FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2019 1:00 p.m. (CDT)
Craig Head, Nebraska Farm Bureau (402) 432-4723
LINCOLN, NEB. – The Nebraska Agriculture Leaders Working Group has announced its support for a bill introduced by Sen. Curt Friesen to fix major inequities in how Nebraska funds K-12 schools, while lowering property taxes for all Nebraskans. With numerous legislative proposals dealing with school funding and tax relief having been introduced, the agriculture leaders believe LB 497 is the best bill from which to start.
“We appreciate all of the different ideas that have been brought to the table. We understand that no bill dealing with these critical issues will look the same at the end of the session as it does at the start, but we think this bill is the most comprehensive in addressing the issues. I’m sure there will be things we will find to make it even better,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.
The bill’s guarantee that all Nebraska students receive at least 50 percent of their basic education funding from the state is key to the group’s support.
“Education is important for all of us in Nebraska. It’s important to our families, our businesses, and the overall well-being of our state. That’s why the state has a responsibility to help fund the basic education needs of our children, yet it’s failing to meet that obligation for all of Nebraska’s K-12 students,” said Darin Uhlir, Nebraska Pork Producers Association president.
Today, 150 of Nebraska’s 244 school districts receive less than 10 percent of basic education funding from the state. Fifty-five of those districts receive less than one percent.
“When it comes to providing basic education funding, the state shouldn’t look at a student in one school district and say, ‘I’ll cover 100 percent of the costs of your basic education’ and then look at a student in a different district and tell them ‘You’re on your own’. They’re both Nebraska kids. That’s not how our state should treat them, but that’s exactly what’s happening,” said Mike Drinnin, Nebraska Cattlemen president.
In addition to the minimum aid guarantee, the bill also adjusts the local resources component of the state aid formula ensuring all school districts would receive additional state dollars to help replace local property taxes.
“It’s no secret we rely far too heavily on property taxes to fund education. Nebraskans now pay the seventh highest property taxes in the nation. This bill would help fix that,” said Mark Spurgin Nebraska Wheat Growers Association president.
Roughly 60 percent of all property taxes collected in the state are used to fund schools. The bill would help lower property taxes by broadening the sources used to fund K-12 schools and replace property taxes with the new revenues.
“Broadening the sources of revenue used to fund schools so we can replace property taxes as a funding source is key to lowering property taxes for Nebraskans. It must be a part of the discussion. LB 497 reflects a thoughtful way to do that, while making sure that our state’s tax structure remains competitive with those of neighboring states,” said Robert Johnston, Nebraska Soybean Association president.
The bill also contains provisions that adjust the state aid to school formula so school districts that are largely agricultural land based would have a better chance to receive state equalization aid, as the vast majority of these districts receive little or no equalization aid to cover education costs. Today only 69 of the 244 Nebraska school districts receive state equalization aid. This bill would help boost the number of schools that receive assistance.
“LB 497 provides a great framework to begin fixing the inequity in how we fund schools and providing the meaningful and substantive property tax relief Nebraskans want. Our group looks forward to helping Sen. Friesen and others find a path forward to tackling these tough, but critical issues,” said Dan Nerud, Nebraska Corn Growers Association president.
The Agriculture Leaders Working Group includes member-elected leaders from the Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Soybean Association, Nebraska State Dairy Association, and Nebraska Wheat Growers.
The York County Corn Growers Association is sponsoring a tour on Feb. 5. The group will meet at the York County Extension Office at 6:45 a.m. and plan to leave for Grand Island by 7 a.m. Morning tour stops include the Case IH Axial-Flow Combine Plant followed by Hornady which produces bullets, ammunition, and reloading products. Lunch will be held at Kindaiders Brewery in which attendees will also receive a tour. The group will then tour Klute Manufacturing near Bradshaw which produces Warren dump boxes, Circle D and H&H trailers, pickup flatbeds, and vehicle accessories. The final stop will be the York Agricultural Education Program which was recognized as one of the top six programs in the nation by the National Association of Ag Educators. Attendees must wear closed toed shoes and be able to walk without a cane/walker based on the requirements of the places we’re touring. Please RSVP no later than Feb. 4 to the York County Extension Office at (402) 362-5508.
