Friday, July 3, 2015

Agriculture Nebraska's number one Industry

 
Gov. Pete Ricketts
Agriculture is Nebraska’s number one industry, and that is why growing agriculture is so critical to growing our state. Ethanol is one of the key growth industries in Nebraska agriculture that has added billions in revenue and thousands of jobs to our economy over the past decade. Thanks to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), passed in 2005, Nebraska’s ethanol production has tripled from 566 million gallons to about 2 billion gallons in just 10 years.
Before the advent of the RFS, ethanol slowly took root in Nebraska in spite of critics who made their case against it. In 1985, Chief Ethanol Fuels built Nebraska’s first ethanol plant in Hastings. Over the next 20 years, ten more plants were built.
In our state, ethanol has become one side of what some call the “Golden Triangle” along with corn and cattle. Nebraska earned its reputation as “the Beef State” in part because of our abundant corn supply, which serves as the primary feed for cattle and results in high-quality beef. As more ethanol plants were built, cattle feeders began to use distillers grain, a high-quality feed that is a co-product of the ethanol production process. Distillers grain has become the preferred feedstock of many cattle feeders because of its feed value and performance advantages, helping put Nebraska at the top of all cattle feeding states in 2013 and 2014.
Since the passage of the RFS, Nebraska has built over a dozen additional ethanol plants and expanded production at several others. Today, Nebraska’s 24 ethanol plants add jobs, property tax base, and economic growth to communities from Bridgeport to Blair. The Nebraska ethanol industry has invested over $5 billion in capital investments in our state and supports 4,400 jobs including 1,300 direct jobs. All this has added up to Nebraska ranking as the second-largest ethanol producer nationally.
Early critics of ethanol warned that producing fuel from corn or similar feedstocks would compete with putting food on the table – a belief that proven untrue. While this criticism and others have been discredited as the ethanol industry has grown and consumers have become familiar with the fuel, the ethanol industry is under a new assault by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has a proposal on the table that would slash billions of gallons from the RFS, effectively reducing demand for corn ethanol. This proposal represents a step away from policies previously set at the federal level to utilize cleaner-burning fuels and diversify our country’s energy portfolio as our nation seeks new and innovative ways to achieve energy independence.
The proposal also effectively pulls the rug from underneath ethanol producers and the industry who rely on the RFS. On my administration’s recent trade mission to Europe, a biotech company based in Denmark with a major presence in Nebraska indicated to me that the EPA’s proposal to reduce the RFS was a barrier to expanding in the United States.
My administration has taken action. On June 25, the EPA held a hearing on the proposed reductions to the RFS in Kansas City, Kansas. Nebraska Energy Office Director David Bracht testified at the hearing about the value of ethanol to Nebraska and the negative impact that the EPA’s proposal would have on our state. Nebraskans who care about the future of agriculture and ethanol in our state are welcome to submit their own comments to the EPA. More information on how you can submit a comment of your own can be found by visiting www.tinyurl.com/epaethanol.
The proposed changes to the RFS are just another example of baseless policies issued by the EPA and Washington bureaucrats that will hurt our state. As Governor, I will continue to push back on Washington and fight for Nebraska. Together, we can overcome this challenge for the future of ethanol and agriculture, and continue to grow our state for the next generation.

 


 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Evelyn I. Krueger November 20, 1924 - June 30, 2015

Hastings resident, Evelyn I. Krueger, 90, passed away Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at Mary Lanning Healthcare, Hastings, Nebraska.   

Services will be Monday, July 6, 2015; 10:00 A.M. at Zion Lutheran Church, Hastings with Pastor Paul Warneke officiating.  Burial will be in Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Blue Hill.  Memorials may be given to the family for a memorial to be established at a later date.  Visitation will be Friday, July 3, 2015; 5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M., Sunday, July 5, 2015; 1:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. with family present 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home, and one hour prior to service at the church.   

Evelyn was born November 20, 1924 in Glenvil, Nebraska to Henry & Jeanette “Nettie” (Ross) Lindemann.  She married Arthur Krueger on October 14, 1950; he preceded her in death in April 1992.  Evelyn worked at the Hastings Regional Center Cafeteria for several years.  She was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, Altar Guild, LWML, and LLL.   

Evelyn was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Arthur Krueger; sister, Frieda Arington; and two brothers-in-law, Alfred Buhr and Walter Buhr.   

SURVIVORS:
Daughters & Son-in-law:                   
    Rogene Eickmeier – Hastings, NE
    Janet & Laurens Albert – Columbus, NE
Sons & Daughter-in-law:                   
    Doyle Krueger – Hastings, NE
    Duane & Kimberly Krueger – Blue Hill, NE
Grandchildren:                                   
    10
Great-Grandchildren:                         
    6
Sisters:                                                           
    Elsie Buhr – Pueblo, CO
    Lula Buhr – Hastings, NE

Thanking Those Who Fought for Freedom

          

Rep. Adrian Smith
On Independence Day, Americans gather together to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of our nation on July 4, 1776. While enjoying patriotic Fourth of July traditions such as fireworks, parades, and cookouts with family and friends, we must remain mindful of those who risked everything to establish and preserve the freedoms we have as Americans.
The Declaration of Independence was a revolutionary document created by our Founders to proclaim the God-given rights of individuals and the limits of government in America. Since its signing in 1776, this document by which America was born has served as a guide and source of inspiration for those fighting for freedom around the world. As President Ronald Reagan wrote in 1981:
In recent years, however, I’ve come to think of that day as more than just the birthday of a nation.
It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history.
Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government.
Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.
We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should. 
Happy Fourth of July.
Though the Declaration of Independence laid the foundation for our freedoms, preserving them required the service and sacrifice of brave men and women throughout our history. Honoring our Armed Forces is an important part of celebrating our country during the Fourth of July.
At the end of June, I had the honor of joining the entire Nebraska congressional delegation at the send-off ceremony for the U.S. Army Reserve’s 394th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Detachment 2, in Fremont. These brave men and women will spend a year supporting special operations forces in the Middle East.
As global threats to our freedom grow by the day, we cannot express deeply enough our gratitude to those who serve. To all the men and women in Nebraska and across the country who have chosen to answer the call of duty, we thank you and honor your service.
Thanks to the bold vision of our Founders, we have the opportunity to live in a country built on revolutionary freedoms. Thanks to the selflessness of our men and women in uniform, those freedoms have been preserved and still inspire the world. I hope you and your family enjoy a great Fourth of July celebration while remembering those who have defended and continue to defend this legacy of freedom.

