Nebraska Farmers Union 102nd Annual Convention Agenda Announced

For Immediate Release

For more information, contact:  John Hansen

(402) 476-8815,


Nebraska Farmers Union 102nd Annual Convention Agenda Announced

Midtown Holiday Inn, Grand Island, December 4-6th 


Lincoln, Nebraska.  “Old Values and New Visions for the 21st Century” is the theme for the 102nd annual Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) state convention.  John Hansen, NeFU President said, “In addition to our delegates and members electing our officers, selecting our delegates to the NFU Convention, and setting our policy, our state convention focuses on the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing us in the year ahead and in the future.”

Our Friday afternoon beginning farmer and farm succession workshop is open to the public, and is free.  We have some excellent panel discussions and state and national experts on property tax reforms, trade policy, national issues, state issues, Farm Bill Implementation, and soil building while also showcasing the efforts of our Farmers Union members on farm solar development and the status of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Education is at the base of the Farmers Union triangle because all successful efforts begin with good information.”

Friday morning highlights include:

  • Craig Larson, CEO of the Nebraska Rural Radio Association;
  • Jeff Downing, General Manager of the Midwest Agency, LLP;
  • Renee Fry, Executive Director of Open Sky and Revenue Committee member Senator Al Davis who will focus on:  “The Unsolved Property Tax Problem Continues”;
  • Senator Al Davis who provide a look at issues in play for the upcoming 2016 Legislative Session at the Friday noon luncheon;
  • Barbara Patterson, NFU Government Affairs Representative will provide a National Farmers Union issues report at the Friday noon luncheon;

Friday afternoon speakers include:

  • Joe Hawbaker and Dave Goeller who will present: “The Nebraska Beginning Farmer & Rancher Network: Farm Succession Series–A Workshop on Farm and Ranch Business Succession & Estate Planning”
  • Mike Kucera, USDA NRCS Agronomist will present:  “Resiliency Begins With Our Soils”

The Friday evening banquet keynote speaker will be NFU President Roger Johnson.

Saturday morning highlights will include:

  • “The NeFU Farm Solar Report” with four NeFU members actively engaged in farm solar projects;
  • “Is Our Trade Policy Working” panel discussion with NFU President Roger Johnson, NFU Government Affairs Representative Barbara Patterson, and NeFU President John Hansen;
  • A “Big Red Worms, LLC Project Report” from Jeremiah Picard and John Hansen;
  • Dan Steinkruger, Executive Director of the USDA Nebraska Farm Service Administration will report on the Farm Bill implementation and other program issues;
  • A panel discussion on the status of the Keystone XL pipeline with four impacted landowners;

The Noon Luncheon will feature “Farmers Union’s Leadership Role in a Renewable Future” with NFU President Roger Johnson and NeFU President John Hansen.

Registration costs are $35 and begin at 8:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday mornings.  Convention begins at 9:00 a.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. Saturday.  As always, all members and the public is always welcome.  More information is available at: or call (402) 476-8815.



Nebraska Farmers Union 102nd Annual State Convention

“Old Values and New Visions for the 21st Century”

December 4-5, 2015, Midtown Holiday Inn, Grand Island, Nebraska

For Reservations:  308-384-1330     $79 NeFU Convention Rate


Friday Morning, December 4, 2015

8:00     Registration begins….

9:00     Call to order:  Convention Convenes & Welcome

Previous Convention Minutes

9:10     NeFU Foundation Report & Elections– John Hansen, NeFU Foundation Secretary

Election of At-Large Member to NeFU Foundation-

9:20     NeFU Education Report

9:30     Nebraska Rural Radio Association Report

Tim Marshall, Station Manager, KRVN Radio

Craig Larson, General Manager, Nebraska Rural Radio Association

9:45     Refreshment Break Sponsored by:

Sponsored by:  Nebraska Rural Radio Association

KTIC-840 AM—West Point—KWPN—107.9 FM

KRVN-880 AM—Lexington—KRVN—93.1 FM

KNEB-960 AM—Scottsbluff—KNEB—94.1 FM

10:15   Farmers Union Insurances Report

Jeff Downing—General Manager Midwest Agency, LLP

Agency Report & Introduction of Agents

10:30   The Unsolved Property Tax Problem Continues

Renee Fry, Executive Director, Open Sky Institute

Senator Al Davis, Revenue Committee

11:30   NeFU Elections– Report by Elections Chair, Larry Knuth

Introduction of Candidates for NeFU Delegates to NFU Convention

March 5-8, Bloomington, Minnesota

Districts 2, 4, & 6 caucus for additional NeFU District Director Nominations

11:50   Recess

12:00   Noon Luncheon

A Preview of the 2016 Legislative Session

Senator Al Davis, LD43

NFU Government Relations Report

Barbara Patterson, NFU Government Affairs Representative


Friday Afternoon, December 4, 2015

1:30    Nebraska Beginning Farmer & Rancher Network: Farm Succession Series — A Workshop on Farm and Ranch Business Succession & Estate              Planning

