Tag Archives: Nebraska Farm Bureau

LINCOLN, NEB. Ten farmers and ranchers from across Nebraska have been selected for Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 2019 Leadership Academy. The selected farmers and ranchers will begin a year-long program starting Jan. 24-25 at the Holiday Inn in Kearney.

“The goal of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy is to cultivate the talents and strengths of our members and connect their passion for agriculture to opportunities of service within the Farm Bureau organization. Great leaders have a clearly defined purpose; purpose fuels passion and work ethic. By developing leadership skills, academy members can develop their passions and positively impact their local communities and the state of Nebraska.” said Phil Erdman, facilitator of the 2019 Leadership Academy. Erdman works with Audrey Schipporeit, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s director of generational engagement to help facilitate the program. Erdman also serves as the vice president of membership for Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Academy members will participate in sessions focused on leadership skills, understanding the county, state, and national structure of the Nebraska Farm Bureau organization including Farm Bureau’s grassroots network and policy work on agriculture issues. Also, the group will travel to Washington, D.C. in September, for visits with Nebraska’s Congressional delegation and federal agency representatives.

“We congratulate this group of diverse individuals and thank them for their willingness to step out of their comfort zone to learn more about how they can influence their community, state, and world for the better,” said Schipporeit.

The 2019 Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy members are:

Brenda Jean Wendt, a member of the Boyd County Farm Bureau, lives in Bristow. She was born and raised on her family’s farm in Howells. After meeting her husband at Wayne State College, they built a home by Bristow where she is involved with her husband’s family farm.

Owen Seamann is a Wheeler County Farm Bureau member and lives in Spalding. Seamann has been involved in agriculture for many years, first working for farmers and on a feedlot then purchasing his own cow herd.

Cherie Priest is a Brown County Farm Bureau member. She moved to Brown County with her husband, Randy, in 2005 to take over the ranch that has been in his family for three generations and runs a cow/calf operation. She is also the office manager for a local 50,000 head capacity feed yard.

Jolene Dunbar is a member of the Loup County Farm Bureau. After attending college and working for several ag related businesses, she returned home in 2008 and gradually worked her way back into the family farm business. She now resides in Almeria with her two girls, where they enjoy farming, ranching and showing their shorthorns and sheep.

Katherine Martindale is a Blaine County Farm Bureau member. Martindale served as Postmaster for Dunning and Brewster for thirty-one years. Since retiring, Martindale helps her husband Jay and his family operate their ranch/feedlot near Brewster.

Krista Podany is a member of the Knox County Farm Bureau. Podany is a dedicated volunteer to both Farm Bureau and her community. She has a diversified farming operation along with a custom harvest business.

Matthew Erickson is a member of the Johnson County Farm Bureau. Matthew received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanized Systems Management with minors in Agronomy and Animal Science from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. After graduation, Erickson returned home to the farm and continues farming with his family.

Adam Rathman, a member of Hall County Farm Bureau, worked just over four years as a caseworker at the Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility in Omaha before moving back to Wood River to work on the farm. He currently helps his father run a row crop and cow calf operation just outside of Wood River.

Tyrell Fickenscher is a member of Kearney/Franklin County Farm Bureau. Fickenscher graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Soil and Crop Science and received his Master’s in Agribusiness from Kansas State University. He and his wife started Upward Ag Systems, where he continues to work to help farmers adopt technology focusing on irrigation management and data analysis.

Samantha Dyer, a member of the Dawes County Farm Bureau, graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Business. Dyer currently is a financial officer for Farm Credit Services of America.

York County Farm Bureau member, Jason Perdue of York is the winner of the 2018 Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Discussion Meet competition. The award was announced Dec. 4, at the “We Love Our Members” luncheon during the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 101st Annual Convention held Dec. 2-4 in Kearney.

Perdue received the top score of the contestants who advanced to the final round of the Discussion Meet contest. Rather than debating, contestants work to develop a solution to a problem being discussed, building on each other’s contributions. Competitors in the annual contest must be prepared to speak on several current agriculture-related topics; the selected question is announced a short time prior to the contest round. Perdue works for a family owned ag retail company that distributes crop protection products. He also raises corn and soybeans, has a small cattle herd, and is a contract poultry farmer. He serves as the York County Farm Bureau president and represents the At-Large position on the YF&R committee.

