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Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska

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Kristen Hassebrook Hired as Executive Director

Kristen Hassebrook Hired as Executive Director

January 9 - The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) and We Support Ag (WSA) are excited to announce the hiring of Kristen Hassebrook as Executive Director. Hassebrook, has been selected to lead the combined coalition of AFAN and WSA, beginning February 1.

As AFAN and WSA look to restructure and collaborate more deeply, Hassebrook will be a great addition to provide strategic vision, administrative insight and development as we look to continue to grow livestock in Nebraska. “We look forward to working with Hassebrook on the development and growth of these organizations,” Lori Luebbe, AFAN President stated, “Her background and experience lends itself well towards our mission and the livestock industry.”

The announcement of Hassebrook as Executive Director also coincides with a focus on greater collaboration between AFAN and WSA to benefit livestock growth in which her talents and experiences in the policy and political arenas will help to shape a pro-agriculture and pro-livestock growth agenda.  Pete McClymont, President of WSA said “We’re thrilled to have Kristen share her leadership and expertise with AFAN and WSA. Kristen has wide spread respect from those that have worked with her throughout her professional career.”

Hassebrook comes to this position from the University of Nebraska Foundation, where she was the Director of Development for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resource.  Prior to that she served as Vice President of Legal and Regulatory Affairs for Nebraska Cattlemen.  Hassebrook is a native Nebraskan and grew up on a diversified farm and feedlot. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Nebraska College of Law.

As Willow Holoubek finishes her final days as the AFAN executive director, she conveys confidence in the decision of hiring Hassebrook. “I am so excited about Hassebrook joining the AFAN team and what it means for the future of this organization,” said Holoubek. “With her background in law and her passion for agriculture, I believe that she will be an excellent fit to grow WSA and AFAN.”

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Free Breakfasts and Beautiful Autumn Weather Draw a Big Crowd to a Consumer Appreciation Tailgate Party at Russ’s Market

Free Breakfasts and Beautiful Autumn Weather Draw a Big Crowd to a Consumer Appreciation Tailgate Party at Russ’s Market

November 2, 2016 - Sponsored by Nebraska Farmers and Ranchers

The combination of spectacular autumn weather and a free breakfast drew over 500 people to a consumer appreciation tailgate party at the Russ’s Market parking lot at 66th & ‘O’ Saturday morning, October 29.

The event, called the “Official Game Day-Approved Tailgate with Nebraska Farmers and Ranchers,” was sponsored by Nebraska’s agriculture organizations to show their appreciation to the consumers who enjoy the food that they grow.

(Photo:  Tailgater Dave Arp (left) won the drawing for the grand prize, a gift basket containing a $50 gift card to Russ's Market, a $25 American Ethanol card, two cookbooks, and a variety of other items from the agricultural groups.)

“Our farmers and ranchers were looking for a way to show their appreciation to the folks who consume the food that they grow,” said Emily Thornburg, director of communications for the Nebraska Corn Board. “The Tailgate Party proved to be a wonderful way to bring Nebraska’s food producers and food consumers together for an enjoyable breakfast and great conversation.  Thanks to our sponsors and everyone who tailgated with us for making this a great event.”

In addition to the breakfast and conversation, tailgaters enjoyed games provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Prizes and other giveaways were provided by the state’s commodity groups. Prairieland Dairy, of Firth, Nebraska, brought along a calf for children of all ages to enjoy.

Tailgate party goers found the event as informative as it was fun.  “We had a good time at the Nebraska Farmer's and Rancher's tailgate,” said Diane Krajicek, a happy tailgater. “The food was delicious and the weather was perfect. We visited with some great folks about agriculture in Nebraska and picked up some great recipes. We liked seeing fun, ag-related things for kids to do."

Sponsors agreed the event was successful in bringing producers and consumers together for a useful exchange of viewpoints.

“Nebraskans love tailgating during football season, and they love good food,” said Marty Jarvis, marketing director for B&R Stores. “Our Nebraska-based company works hard to connect our customers with local food producers, so this party was a great way for them to have a conversation about where their food comes from.”

Tailgate Party sponsors included: AFAN; CommonGround Nebraska; Midwest Dairy Association; Nebraska Beef Council; Nebraska Corn Board; Nebraska Cattlewomen Association; Nebraska Department of Agriculture; Nebraska Farm Bureau; Nebraska Pork Producers Association; Nebraska Poultry Industries; Nebraska Soybean Board; Nebraska Wheat Board; Prairieland Dairy; and Russ’s Market.

About The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska: AFAN is a non-profit organization formed by leading agricultural membership groups with the support of other membership groups, commodity organizations, and private business. AFAN works with individual producers and communities across Nebraska to encourage the development of environmentally responsible and economically viable livestock production in the state.

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Expansion of the Livestock Industry is Good for Nebraska

Expansion of the Livestock Industry is Good for Nebraska

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.

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