LINCOLN, Neb. – Delegates to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention will discuss and form policy positions on a number of key issues that affect the well-being of Nebraska farm and ranch families. Delegates will gather Dec. 8-10 at Kearney’s Younes Convention Center to establish policy for the organization on state issues and recommend policy on national issues to the American Farm Bureau, which holds its national meeting in January.
This year’s convention theme is “Grounded in the Past…Focused on the Future,” a reflection of the organization’s reverence for the people and values of past generations in agriculture, while moving the organization forward in leading on key issues affecting today’s farm and ranch families.
“Our annual meeting is about serving members, and our policy development process is critical to bringing together the collective voice of our members to help shape the public policies that directly affect their livelihood and our ability to raise food for a growing population,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.
Among the key issues for discussion at the convention are tax reform, management of Nebraska’s water resources and proprietary farm data.
“Property tax relief and reform is the focal point for our members, and our delegates will further discuss what they would like to see done in that area,” said Nelson.
The Nebraska Legislature is expected to continue conversations about state tax reform when it reconvenes in January following the work of the body’s Tax Modernization Committee during the interim.
Delegates will also consider resolutions targeting water issues.
“Water is the lifeblood of agriculture in Nebraska, and our delegates will consider a number of resolutions that examine the way in which we manage water resources and fund the projects and programs that aid us in doing so,” said Nelson.
Members are also expected to discuss proprietary information as it relates to farm data as vast amounts of farm production data is being collected as part of the expansion of technology in agriculture.
“More and more questions are being raised about who owns farm data and how that information is being used. Data management is a major emerging issue for farm and ranch families adopting so many of these new technologies,” said Nelson.
Other issues for deliberation by delegates include topics such as Nebraska’s brand laws and brand inspection areas, ways in which the state can maintain a healthy livestock industry as well as discussion about revisions to the federal endangered species act, among other topics.
Outside of action on agriculture policy, attendees to the Annual Convention will have the opportunity to attend a handful of breakout sessions designed to help farm and ranch families address operational needs. Sessions will be held to help attendees with issues surrounding the passage of the farm or ranch from one generation to the next, identifying how farmers and ranchers can tell the story of agriculture to a non-farm audience and gain insight on the impact of the next farm bill on the agriculture economy.
“The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation was established many years ago to help Nebraska’s farm and ranch families deal with challenging issues, while the times and issues may have changed, our mission has not,” said Nelson.
Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention will also serve as the backdrop for the kick-off of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The new Foundation will house Farm Bureau’s leadership development and agriculture education programs.
“Annual Convention will serve as the site for our inaugural fundraiser, and there is no better place to launch an entity tasked with developing leaders and programs to tell the story of agriculture,” said Nelson.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 56,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit nefb.org.