Gov. Pete Ricketts announced the agenda for the 29th Annual Governor’s Ag Conference, an important event for farmers, ranchers, ag leaders and key agri-business managers in Nebraska. The conference is scheduled for March 14-15 at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney.

“As we celebrate Nebraska’s 150th birthday this year, we praise the pioneers who worked the land and gave the state such a solid foundation. It took Nebraska grit for our ancestors to come to what was then considered as the Great American Desert and turn it into some of the most valuable agricultural land in the world,” said Ricketts. “This conference is a way to support Nebraska’s producers by identifying new opportunities and promoting the Nebraska brand of ag products to keep the state’s number one industry growing for the next 150 years and beyond.”

The Governor’s Ag conference speakers understand the importance of Nebraska agriculture and the role it plays in the economic well-being of the state. The theme, “Riding the Nebraska Brand” through domestic and international trade, will be a prevailing topic throughout the conference. Speakers will also address economic development in rural Nebraska; the importance of effective partnerships.

“Agriculture is the backbone of this state,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach. “The Governor’s Ag Conference is an opportunity to keep current in our industry and to network with colleagues, share ideas and concerns, and prepare for the future. I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in agriculture to attend.”

The conference starts March 14 at 3:30 p.m. with welcomes and remarks from Governor Ricketts and Director Ibach.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda is a panel discussion on economic development in rural Nebraska. The panel features Broken Bow’s community leaders from city government, the Chamber of Commerce, and agriculture, including specialists in purchasing, production and finance.

The annual “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception begins at 6 p.m. on March 14 and features a mix of Nebraska food products and entertainment by leadership expert and author Rhett Laubach.

The conference resumes on March 15 featuring the following speakers and topics:

• Doug Carr, senior account executive at Firespring, who will discuss domestic trade and the value of a brand;

• Bobby Richey Jr., deputy administrator of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, who will discuss working with USDA/Foreign Ag Service and Nebraska’s international branding efforts;

• Dr. Michael Boehm, vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UN-L and vice president for NU’s Agriculture and Natural Resources who will discuss people, places, partnerships and possibilities.

Anyone interested in agriculture issues is invited to attend. A $100 registration fee covers participation at activities on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Registration and additional information is available online at www.nda.nebraska.gov, or by calling NDA toll-free at (800) 831-0550.