The NGage economic development group heard a presentation from an official with A-FAN during it’s regular Thursday meeting.

A-FAN (Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska) executive director Willow Holoubek said the group works to protect and promote agricultural services in Nebraska, and awareness remains a key issue.

“Consumers today really don’t care about agriculture, they just want to know where their food comes from because they don’t make that connection,” she said. “They don’t care about either beef or pork, they want to talk about food. We’re here to talk about food. Our number one mission is to support livestock production here in Nebraska.”

Holoubek went on to discuss the role agriculture will play in economic development efforts through Gage County and the state, saying the return rate of crops and livestock to the community will ensure their role in the future economy.

“For every $1 of crop production in your county, it will create 59 cents of additional income that will go into mostly agribusiness, but also just into your economy as a whole,” she said. “By adding that into our natural resources, which is our crop land, you will find that for every $1 of livestock sales, it creates an extra 62 cents in non-agriculture sales.”

According to statistics from A-FAN, sales of agriculture-related manufacturing totaled more than $25 billion in 2010, amounting to around 30 percent more than the combined production value of crops and livestock at the farm and ranch levels.

Holoubek said crop production in Nebraska has grown faster than livestock production, having the undesirable result of some livestock being exported out of the state.

“Because of that dis-balance we are actually exporting out of our state and taking away opportunity by exporting a third of our corn production… and 25 percent of the pigs that are born here in Nebraska, once they’re weaned, are exported out of the state to be fed,” she said. “Then they’re brought back into the state to be processed into food.”

Reach Scott Koperski at scott.koperski@beatricedailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottKoperski.

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