Perdue competed with three other contestants, Chris Niemann, Eleanor Aufdenkamp, and Brady Revels. Chris Niemann, is a fourth-generation farmer who grows corn, soybeans, and raises beef cattle on his family farm in Butler County near Dwight and serves on the Butler County Farm Bureau board. Eleanor Aufdenkamp is a second-year student at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NTCA) in Curtis, majoring in Agriculture Education. Her goals include becoming a high school agriculture teacher and FFA advisor. Aufdenkamp is heavily involved in her Collegiate Farm Bureau, livestock judging team, Collegiate Cattlemen, and NCTA Women in Ag. Brady Revels of Omaha is a Douglas County Farm Bureau board member and represents the Southeast Region on the YF&R Committee. He grew up on a family farm in Florida but relocated to Nebraska when his job as a sales representative for an animal health company moved him to Omaha. He helps coach several area FFA judging teams and volunteers with the Nebraska State Dairy Contest.

Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 can participate in the Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet competition. As a Nebraska winner, Perdue will receive $500 and an all-expenses paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana in January to compete in the contest at the national level. For more information, visit www.nefb.org/yfr

Ryan and Amy Musgrave of Ong were named the recipients of the 2018 Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award. The award was given Dec. 4, at the Membership Recognition luncheon during the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 101st Annual Convention held Dec. 2-4 in Kearney, Nebraska.

Ryan and Amy Musgrave, of Clay County Farm Bureau, were recognized for their ongoing involvement and commitment to agriculture. Candidates for the award are judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other civic, service, and community organizations.

Ryan enlisted in the Navy after high school, served four years, and went on two deployments. After the Navy, he received a diploma in welding. He has an 11-year old son, Dax, who is happy to be on the farm as he is involved with 4-H. Having another generation on their farm is important to the couple. Amy attended Oklahoma State and studied animal science and agricultural communications, earning a bachelor’s degree with a double major and a minor in agricultural economics. She went on to get her master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri. Aside from their full-time positions, they raise Angus and Simmental cattle, club lambs, and Boer goats.

Ryan works for a diversified grain and livestock operation and delivers wet distillers grains to various cattle operations in the Hastings area. Amy works as a statistician, assisting in the estimation and production of various United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports and works part-time at a local veterinary clinic as an office assistant.

“It is important to tell our agriculture story to anyone and everyone who will listen. I have been an Ag Pen Pal the last two years and we use our social media presence to highlight the treatment our animals receive. As a USDA employee, I can put out timely and accurate statistics to keep farmers and ranchers better informed of the current state of agriculture and markets. With our involvement in the local county fair with Ryan’s son, Dax, we are helping the next generation of farmers and ranchers get and stay involved in agriculture,” Amy said.

The Musgraves are involved in their Clay County Farm Bureau with Amy serving as president and Ryan as a board member. Within the next five years, their goals include being members of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, participating in the organizations Leadership Academy, making Clay County’s membership quota, and Ryan hopes to get on the Clay County Fair Board.

Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 can apply for the Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture award. As Nebraska winners, the Musgraves will receive $500 and an all-expenses paid trip to the 2019 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana in January to compete in the contest at the national level.

Kyle and Tiffany Lechtenberg of Boyd County Farm Bureau were honored as Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 2018 Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement in Agriculture Award winners at the Nebraska Farm Bureau 101st Annual Convention Tuesday, Dec. 4 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.


Farm Bureau members 18 to 35 years of age apply for the award. The Lechtenbergs were selected on the basis of performance in farm or ranch management, setting and achieving goals, overcoming obstacles, and service to the community and Farm Bureau.