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
     As I write this, it is a couple of days before of the Fourth of July,.  I am going to take the liberty to start this week’s edition with what I think is the most powerful paragraph from the very document that we celebrate each year on the Fourth of July: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” 
     I wonder how many people even recognize those words or have either recited them or read them? I have to tell you that the Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays, not necessarily because of the activities that go with it, but because of its meaning. I know that patriotic themes will blare from marching bands or PA systems, flags will furl in home and main streets, fireworks will thunder the skies displaying incredible bursts of color and sound, and grills will fill backyards' air with the sweet smell of cheeseburgers and hot dogs. It is hard not to get caught up in the proceedings, relax and sit back without thinking of much but what is around you. Unfortunately, what is perhaps lost with many people with the barbeques, parades, family gatherings, ball games, music, fireworks etc. is the true meaning of this day. 
     The Fourth of July is rightfully known as Independence Day, the day the United States of America declared its independence from the British Empire. Lest we forget, there were twenty-four lawyers and jurists, eleven merchants and, of special interest to me, nine farmers who met to forge the very document that started America’s quest for freedom and liberty. All were men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured. They each saw the tyranny of government and did something about it. 
     We all, too often, take for granted that declaration assuming America’s victory in its war for independence was inevitable and the freedoms we enjoy as a result of that victory a certainty. Actually, five years would pass between the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia and the surrender of Lord Cornwallis to George Washington. Those five years were hard ones with many reversals of fortune for the cause of American independence. At several junctures it seemed the American patriots were fighting a lost cause. Even after Cornwallis surrendered in 1781, parts of America would remain under British occupation until 1783 and harassment continued for several years after that. 
     It would be a long time indeed before American independence would be fully secured. Since that time America has transformed itself from a small nation constantly menaced by the imperial powers of Europe to a superpower that would repeatedly rescue and defend that continent, and the rest of the world, from the forces of tyranny. That was all still in the future in 1776 - the year we celebrate on the Fourth, and by no means a sure thing. The transformation of America from a collection of rebellious colonies to a global champion of freedom that is the envy of the world could have been aborted at any time, especially in the beginning. It did not happen without the courage and sacrifice of the men and women of the Founding Generation who risked everything to gain for themselves and succeeding generations the blessings of freedom. They had no guarantee of success in 1776 and in the years that followed it seemed they were doomed to failure but they did not give up, they would have liberty and, if not, they preferred to die. That determination to live free or die is why our forefathers prevailed in its struggle for independence and why America is the land of the free and the home of the brave.     
      Independence Day gives us 24 hours to reconnect with those “self-evident truths” that emboldens that paragraph with which I started this column . It is these same truths that we increasingly take for granted. In the words of Patrick Henry, one of the Founding Fathers: we are “responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society.” If we, the beneficiaries of that great sacrifice, are to retain the independence and the freedoms we enjoy today, then we must, first, be eternally vigilant in the protection of our liberties and, second, be as willing as our ancestors to give our all in the defense of government of the people, by the people and for the people. We must not lose sight of the past or future or be complacent!
     Food, fireworks, music and other fun activities associated with the Fourth of July are wonderful and I sincerely wish everyone an enjoyable time. Yet we must always be mindful that freedom, especially our freedom as Americans, is not a gift, but must be earned and jealously guarded generation after generation. In light of everything that has transpired over the last few weeks, please do not lose sight of what has made America great. So on this Fourth of July and all others in the future, amidst all the celebrations, I hope we all stop to remember the sacrifices that made this day possible and commit our lives, our efforts and our sacred honor to upholding the legacy of freedom bequeathed us on that first Independence Day. I hope we all remember the true meaning of Independence Day as we have the freedom to do as we choose – so far!


The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or ay not reflect the views of UNL or Nebraska Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, Nebraska Extension Educator for Webster County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Smith Responds to Finalized Waters of U.S. Rule

 
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) issued the following statement today regarding the Obama administration’s Waters of the U.S. Rule. 

“The EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule, now published in the Federal Register, poses a significant threat to our agriculture economy and remains one of the top concerns for Nebraska farmers,” Smith said. “I appreciate Governor Ricketts joining with the Common Sense Nebraska Coalition to demonstrate our state’s opposition to this unprecedented regulatory overreach. Additionally, the release of former Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality director Mike Linder’s study on the Waters of the U.S. rule brings the potentially damaging impacts of this sweeping regulation even closer to home.
“Though the Obama administration has finalized its Waters of the U.S. rule, we will continue taking legislative action in Washington to prevent the rule from being implemented. The Supreme Court’s ruling against EPA overreach earlier this week also is a heartening step toward reining in this out-of-control federal agency and protecting Nebraskans and people across the country from its unilateral regulations.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

AG Peterson Hails EPA Ruling

 
 
Michigan et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al.
U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
On Writs of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court - June 29, 2015
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson today hailed the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Michigan et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) et al. in which the State of Nebraska joined twenty other States[1] and industry groups in filing a challenge to the EPA’s authority to regulate emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act without first taking into consideration the cost of compliance.
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA can regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants from power plants if the Agency finds the regulation “appro­priate and necessary.”  However, without considering the cost of compliance, EPA could not make a determination as to whether the regulations were “appropriate.” The States estimated that the cost of additional regulations on power plants would be $9.6 billion a year, but the quantifiable benefits from any reduction in emissions would only be $4 to $6 million a year.
“This ruling benefits all Nebraskans who utilize public power, as the cost to implement these additional regulations would have negatively impacted all electrical ratepayers in the State,” said Attorney General Doug Peterson.
In a 5-4 decision the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the EPA and found that the agency should have considered compliance costs when it decided to limit emissions from power plants.
The case has been remanded to the D.C. Circuit Court.

Irene Ensign July 18, 1925 to June 26, 2015

Christian Biography of Irene Viola Ensign

Irene V. Ensign, the daughter of John and Hulda (Herr) Vilhauer, was born on July 18, 1925 on a farm near Avon, South Dakota. She passed away on June 26, 2015 at the Ambassador in Lincoln, Nebraska at the age of 89 years, 11 months, 8 days. Irene was confirmed on July 2, 1939 in Highmore, South Dakota by Pastor Wilhelm Korn. She attended school in rural Highmore, South Dakota. She was a 30 year member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Blue Hill, Nebraska. On September 8, 1947 she was united in marriage to the Rev. Raymond Ensign in Scranton, North Dakota. During her lifetime she lived in the communities of Highmore South Dakota, Ness city, Kansas, Otis, Colorado, Lenexa, Kansas, Clinton, Oklahoma, Adams, Nebraska, rural Superior, Nebraska, St. Frances, Kansas, Alliance, Nebraska and settling in Blue Hill, Nebraska. She enjoyed decorating cakes, vegetable and flower gardening, needle work, quilting, cross stitching, embroidery, plastic canvas and latch hooking. Irene was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Raymond on March 26, 1993, brothers, Harvey and Marvin and sisters, LaVerna and Luella. She is survived by her children, Phyllis Buss and husband Norman of Eagle, Nebraska; Jeanette Flaming and husband Clayton of Cantonment, Florida; Leann Ensign of Hastings, Nebraska; and John Ensign and wife Vicki of Nelson, Nebraska; 5 grandchildren: Brad Buss and wife Lori, Paula Ramold and husband Greg, Jessi Hoeft and husband Nathan, Kyle Flaming and wife Nikke and Kelly Karr and husband William; 7 great-grandchildren: Erin and Rebecca Buss, Matthew Ramold, Zane and Gianna Flaming and Caleb and Jacob Karr. She is also survived by sisters, Ruby Cables of Tyler, Texas; Velda Tweedt and husband Art of Minnesota; and Violet Schneider of Redfield, South Dakota; sisters-in-law, Ginger Vilhauer of Highmore, South Dakota; and Jonni Vilhauer of California; and a brother-in-law, Robert Hersh of Highmore, South Dakota; along with a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Services at: Salem Lutheran Church, Superior, Nebraska Time of Service: Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 11:00 am Clergy: Pastors Don and Margaret Olson Burial: Salem Lutheran Cemetery, Superior, Ne A memorial has been established and can go in care of the family Visitation: From 4:00 pm-8:00 pm on Tuesday at the Klawitter-Price Funeral Home Klawitter-Price Funeral Home, 446 South Main St., Nelson, Nebraska 68961 Phone 402-225-3301

The Fabric of Our Nation

     

