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Gov. Pete Ricketts visited with Nebraska Farmer during Husker Harvest Days.

Curt Arens, Editor, Nebraska Farmer

October 6, 2021

3 Min Read
Gov. Pete Ricketts speaking at a “Freedom Grows Here” news conference at HHD
IN THE NEWS: Gov. Pete Ricketts spent much of the first day of Husker Harvest Days at the show site, speaking here at a “Freedom Grows Here” news conference in front of the Nebraska Farm Bureau building.Curt Arens

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts made a full day of it when he visited Husker Harvest Days on the first day of the show, Sept. 14. Among those activities was a stop by the Nebraska Farmer Hour on the Hospitality Tent stage, to visit with Nebraska Farmer about some of the state and federal issues that are important to farmers and ranchers.

Ricketts touted the 90-day Unicameral session that concluded this past spring as “historic,” because legislators passed a biennial state budget, as well as a number of property tax relief measures that will positively affect Nebraska producers. He also talked about new state legislation aimed at expanding and improving high-quality broadband access across rural Nebraska.

NF asked Ricketts about his “Meat on the Menu” day designation back in March. Ricketts noted that the livestock industry is crucial to the state as the largest industry, with beef being largest in the livestock sector. Promoting and supporting beef producers is crucial to the state, Ricketts said, contrasting his designation to places that are promoting ideas such as meatless days.

News conference

Before his appearance at Nebraska Farmer Hour, Ricketts participated in the “Freedom Grows Here” news conference in front of the Nebraska Farm Bureau building at HHD. “Agriculture is the heart and soul of what we do here in Nebraska,” Ricketts told the crowd gathered for the event. “Yet, we see the current administration intent on undermining agriculture in our state.”

Ricketts cited a lack of support for ethanol, the proposed 30x30 plan, which he said would devastate small towns and communities, and efforts to rewrite the Waters of the U.S. Rule. He noted that he believes this to be a federal overreach in the regulation of water.

Gov. Ricketts on the Nebraska Farmer stage in the Hospitality Tent at HHD

NEBRASKA FARMER HOUR: On the Nebraska Farmer stage in the Hospitality Tent at HHD, Gov. Pete Ricketts told the audience about the historic nature of this spring’s Unicameral session, and the level of property tax relief that was passed by the legislature this year.

He also cited early federal proposals, which have since been dropped for now, to eliminate the “step-up basis” provision of an inherited asset such as farmland. Ricketts said that the loss of that provision would make it extremely difficult to pass land down to the fifth and sixth generations of the family farm.

“Our farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists,” Ricketts said, “because they want to take their land and pass it on to the next generation. Ninety-five percent of our state’s farms are family-owned, many in the fifth and sixth generation,” he added. “They know how important it is to care for the land and to pass it on.”

He called on agriculture to push back on these challenges with a unified voice, and to stand up for the industry. Ricketts said that recent proposals from the federal government comprise a threat to food security in our nation, and ultimately, national security.

Ag tech summit

In addition, Ricketts opened the first Nebraska Ag Technology Summit at HHD. This afternoon conference, moderated by This Week in Agribusiness host Max Armstrong, featured panel discussions on agronomic technology, next-generation equipment and bio-economy advancements.

Along with Ricketts on the Hospitality Tent stage, Nebraska Farmer Hour also included interviews with the Nebraska State FFA officers on the Sept. 15 show. That same day, the stage was the scene of the announcement of the newest NRD Hall of Fame honorees by the Nebraska Association of Natural Resources District.

Daily programs were launched from the stage throughout the show, including marketing outlook sessions by Farm Futures market analysists Ben Potter and Jacqueline Holland, and a popular workshop on farm transitions by Nebraska Extension farm transition specialist Allan Vyhnalek.

About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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