Governor impressed with new ag director's experience on trade
There’s little time to learn on the job, as the new state ag director takes on big challenges and Gov. Pete Ricketts says Steve Wellman is well-qualified to lead.
“I couldn't be more excited to have Steve Wellman to be our 27th director for the Department of Agriculture,” Ricketts said.
A family farmer from southeast Nebraska, Wellman raises crops and cattle.
“We're on the same farm that my grandfather bought and where my dad was born,” he said.
The governor’s choice to lead the state Department of Agriculture spent his first day on the job visiting ag leaders at the Nebraska Farm Bureau convention in Kearney.
In a state that relies on exports, Wellman’s experiences with international trade impressed the governor.
Ricketts said, “I got a chance to see Steve work in action on our European trade mission and I know he's going to do a fantastic job of representing Nebraska.”
Wellman was president of the American Soybean Association and has traveled extensively, and will now be the face of Nebraska agriculture and home and around the globe.
“Nebraska brand does mean something,” he said. “The relationships that have been built by Nebraska agriculture and governors over all those years and the industry itself to those customers - it is a relationship business and we want to continue to reach out and build on those relationships.”
Wellman supports free trade with Canada and Mexico, currently up for negotiations, and other trade deals.
He also supports the governor’s objectives of growing the state through expansion of livestock and ethanol.
He said, “That was the one thing that really impressed me was the governor's understanding of how important agriculture is to the State of Nebraska.”
The 56-year-old farmer and his wife Susan have two grown children, Sarah and Tyler.
He said he’s proud to be part of the team, promoting the industry he loves.