The Lechtenberg farm is near Butte, where Kyle grew up. They have diversified their farm, raising row crops, alfalfa, cattle, and managing a trucking business. Tiffany grew up with an agriculture background in Broken Bow as her family owns and operates Arrow Seed Company. Kyle earned two degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in agricultural economics and animal science. Tiffany earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and now works as a registered nurse in O’Neill. The couple married in 2009.


The main profit center of the Lechtenberg’s Farm, which has been named NorthView Family Farms, LLC, is a commercial alfalfa operation where they provide a custom hay brokering, harvesting, and hay hauling business. Having diversity in the operation allows the Lechtenbergs to purchase and/or produce additional commodities to sell at premium rates.


Kyle started farming and ranching in 2002, when he started a cow herd with his brother. In 2003, two additional brothers and his parents joined all their cattle assets together and named it Lechtenberg Cattle Company. In college, he then began working at a hay company, named Eagle Alfalfa. The owner asked Kyle if he would be interested in buying his commercial alfalfa business, and in 2008 Kyle purchased the Eagle Alfalfa company and merged it with Lechtenberg Cattle Company. At this point the only remaining partners in the company were Kyle and his parents, with Tiffany joining the business partnership after their marriage. Then in 2012, they rebranded their farm and renamed it NorthView Family Farms, LLC. 


“Renaming the company has allowed us to pursue other diverse enterprise opportunities. Since the rebranding and setting a clear vision for our future, our farm has expanded to employ five full-time, and two to four seasonal employees along with multiple independent contractors,” Kyle said.


Setting marketing goals is important to the success of NorthView Family Farms, LLC. They recently launched a website to add value to both customers and land owners alike. They have an active Facebook page and send out monthly newsletters, customer letters, and pride themselves in building strong customer relationships.


“We are always planning for the future in our operation and are excited to find new ways to serve those in our community. We work diligently to find new opportunities, analyze those options, and plan for future growth and improvements. There’s no better feeling than knowing the work we are doing literally puts food on the table for both us as produces and for consumers all over the world,” Tiffany said.


The Lechtenbergs balance busy schedules with farm life, volunteer activities, and with Nebraska Farm Bureau. The Lechtenbergs have four children, Joycin, twins Addison and Austin and their youngest son Jackson. Both Kyle and Tiffany serve as the North Central representatives on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and they both serve on the Boyd County Farm Bureau board of directors. Tiffany is cofounder of a MOMS group at the Butte Community Bible Church. As winners of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award, the Lechtenbergs will receive a $500 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to the 2019 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana in January, where they will compete in the national contest.

In August 2009, Nebraska Farm Bureau then President, Keith Olsen, warned that health insurance costs could skyrocket for farmers and ranchers under the Obama administration’s proposal to mandate certain kinds of health insurance. “A large majority of food producers are self-employed, and many buy their own health insurance without the benefit of being part of a group,” said Olsen. “Requiring compulsory health insurance in the form of an individual coverage mandate or forcing insurers to cover everyone will mean higher insurance premiums.” Olsen also pointed out that farmers and ranchers would likely suffer the most with increased health insurance premiums associated with adoption of those policies given farmers and ranchers inability to pass increased costs onto customers, an option available to other businesses.

His assessment of the harm that could fall on farm and ranch families wasn’t based on half-baked guesses, but a 2008 study conducted by researchers from MIT, the Brookings Institute, and Brigham Young University. The study examined the implementation of community rating and guarantee issue on health insurance premium increases in the state of New Jersey, which had adopted both community rating and guaranteed issue laws. In short, the study found that implementation of both resulted in health insurance premium increases of 108 to 227 percent for high-deductible family policies.

Flash forward to today, nearly a decade after passage of the “Affordable Care Act”, and Olsen’s warnings about skyrocketing health insurance premiums in the individual market and the impact on farmers and ranchers associated with Obamacare were not only “spot on,” but prove it’s not always good to be right.

Escalating health care and health insurance costs were among the top concerns registered by farmers and ranchers who attended Nebraska Farm Bureau listening sessions held across the state this summer. Whether it was reports of health care premiums becoming the first or second highest living expense, stories of a spouse having to find off-farm work to secure employer provided health insurance, or families (young and old) dropping health care insurance all together, I heard directly from those struggling with how to deal with skyrocketing health insurance costs.

