Governor Pete Ricketts visited with Pure Nebraska's Jon Vanderford to talk about some of the issues affecting Nebraska farmers and ranchers.
One topic they addressed was property taxes. "That is always the big issue," Governor Ricketts said. "We've increased the property tax credit relief fund by more than 60%, delivering more than $840 million in direct property tax relief, and we've introduced innovative ideas like going to an income-potential assessment for our ag land like many other states already do to help control ag land valuations." But the governor says that filibusters in the Legislature have kept property tax relief legislation from moving forward. "I'm going to continue to work with the Legislature to continue to introduce property tax relief legislation, and hope that senators work together to overcome filibusters," Ricketts said.
On the issue of trade and tariffs, Governor Ricketts says there is progress. "I'm very pleased that the administration has produced the USMCA, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement done. I'm pleased to see that the administration has announced they will be sitting down with Japan on structuring a bi-lateral agreement," Ricketts said. "The tariffs on our beef going into Japan right now are at 38%, and that puts us at a competitive disadvantage with say, Australia. So if we can get those tariffs reduced, we could see even more demand for our beef." Ricketts pointed out that beef exports to Japan from the U.S. went up 26%, and pork exports went up 46%.
Ricketts says he plans to continue taking advantage of trade missions, to try to open up export markets. "It works," Ricketts said. "If you go back to 2005, Nebraska beef made up about 5% of our overall beef exports, but now Nebraska beef makes up 20% of our beef exports. In fact we are now the largest beef exporting state, so we want to continue to grow that marketplace, and trade missions help us to be able to do that."