Steve Nelson

Steve Nelson

Courtesy photo

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson set his sights on property tax reduction and stressed the need for the Trump administration to "make smart trade policy decisions" as he marked his organization's 100-year milestone this week.

The organization's first major advocacy victory occurred in 1919, two years after its formation, Nelson said, when the Nebraska Farm Bureau supported enactment of legislation to help farmers and ranchers deal with grasshopper infestations that were destroying their crops.

Formation of the Nebraska Farm Bureau brought farmers and ranchers together to work for a common cause, Nelson said.

Looking ahead, Nelson told the organization's annual convention this week that property tax reduction sits atop the current challenges, along with "the need to continue to push for expanding markets for Nebraska agricultural commodities through international trade."

Nelson said he believes there is "an opportunity to work with Gov. (Pete) Ricketts and the Nebraska Legislature to deliver tax relief and get us on the right track on property taxes into the future."

But, he said, "we also continue to engage with interests focused on taking this issue directly to Nebraska voters through a ballot measure.

"There'll be no stone left unturned," he pledged.

Increased global trade is "where the future lies for our Nebraska agricultural commodities," Nelson said. 

Wise trade policy by the Trump administration is "critical to our farms and ranches," he said, "but also to our state's agriculture-based economy."

The nudge for "smart trade policy decisions" comes at a time when the Trump administration is attempting to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which binds the United States, Mexico and Canada together in a trade partnership that has benefited U.S. agriculture. 

Nearly half of Nebraska's agricultural exports go to Canada and Mexico.

Earlier this year, President Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement negotiated by the Obama administration with 11 other nations, including Japan.

That agreement was considered to be particularly beneficial for U.S. beef and pork trade. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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