Joe Hawbaker & Dave Goeller

3:30     NeFU Elections

Elect Top Four NFU Convention Delegates

Elect NeFU Board of Directors for Districts 2, 4 & 6 (2016-2017-2018)

Elect NeFU State President (2016-2017)

3:30     Refreshment Break Sponsored by: Farm Credit Services of America

4:00     NEBFARMPAC Report–Gale Lush, NEBFARMPAC President

4:15     Resiliency Begins With Our Soils

Mike Kucera, Agronomist, USDA NRCS

5:00     Elections – Elect NFU Convention Delegates & Alternates

Top Two Are Delegates — Bottom Two are Alternates

5:30     NEBFARMPAC Wine & Cheese Social

6:30     Convention Banquet & Celebration– John Hansen, Master of Ceremonies

President’s Award Winner–Dennis Buse, District 6 Director

President Obama’s Champions of Change Award Winner

Martin Kleinschmit, District 7 Director

NeFU Evening Banquet Speaker–NFU President Roger Johnson

Country Store Auction–David Mohlman


Saturday Morning, December 5, 2015

7:00     Builders Club Breakfast for Builders Club Members

8:30     Convention Reconvenes

8:30     The NeFU Farm Solar Report

Art Tanderup, District 7 President, Neligh

Martin Kleinschmit, District 7 Director, Hartington

Jim Knopik, Fullerton

Graham Christensen, Omaha

9:15     Is Our Trade Policy Working?

Roger Johnson, NFU President

Barbara Patterson, NFU Government Affairs Representative

John Hansen, NeFU President

10:00   Refreshment Break Sponsored by:  Growth Energy

10:30   Big Red Worms, LLC Project Report

John Hansen, NeFU President

Jeremiah Picard, NeFU Programs Director

11:00   Farm Service Administration Programs Report

Dan Steinkruger, Executive Director, Nebraska Farm Service Administration

11:20   Courageous Nebraska Landowners Stand their Ground

TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline on Hold for Now

Lynda Buoy, Bassett

Art Tanderup, Neligh

Susan Straka Heyden

Susan and Bill Donivan

11:45   Adjourn for lunch & Hotel Checkout

12:00   Noon Luncheon

Farmers Union’s Leadership Role in a Renewable Future

Roger Johnson, NFU President

John Hansen, NeFU President


Saturday Afternoon, December 5, 2015

1:30     NeFU Financials-John Hansen, NeFU President

1:40     Policy Consideration & Adoption Until Completed

Vern Jantzen NeFU Policy Chair

President Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

For Immediate Release                                                        

Contact:  John Hansen 402-476-8815


Nebraska Farmers Union Hails President Obama’s Rejection of Keystone XL Pipeline as A Big Win for Landowners, Environment, Climate, and Due Process

LINCOLN, NE. – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) President John Hansen issued the following statement relative to President Obama’s formal rejection of TransCanada’s application for the Keystone XL pipeline:

“President Obama’s formal rejection today is a major victory for landowners in the path of the pipeline, our soil and water resources, our efforts to constructively slow the rate of climate change, and for the rule of law and due process. For our landowners and our organization, this has been a long seven years of struggle, worry, frustration, work, and financial expense.  We salute the tenacity and courage of our members and landowners who have stuck up for their rights, due process, and the interests of their land and generations to come.  We are going to have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.”

“While NeFU is proud of our members and our organization’s role in standing up for the rights of Nebraska landowners, we have many local, state, and national organizational partners to thank as well as the outstanding legal representation of Dave Domina and his law firm.  This victory belongs to everyone who took a stand and became constructively involved in the process.”

“President Obama made the right decision for the right reasons.  At the end of the day, it was simply not in our nation’s economic and strategic overall interests to help a foreign company put our soil, water, and landowners at risk in order to help foreign investors mine and move the dirtiest and most carbon intensive oil on the planet to southern Texas so it could be exported.  We also applaud the many State Senators and members of Congress who championed our position.  With their help, people won a major and strategic victory of corporate power and big money.”

