By Governor Dave Heineman
Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
During the week of March 17-23 people all over the nation will celebrate National Agriculture Week. I would like to remind all Nebraskans of this important week and encourage our citizens to take a moment to reflect on the importance of the agricultural industry in our state.
Farming, ranching and related agribusiness activities are responsible for approximately a quarter of our state’s economic activity. Ninety-three percent of our state’s land is used for agricultural production, and Nebraska is one of the top states in the nation for international agriculture exports.
Agriculture is our state’s largest industry. Our farmers and ranchers work hard to raise the food and fuel we use in our everyday lives. For these efforts, they deserve our recognition and appreciation.
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture is celebrating National Ag week by announcing the new “Nebraska Agriculture and You” magazine, a publication designed to share information about the Nebraska agriculture industry with consumers. The free, annually produced magazine will be available in public places, including doctors and dentists offices as well as at public libraries, University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Cooperative Extension offices and chambers of commerce. You can also view the magazine online by visiting the Department of Agriculture’s website at www.nda.nebraska.gov.
Telling the story of agriculture to consumers is important, but sharing that message with our younger generation, many of which are two or three generations removed from a farm or rancher operation, also is necessary. That’s why the Department of Agriculture hosts a statewide Agriculture Poster Contest each year. It is a way for elementary students to have the opportunity to discuss agriculture while creating their own works of art. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the contest, and this year’s theme is Nebraska Agriculture: What Farmers Do. The Department of Agriculture received nearly 3,000 poster contest entries - doubling the amount of entries they typically receive. You can view the poster contest winners on the department’s website.
The winners in the first and second grade division are Trevor Goesch a second grader from West Boyd in Butte, first place; Matt Cover a second grader from Weeping Water Public School in Weeping Water, second place; Samantha Burch a second grader from Weeping Water Public School in Weeping Water, third place and the Governor’s Choice is Noah Morlan a second grader from Weeping Water Public School in Weeping Water.
The winners in the third and fourth grade division are Ryan Sand a fourth grader from Tri-County Public Schools in DeWitt, first place; Johnny Kaczmarek a third grader from Holy Ghost Catholic in Omaha, second place; Levi Belina a third grader from Howells Community Catholic School in Howells, third place and the Governor’s Choice is Evie Schlickbernd a fourth grader from Guardian Angels in West Point.
The winners in the fifth and sixth grade division are Tatum Vondra a sixth grader from Milford Elementary in Milford, first place; Elizabeth Calderon a fifth grader from Knickrehm Elementary in Grand Island, second place; Gustavo Matias a fifth grader from Knickrehm Elementary in Grand Island, third place and the Governor’s Choice is Sierra Kile a sixth grader from St. Cecilia in Hastings.
In accordance with National Ag Day on March 19, I will be visit several communities in Nebraska with Department of Agriculture’s Director Greg Ibach and the chairman of the Legislature’s Agriculture Committee, State Senator Ken Schilz from Ogallala. We will be visiting with farmers and ranchers in Tecumseh, Papillion and Wayne. We will be discussing the important role farmers and ranchers play in our state’s largest industry. I always look forward to this day, and appreciate the opportunity to visit with the farmers and ranchers in these communities.
As we celebrate National Ag Week, I’d like to personally thank the farmers and ranchers in Nebraska for their dedication and commitment to the land and animals in their care. If you see a farmer or rancher please thank them for the important role their play in producing the food and fuel we utilize every day.