Nebraska Leaders Head To Washington For Rural And Small Business Support

Midwest leaders visit Washington to strategize with the White House on how to best support agriculture amid COVID-19.

Nebraska producers face several setbacks as the pandemic beats up the economy. Governor Pete Ricketts states, “Agriculture is really taking an one-two punch with this, I mean commodity prices were low before, last year we had the most devastating natural disaster in our state’s history with the flooding, and now this year the pandemic and the uncertainties around trade that goes with that...we’re seeing that farmers and ranchers are really, really in dire straits.”

Stay-at-home orders tanked fuel consumption, which impacted the state’s number one commodity--corn. “If you look at people, they’re not driving, people aren’t using gas or ethanol, so the ethanol industry is really taking a hard hit on this...So, all of this has been really tough on agriculture...start selling our products, make sure we’re getting those trade relationships going, creating that demand, because that’s how we make sure we recover and have a market for our farmers and ranchers,” Gov. Ricketts noted.

Part of the CARES Act money is going to a grant program that Ricketts says, is for small livestock producers and businesses. The state’s economic development director says that so far, Nebraska has put several programs in place with more than a million dollars of stimulus money.

Tony Goins, Nebraska’s economic development director, states, “We’ve always cared about rural Nebraska, and so the funding that’s going there now will continue and it’s all about making sure our farmer and ranchers are healthy.”