Join Nebraska Corn for a complimentary tour of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam as well as the Bunge Shuttle Loading Facility along the Mississippi River. This trip is open to all corn growers, but space is limited. If you are interested in participating in this day tour, please call the NeCGA office at (402) 438-6459 or email Morgan Wrich, Director of Grower Services, at email@example.com. The flight to St. Louis will leave from Omaha at 6:20 AM on Tuesday, March 26th. Hotel rooms are available in Omaha for those who would prefer to drive in the evening before. RSVPs for this day tour are due February 8th!
Will you help the National Corn Growers Association find the untapped potential of corn? NCGA is holding the Consider Corn Challenge II and will be hosting an informational webinar January 28, 2019 at 11 a.m. EST. To register for the webinar, click here: 9sig.co/CCIIWebinar .
“The webinar is an opportunity for participants to hear directly from one of the previous Consider Corn Challenge winners, get more specifics about the contest and ask questions about the contest,” said Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “We had a diverse set of applications last year and look forward to receiving more this year.”
“The goal of the contest is to identify and highlight new uses and markets for the U.S. corn crop,” McKay added. “Corn production continues to increase year over year, and corn farmers are able to do more with less. Corn is an affordable, sustainable and abundant feedstock for the bio-based chemical industry to use.”
Three to six winners will be selected for a total prize pool of U.S. $150,000. Submissions are due March 20, 2019 at 5 p.m. EST. This year’s winners will be announced at the BIO’s World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Des Moines, Iowa on July 8,2019.
In 2018, the contest garnered 33 submissions from eight countries. The Consider Corn Challenge winners were: Annikki – Illinois; The Iowa Corn Promotion Board; Lygos – California; Sasya – Minnesota; South Dakota State University – South Dakota; and Vertimass – California.
For more information on the contest go to: https://9sig.co/UseCorn.
Members of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association gathered at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln on Wednesday, December 19th, for their Annual Meeting. Following the Annual Meeting, NeCGA held their regular board meeting and elected officers.
Dan Nerud, of Dorchester, was elected as President. Other officers elected include: Andy Jobman of Gothenburg, Vice President; Chris Grams, of Upland, Secretary; and Tom Nathan of Meadow Grove, Treasurer. Dan Wesely, past President of NeCGA, moved to Chairman of the Board. The board is thankful to Dan for his two years of service leading the organization.
During the Annual Meeting, NeCGA delegates elected two at-large members to the board. Rick Gruber, of York, was re-elected, and Michael Dibbern, of Cairo, was elected. Curtis Rohrich, of Wood River, did not seek re-election to the board of directors. He continues to be active in the Buffalo Hall Corn Growers Association.
“We are very grateful for the volunteer efforts that our grower leadership and officers give on an annual basis,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of NeCGA. “I look forward to working alongside our leadership team in increasing opportunities for our membership in the coming year. I also want to thank Curtis Rohrich for his twelve years of service on the board following his decision not to seek re-election.”
We want your opinion! Soon, if not already, members of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association should have received a survey in the mail. This is a chance for members of the association and checkoff paying corn growers to let us know how Nebraska Corn is doing. The survey is anonymous and should only take a few minutes to complete. If you would like to be contacted, there is a space to fill in your information. Once you complete the survey, please mail it back to the NeCGA office. Our address is 4435 O Street, Suite 210, Lincoln, NE 68510. If you would rather complete the survey online, the link to do so is below. If you have any questions about the survey or the association, please do not hesitate to contact that office at (402) 438.6459.
Click above to read an update from Nebraska Corn! This is the first edition of a new joint newsletter between the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the Nebraska Corn Board. Included in this issue is a letter from past President of NeCGA, Dan Wesely, and a letter from current NCB Chairman, Dave Bruntz. Let us know what you think of the new format!