Ricketts names new Nebraska Department of Agriculture director
LINCOLN – On Dec. 4 Governor Pete Ricketts introduced Steve Wellman as the new Director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Steve operates a fourth-generation family farm near Syracuse, Neb., and brings broad experience from leadership roles in both state and local ag associations.
“My administration’s vision is to grow Nebraska, and our state’s number one industry is absolutely critical to realizing this goal,” said Governor Ricketts. “As a family farmer and respected leader in Nebraska agriculture, Steve brings broad experience to the position having served in leadership in ag organizations at the state and local level. He will be a voice for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families, and will work to expand market access, add value to our quality commodities, and advocate for property tax relief.”
Steve, 56, owns and operates a family farm producing soybeans, corn, wheat, alfalfa and cattle. Steve’s wife, Susan, works as a public school teacher. They have two grown children. In addition to the family farm, Steve has experience as a tax consultant, and has served on the advisory board of American National Bank and Community Memorial Hospital Board of Directors.
“As a family farmer, I understand the importance of a successful ag sector to our communities and the entire state,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “I will put my background to work to raise Nebraska’s profile both nationally and internationally as well as fight for property tax relief. Working together, we can grow opportunities for Nebraska’s next generation of ag producers.”
Steve served on several industry committees, most notably on the Agricultural Advisory Committees for Governor Ricketts and President Donald Trump. He also brings experience representing Nebraska’s soybean farmers with the Nebraska Soybean Association and the American Soybean Association. He has served as President and Chairman of the ASA. Through these organizations he has worked on both international trade and government policy. Steve helped to lead and participated in several international trade missions as a member of these groups. During these trade missions, he focused on reducing and eliminating trade barriers, advocated for Nebraska’s high-quality agricultural products, and built relationships with international partners.
Steve holds an associate degree in production agriculture from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. He is a member of the American Farm Bureau, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Ag Builders of Nebraska, and Outstanding Farmers of America. He was named as the Nebraska Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer in 1989. He is a member of Luther Memorial Church.
Steve’s first day as director will be Dec. 5. His salary will be $115,000.
This appointment follows Director Greg Ibach, who was named Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture by President Trump.