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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts Announces the 27th Annual Governor’s Ag Conference

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Lincoln – Gov. Pete Ricketts today announced the schedule for his inaugural Governor’s Ag Conference.  The 2015 event will be held Wednesday and Thursday, March 4th-5th at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney.  This year will mark the 27th anniversary of the conference.

“I am excited to shine a spotlight on agriculture and the issues facing our state’s top industry because agriculture’s ongoing success is important to all of Nebraska,” said Gov. Ricketts.

Topics to be covered include international trade, expansion of value-added agriculture, farm transitions to the next generation, and federal regulatory and policy issues impacting Nebraska farms and ranches.

The conference begins at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4th, with a panel who will discuss the importance of planning the transition of a farm operation from one generation to the next. 

The conference will resume at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 5th.  Speakers include: Mr. Jim Wiesemeyer,  a Washington, DC-based policy expert with Informa Economics; Mike Dwyer, with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Global Policy Analysis Division; and John Heck, the senior vice president of The Scoular Company and Randy Thelen, the senior vice president of economic development for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.

Wiesemeyer will cover federal policy issues impacting agriculture, while Dwyer will give an overview of emerging markets for Nebraska exports.

Heck and Thelen will discuss a recent effort by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce to study ways to build value-added agriculture opportunities in Omaha.

“The Chamber has taken a serious look at this issue and developed a strategic plan to implement the findings of the value-added study,” Gov. Ricketts said. “They recognize that such growth helps all of Nebraska be successful, and I am excited they have chosen the Ag Conference to introduce this plan to the public.”

“It is an exciting time to be involved in the agriculture industry,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach.  “The conference is a great way to come together as an industry and gain insight into what we might expect in the future and the challenges we will have to meet along the way.” 

Other activities will include the “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception. The reception begins at 6:00 p.m. March 4, featuring a wide variety of Nebraska food products, and entertainment by Jolene Brown.

Anyone interested in agriculture issues is invited to attend. A $100 registration fee covers participation at activities on both Wednesday and Thursday. Registration and additional information is available online at, or by calling NDA toll-free at (800) 831-0550.

Nota Bene: Members of the media are invited to attend the conference. Please contact Christin Kamm to make arrangements.