Background Photo Provided by the
Nebraska Tourism Commission
Offical Nebraska Government Website
Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Preparing the Next Generation

The governor’s official photo is available here.

All across our state, agricultural producers serve as leaders in Nebraska’s number one industry. Nebraskans know that the benefits of agriculture reach far beyond our fields and pastures. It’s also the backbone which helps our communities, schools, and businesses thrive. Part of that success comes with the ability to prepare for the future by giving producers the tools they need to prosper. For 27 years, Nebraskans have shared ideas on improving agriculture at the Governor’s Ag Conference. 

Next month, I’ll join Nebraska producers for my inaugural Governor’s Ag Conference in Kearney. The two day event will highlight issues facing Nebraskans in agriculture. I invite you to join me on March 4th and 5th at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center. At next month’s conference, we will focus on succession planning for family farms, international trade, and the urban-rural divide in Nebraska. 

Nebraskans understand that it takes both innovation and productivity for an operation to thrive for several generations. Speakers at next month’s conference will discuss helping Nebraska families make successful farm operation transitions. The speakers will include Dr. Danny Klinefelter of Texas A&M University, Eryka Morehead of Farm Bureau Financial Services, and Greg and Michelle Villwok from northeast Nebraska. Dr. Klinefelter specializes in ag finance and management development. He also has valuable experience in transitioning farm families. Ms. Morehead serves as a regional financial consultant for Farm Bureau Financial Services. She works specifically with Nebraska-based clients in estate planning. Mr. and Mrs. Villwok have successfully transitioned their farming operation to a new generation, and will share those experiences. Klinefelter, Morehead and the Villwoks will address the importance of farm and ranch transitions at the conference as part of an entire panel on this topic. They will be a great resource for those who are preparing a new crop of producers in our great state.

Producers will also learn more about emerging trade markets from Mike Dwyer of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Services Global Analysis Division. International trade continues to play a large role in Nebraska Agriculture. In my budget recommendations to the Unicameral last month, I recommended funding for additional export trade missions. In my administration, the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Agriculture will work more closely together than ever before.

Working to bridge Nebraska’s urban-rural divide will also be featured at next month’s Governor’s Ag Conference. My Agricultural Advisory Team has recognized this as the number one issue facing our state in agriculture, and I continue to rely on these experts in cattle, crops, dairy, ethanol, and ag production to help this industry continuously evolve.  

Speakers from the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and The Scoular Company will share results of a recent study on this topic. The study, completed by the Greater Omaha Chamber, also offers a strategic plan to build value-added ag opportunities in Omaha. The Omaha Chamber recognizes that such growth could help all of Nebraska be successful, and I’m excited they’ve chosen the Ag Conference to introduce this plan.

Nebraska is the number one state in cattle on feed, number two in ethanol production, number three in corn production, and we are the fourth largest state for overall agriculture production. I look forward to working with Nebraska producers, as well as Senator Johnson and the Legislature’s Agriculture Committee, to expand on these successes.

I hope you will join me in Kearney next month as we discuss ways to Grow Nebraska by growing agriculture. The Governor’s Ag Conference is open to anyone interested in learning more about Nebraska Agriculture. Ag Director Greg Ibach and I welcome your participation at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center on March 4th and 5th in Kearney.  

A $125 fee covers participation and the entire conference. Nebraskans can register by phone at 800-831-0550 or online at where a complete conference schedule is also listed.

Hearing from you is also an important part of helping my administration Grow Nebraska. I look forward to input from people all across our state. As always, you are welcome to contact my office at 402-471-2244, or by email at