“Today we will pause to savor this major win.  Tomorrow we will continue to champion the interests of true energy independence by continuing our efforts to develop and use more homegrown renewable energy that reduces carbon emissions,” Hansen concluded.

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

Two White House Champions of Change for “Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture” from Nebraska

For Immediate Release                                                        

Contact:  John Hansen 402-476-8815


Nebraska Farmers Union Recognizes Two White House Champions of Change for “Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture” from Nebraska


LINCOLN, NE. – Today, Monday 26, 2015, the White House recognized 12 individuals from across the country as White House Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture.  Two individuals come from Nebraska: Keith Berns of Bladen and Martin Kleinschmit of Hartington.

Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen said “Nebraska Farmers Union complements both award recipients for their outstanding innovation and vision in their efforts to better protect our soil and water resources for future generations.  In both cases, the new way of doing things that raised eyebrows in the beginning are now becoming more widely accepted practices.  They are truly sustainable pioneers.”

“Martin Kleinschmit has been a leader for many years in soil and water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy development, including wind and solar systems, organic farming, intensive grazing, and soil building activities including carbon sequestration.  He has also been a mentor to many beginning farmers.  He is a respected leader in his area and for Nebraska Farmers Union,” said Hansen.

“Keith Berns and his brother have helped grow the use of cover crops, which reduces soil erosion and improves soil health.  Thanks to their efforts, they are helping leave the soil we all depend on better for future generations,” Hansen continued.

Hansen said “In both cases, these Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture are bringing positive, forward looking changes that help agriculture deal with the growing impact of climate change.  The sooner more positive incremental changes can be made in management and cultural practices, the more agriculture can improve the resiliency of our soils that are essential for agriculture to adjust to higher intensity rains, and rains that come less often. When we increase the water holding capacity of soils, we increase the ability of our soils to absorb more of the big gulley washer rains, and also hold more water in the soil profile longer when we have longer gaps between rains.”

“The sustainable practices these award winners have pioneered are the kinds of agricultural practices that should be included in a state climate change plan.  The recent Nebraska Rural Poll indicated that 61% of rural residents supported the development of a state climate plan.  Since production agriculture is going to be ground zero for climate change, the time to plan for the future is now.   For example, agriculture and agroforestry can also play a major role to mitigate excessive carbon in the atmosphere by sequestering carbon from the air into our soils.  The data shows agriculture and agroforestry have huge potential roles to play to slow the rate of negative climate changes,” Hansen concluded.

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.


NeFU Strongly Opposes TPP

For Immediate Release                                                        

Contact:  John Hansen 402-476-8815



Nebraska Farmers Union Strongly Opposes Proposed Flawed TPP Over Failure to Address Currency Manipulation


Lincoln, NE:  John Hansen, President of Nebraska Farmers Union, a former USTR trade advisor for 14 years under Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama issued the following statement on behalf of his organization:


“The recently finalized Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will perform in a manner consistent with the other cookie cutter agreements the U.S. has agreed to since Congress approved NAFTA in 1993.  Instead of remedying the structural shortfalls in past agreements relative to currency manipulation, TPP amplifies those weaknesses.”


“Unlike when NAFTA was considered, Congress has twenty years of data to use to evaluate the U.S. trade policy performance.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division, since 1994, our nation has averaged an annual balance of trade deficit of $428.69 billion while digging a $9 trillion balance of trade cumulative deficit by ignoring the real world impacts of currency manipulation and the disparities caused by VATs (Value Added Taxes).  The 2014  U.S. trade deficit was $504.7 billion, which represents 3% of our nation’s GNP.  If we had balanced trade, our economy would be growing at twice the rate it is currently.  Not once since 1994 has the U.S. balance of trade been close to breaking even.  How bad does it have to get before Congress stops digging the trade deficit hole our country is in deeper?”


“We know what the problem is, yet USTR has failed to come to grips with the widely understood problem of currency manipulation.  The TPP is structurally similar to NAFTA, and will produce similar damage to our U.S. manufacturing, labor, and agricultural sectors.  Our nation can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to currency manipulation.  The USTR will not deal with currency manipulation as long as Congress continues to rubber stamp trade agreements that fail to deal with currency manipulation.  As a result, in the strategic economic interests of our nation, it should be rejected.”


