roles.
Wellman and Gov. Pete Ricketts open the conference March 7th at 3:30pm.
Following those remarks will be a panel discussion featuring Nebraska producers serving in national leadership roles. Panelists include:
· Don Bloss, Chair, National Sorghum Producers
· Lynn Chrisp, First Vice President, National Corn Growers Association
· Jim Miller, Chairman, U.S. Soybean Export Council
· Terry O’Neill, President, National Pork Board
· Craig Uden, Past President, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
The annual “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception will be held that evening.
Former State Agriculture Director Greg Ibach returns to Nebraska to give the keynote address as the new Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
There is a $100 registration fee. Click here for additional information on the conference.
Even during a down year, Nebraska agriculture continues to grow. Gov. Ricketts notes Nebraska remains the top cattle on feed state.
“Again, this is why trade is so important,” according to Ricketts. “For example, getting that beef market to China is a potential huge market for us and so we want to continue to look for opportunities to be able to partner with the beef industry to be able to find those markets, to open those markets, expand those markets.”
Nebraska has 6.8 million cattle, the largest total since 1984.
Ricketts says some non-traditional agriculture, at least non-traditional for Nebraska, could help give agriculture a boost.
Costco is building a state-of-the-art chicken processing facility in Fremont which will process around two million chickens a week, employing about 800 and contracting with 120 Nebraska producers to supply those chickens.
Hendrix Genetics has opened a new chicken hatchery in Grand Island and has a turkey hatchery in Beatrice.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]