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer
              
Last week in Fremont, I had the opportunity to greet Army Reserve soldiers as they prepared for deployment. These brave men and women make tremendous sacrifices and face real danger while protecting our country. They are ready when called upon. Across the world, they are making us proud. We are grateful for their service as they ensure that our nation remains a beacon of freedom, hope, and opportunity.
Across the state, Nebraskans are preparing for Independence Day – proudly wearing the red, white, and blue as we celebrate our nation. Whether it’s at a parade, backyard barbeque, or a fireworks show, I encourage all Nebraskans to take a moment to think about what was sacrificed to make our nation the greatest on Earth.
As I consider this question myself, what stands out to me is the depth of our citizens’ character. People like Omaha Officer Kerrie Orozco, who was killed in the line of duty earlier this year. Officer Orozco was a mother, an excellent police officer, and a role model to all of us. Words cannot express the deep sadness we feel from this loss. But the way in which Nebraska has rallied in support of Officer Orozco’s family following this terrible tragedy makes me proud. With the mantra “Keep Calm and Kerrie On,” we honor her life and keep her legacy alive. I was reminded of this outpouring of support and love recently when I joined Nebraskans in Ralston for a walk to help support Officer Orozco’s family and raise awareness of the many causes she supported.
Our nation is also indebted to people like Captain Dustin Lukasiewicz of Wilcox – the Marine Corps helicopter pilot who gave his life while searching for the victims of the massive earthquake in Nepal. By flying into danger to rescue strangers in a distant land, Captain Lukasiewicz represented the ideals of our nation and personified America’s mission as a force for good in the world. Nebraskans like Captain Lukasiewicz inspire us, each and every day, to serve others and be all that we can be.
America remains a “shining city on a hill” because of the generations of service members who have put their lives on the line and commit to a cause greater than self. Our veterans are living reminders of the enduring efforts to defend our freedom. As a grateful nation, we must continue to welcome home our servicemen and women with open arms as we uphold our pledge to care for those who have selflessly defended our country. 
But the fabric of our nation is also woven by people like you. Nebraskans who are raising families, working hard at your jobs, and serving in your communities.
As you celebrate the Fourth of July, remember all those who put their lives on the line each and every day so that we can enjoy this holiday every year. I also hope you will remember the role that you play in making our nation a wonderful place. 
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator

    
     There are several things that I have been watching concerning regulations and in particular those proposed regulations that affect Nebraska and Nebraska agriculture. I think that this is a critical time for agriculture.  There is a need for farmers and ranchers to become more active in protecting their livelihood. We are continually being hit with discussion on clean air, clean water and the need for the “Greening of the USA”  Oh I know, a lot of this hinges around what people call Climate Change.  I have my own thoughts on this as I have heard it all my working life. I think we have a lot of green!
     Many of you may not know it, but in the mid to late 70’s we in agricultural  education were told we were on the brink of Global Cooling and that Nebraska would need to start looking at crops that are more common to South and even North Dakota by the year 2010. Canolla, oats and wheat would be our staples. I think I even still have the lesson plans for that. It is a good thing I was a procrastinator, because if I hadn’t been - I would have looked rather foolish. Since that didn’t work out so well for those that predicted that, or those that perhaps had an agenda concerning this issue, it then became Global Warming. All the coasts would be under water from the polar caps, and snow on the mountain tops melting by 2015. Many were scared.
     That didn’t work out so well either, so now we are to just simply call it Global Climate Change. I do believe that we have always had climate change. I don’t think anyone will argue that. Weather has always affected us in agriculture and I don’t see that as a new or extraordinary claim. I have seen a lot of that in my 66 years, but there are other factors that become involved and I will not delve into all of that. I will let the scientists and politicians argue that one, as I am seeing this more and more as an ideological or political football. One thing I do know is that this issue or at least agendas that derive their impetus from this issue is driving lots of regulations, laws, rules and unfortunately a lot of angst for we in agriculture.
     Let’s start with the RFS, an acronym that has been batted around for some time now. As I and many others of us who have studied these issues you can conclude that Nebraskans would be among the millions of Americans harmed by an EPA proposal to make changes to the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The RFS establishes the amount of ethanol required to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. In May, EPA proposed modifications to reduce blending requirements below levels established by Congress. I think that Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau President, hits it right on the nose when he points out that “Ethanol is a Nebraska produced renewable fuel source that’s helped reduce our dependency on foreign oil, lowered fuel costs for consumers and provided significant environmental benefits. It’s also one side of Nebraska’s corn, cattle, ethanol triangle that has bolstered Nebraska’s rural economy and lifted Nebraska’s economy as a whole. In failing to meet the blending requirements for ethanol as outlined by Congress, the EPA is jeopardizing a key segment of Nebraska agriculture. I agree with his analysis and am puzzled by those that don’t see it that way.
     Nebraska is the third-largest producer of corn in the country and ranks second in ethanol production and distillers grains, which is a livestock feed ingredient produced by ethanol plants. Nebraska also ranks first in the number of cattle on feed and second in cow-calf production. The synergy that exists in adding value to corn by turning it into a fuel source that also provides an added feed source for our strong livestock sector can’t be understated. It is clear to many that the EPA’s RFS proposal is a step in the wrong direction as it relates to American energy policy, and more importantly for Nebraskans. With corn prices the way they are, we cannot afford another hit to marketability. This is a basic economic fact, Nebraska’s ethanol industry is worth an estimated $5 billion per year to Nebraska’s economy and has helped create 3,000 Nebraska jobs. 
     I know the people in South Central Nebraska know how important the ethanol industry is as we live in an area that depends a great deal on the plants for our corn markets and for livestock feed. It is a “Golden Triangle” that has been good to our farmers, our communities, our small towns, schools, municipalities and our county coffers. I remember well when the first plant was put in at Hastings and all those that followed. It is an industry that started as a single plant in 1985 and has grown to 24 plants statewide today. Farm leaders and businessmen all across Nebraska believe that it is vital that the EPA recognize the benefits of ethanol to farmers, consumers and the environment. Meeting the RFS targets established by Congress is a place to start. The RFS has been a topic of debate for several years in part because of the corn ethanol blend wall, which is a bit less than 10 percent of national gasoline consumption, currently at 135 billion gallons per year. Most gasoline in the U.S. is consumed as a 10 percent ethanol blend. The EPA says they are trying to find a balance.
     I believe we can even do better than that with increased usage of this renewable fuel source. We keep hearing about the troubles around the world where we get a lot of our energy in the form of oil, let’s make use of the natural, renewable source we have growing in on our farms, between and around our towns and cities. But we need for our Congressmen and the EPA to hear our voices. We need to take part in the discussion or the talking will be without us and we know how that goes. I suggest that if you are interested in this issue that you join other individuals and groups who will file public comments with EPA on the proposal. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting comments on its proposal to slash the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and reduce the amount of homegrown ethanol blended in our fuel supply by 4 billion gallons in 2014, 2015 and 2016. You may want to check out the National Corn Growers Association’s excellent RFS website for useful tools, comment directions and information at http://www.ncga.com/rfs. Tear down that ethanol wall!! 


The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or ay not reflect the views of UNL or Nebraska Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, Nebraska Extension Educator for Webster County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Nebraska AG responds to U. S. Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage

Today five Supreme Court Justices created a new constitutional right based upon sexual choices. The Constitution doesn’t speak, one way or the other, to the question of same-sex marriage. Under our system of federalism, the definition of marriage as a male-female union is properly a matter of state law. I agree with Chief Justice Robert’s contention that “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent.”
The Court overstepped its proper role in our system of government. Instead of interpreting and applying the law, the Court invented a new constitutional right. Nothing in the Constitution mandates a nationwide redefinition of marriage.  Sadly, the Court stripped all Americans of our freedom to debate and decide marriage policy through the democratic process. The freedom to democratically address the most pressing social issues of the day is the heart of liberty. The Court took that freedom from the people.
In addition to Nebraska, Americans in 30 other States have voted to affirm marriage in their constitutions, while the people of only 3 states have voted to redefine marriage. Of the states that now issue same-sex marriage licenses, more than 2/3 had it imposed by court dictate.  The Court’s decision represents a profound loss of freedom. It shows a lack of faith in democracy for the Court to force this decision on every state.
Nebraska has until today’s decision in Obergefell relied upon the 8th Circuit’s 2006 opinion in Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, which specifically upheld the constitutionality of Nebraska’s marriage laws.  Obergefell has effectively reversed the 8th Circuit’s sound decision in Bruning and effectively renders the state’s case in Waters v. Ricketts, currently pending in the 8th Circuit, moot.
Recognizing the rule of law, the State of Nebraska will comply with the ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell. Nebraska officials will not enforce any Nebraska laws that are contrary to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell.