“Agricultural interests will not be well served with this agreement.  Like all previous agreements, TPP dangles the prospect and promise of new markets is used to get everyone’s hopes up to secure ag based support, yet when the trade data comes in, food and ag imports increase at a faster rate than food and ag exports. As in most ventures, past experience is the best guide to future performance.”


Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.


Rep. Jeff Fortenberry Receives Golden Triangle Award From NFU

For Immediate Release                                              

Contact:  John Hansen 402-580-8815


Representative Jeff Fortenberry Receives Golden Triangle Award From Farmers Union


LINCOLN (September 21, 2015) – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) presented Representative Jeff Fortenberry with the Golden Triangle Award, the National Farmers Union’s (NFU) highest legislative honor.  The award was presented last week as a part of the annual NFU fall Fly-In that brought 275 Farmers Union members from across the country to Washington, DC to share their view and concerns with their elected officials.

Six Nebraskans participated in the NFU Fly-In and meetings with members of Congress and their staffs.  In addition to Hansen, Nebraska participants included Lynda Buoy of Bassett, Carol Schooley of Grand Island, Jeff Downing of Elkhorn, Kevin Herrold of Grand Island, and Mike Sarchet of Minatare.

The Golden Triangle is an annual award presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and rural communities.

“Recipients of the Golden Triangle Award have been strong advocates for family farmers and ranchers, and support similar principles and policies as Farmers Union,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “We are pleased to honor those who have proven to be true allies of our organization and family agriculture.”

This year’s Golden Triangle recipients were selected for their leadership on a variety of issues, including votes on Country of Origin Labeling and the RFS.  Representative Fortenberry’s award was presented by NeFU President John Hansen and his team at the end of their Fly-In meeting.

“Representative Fortenberry continues to be a leader on renewable energy, conservation, rural development, and family farm and ranch issues,” said NeFU President John Hansen.  “He does his homework, understands the issues, and is a respected and thoughtful advocate of family farm and ranch agriculture.  We particularly appreciate his “open door” approach to working with everyone in the rural community.”

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

NeFU Sponsors Renewable Energy Forum

For Immediate Release                                       Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815


LINCOLN (September 2, 2015) – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) President John Hansen announced that his organization is sponsoring a free public renewable energy forum at the Lifelong Learning Center, 701 Benjamin Avenue, Norfolk starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 10th.  The forum will focus on the importance and potential of farm based renewable energy, including wind and solar from farm to commercial scale use.  He encourages the public to attend.

Neligh area farmer Art Tanderup and his solar installer Martin Kleinschmit of Hartington will discuss the process and financing used to install a solar electric generation system at Art’s farm.  Solar energy is increasingly being used by farmers and small businesses, and in communities around the state.

Lyle Kathol, Dean of the Applied Technology Division of Northeast Community College will discuss the state’s only Wind Energy Technology Associate of Applied Science degree program that his school sponsors for wind technicians needed to operate the growing number of wind farms in northeast Nebraska.

By the end of 2016, 72% the state’s wind energy generation capacity will be located in northeast Nebraska with 952 MW’s of the state’s 1,316 MW’s in the area served by Northeast Community College in Norfolk.  Renewable energy is the fastest growing source of new tax base, farm income, and local jobs in rural northeast Nebraska.  Those 545 area wind turbines need technicians to service them.

Rev. Kim Morrow, Executive Director of Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light will discuss the importance of renewable energy as part of the religious community’s moral response to the growing challenges posed by climate change.

John Atkeison, a long time analyst, researcher, and writer on renewable energy, climate change, and wildlife issues will present the findings of the University of Nebraska’s report “Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska”.  The report was prepared for the Legislature as a result of LB583 passed in 2013 sponsored by Sen. Ken Haar and signed by Governor Heineman.

John Hansen, NeFU President and Co-Chair of the Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference will provide an update on the status of wind development in Nebraska, pending renewable energy legislation in the Legislature, and topics to be covered in the upcoming 2015 Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference to be held in Omaha November 4-5th.  Hansen will also highlight the enormous economic opportunities renewable energy offers rural communities struggling to diversify and grow their tax bases, increase farm incomes, and create new good paying jobs that help rural kids stay in the rural communities they love.

NeFU Brings Six Members to Washington for Fly-in

For Immediate Release                        Contact:      John Hansen 402-476-8815

LINCOLN, NE  (September 1, 2015) – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) President John Hansen announced today that six NeFU members will participate in the fall National Farmers Union Fly-In scheduled for September 15-18.  Hansen said this year there was also a targeted Fly-In last May focused on opposing the repeal of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) in the House of Representatives.