While disheartening, what I heard was not surprising. In the spring of 2017, Nebraska Farm Bureau conducted a non-scientific survey of Farm Bureau members to find out how they were dealing with the evolving implications of Obamacare, as rumors continued to swirl about insurance companies pulling out of the individual market place because of concerns about the economic viability of such plans. Nearly 850 members participated in the survey. The results clearly showed that farm and ranch families were negatively impacted at a much higher level than their urban cousins in dealing with growth in premiums in the individual market. Nearly 98 percent of the farmers and ranchers surveyed overwhelmingly expressed dissatisfaction with the cost and benefits of their health insurance.

The ongoing sting of Obamacare and the clear need for help is what led Nebraska Farm Bureau to take the challenging path of developing a new, first of its kind, large group association health plan specifically for farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses. Partnering with Medica, this new plan is helping us to lower costs for farm and ranch families who’ve been squeezed out of the individual market because of escalating premiums. We’re looking to give these farm and ranch families different options; ones that don’t force spouses to find off-farm work or forgo health insurance all together. Fresh off the general election, farmers and ranchers know all too well that actions of our elected leaders have consequences. None better than those who’ve made life altering decisions as they’ve reeled through nearly a decade of Obamacare.

Steve Nelson is president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau and farms with his son near Axtell, Nebraska.

Delegates to Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention will discuss and form policy positions on several key issues that affect the well-being of Nebraska farm and ranch families. Farmers and ranchers will gather Dec. 2-4 at Kearney’s Younes Convention Center to establish policy for the organization on state issues and recommend policy on national matters to the American Farm Bureau, which holds its national meeting in January.

“Our annual meeting is about serving members, and our policy development process is critical to bringing together the collective voice of our members to help shape the public policies that directly affect the livelihood and our ability to raise food for a growing population,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Among the key issues for discussion at the convention will be the state of the ag economy, trade, tax reform, food technology, and rural broadband.

“Net farm income in Nebraska has fallen substantially in recent years and income for 2018 looks like it will at best remain steady to lower. Delegates will discuss policy regarding profitability in agriculture from a state and national perspective,” said Nelson.

We have been tackling the issue of property tax reform on the delegate floor and this year will be no exception.

“Property tax relief and reform is still high on the minds of our members, and our delegates will further discuss what they would like to see done in that area,” said Nelson.

Delegates will also consider resolutions targeting the labeling of synthetic meat and who should regulate the process United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), Federal Drug Administration (FDA) or both.

“Nebraska is a beef state and our delegates will consider a number of resolutions that examine the labeling of synthetic meat products. While our members aren’t necessarily interested in banning these products, they are worried about consumer confusion and want to ensure the good-will bought and paid for with producer dollars via checkoff programs, isn’t harmed by this new technology. It should be a very good discussion on the delegate floor,” Nelson said.

Other issues for deliberation by delegates include topics such as private property rights and nuisance laws, the use of blockchain technology in agriculture as well as discussion surrounding the use of data to monitor and verify the source and origin of commodities and food from the farm through the processors, shippers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, among other topics.

Outside of action on agriculture policy, attendees to the Annual Convention will have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions designed to help farm and ranch families address operational needs. Sessions will be held to help attendees with issues surrounding the transfer of the farm or ranch from one generation to the next, gain insight on trade deals, and the impact the next farm bill will have on the agriculture economy.

“The Nebraska Farm Bureau was established many years ago to help Nebraska’s farm and ranch families deal with challenging issues, while the times and issues may have changed, our mission has not,” Nelson said.

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention will also serve as the backdrop for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s Grower’s Gala event Dec. 3.

“Annual Convention will highlight the Grower’s Gala fundraiser, and there is no better place to capture what the Foundation is doing to broaden their reach and provide high quality agricultural literacy programming across the state. We welcome their insight on how to continue the excitement of an industry that provides necessities, quality of life, and exciting career opportunities. The future in Nebraska is bright because of our Foundation,” Nelson said.