Gov. Ricketts Comments on Marriage Ruling

 

Lincoln – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken and ruled state same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional. While 70 percent of Nebraskans approved our amendment to our state constitution that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, the highest court in the land has ruled states cannot place limits on marriage between same-sex couples. We will follow the law and respect the ruling outlined by the court.”

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gov. Ricketts, Ethanol Advocates Urge EPA to Maintain RFS

Proposed RFS changes could be damaging to Nebraska’s economy
Lincoln – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska ethanol industry leaders commented on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed change that would slash billions of gallons of ethanol from the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
The proposed changes are scheduled for a hearing today in Kansas City, Kansas. Nebraska Energy Office Director David Bracht will testify on behalf of the State of Nebraska in opposition to the EPA’s proposed changes to the RFS.
“Corn ethanol adds jobs and economic growth, strengthens Nebraska’s corn markets, and creates a valuable co-product that enhances our cattle feeding sector," said Governor Pete Ricketts. “The EPA’s lack of commitment to the RFS is already driving potential investment away from our state. On a trade mission earlier this month, the CEO of a major biofuels company told me that his business previously had interest in expanding in the United States, but that the EPA’s recent proposal to reduce the RFS is a hurdle to future expansion plans.”
“When the RFS was established in 2005, Nebraska’s corn and biofuels sectors set themselves on a course of action,” said Nebraska Energy Office Director David Bracht. “They recognized the value this policy had in diversification of the U.S. domestic fuel supply, while providing economic benefits for healthy, sustainable rural communities. Our state has joined others in the Midwest and proved our ability to create a supply chain that has, and can, fulfill a consistently growing demand for ethanol. We’ve done it, and we can continue to do it, if given the chance.”
"Our corn farmers and ethanol processors have shown that through innovation and efficiency, they can continue to advance this home-grown fuel," Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach said. "EPA's proposal fails to recognize this fact and surely will stifle future investment and activity in this sector. In addition, it depresses a value-added market for our corn, hurting farmers and our rural economies."
“Nebraska’s second-in-the-nation ranking for ethanol production means that it plays an important role in our state’s economy,” said Paul Kenney, Chair of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “The EPA’s proposal to dramatically reduce the amount of corn ethanol in the RFS would not only harm Nebraska’s 24 ethanol plants, but it would also be devastating to our state’s farmers who produce the feedstock for the plants and the cattle feeders who rely on the high-quality feed ethanol plants to provide for their cattle.”
“All the work and investment that Nebraska corn and livestock farmers have put into building the ethanol industry is at risk. We've already seen corn prices drift at or below the cost of production and cutting the use of corn for ethanol could drive prices even lower,” said Tim Scheer, a farmer from St. Paul, Nebraska, and Chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “This decision could also idle capacity and restrict access to the distillers grain market for the livestock sector.”
“Ethanol is a critical element for Nebraskans and Americans who wish to build a diverse energy portfolio and a cleaner future,” said Chief Executive Officer Todd Becker of Green Plains, the largest ethanol producer in Nebraska and the fourth largest producer in the country. “Ethanol companies have over $5 billion in capital invested just in Nebraska alone, and these investments have helped to create over 3,000 jobs in the state.  By adhering to the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) in the RFS as they were established by Congress, the policy can continue to drive investment in the private sector as it was intended.”
About the Nebraska Ethanol Board
In 1992, the Ethanol Authority & Development Board was merged with the original Nebraska Gasohol Committee to create the Nebraska Ethanol Board. Today, the Nebraska Ethanol Board continues its mission of creating a positive environment for ethanol production and use in Nebraska — and serving as a primary resource for ethanol producers, developers, media, and policy makers.
About the Nebraska Corn Board
The mission of the Nebraska Corn Board is to develop, carry out and participate in programs of research, education, market development and promotion to enhance profitability (viability) and expand the demand and value of Nebraska corn and value-added corn products.
About Green Plains, Inc.
Green Plains Inc. (Nasdaq:GPRE) is a diversified commodity-processing business with operations related to ethanol production, corn oil production, grain handling and storage, cattle feedlot operations, and commodity marketing and distribution services. The company processes over ten million tons of corn annually, producing over one billion gallons of ethanol, three million tons of livestock feed and 250 million pounds of industrial grade corn oil at full capacity. Green Plains also is a partner in a joint venture to commercialize advanced technologies for growing and harvesting algal biomass.


Nebraska Delegation Calls for EPA Hearing on Renewable Fuel Standard

U.S. Representatives Adrian Smith (R-NE), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and Brad Ashford (D-NE) joined with U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) in sending a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting a public hearing on the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs).  The EPA held a public hearing on this issue today, June 25, in Kansas City, Kansas.
The full text of the delegation’s letter is below.
June 24, 2015
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Administrator McCarthy:
As you are aware, EPA will be hosting a public hearing on June 25, 2015, in Kansas City, Kansas on the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs). We write to urge you to also hold a public hearing on the proposed RVOs in Nebraska. Nebraska is the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation. Our state’s 24 ethanol plants have a collective production capacity in excess of 2 billion gallons. According to a recent economic analysis conducted by the University of Nebraska, ethanol contributes $5 billion to Nebraska’s economy per year and provides Nebraskans with more than 1,300 full time jobs.
Nebraskans, from the producer to the end user, are uniquely positioned to provide EPA with advice on how “constraints in the fuel market” can be overcome, allowing statutory targets to be met. Record corn harvests, 700,000 million bushels of which supply Nebraska’s ethanol plants each year, show the supply exists, but excessive government regulation continues to prevent this clean, efficient and affordable fuel source from reaching consumers. It is imperative EPA meet with and address the concerns of those most impacted by its decision.
The people of Nebraska welcome you to the “Good Life,” and we look forward to working with you to bring certainty to this important American industry. 
Sincerely,
Adrian Smith
Deb Fischer
Ben Sasse
Jeff Fortenberry
Brad Ashford

Smith Responds to King v. Burwell Decision

 

          
 
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after the Supreme Court issued its ruling in King v. Burwell, upholding Obamacare subsidies.
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is a setback for both the rule of law and the American people,” Smith said. “President Obama insists his health care law is working, but he chooses to ignore the millions of Americans struggling to pay rising premiums and all those who lost their insurance after being told they could keep it. Despite my multiple inquiries to the administration, there is still no resolution for the 80,000 Nebraskans impacted by CoOportunity Health’s collapse. This certainly does not reflect a working law.
“The King v. Burwell ruling only reinforces the need to find patient-centered solutions for the issues Americans across the country are facing with their health care. We will continue our efforts to help those impacted by Obamacare’s rising insurance costs, burdensome regulations, and bureaucratic mismanagement.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