“There is no substitute for bringing farmers and ranchers to Washington to visit directly with their Congressional delegation and the Administration on the issues of the day that impact their operations.   They are the experts on how different public policies impact their farming and ranching operations.  Fly-Ins is grassroots democracy in action,” Hansen said.

The top three issues that will be discussed this fall in the NFU Fly-In will include COOL, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and several trade issues including expanding trade with Cuba and opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership that fails to deal with the trade distorting impacts of currency devaluation and Value Added Taxes (VATS) have on trade.

Hansen said that NeFU has fought to establish COOL for domestically produced food products since 1984.  He said, “It is extremely frustrating that the four adverse WTO rulings on COOL leaves the U.S. bound by a completely bizarre ruling that does not allow for a path forward for U.S. mandatory COOL, but still allows 70 other countries in the world to continue to have some sort of mandatory COOL in force.  “COOL provides food producers with the ability to identify and differentiate their own products in their own domestic market.  COOL provides U.S. food consumers with the ability to make informed buying decisions about the food they buy for their families.  Polls continue to show that 90% of food consumers want to know where their food comes from.”

Farmers Union has long championed the benefits and value of the RFS, and will be continuing to encourage Congress to support the original EPA annual ethanol production targets.  “Given the collapse of domestic grain prices to below the cost of production for many producers, the last thing we ought to be doing right now is reducing the amount of ethanol we produce from domestic grains,” Hansen said.

“Last year the U.S. balance of trade deficit was $504 billion, which is approximately 3% of our nation’s GNP.  Since 1994, the cumulative balance of trade deficit is over $9 trillion.  Current trade policy is not working for American citizens.  Our public officials need to need to deal with the real world issues of currency manipulation and Value Added Taxes that other countries have and the U.S. does not that puts the U.S. at a 19% disadvantage for products coming in and products going out.  Our nation simply cannot afford to continue to run annual trade deficits of $504 billion,” Hansen said.

NeFU Urges Higher RFS Levels

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                     Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815
July 27, 2015                                                                                                                                               

NeFU Strongly Urges Administration to Comply with RFS Levels in EISA Statute

LINCOLN (July 27, 2015) – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) President John Hansen submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the administration to set Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligations to the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) statutory levels.

“NeFU strongly believes the volume standards issued in EPA’s proposed rule for RFS target levels represent a substantial but unnecessary step backwards relative to renewable energy development. The proposed EPA production targets send negative signals that will hurt investment. The EPA delay in proposing the production targets for 2014, 2015, and 2016 will not be finalized until the end of 2015. These production targets are supposed to be done in advance of the production years. The production levels reductions themselves are unnecessarily hurtful, and the lateness of the regulations is simply inexcusable,” said Hansen. “NeFU strongly urges the administration to comply with the RFS levels already provided in the popular, bipartisan EISA statute.”

“The proposed, lower volume standards reward the oil industry for not increasing consumer choice and dragging their feet with retail blender pump deployment. The proposed EPA volume standards ignore the will of Congress. Congress mandated these production levels, and for less than good cause, EPA rolls them back. That is very concerning,” said Hansen. “EPA should hold the oil industry to the proposed targets. That would be consistent with the Administration’s support for renewable fuel development, and the need to build the consumer retail fuels infrastructure necessary to use higher-level ethanol blends.”

Hansen noted the proposed rule is inconsistent with the administration’s climate resiliency goals and policies that are needed to mitigate the threats climate change poses to family agriculture. He said the RFS is a forward looking roadmap for renewable energy that is good for the economy, the rural economy in particular, energy independence, air quality, and carbon and GHG emission reductions.

“EPA should pursue GHG emission reductions at every opportunity to try to mitigate climate change as much as possible,” said Hansen. “The RFS offers tremendous capacity to reduce GHGs by encouraging the use of transportation fuels that emit fewer GHGs than petroleum-based transportation fuels.

“NeFU respectfully asks EPA and the Obama Administration to reverse the unnecessary step backwards the EPA proposed production targets represents. Our nation needs to move forward with more renewable energy production, not backwards, especially given the projected size of the 2015 corn crop and the painful drop in corn and grain prices. Common sense needs to prevail in this major economic and environmental regulation. The proposed EPA ethanol production standards need to be reversed.”

