LINCOLN, Neb. – “Harnessing the Power of Organization to Serve Family Farm Agriculture Since 1913” is the theme for the 106th annual Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) state convention. John Hansen, NeFU President said, “We made the decision to move our state conventions around the state to encourage more of our statewide membership to participate. We are excited to be in Norfolk for the first time in decades. The Divots Conference Center is a great facility, and we hope to see a good area turnout.
Our delegates and members will do the nuts and bolts work of electing our state President and Directors from Districts 3 and 7. Incumbents John Hansen and Mary Alice Corman are running for re-election for President and District 3 Director. District 7 Director Martin Kleinschmit of Hartington has announced his retirement. Art Tanderup of Neligh has been nominated for the District 7 seat. Nominations for all state and district offices end noon Friday, December 6th.
In addition to electing officers, three delegates and alternates to the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention will be elected Friday afternoon. Delegates will set NeFU policy Saturday afternoon,
“Public policy is a competitive process. Farmers and ranchers are either organized to protect and further their economic and social interests, or they are unorganized, which means they are vulnerable,” said NeFU President John Hansen. “All services and benefits begin with being organized. Thanks to the power of organization, our farmer owned cooperatives were built, public power was established, fire departments were created, and the modern ethanol industry was born. The fewer farmers and ranchers there are, the more important they join and support organizations that support their interests.”
Friday morning highlights include hearing from Craig Larson, retiring General Manager of the Nebraska Rural Radio Association, and the new Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Roger Berry who will report on Nebraska’s cutting edge case study on the use of 30 percent ethanol in non-flex fuel state vehicles. In addition, Berry and National Farmers Union (NFU) Senior Vice-President Rob Larew of Public Policy will discuss federal RFS (Renewable Fuels Standards) issues that are critical to corn utilization and expanded ethanol use. Larew will be the Saturday noon luncheon keynote speaker as he presents NFU’s year of legislative efforts and issues.
Friday’s noon luncheon will feature a welcome from Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning that highlights Norfolk’s efforts to become a “Green City”. The keynote speaker will be Martha Shulski, Nebraska State Climatologist who will present “2019: A year like no other”.
• An update on the status of Industrial Hemp with David Bracht, Attorney with Kutak Rock LLP and LD32 State Senator Tom Brandt.
• A report on ag spray drift issues with LD32 State Senator Tom Brandt.
• Nebraska Rural Response Hotline staff presentation on the issues they face with Michele Soll and Joe Hawbaker and Nebraska Rural Response Council President Vern Jantzen.
• A preview of the 2019 Legislative session with Speaker LD19 State Senator Jim Scheer, LD32 State Senator Tom Brandt, and LD15 State Senator Lynne Walz.
The Friday evening banquet keynote speakers will be National Farmers Union Historian Tom Giessel of Larned, Kansas and his daughter Kate Giessel who will focus on the critical need for organization.
Saturday morning program highlights include:
• Citizen Scientist Program Update on water quality testing from Julie Hinmarsh
• Implementing Regenerative Agriculture Practices to Improve Soil Health from Dan Gillespie, USDA NRCS No-Till specialist.
• Update on LB243, the Healthy Soils Task Force from LB40 State Senator Tim Gragert.
• Understanding Nebraska’s Tax System and State Economic Incentives with Open Sky Policy Institute Fiscal Analyst Craig Beck.
• Straight Talk on Property Tax Relief and Economic Incentives with representatives from the Nebraskans United for Property Tax Reform and Education coalition: Jack Moles, Executive Director-NE Rural Community Schools, Association; Bruce Rieker, Vice President of Governmental Relations, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation and Al Davis, Board of Director, Independent Cattlemen of NE & NeFU.
The Saturday noon Keynote Luncheon Speaker will be Rob Larew, NFU Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Communications will provide the NFU Government Relations Report and cover federal issues facing agriculture.
NeFU President John Hansen will provide his wrap up remarks and his look ahead for the next year.
Friday afternoon NeFU delegates will finalize state policy for the next year.
Registration is $35 and begins at 8:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday mornings. Convention begins at 9:00 a.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
As always, all members and the public are welcome. More information is available at: www.nebraskafarmersunion.org or call (402) 476-8815.