First Family to Hold Contest to Name Wallaby

 
 Governor Pete Ricketts and the First Family have announced they will hold a naming contest for a young wallaby in partnership with the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.
As a part of this contest, Nebraskans are encouraged to suggest a name for the young tammar wallaby  to be named by the First Family this summer. Tammar wallabies are native to South Australia. This wallaby is one of 11 living at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.
“While our family may never have a wallaby as a pet at home, we are really excited about having the opportunity to name one,” said Margot Ricketts, daughter of Governor Pete Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore.
“This is a great opportunity to highlight the role zoos play in bringing together, entertaining, and educating Nebraska families,” said First Lady Susanne Shore. “Our family encourages Nebraskans to consider visiting a zoo this summer as a way to spend time together.”
“Nebraska’s high quality zoos are an important part of the quality of life our families expect and provide an excellent destination for tourists in our state,” said Governor Pete Ricketts.
Submissions can be made by emailing pete.ricketts@nebraska.gov or by writing to the Governor’s Office at 1445 K Street, Lincoln, NE 68509.
The final day to make your suggestion to name the wallaby is July 31, 2015. The name selected for the wallaby by the First Family will be announced at a news conference at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Lincoln. Details to follow.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
    Father’s Day is just a day away as I write this article. I thought about doing a bit on the history of this day that we are to honor our fathers and grandfathers, much like we do with Mother’s Day. , I have never found as much emphasis placed on this day as we do to honor our mothers.  That is just fine. It seems that most dads don’t really expect much.  In the agricultural world there is farm work to be done, cows to be checked, chores are always waiting ---and who has time for this?  Don’t get me wrong, I think all of us need to honor the contributions that our fathers and forefathers made and the sacrifices they made to our families, our communities and our great country. I do salute my father and all fathers out there!
     I would bet that if you asked most fathers what they wanted for Father’s Day, they would say….”Oh nothing”. But if you pushed them, they would more than likely say “You know what? A good farmer’s breakfast would be good!”  I know that really appeals to me, and I would wager a lot of men are like me. Nothing seems to beat a good hearty breakfast. My mouth waters thinking of bacon, hash-browns, toast with jelly and perhaps pancakes, waffles or French toast and  a good helping of eggs! It doesn’t seem to matter if they are scrambled, hard boiled or over easy – eggs make breakfast!
     Unfortunately this perfect food provided by nature is getting scarce, and straight out of Ag Economics 101- the “Law of Supply and Demand” is rearing its head. If you haven’t noticed, the price of eggs has gone dramatically higher over the last few weeks. I stopped at our local grocery store and they were over $3 for a dozen, more than double from what they were just a couple of months ago. What happened? I knew they were going to be high priced in California, but in Nebraska?
     Just as I predicted after the passing of Proposition 2, California consumers pay more for eggs than shoppers in other states because voters decreed that, as of January 1 of this year, eggs sold in California had to come from chickens that could fully extend their wings and move freely in their cages. Six years ago, when Californians were debating Proposition 2, which would require larger cages for egg-laying hens, proponents assured consumers that the price of eggs would increase only a little, if at all. They were wrong! Surprise, surprise! They claimed in the state voter’s pamphlet that anyone who said egg prices would increase as a result of its passage was using “scare tactics.” Well the scare is here in a big way!
     The cost of overhauling henhouses or reducing flock sizes has contributed to higher egg prices in California mostly because it drove chicken farmers out of business or greatly reduced the number of hens and therefore eggs available. The result has been more expenses for egg farmers, who have spent millions of dollars to modify their operations, and now consumers are seeing that reflected in higher egg prices. But here comes another “scare tactic.” During the past several weeks, owners of outdoor poultry flocks in Washington and Oregon have lost all of their birds to highly pathogenic avian flu spread by wild birds. The chickens, ducks and turkeys became infected when the wild birds came into contact with them outside. That is one reason most commercial egg farms keep their flocks indoors. As it turns out, California voters wouldn’t make good chicken farmers. That’s because what sounds good in a political advertisement is often poor management in the real world. The theory most animal rights activists’ use is that all animals should be able to run free. In practice, though, such requirements can expose poultry and livestock to illness, expose farmers to more expenses and expose consumers to higher prices. It also leaves a fragile business in a vicarious situation should a worst case scenario arrive, and it has!
     The strict animal welfare law leaves the state's egg market as well as all the other states who benefitted from the large chicken farms in California, vulnerable to disruptions. Even more damaging is the fact that out-of-state suppliers must abide by the henhouse regulations, which narrows the list of those who can sell eggs within the state. Well now they have something else to worry about. That disruption is occurring and it is also affecting Nebraska in a big way! If you are not aware, we are in the middle of a huge disruption that not only is causing a shortage of eggs beyond Prop 2, but in the loss of our poultry shows at county and state fair. Consumers, not only in California and now Nebraska, but nationwide are beginning to see price increases because of the growing avian influenza epidemic, which has caused millions of chickens, turkeys and other birds to die or be euthanized. This disease is having a huge impact on Father’s Day breakfast!
     The USDA has reported three deadly flu strains in commercial and backyard poultry flocks totaling more than 43 million birds in 15 states since mid-December. In Iowa alone, the outbreak at commercial farms has led to the loss of nearly 30 million chickens, or nearly 10% of the nation's egg-laying hens. It goes beyond eggs on the breakfast platter. You may not know that many of the hens affected by the avian flu produce eggs that are then sold in liquid form to restaurants or manufacturers of products such as ice cream, bread and salad dressing. With liquid egg costs up about 200% in the last month, consumers could see price increases soon in food products with a clearly visible egg, such as frozen sausage and egg sandwiches. All I can say is a big “Ouch!” This is a devastation unlike any other in the history of our industry. 
     A consequence of the bird flu outbreak in the Midwest has resulted in cheaper chicken in the U.S., as many countries restrict imports of poultry products. Even though bird flu has not found its way onto farms that raise chickens for meat, lower exports mean plenty of chicken available in the U.S. That makes for good news for chicken eaters – cheap chicken! Now my question is – How is this going to affect beef or pork? We must remember - everything is connected!  Breakfast??  

The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or ay not reflect the views of UNL or Nebraska Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, Nebraska Extension Educator for Webster County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home 

Robert Degener June 10, 1925 to June 19, 2015

Robert Dale Degener, the son of Corrine K. (Killough) and John F. Degener, was born June 10, 1935 near Cowles, Nebraska in Webster County. He departed this life on Friday, June 19, 2015 at his home in Red Cloud, Nebraska at the age of 80 years and 9 days.
Bob grew up on the farm in the Cowles area where he was baptized at Emmaual Lutheran Church on June 30, 1935 and confirmed on June 25, 1950. He received his formal education at the Cowles Consolidated School, graduating with the class of 1952.
Following his graduation Bob farmed in the Cowles area from 1952-1953. He then went to work as a baker with Debus Baking Company in Hastings.
On June 2, 1955, Bob enlisted in the United States Army and served his country during the Korean Conflict until his discharge on April 11, 1957. He then attended Railroad Telegraph School in Hastings for a year, graduating in 1958. Bob then embarked on his career with the Burlington Northern Railroad, retiring in 1974.
Bob was married to Madge Joy White on January 4, 1958 and this marriage ended in divorce in 1965. On April 11, 1970, Bob was united in marriage with Sharon Kay Lukas at Bethany Lutheran Church in Axtell. Sharon preceded Bob in death.
On June 16, 1989, Bob married Edith Louise.
Bob was very fortunate to have traveled extensively in his life in both business and pleasure. His love for his children and grandchildren was immeasurable. His loved the land, farming, growing things and visiting with his countless friends and people in general. His greatest love and enthusiasm in life was for the Lord. He will be fondly remembered for his lifetime motto of ..... "Whatever works!"
Bob was a member of the VFW and the Cowles American Legion Post.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Sharon; and his son, David.
Left to treasure his memory are his children, Frank Degener, Clorrisa Najor, Christina Haywood and Leza Mackin; a brother John Degener and sister Jolene Degener; other relatives and friends.
Funeral services are pending.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Emanuel Lutheran Cemetery fund
Williams Funeral Home
241 West 4th Avenue
Red Cloud, Nebraska  68970