Tell EPA to Support the RFS

For Immediate Release                                                               

Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815


NeFU Asks Consumers to Tell EPA to Support the RFS


Lincoln, NE.  Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) announced it will host an information booth at the Neil Young concert at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln Saturday to help consumers send written or electronic comments to EPA in support of the original RFS production targets through their public comment process.  The EPA public comment deadline is July 27th.

“We are pleased that our long-time friend Neil Young is coming back to Lincoln.  Neil has been a long-time advocate for home-grown renewable energy, including ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, wind, solar, and biodiesel,” said John Hansen, President of Nebraska Farmers Union. “NeFU was pleased to welcome Neil Young, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp and their friends Steppenwolf, Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, and John Denver along with the Grateful Dead via satellite to Lincoln for their third Farm Aid concert September 19, 1987, and we are pleased to welcome Neil Young back to Lincoln and Nebraska.

NeFU will have postcards from the Nebraska Corn Board for public comments to EPA in support of the original production targets for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  NeFU will also have information on how to go to the Growth Energy website to send in comments to EPA electronically.

The Growth Energy website has a user friendly link that makes it easy and simple for the public to send their comments to EPA in support of the RFS.  That link is:

NeFU has been a pioneering state leader in the development of home-grown renewable energy, including ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, wind energy, solar energy, biodiesel, biomass, and landfill gas through public education and legislative efforts.  “Renewable energy reduces carbon emissions, improves air quality, provides new tax bases, new jobs, new value added profitable markets for farm commodities, and represents a responsible and sustainable future,” said John Hansen.

NeFU praised and thanked Neil Young and Farm Aid’s long-standing support of the Nebraska Farm Crisis Hotline, the longest continuously operating farm crisis hotline in America.  NeFU, along with members of the faith community and other farm organizations through the sponsorship of Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska formed the Nebraska Farm Crisis Hotline in 1984. Through the (800) 464-0258 Hotline number, rural people in crisis can access trained professional counselors who help them get the services they need, including emergency food assistance, legal assistance, financial counseling, mediation services, and mental health vouchers used to access the statewide system of ag knowledgeable professional mental health counselors.  “A friend in need is a friend indeed, and Neil Young and Farm Aid have been a friend to thousands of Nebraska family farmers and ranchers in their time of need for the past 31 years,” concluded John Hansen, a 25 year Board of Director of the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline.

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

NeFU Testifies at RFS Hearing in KC

For Immediate Release                                           Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815

June 25, 2015


NeFU Testifies at EPA RFS Hearing in Kansas City


Kansas City, KS:  Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) Vice President Vern Jantzen of Plymouth represented Nebraska Farmers Union at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing on their proposed ethanol production targets for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Jantzen’s testimony took EPA to task for their failure to get the production targets finalized in advance of the production years, and also for the target levels themselves.  In his testimony, Jantzen said:

“Timing:  EPA is inexcusably late with their decision.  EPA was under obligation to set the production targets, and propose and finalize the rules well before the 2014 production year began to give the ethanol industry the certainty it needs to prepare for the next year.  The 2014 production year has already come and gone.  The 2015 rules will not be finalized until the year is mostly over.  It remains to be seen if the proposed rule is finalized before the 2016 production year begins.  In our view, EPA’s failure to set production targets in advance of production years is inexcusable, and damaging to the ethanol industry by virtue of the uncertainty it creates.”

“Production levels:  EPA flat out blew the setting of targets.  We believe the proposed targets are not consistent with the intent of Congress.  In our view, EPA bought a bogus blend wall problem argument from the oil industry.  The oil industry is the source of any real or imagined blend wall problem by virtue of the fact they have failed to make higher retail ethanol blend options available to the consuming public.  They have denied fuel consumers the ability to purchase E85, E30, and E15 blends, and then claim there is a blend wall problem.  EPA’s proposed production targets rewards the oil industry for dragging their feet on the retailing of higher grade ethanol blends.”

“Summary:  EPA’s proposed ethanol production targets are not consistent with the Administration’s efforts to reduce the carbon emissions that drive global warming, not consistent with the intent of Congress, not consistent with our nation’s efforts to improve air quality, and not consistent with the needs of production agriculture and rural America that is facing a dramatic downturn in commodity prices for corn.  EPA’s proposed production targets hurt our ethanol industry, and our nation’s corn producers and the rural communities they live in.  We urge EPA to pull back their proposed rule, and stick with the original legislatively set targets for 2015 and 2016.  Thank you again for the opportunity to testify.”