February 21, 2005
Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
Agriculture is a driving force in Nebraska’s economy, contributing more than $10 billion annually. All Nebraskans should be proud of the tradition and importance of agriculture in our great state.
That’s why I am honored to be hosting the 17th Annual Governor’s Ag Conference in Kearney on March 2-3. I would like to extend a personal invitation to all Nebraska farmers and ranchers – and anyone interested in agriculture – to attend this important conference.
This is a critical time in agriculture. There is tremendous pressure on producers to make their operations more efficient and profitable by exploring new products, new markets and new methodology. The timing couldn’t be better to present an impressive line-up of speakers to share their insight on everything from opening foreign borders to the future of Farm Credit Services.
On Wednesday evening, March 2, conference activities begin with the “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception. The reception will feature a variety of foods produced by Nebraska farmers and ranchers, and we’ll keep the mood light with motivational remarks from Mitch Holthus.
The conference formally begins Thursday morning, March 3, and I could not be more pleased to be welcoming U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns as the keynote speaker. Nebraska ag producers recently celebrated his confirmation as Secretary and I know he is looking forward to returning to Nebraska to provide an update on agricultural issues that are important to our state and nation.
Several nationally-recognized speakers will also be featured. Orion Samuelson, the agricultural services director for WGN Radio in Chicago, will discuss the impact and importance of agriculture in America, as well as the importance of ethics in today’s society. Dr. Ronald Roskens, founder of Global Connections, Inc., will focus on the acceptance of agriculture in the global marketplace.
Nancy Pellett, Chair and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration, will discuss the role of today’s Farm Credit Services. Eric Hess, Vice President of SES, Inc., a consulting company, will discuss Nebraska’s animal safety program as it relates to homeland security. And I recently confirmed that Frank Muschetto, a senior vice president with McDonald’s, the world’s leading food service retailer, will join us to discuss the importance of traceability and requirements of source verification in the food supply chain.
As you can see, this year’s conference will address many of the challenges facing producers today, in addition to providing opportunities for discussion on issues driving agricultural trends and policies. It is my sincere hope that conference participants will leave with new ideas, in addition to a renewed commitment to agriculture and the many high quality ag products our state is known for here at home and around the world.
The conference is open to anyone interested in learning more about the important issues facing Nebraska agriculture. Registration information can be obtained by calling the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (800) 422-6692 or by visiting www.gov.state.ne.us and clicking on the Governor’s Ag Conference link.
I look forward to spending two days with ag leaders from across our state at this year’s conference. I intend to take full advantage of the opportunity to listen closely to the concerns of our producers, as well as their ideas about how to move the industry forward in our state to ensure a vibrant future for Nebraska agriculture.