Property taxes, trade top Nebraska Farm Bureau agenda for 2019

December 6, 2018

KEARNEY - Property taxes and trade are the top priorities of the Nebraska Farm Bureau as we head into a new year.

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said the organization will keep at it when the Unicameral returns for a new session in January.

“Finding a solution and a resolution to the property tax issue remains the number one state priority,” Nelson told approximately 350 gathered for the Nebraska Farm Bureau annual meeting in Kearney.

Property tax relief is getting closer, Nelson assured those attending the convention, stating the atmosphere has changed at the Capitol, with most senators agreeing property tax relief is needed; now he says a solution must be reached.

Nelson asked and answered his own question: what does it take to pass property tax reform? Thirty-three votes, he stated.

It takes 33 votes to overcome a filibuster in the Unicameral. Partnerships are needed to get that many votes, according to Nelson, who says the Farm Bureau is laser-focused on accomplishing the task.

Nationally, the Nebraska Farm Bureau hopes for expanded trade and Nelson said the key to brokering a deal with China is working to reach agreement with other countries. Nelson said few things create more uncertainty and downward pressure on commodity prices than trade disruptions.

He said negotiations, not tariffs, provide the best path to resolving trade disputes.

“Getting trade deals done with the EU, Japan and others is the best way to apply more pressure and give us more leverage as we negotiate with China,” Nelson said.

China is the largest customer for United States soybeans and the third largest trading partner for Nebraska agricultural products. China has been accused of abusive trade practices, especially the stealing of intellectual property, including technological advancements in agriculture.

New markets must be developed for Nebraska agriculture to be successful, according to Nelson.

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