Friday, June 19, 2015

Vonda Lee Crowe June 18, 1946 to June 16, 2015

Vonda Lee Crowe, the daughter of Harold and Viola (Vance) Crowe, was born June 18, 1946 at Hastings, Nebraska. She went to be with her Lord on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at the Perkins Pavilion in Hastings, Nebraska at the age of 68 years, 11 months and 28 days.
Vonda grew up in the Bladen community and received her formal education attending the Bladen schools, graduating with the class of 1964. She was married to David Fisher in August of 1964, and this union was blessed with four children, Cindy, Candy, Connie and Curt. The marriage later ended in divorce.
Vonda was a homemaker while raising her children.
She owned and operated the Bladen Cafe for a time in the 1970's and later worked in Holstein and Hastings.
She enjoyed running a daycare at her home and blessed many children with her love and music.
She played the piano and organ for years at church services for weddings, funerals and at the nursing homes. She was a local pastor during the 1990's and early 2000's at Harrison, Holstein, Kenesaw, Cowles and Pauline, Nebraska.
 The joy of Vonda's life was her faith in the Lord, her family, children and grandchildren. She supported all of her grandchildren in each of their many activities.
Left to cherish her memory are her daughters, Cindy Trausch and husband Lauren of Hastings, Nebraska; Candy Consbruck and husband Jeff of Hastings, Nebraska, and Connie Lothrop and husband Bill of St. Paul, Nebraska; daughter-in-law Michelle Sterup and husband Darin of Osceola, Nebraska; grandchildren: Cory Trausch and wife Heather, Lindsay Trausch, Brittany Trausch, Ashley Consbruck, Jordan Consbruck and fiance Hannah Thomas, Grant Marisch, Mariah Marisch, Cierra Fisher and Garrett Fisher; a great grandson, Brody Trausch; step-grandchildren, Caden Lothrop, Collin Lothrop and Creighton Sterup. Also surviving are two sisters, Deanie Harris and husband Ron of Holstein, Nebraska and Debra Thayer and husband Arlo of Bladen, Nebraska; a brother, Keith Crowe and wife Susan of Bladen, several nieces, nephews, other relatives and special friend, Glen Baetz.
Preceding her in death were her parents, a son, Curt Fisher, infant brother, Harold Lynn Crowe and nephew, Cory Eugene Harris.
Funeral services will be held Friday, 10:30 a.m., June 19, 2015 at the United Methodist Church in Bladen with Pastor Connie Karr officiating. Interment will be at the East Lawn Cemetery in Bladen.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., and Thursday, 8:00 a.m-8:00 p.m. The family will be present at the funeral home on Thursday from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been established by the family.
Williams Funeral Home
241 West 4th Avenue
Red Cloud, Nebraska  68970
402-746-2500

Reducing Red Tape for Nebraska Agriculture

Rep. Adrian Smith

 

The administration's unprecedented regulatory expansion through its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule remains one of the top concerns for Nebraska farmers. The Clean Water Act intentionally limited the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) jurisdiction to navigable waters. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has not listened to Congress or the American people and is now trying to unilaterally expand its regulatory jurisdiction to include virtually all water flows, from ditches to prairie potholes, even on private land.
Nebraskans are rightfully concerned this rule will severely harm our agriculture economy by increasing costs and uncertainty for producers, who are already great stewards of the land. Washington bureaucrats should never have control over the puddles and irrigation ditches on rural farmers' property. Though the Obama administration has finalized WOTUS, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act passed by the House with my support would require the EPA to withdraw the rule. We will continue taking action in the House to prevent WOTUS from going into effect.
Regulation has also created barriers to biofuel production, especially for ethanol. In late May, the EPA released disappointing Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) targets for biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Ironically, the EPA blamed "constraints in the fuel market" for its decision. Despite record harvests showing the supply exists, excessive government regulation continues to prevent this clean, efficient, and affordable fuel source from reaching consumers.
In April, I introduced H.R. 1736 to fight arbitrary ethanol regulations and expand consumer choice at the fuel pump. This legislation would extend to E15 the same waiver from EPA volatility limits already granted to E10, allowing these blends of ethanol to be sold year-round. Because E15 is less volatile than E10, there is no reason not to extend this waiver. The USDA also recently announced plans to make a large investment in blender pumps. These are exciting opportunities to boost biofuel production in our country, and the EPA must stop undermining these efforts with excessive red tape.
Additionally, the Obama administration issued a new ruling just this week to ban trans fat. This latest regulation comes after the administration's Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) released recommendations for Americans to decrease red meat consumption based on non-nutritional factors. I have already joined many of my colleagues in sending letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, expressing my concerns about inconsistencies within the report and the DGAC's lack of focus on sound science. 
We must stand against these regulations which threaten Nebraska agriculture's ability to help feed the world. I invite you to partner with me on my Regulation Rewind initiative, which I am continuing this year to fight back against the overreach of the federal government. Please visit my website at www.AdrianSmith.house.gov/RegulationRewind to see an updated list of our efforts and to contact me with your examples.
Given more certainty and fewer regulatory hurdles, Nebraska producers can meet the wide-ranging demands of a growing world. I will continue to work with and for you to promote American agriculture, energy, and consumer choice.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Smith Applauds Trade Promotion Authority Passage

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after voting in favor of H.R. 2146 to give Congress the authority to direct and oversee Presidential trade negotiations through Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). The legislation passed the House and will now go to the Senate for consideration.

“Today the House took the necessary first step to open more markets to Nebraska exporters and ensure trade agreements reflect the priorities of the American people,” Smith said. “TPA is a crucial oversight measure to rein in the President’s authority and require the administration’s negotiating process to be directed by Congress. This vote shows the world we are serious about getting the best possible trade agreements, asserts American leadership in the global economy, and sets the stage for greater opportunity for our agriculture producers, manufacturers, and consumers.”

Monday, June 15, 2015

Resilience and Integrity

Sen. Deb Fischer
Recently, I had the privilege of visiting the community of Pilger. It’s hard to believe that only a year ago, twin tornadoes struck this community causing heartbreaking devastation. The past year has been tough. The town was literally and figuratively torn apart – nearly half the buildings and businesses were damaged. Pilger was battered, but not broken. 
Following the violent storms last June, I visited Pilger and saw this destruction firsthand. Amidst the tragedy, I found a symbol of resilience. In the empty footprint of a home there was a simple sign that said "family." The roof, walls, and contents of the house were gone, but the sign remained. This sign was a symbol. The bonds of family remain strong, and strong families build strong communities.
One year later, I returned to Pilger for celebrations following a year of rebuilding and renewal. I was inspired and truly moved by how far this community has come. Throughout this terrible tragedy, they banded together. They didn’t wallow in grief. They didn’t get lost in frustration or let it define them. Instead, they chose to rebuild and focus on the future.
Hard times test our strength and challenge our resolve. Pilger is blessed to have a tight-knit community that supports each other during the toughest of times. Part of the celebration was a ground-breaking ceremony for Pilger’s new Midwest Bank. The return of the bank is a testament to the hard work and perseverance of the community’s residents. This step forward shows that people and businesses are ready to start anew. It is also a sign that more growth and opportunities will come. I have no doubt we will see many more accomplishments out of Pilger over the coming year. 
On a different note, President Obama has nominated Bob Rossiter of Omaha to be a federal district court judge for the District of Nebraska. I had the privilege of calling Bob to inform him of this wonderful news. After learning of a vacancy on the federal bench in Nebraska with the retirement of Judge Bataillon, then-Senator Johanns and I launched a statewide search. We accepted applications for more than four months before submitting Bob as our selection to the president. I am pleased the open and inclusive process Senator Johanns and I initially led together has resulted in the nomination of such a fine Nebraskan.
Throughout his long legal career, Bob has demonstrated the highest integrity, legal skill, professionalism, and dedication to the rule of law. He is currently a partner at Fraser Stryker in Omaha and is the president-elect of the Nebraska State Bar Association. He graduated cum laude from Creighton University School of Law in 1981, where he served as the editor of the Creighton Law Review. After receiving his law degree, he clerked for U.S. District Court Judge C. Arlen Beam. I am thankful to Bob for his willingness to enter public service, and I look forward to working with him through the confirmation process.
Nebraskans are resilient and possess the integrity and strength of character that makes our nation a better place. It is an honor to serve our state in the U.S. Senate, and I will continue to fight for you each and every day.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

