30th Governor’s Ag Conference to be in Kearney March 7-8

Nebraska Governor's Office

Today Feb. 5, 2018, Governor Pete Ricketts announced the agenda for the 30th annual Governor’s Ag Conference, an important event for farmers, ranchers, ag leaders, and agri-business managers in Nebraska. The conference is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, March 7-8, 2018, at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney.

Featured conference topics include: international trade, ag diversification in rural Nebraska, and Nebraska ag leaders undertaking national leadership roles.

“Each year, the Governor’s Ag Conference brings together Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers to share best practices and create networks that help grow our state’s number one industry,” Governor Ricketts said. “It’s a unique opportunity for our ag producers to discuss the ag industry and provide direct input to the state in our work to support future growth in agriculture. We look forward to hosting Nebraska’s ag community for the 30th anniversary of the conference and urge interested farm and ranch families to consider joining us to celebrate this special occasion.”

The conference will feature discussions on issues currently impacting the agricultural industry, including: international trade, ag diversification in rural Nebraska, and Nebraska ag leaders undertaking national leadership roles.

“We’ve worked hard to make sure that this year’s Governor’s Ag Conference speakers are personally connected with Nebraska agriculture and are well-respected members of the state’s ag community,” Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman said. “These speakers understand the importance of Nebraska agriculture and the role it plays in the economic well-being of the state.”

The conference starts Wednesday, March 7 at 3:30 p.m. with remarks from Governor Ricketts and NDA Director Wellman.

Following those remarks will be a panel discussion featuring Nebraska producers serving in national leadership roles. Panelists include:
· Don Bloss, Chair, National Sorghum Producers
· Lynn Chrisp, First Vice President, National Corn Growers Association
· Jim Miller, Chairman, U.S. Soybean Export Council
· Terry O’Neill, President, National Pork Board
· Craig Uden, Past President, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

The annual “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception, sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America, begins at 6 p.m. March 7 and features an assortment of food and beverages from Nebraska.

The conference resumes Thursday, March 8, 2018, at 9 a.m. with a panel presentation on international trade and the benefits gained from companies participating in Nebraska trade missions.
Panelists include:
· Jerry Wiggs, Greater Omaha Packing Company, Inc.
· Chris Roth, Reinke Manufacturing Company, Inc.

At 10 a.m., a panel representing ag companies that have built businesses and created jobs for small Nebraska communities will discuss the importance of ag diversification in rural Nebraska. Panelists include:
· Norm Krug, owner/founder, Preferred Popcorn
· Troy Becker, co-owner, Unified Pet Products

The last panel presentation of the day will discuss the growth of the food processing industry in Nebraska, featuring speakers from Costco, Hendrix, and Kelley Bean.

Lunch will be served at noon and will include keynote speaker Greg Ibach, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs of the USDA. Ibach will update conference participants on agricultural activities at the federal level.

“The Governor’s Ag Conference gives producers an opportunity to network with colleagues, share information and prepare for the future,” NDA Director Wellman said. “We’ve lined up quality speakers, and I appreciate their willingness to share their knowledge and experience with our conference participants. I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in agriculture to attend.”

A $100 registration fee covers participation at activities on both Wednesday and Thursday. Registration and additional information is available online at www.nda.nebraska.gov, or by calling NDA toll-free at 800- 831-0550.