OMAHA, Neb. – In preparation for the upcoming Farm Bill and to enhance his work in the House Agriculture Committee, Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02) conducted an agriculture tour Monday and Tuesday of this week in central Nebraska where he visited with Nebraska farmers and ranchers. He then concluded the tour on Wednesday with a visit to the Cooper Farm Urban Agriculture Education Center in Omaha, a 100-acre farm owned by the Omaha Home for Boys. The project is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Program, and the Omaha Home for Boys.
“Agriculture is Nebraska’s number one industry and it affects the economy of the entire state, and I want to expand my background and understanding of these industries and their needs, so I can be a strong advocate on the House Agriculture Committee,” said Congressman Bacon. “Ag contributes over $23 billion to Nebraska’s economy and food processing is the leading manufacturing industry in Nebraska.”
While in central Nebraska, Congressman Bacon met with various agricultural industry producers and business leaders and discussed the need for affordable crop insurance and bilateral trade. In addition, he agreed to be a champion for ensuring our ranchers have the resources they need to keep Foot and Mouth Disease out of the ranching industry.
Healthcare and immigration reform were also on the minds of the agriculture community.
“I kept hearing how the Affordable Care Act has hurt farmers due to excessive premiums and many are forced to put spouses to work outside the farm to lower their healthcare costs. Most stated their annual healthcare expenses were between $20,000 - $30,000 for the family,” said Congressman Bacon.
“Nebraska farmers and ranchers told me that immigrant labor is the backbone of their business. Without the talent of these hard-working people, the entire industry would implode and adversely affect consumers,” added Congressman Bacon. “They also stressed the need to fix our broken immigration system to include securing the borders, employer verification, and an easier way to hire immigrant workers who bring a valued skillset to American farms and ranches.”
Agriculture is a critical catalyst for many of the businesses of the Second Congressional District, including commodity exchange companies, processing plants, financial institutions and urban agriculture. Programs like these will help keep agriculture strong and at the forefront of national treasures now and into the future. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be there in support of the Urban Agriculture Program today.