Governor Ricketts Requests Federal Disaster Declaration

Lincoln, NE-- Today, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, on behalf of Gov. Pete Ricketts, who is out of the country on a trade mission, submitted a formal request to the President for a major disaster declaration in the wake of severe storms across parts of Nebraska.  Storm damage occurred from high winds, heavy rains, and tornadoes beginning on May 2 and continuing.
“These storms caused millions of dollars in damage to public infrastructure,” said Lt. Gov. Foley. “Approval of this disaster request would significantly help communities in their recovery process.”
According to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA) the most severe impacts have been to roads and bridges, including 15 that were destroyed.
The following counties have declared a state of emergency: Cass, Dundy, Gage, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lancaster, Morrill, Nuckolls, Otoe, Saline, Saunders, and Thayer.
The request also includes a hazard mitigation request for the entire state.
NEMA Assistant Director Bryan Tuma said, “Recovery will be a long-term process for these 12 counties because of the severity of the damage. NEMA will work closely with local governments to help speed up the recovery process. If the request is granted, other counties could be added to the disaster declaration, due to the continuing nature of this event. ”
The request will be reviewed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s regional office in Kansas City before being forwarded to the White House for a decision by President Barack Obama.

Resilience and Integrity


                     
Sen. Deb Fischer

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting the community of Pilger. It’s hard to believe that only a year ago, twin tornadoes struck this community causing heartbreaking devastation. The past year has been tough. The town was literally and figuratively torn apart – nearly half the buildings and businesses were damaged. Pilger was battered, but not broken. 
Following the violent storms last June, I visited Pilger and saw this destruction firsthand. Amidst the tragedy, I found a symbol of resilience. In the empty footprint of a home there was a simple sign that said "family." The roof, walls, and contents of the house were gone, but the sign remained. This sign was a symbol. The bonds of family remain strong, and strong families build strong communities.
One year later, I returned to Pilger for celebrations following a year of rebuilding and renewal. I was inspired and truly moved by how far this community has come. Throughout this terrible tragedy, they banded together. They didn’t wallow in grief. They didn’t get lost in frustration or let it define them. Instead, they chose to rebuild and focus on the future.
Hard times test our strength and challenge our resolve. Pilger is blessed to have a tight-knit community that supports each other during the toughest of times. Part of the celebration was a ground-breaking ceremony for Pilger’s new Midwest Bank. The return of the bank is a testament to the hard work and perseverance of the community’s residents. This step forward shows that people and businesses are ready to start anew. It is also a sign that more growth and opportunities will come. I have no doubt we will see many more accomplishments out of Pilger over the coming year. 
On a different note, President Obama has nominated Bob Rossiter of Omaha to be a federal district court judge for the District of Nebraska. I had the privilege of calling Bob to inform him of this wonderful news. After learning of a vacancy on the federal bench in Nebraska with the retirement of Judge Bataillon, then-Senator Johanns and I launched a statewide search. We accepted applications for more than four months before submitting Bob as our selection to the president. I am pleased the open and inclusive process Senator Johanns and I initially led together has resulted in the nomination of such a fine Nebraskan.
Throughout his long legal career, Bob has demonstrated the highest integrity, legal skill, professionalism, and dedication to the rule of law. He is currently a partner at Fraser Stryker in Omaha and is the president-elect of the Nebraska State Bar Association. He graduated cum laude from Creighton University School of Law in 1981, where he served as the editor of the Creighton Law Review. After receiving his law degree, he clerked for U.S. District Court Judge C. Arlen Beam. I am thankful to Bob for his willingness to enter public service, and I look forward to working with him through the confirmation process.
Nebraskans are resilient and possess the integrity and strength of character that makes our nation a better place. It is an honor to serve our state in the U.S. Senate, and I will continue to fight for you each and every day.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH


Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
         This weekend was a busy one for me. Not only are we preparing for the Nebraska Grazing Tour and keeping an eye on the final day of 4-H and FFA entry forms (June 15), but I attended two days of the three day -Wilcox High School Reunion. While many may not think that is all that remarkable, I guess I see it a little differently. This is the season for those, most small town and large city schools have these events all over this great country. Oh, I know that some will say “Big Deal” or “Why the heck would you waste your time on that?”  Others wouldn’t cross the street or come in from the farm to something so trivial. Others will fly in from around the globe, or drive hours or even days to get there. What is the fascination? Why is it important to those of us who do attend these events? Because this is fresh on my mind, and I am just coming down from a bit of a high from seeing old friends, I think we should explore the fascinating world of high school reunions this week.     
     First of all, it is hard to believe that I am fast approaching my 50th class reunion, even if we will not get to walk across the stage or be recognized for hitting that landmark because my alma mater just does their all-class reunion every five years. A lot can happen in five years and for you that are older know what I am talking about. I think this actually makes a reunion like that even more poignant as you know that the next Alumni Banquet will not have some of the people you see that night in attendance. You can no longer reminisce, compare notes, talk about you old sports heroics, compare notes on medical procedures or meds, or marvel on how they have not aged all that much or “what in the heck happened to them?” or “they are the same person they were so many years ago.”  They are now at the big reunion in the sky. 
     As an old teacher, I can tell you that many students cannot wait to get out of this school, or this little town and think they will never darken the doorways of that institution ever again. Plus, I do know that for some facing a class reunion can be daunting enough to make a teetotaler crave a stiff drink and I am sure many probably to either before or during the celebration. But for most people that I know that do attend, they feel it is worth the effort. For at least one sweet, nostalgic night you can revisit the best parts of high school without worrying about the silly stuff. You can see that others have aged, just as you have and perhaps in some cases you may even feel better about yourself because you may look around at your classmates or even those after you and wonder – “How did they get so old, and I didn’t?”
     I used to wonder why high school reunions seem to mean so much more to people than college or even family reunions. I guess you can put me in that category. Even though many of the friends I have today were my college classmates, I still seem to gravitate more to my high school memories and friends. I think the late editor and columnist, Meg Greenfield, put it in her memoir: "So far as I have been able to discover, nobody, regardless of station, gets over high school." If you think about it high school is where we begin to shape the adults we are about to become for the rest of our lives. It is a monstrous task confronted by complete amateurs. Even if I sometimes crave the simplicity and innocence of those days, the activities like music, FFA, 4-H and of course all the sports events I don’t know if I would like to go through all the uncertainties, hormone changes, trying to ask a girl out for a date, or all the other intimidating things that young people go through.
     In comparison to the “growing” in high school, class reunions are, by comparison, actually are low stress, and really rather relaxing. Of course or our school mates become history detectives, probing our past to take a fresh look at who we were and what we put up with before we reinvented ourselves into post-graduates. Some remember every little thing that happened, who dated who, and all the shenanigans that they or their friends committed. Others remember absolutely nothing about high school, but attend just to compare notes or see their old friends and how they turned out. Some had not or never will attend their high school reunion and could not be dragged to the event by the Budweiser Clydesdales! 
     I believe that reunions have a therapeutic value. They prove just how right your parents were when they assured you, back in the throes of teenage angst, that time heals all wounds -- and wounds all heels. The bullies, snobs, hustlers and clowns who once brought you daily torment may have passed away by now -- or may be in witness-protection programs -- or simply humbled as we all are by advancing years and slower metabolism. Age is a great equalizer. Even more amazing is that some of the “flowers on the wall” that you barely noticed in the halls bloomed into individuals that would have been hard to imagine back then. In many cases, some of the most popular “jocks”, “prima-donnas”, and the “mostly likely to succeed” types really didn’t do all that well out of the confines of the halls of our high schools and some exceeded all expectations. Bill Cosby used to say that “It is not hard to recognize your classmates at a reunion because they all look like their parents used to look.” For me and my classmates, after 48 years? Try grandparents!  
     For those who are mathematically advanced you probably figured out that my graduation date from WHS was 1967. Just a few words of advice if you're facing a class reunion: Resist the impulse to ask your fellow alumni, "Do you remember me?" This is particularly true if there is any chance that the other person doesn't remember you at all or you made no impression or have dramatically changed. I used to find that question to be awkward or embarrassing. Now it can fill me with fear of early Alzheimer's. But then I really did want to know who that person over there is. Gosh, did I date her? I know I should know that guy/gal. That face is sure familiar! Or, I would recognize that laugh anywhere. Where’s the bar?                      
The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or ay not reflect the views of UNL or Nebraska Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, Nebraska Extension Educator for Webster County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Smith Responds to Trade Promotion Authority

