Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
The 26th Annual Governor's Ag Conference will be held March 5-6 at the Holiday Inn in Kearney. The conference provides an outstanding venue for farmers, ranchers, agribusiness professionals and policy leaders to discuss issues that are critical to a successful agriculture future.
The theme for this year's conference is "Agriculture: Nebraska's True Economic Development Driver." This year some of the key topics include livestock welfare, biofuels policy and strategies for communicating with the consumer about the agriculture industry and how food is produced. Consumers can be three to four generations removed from family farms, making it important for our producers to share the story of what is taking place on their farms and ranches.
We have selected speakers to address big picture topics that will challenge conference attendees to think about the long-term future of Nebraska agriculture. The United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance is devoted to helping producers understand the best strategies for sharing their stories. Randy Krotz is the executive director of their organization and will lead this discussion to kick off the conference.
We've asked Kay Johnson Smith with the Animal Agriculture Alliance based in Washington, D.C., to discuss current issues related to animal welfare and livestock production. Todd Becker, the president and chief executive officer of Green Plains Renewable Energy of Omaha, will provide his insights on current and future policy considerations for the biofuels sector.
Dr. Ronnie Green, vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will discuss the results of University lead analysis that looks at the economic advantages of responsible livestock growth in Nebraska and policy considerations associated with such growth.
Each year the Governor's Ag Conference provides a valuable setting to discuss the key issues that impact our most important industry. Because agriculture in Nebraska is an influential part of so many other sectors, the conference isn't just for farmers and ranchers. For example, those in banking, transportation, processing, manufacturing, and insurance all have a stake in the future of agriculture.
I am excited about 2014 and all the opportunity it holds for our farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and related sectors. I encourage you to attend the Governors Ag Conference to share in the discussion and debate regarding the future of agriculture. This is one more way we can reach out to agricultural producers and the agribusinesses that are such a key component of our economy. It's an opportunity to bring together the wide array of interests in this increasingly diverse industry.
Registration is open now through the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. You can complete the process online at www.nda.nebraska.gov, or call the department at 800-831-0550.
- Dave Heineman
Governor of Nebraska