The President’s Message: A Prayer for Strength

By Steve Nelson, President
Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation®

The drought of 2012 has tightened its grip in Nebraska and the nation.

Officials at the National Drought Mitigation Center have said this is the widest-spread U.S. drought since 1956. With the month of August being typically hot and dry in Nebraska, it is reasonable to assume that conditions will only get worse.

As I’ve traveled across Nebraska, I have seen crops and grazing land deteriorate significantly over the past several weeks. I have talked with farmers, ranchers and livestock feeders. Some have begun to chop corn for feed and others have sold off cattle. This will continue. I also realize that the cost of supplemental feed continues to increase, causing added strain to an already stressful situation.

Fires do not discriminate, destroying property, high-producing grazing lands and longtime homesteads. The personal toll is tremendously high and as the winds shift and change in the northern and western parts of the state, my thoughts are with those who are trying to contain the fires and save homes and livestock in its path.

Thank You to Governor, DOR

Nebraska Farm Bureau greatly appreciated Gov. Dave Heineman and the Nebraska Department of Roads’ actions to advance the starting date for roadside haying. The governor’s statewide declaration of emergency due to the drought, coupled with USDA’s decision to allow emergency grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres in all 93 Nebraska counties, shows there is a clear understanding by state and national leaders of the significance of the drought conditions affecting Nebraska and the impacts these conditions are having on farmers, ranchers and our communities.

Reauthorize Livestock Disaster Assistance

I know that in many ways these actions are inadequate to meet the demands created by the drought. It is important that we pass the 2012 Farm Bill and reauthorize a number of livestock disaster assistance programs that expired at the end of 2011. Now it is vitally important that we implement that livestock disaster component. I hope Congress acts sooner rather than later.

It is more important now than ever before that we stand together in agriculture. There is nothing gained by blaming others for the catastrophic situation we find ourselves in because of something caused by Mother Nature.

While the intensity of the sun has pushed temperatures to triple digits and the land continues to wither, who knows what lies ahead. One year it’s massive flooding of the Missouri River, the next it’s a parching drought. In all of this we all need to trust in God. Pray that He will guide us and give us strength to get through this disaster. Please call 402/421-4401 or e-mail sdnelson@nefb.org to let me know your thoughts on how Nebraska Farm Bureau can serve the needs of your farm and ranch. God Bless!

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