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to give Congress the authority to direct and oversee Presidential trade negotiations through Trade Promotion Authority.  However, because a vote on further trade-related provisions failed, the House did not pass the legislation.  The bill remains in the House for possible future consideration.
“I am pleased the House demonstrated strong support for ensuring oversight and direction of the administration’s trade agenda,” Smith said.  “I will continue working to hold the President accountable while improving access for Nebraska producers to the 96 percent of consumers worldwide who live outside our country.  We cannot sit idly and leave a commercial and political vacuum to be filled by other countries.”
Smith is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy.
House Floor Remarks as prepared:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Trade Act of 2015.
We have the opportunity to remove major barriers which make it harder to sell U.S. products to consumers in other countries. 
To grow our economy we must improve our access to the 96 percent of consumers outside the United States. Nebraska’s producers want to serve new markets, and this bill is an important step forward.
A number of concerns have been raised by this bill’s opponents, and I want to clarify a couple points.
Many Nebraskans are rightfully concerned about the President’s actions. To address this concern, we should pass this bill and establish more than 150 congressional parameters the President will be required to follow as he negotiates trade agreements.
Opponents claim no one has been allowed to read proposed trade agreements. We should pass this bill to ensure every member of this body has full access to negotiating texts and any final agreement is publicly posted online for sixty days before the President can sign it. 
Finally, we have been told this bill hands away congressional prerogatives. However, this bill ensures we have an up or down vote on any trade agreement and contains a new provision allowing us to block agreements if the President doesn’t follow our rules.
This bill is an important step for opportunity, transparency, and accountability. I urge a yea vote and yield back the balance of my time.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator 

     Anyone that knows me. knows that I love it when young people step up on behalf of agriculture. I am so proud of the Webster County 4-H Junior Leaders. This week they pulled off two amazing events.  Their enthusiasm, teamwork and penchant for having fun while they work is simply amazing to me. On Wednesday they sponsored, set up and ran a very successful livestock judging clinic and contest. There were over 50 youth involved in the team and individual competition in evaluating livestock and placing them through critical thinking and reasoning.  Setting up for this contest led right into the second event of the week that we just concluded – the South Central Nebraska Livestock Exposition. It too showed the resiliency of these young people in putting forth another great event.  There were beef, sheep and goats from all across the region that sampled some cool weather, a little rain, and certainly some great looking stock!
     In this edition I have decided to touch a little on something that is dear to my heart – livestock evaluation. I have always felt that livestock judging is one of the most educational endeavors that we do with young people. I was so fortunate as an ag teacher/FFA advisor and now as an Extension Educator to get to work with some of the best judging “eyes” in the country over the last 43 plus years.  I think that likely you can find several area citizens who remember some of those judging trips. It is wonderful to see the young people continuing that tradition.  There is nothing more special on the face of this earth than our children, and isn’t it our responsibility to guide and educate them in their decision making?  
     Their road map to the future may have nothing to do with livestock, but aren’t we obligated to build them a strong foundation from which they can make sound choices? Livestock judging in my mind enhances decision making capabilities and provides the opportunity to defend those decisions through oral reasons which, if you really think about it, provides the framework for public speaking skills and thus leadership skills. It actually builds a lot of good life skills for the kids. I find that this activity goes a long ways towards building character, integrity, and honesty. The other positive aspect is that the kids get the opportunity to network with other individuals and producers who share similar interests. I think that one of the best livestock judges and trainers I have met is Harlan Ritchie from Michigan State, who made a statement that I think speaks strongly towards how I feel. “Judging instills confidence in those people who may be timid and humbles those who tend to be conceited.” I can speak towards both ends of that statement. It has a tendency to temper a person.
     Unfortunately I have found that livestock judging has experienced a decrease in participation and support over the past several years. Many people do not understand that this has a major impact on the future of our livestock industry and many others, as well. Youth, especially as they get older, tell their parents that they are too busy, and many parents as well as FFA advisors and 4-H Leaders do not encourage these young people to participate in these activities.  It seems to me that sports and other extracurricular activities seem to be winning the battle of time in our youth’s lives. Please do not get the wrong idea. I was extremely involved in sports and other projects while growing up, and they too had a positive impact on my life. However, I still took the “time” to devote to numerous 4-H and FFA projects and judging teams. Now as I look back even though sports were important to me, I made a career out of the 4-H & FFA activities. It pays the bills!
     Raising and showing livestock and learning how to judge livestock offers an invaluable and irreplaceable experience to our youth.  On the surface it seems pretty simple. Livestock judging is basically placing classes of four animals to be compared to each other and placed from best on down. If you look at the real purpose or reason for its existence, it is the ability of people involved in the livestock industry to develop decision-making skills, the ability to defend their decisions, a work ethic, and understand the importance of teamwork – just like team sports!  We hear all the time that we need to develop critical thinking in our youth. BINGO – we have it with these programs! Every day of our adult lives we make decisions that affect us, our careers, and most importantly...our families.  These young people learn how to make good decisions? Through judging, our young people need to know the parts of the animal, terminology, the money cuts, the good traits and bad traits of animals all that are exhibited in animals - in order to make a decision and to make those decisions consistently. Those consistent decisions are really based on critical thinking and then backing it up!
     When these kids get out in in the “real” world, they understand the importance of looking at something from every angle, taking into account the good and bad, find the animal that brings together the “most of the best” that an animal can exhibit. They must process all of this information, and make an educated decision. Simply put, livestock judging teaches kids to think on their own and make difficult decisions with confidence. I cannot think of any other activity that is as successful at teaching kids to make decisions, defend those decisions, and do so with confidence. These young judges must defend the way they place a class. We defend our decisions every day. Kids learn the importance of speaking clearly at the proper speed with the correct tone to have the greatest impact on the listener.  We all know the power of great speakers. Judging creates and develops great speakers. When have you ever seen a great speaker with poor confidence? It just doesn’t happen!  Judging builds confidence. Confidence builds strong citizen skills. These skills are the traits of our great leaders.  I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to have a small part in the development of these leaders. As we approach the county and state fair season think of all that goes into the process and be as proud as I am of our kids! Job very well done!!


The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or ay not reflect the views of UNL or Nebraska Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, Nebraska Extension Educator for Webster County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home