LINCOLN, Neb.- Livestock expansion continues to be a focus for the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska or AFAN.
During the AFAN annual meeting recently, Governor Pete Ricketts spoke to the crowd about the importance of livestock expansion. He also talked with Pure Nebraska's Jon Vanderford about the topic.
"It's important because agriculture is our number one industry in the state, it makes up about 20% of our overall state economy. And if we are going to grow Nebraska, we are going to have to grow agriculture," Ricketts said. "One of the ways we grow agriculture is through livestock agriculture." Ricketts says livestock agriculture helps take the commodities that Nebraska farmers grow, and then it's fed to livestock, thus creating more value and economic activity.
"We are the number one state for cattle on feed. We are the largest beef exporting state. In fact, beef exports accounted for about $1.1 billion dollars of receipts," Ricketts said. The governor says there is a high demand for the quality products that are produced in Nebraska. He says pork and beef exports to Japan have grown dramatically over the past year.
The governor says much is being done at the state level to promote opportunities for livestock agriculture. He says several counties are now participating in what's called the "Livestock Friendly County" program. Ricketts says he goes on international trade missions to promote Nebraska ag products. "I'm excited about the opportunities for livestock agriculture, because we've got lots of room to grow," Ricketts said.