Ricketts names new NDA director
December 22, 2017
Ricketts names new NDA director
LINCOLN, Neb. – On Dec. 4, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts introduced Steve Wellman as the new director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
Wellman 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 No. 1 industry is absolutely critical to realizing this goal," Ricketts said. "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." Wellman, 56, owns and operates a family farm producing soybeans, corn, wheat, alfalfa and cattle. Wellman'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." Wellman served on several industry committees, most notably on the Agricultural Advisory Committees for Gov. 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. Wellman 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. Wellman holds an associate degree in production agriculture from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. 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.
Perdues honored by YF&R
KEARNEY, Neb. — Jason and Karah Perdue of York were named the recipient of the 2017 Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award. The award was given Dec. 5, at the Membership Recognition luncheon during the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation's 100th Annual Convention held Dec. 3-5 in Kearney, Neb. Jason and Karah Perdue, of York County Farm Bureau, were recognized for their ongoing involvement and commitment to agriculture. The Excellence in Agriculture Award is designed to recognize young farmers and ranchers for their contribution and involvement in Farm Bureau and agriculture. Candidates for the award are judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other civic, service and community organizations. The Perdues attended the Northwest Missouri State University and Jason received a bachelor of science degree in agriculture business and then a bachelor of science degree in finance – financial services. Karah received a bachelor of science degree with a double major in agriculture business and animal science. They married after college and have four children, Annah 8, Lane 7, Bennett 4 and Jase who is 2. Jason works for a family owned ag retail company that distributes crop protection products. He serves as a branded products territory manager, and essentially helps salesmen across four states work with their customers to find products that will bring individual growers the best solutions for their farms. These products include adjuvants, starter fertilizers, foliar fertilizers, biologicals and actives. "I am lucky that I get to engage with the individual growers to help them understand ways to increase yields and their overall returns. I get to see many different cropping practices from no till to conventional till, irrigated to dryland, seasoned veterans to new and beginning farmers. I also get to take ideas from all the salesmen and growers and work with our development team to build new products from the ground up. I love being involved in an agriculture-related business," Jason said. While Karah is technically a stay-at-home mom, she is responsible for taking care of the day-to-day activities for the Perdue's contract poultry operation. She also is an instructor for water aerobics and various other fitness classes where she has a dedicated following of attendees. Teaching swim lessons and "water babies," an infant/toddler swim program, are just a couple more things she does throughout the year. "I try very hard to give of my time when it comes to volunteering whenever needed. This ranges from helping in the classroom of the school to working with the local extension office to bring agriculture awareness to local children. I also find time to take care of the guys on the farm by running to get parts or making sure they don't go without at least one good meal during planting and harvesting," Karah said. NFB has been a big part of their lives in rural Nebraska serving as at-large members of the State Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. They also have served in various positions on their local York County Farm Bureau board, most recently Jason as President and Karah as secretary treasurer. Karah has served on Nebraska Farm Bureau's State Legislative Policy Committee, participated in the Leadership Academy and both are Ag Pen Pals. Jason is on the York County Extension Board, the York County Board of Equalization, the York County Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Poultry Industries Board and both are active in St. Joseph's church in York. Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 can apply for the Young Farmer and Rancher Excellence in Agriculture award. As Nebraska winners the Perdue's will receive $500 and an all-expenses paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Convention in Nashville in January 2018 to compete in the contest at the national level.
Ueberrheins take home YF&R award
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LINCOLN, NEB. — Ryan and Lindsey Ueberrhein of Elkhorn were honored as Nebraska Farm Bureau's 2017 Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement in Agriculture award winners at the Nebraska Farm Bureau 100th Annual Convention on Dec. 5 at the Younes Convention Center in Kearney. Farm Bureau members 18 to 35 years of age apply for the award. The Ueberrhein's were selected on the basis of performance in farm or ranch management, setting and achieving goals, overcoming obstacles, and service to the community and Farm Bureau. The Ueberrheins farm near Valley, Neb., in Douglas County, where Ryan grew up. They grow corn and soybeans on about 1,800 acres. Ryan also helps his dad, John, with his greenhouse business, State Street Greenhouse, where Ryan helps when needed with selling flowers that are grown out of the greenhouse and sold at a farmers' market in the metropolitan city of Omaha. Ryan is a 2010 graduate of Southeast Community College with an associate of applied science degree in fire protection technology. Lindsey earned her cosmetology license from Capitol School of Hairstyling in 2005. Lindsey works full time as a self-employed hairstylist in Omaha. The Ueberrhein's balance busy schedules with farm life, volunteer activities and with Nebraska Farm Bureau. Ryan started farming part-time in 2009, renting his first 30 acres and using his Dad's machinery in exchange for labor on the family farm. In 2012, he formed a partnership with a friend who couldn't farm anymore due to a traffic accident. "This allowed us to grow our farm to more than 1,000 acres," Ryan said. "Since 2013, I have been able to add newer equipment with the latest technology available. I was also more involved with my parent's farm, converting 208 acres of dryland to irrigated and putting up two center pivots. I built a shop with my dad, so now, I could do most of the equipment repairs myself." In 2017, things changed dramatically for the Ueberrhein's, Ryan's mom, Karen passed away and his dad turned a majority of the day-to-day farming operation over to Ryan and his younger brother Jason. A neighboring farmer decided to retire, allowing Ryan to add approximately 500 acres to the current operation. "For us to obtain optimum profitability, we use special software to manage input and operational costs, allowing us to develop specific costs per acre to obtain the highest efficiency for each acre, I do most of the grain marketing myself, but I do rely on guidance from a marketing firm to help with the fast-changing domestic and global markets," Ryan said. The Ueberrhein's currently are serving their second term on the state YF&R committee, representing the Southeast district. Ryan also serves as vice president of the Douglas County Farm Bureau board. He was appointed to the state of Nebraska Beginning Farmer Board in 2015, serves as an EMT/firefighter for the Valley Fire and Rescue department and is vice president of the department. As winners of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award, the Ueberrhein's will receive a $500 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to the 2018 American Farm Bureau convention in Nashville in January, where they will compete in the national contest.❖