LINCOLN — Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) held their 103rd annual state convention in Columbus at the Ramada River’s Edge Convention Center December 9-10. The convention theme was: “Stewards of the Future”. Attendance was good, the weather favorable, and participants enjoyed the recently remodeled hotel and convention center, location, program, and fellowship.
NeFU Election Results:
Delegates from their respective districts elected two NeFU Board of Directors. Martin Kleinschmit of Hartington was re-elected to a three year term for NeFU District 7. David Mohlman of Red Cloud was elected to his first three year term for NeFU District 3 to replace Gale Lush of Wilcox who retired after serving on the NeFU Board for 21 years. The convention gave Gale a loud and well deserved round of applause for his outstanding service.
David Mohlman of Red Cloud and Lynn Belitz of Fullerton were elected to represent NeFU as delegates to the upcoming National Farmers Union Convention in San Diego, California March 5-8, 2017. Katie Jantzen of Plymouth and Margo Hamilton of Lincoln were elected first and second alternates.
Margo Hamilton of Lincoln was re-elected from the membership and Paul Poppe of Scribner was re-elected from the Districts to serve on the NeFU Foundation Board of Directors.
President’s Award Winners.
The President’s Award is NeFU’s highest award, and is presented to individuals who provide outstanding service and leadership to family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities at the state or national levels.
“This year’s President’s Award winners are ten retiring public servants that have gone the extra mile on behalf of Nebraska’s family farmers, ranchers, and their rural communities. It is appropriate that we shine the light on their accomplishments as their public service comes to a close. Eight of our award winners have taken time away from their farm or ranch to serve the public, and nine are NeFU members. This year’s award winners represent public service at its very best,” said NeFU President John Hansen. This year’s President Award Winners are:
- Ken Haar of Malcolm, State Senator LD21, eight years.
- Al Davis of Hyannis, State Senator LD43, four years.
- Dan Steinkruger of Lincoln, Executive Director of USDA NE State Farm Service Agency, eight years.
- Maxine Moul, State Director of USDA Rural Development, eight years.
- Susan Frazier, of Fairmont, Chair of USDA Farm Service Agency State Committee, eight years.
- Fred Christensen of Lyons, Member of USDA Farm Service Agency State Committee, eight years.
- Leo Hoehn of Scottsbluff, Member of USDA Farm Service Agency State Committee, eight years.
- Linda Kleinschmit of Hartington, Member of USDA Farm Service Agency State Committee, four years.
- Roy Stoltenberg of Cairo, Member of USDA Farm Service Agency State Committee, one year.
- Bill Armbrust, Elkhorn, Past Member of USDA Farm Service Agency State Committee, three years.
Friday Morning Highlights:
- NeFU President reported on the NeFU and NeFU Foundation’s educational activities for the year.
- Dwight Lane gave a report of activities from the Nebraska Rural Radio Association.
- Gale Lush, President of NEBFARMPAC on the PAC activities in the last election cycle. He reported that 24 of the 32 candidates endorsed had won, including 5 of 8 NeFU members.
- Maxine Moul, State Director of USDA Rural Development reported on the many accomplishments of her agency that had dramatically improved the life of rural residents. Her report was well received.
- Dr. Jerry Hatfield, Laboratory Director of the USDA National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, and Director of the USDA Midwest Climate Hub was the noon luncheon keynote speaker. His presentation “Soil is the Foundation of Climate Resilient Agriculture” was warmly received by the convention and generated a many questions about soil building particulars.
- Jeff Downing, General Manager of the Midwest Regional Agency also reported on the Nebraska and Kansas insurance sales at the noonlunch. He reported that the agency now has a total of 58 agents located in 44 communities, with 25 agents in 18 communities in Nebraska.
Friday Afternoon Highlights:
- Larry Mitchell, Chief Administrator of the USDA GIPSA (Grain Inspection and Packers and Stockyards Administration) reported on the activities of his department and the status of various proposed regulations designed to help make the ag marketplace more fair and level.
- Dan Steinkruger, Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Administration reported on the status of farm and conservation programs. He thanked NeFU for their active partnership.
- “The Challenges and Rewards of Public Service” panel discussion included current NE State FSA Committee members and one past member. Chair Susan Frazier, Members Fred Christensen, Leo Hoehn, Linda Kleinschmit, Roy Stoltenberg, and past member Bill Armbrust all emphasized the importance of the State Committee and its many areas of responsibility, and the need for farmers to step up and serve on FSA County Committees.
- Dr. Richard Ferguson, UNS Department of Agronomy presented “Understanding the Potential for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Ag”. His presentation generating a great deal of interest.
Tom Giessel, National Farmers Union Historian of Larned, Kansas was the keynote speaker for the Friday evening banquet. Tom’s presentation noted that in order to organize, it was to first recognize that in order to help yourself, you must also be willing to help the other fellow.
Saturday Morning Highlights:
- Jeremiah Picard and John Hansen gave the “Big Red Worms, LLC Project Update” on the unique NeFU vermicomposting program as it continues to grow and divert food waste from the landfill.
- Del Ficke of Milford and Dryland Research Manager for Green Acres Cover Crops presented “Uncovering the Upside Potential and Uses for Cover Crops”.
- “A Preview of the 2017 Legislative Session” panel discussion included LD22 Senator Paul Schumacher of Columbus, LD43 Senator Al Davis of Hyannis, LD Senator Ken Haar of Malcolm, and LD15 Senator-Elect Lynne Walz of Fremont.
- Zack Clark, National Farmers Union Government Affairs Representative gave the Saturday noon luncheon speech on the status of the many issues impacting agriculture in Washington, DC.
NeFU delegates set policy. NeFU delegates adopted the 2016-2017 NeFU policy Saturday afternoon along with six Special Orders of Business. The new policy and the Special Orders of Business are posted on the NeFU website at: www.nebraskafarmersunion.org.
Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 4,000 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.
— Nebraska Farmers Union
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