Today, Gov. Dave Heineman was joined by Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach in applauding Nebraska's ranchers and those involved in the cattle and agriculture industry, noting the state's new position as the nation's top state for cattle feeding.
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service has released its monthly national report, Cattle on Feed, for feedlots above 1,000 head capacity. The state of Texas traditionally has been the top cattle feeding state in the nation. However, as of Feb. 1, Nebraska surpassed Texas by 20,000 head. At the beginning of this month, Nebraska had 2.46 million head of cattle on feed in feedlots above 1,000 head, compared to Texas' figure of 2.44 million head.
"This is a milestone for our modern and progressive agriculture industry," Gov. Heineman said. "Over the past decade, we have worked hard to develop and strengthen our corn, ethanol and cattle feeding sectors for the good of the whole."
Director Ibach noted that while these figures could fluctuate over the next year, there has been an overall positive trend for cattle feeding in Nebraska.
"There are many variables in the business of feeding cattle and Nebraska is a natural fit," Dir. Ibach said. "Nationally, we are the second largest ethanol producer and third in corn production. We have nearly 23 million acres of range and pastureland, an excellent partnership with the University and a strong processing sector. These position Nebraska well for ongoing success."
Gov. Heineman added, "A strong livestock sector is critical to the state's overall economic well-being. When our cattle industry does well, Main Street Nebraska prospers."
"We are the third largest agricultural state in the nation, and I don't expect that to change," Dir. Ibach said. "We also need to continue to encourage our young, beginning farmers and ranchers to get into the business of growing food."
Livestock development will be an important topic covered during the Governor's Ag Conference scheduled for March 5-6 at the Kearney Holiday Inn. Registrations are still being accepted by visiting the Nebraska Department of Agriculture website at www.nda.nebraska.gov, or by calling 800-831-0550.