Governor highlights how manufacturing adds value to Nebraska ag products

    Gov. Pete Ricketts shakes hands with a member of the Nebraska Rural Water Association, as he shared a message about National Ag Week 2019 in Kearney (NTV News)

    For corn and cattle, there's no place like Nebraska. But the state is also strong in turning those products into food and fuel.

    As the governor proclaims Ag Week, it’s a reminder the state’s top industry is closely linked to industry number two.

    “The second leading industry in Nebraska is manufacturing. A lot of that is focused on agriculture. Pivot irrigation systems manufactured here, machinery manufactured here,” said Steve Wellman, Director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

    According to the National Association of Manufacturers, food processing is by far the biggest category for the state. Nebraska leads the nation in red meat production.

    Among the other major products are chemicals like fertilizer, and farm machinery.

    In other words – most of the stuff made in Nebraska is either raised on the farm, or made for farmers.

    Wellman said, “We don't always talk about that a lot but manufacturing and the jobs that are created there certainly have an impact on agriculture.”

    Gov. Ricketts said many of the projects that helped the state earn the Governor’s Cup from Site Selection magazine are in ag.

    “Projects like Veramaris in Blair or Michael Foods in Wakefield. When those agricultural companies expand, it helps create more jobs in our state that are not directly production agriculture, but are still ag-related,” Ricketts said.

    Governor Ricketts likes to talk about what experts call the golden triangle.

    “We are so well positioned here in Nebraska with the corn we grow, the ethanol we produce and distiller's grain that comes from that to be able to feed to livestock,” he said.

    So as the governor proclaims agriculture week in Nebraska, the state looks for more ways to take what farmers grow, and turn it into food and fuel consumers want.

    “As you add value and increase processing and everything that goes in to the final product, the more we can do here in Nebraska the more we can build our economy,” Steve Wellman said.

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