December 3, 2015 - Speakers at the annual meeting of the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) sounded a common theme: expansion of the livestock industry is good for Nebraska.
In his remarks, Nebraska Director of Agriculture Greg Ibach talked about the “value-added” aspect of livestock production.
“The livestock industry uses the corn and soybeans and other raw materials that farmers and ranchers provide all across the state,” Ibach said. “It also creates jobs, increases the local tax base and provides opportunities for young people to return to the farm.”
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts discussed the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy and the important role that livestock plays. He pointed out that 35 counties have earned the Livestock Friendly designation and cited Cuming County as an example of what a strong livestock industry can contribute to local economies.
(Photo at right: Governor Pete Ricketts discussed the importance the livestock industry to Nebraska’s economy, and his plans for continued focus on growth.)
“Cuming County is the first county to reach one billion dollars in ag receipts—and 80 percent of that was because of livestock,” Ricketts said. “It presents a huge opportunity for growth in our counties.”
Keynote speaker Bruce Eberle with Rabo AgriFinance at Grand Island echoed the value-added message.
“Think about livestock as a value-add for grain,” Eberle said. “There will be times when grains will be good in terms of price. But, in general, if we can add value—keep those dollars circulating within the state—and add the value of feeding it through a livestock operation, it creates a better revenue stream for the state.”
In her annual report to the group, Willow Holoubek, Executive Director of AFAN, presented an overview of the work that the organization has accomplished during the past year. She said AFAN continues to focus on livestock development issues and helping rural communities become more economically viable by growing animal agriculture in their areas.
(Photo at left: Willow Holoubek, Executive Director of AFAN, introduced a new campaign entitled “Farmers and Ranchers Deliver.”)
Holoubek also introduced a new consumer education campaign entitled “Farmers and Ranchers Deliver.” The campaign, which uses a stylish graphic design and humor to catch attention, was created in Indiana and is being recreated to be Nebraska specific. It includes a series of brochures which will be tools for Nebraska farmers and ranchers to use when visiting with community leaders and prospective producers and processors.
The campaign includes a special website, where resources will be available to anyone who wants more information about Nebraska animal agriculture; a series of 8 brochures, each addressing a different topic; and a “Lunch Box” kit, a unique way to present all of the resources.
Following the presentations, attendee’s enjoyed a buffet lunch sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board. Food left over from the buffet was donated to Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach.