Ken Isley, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Governor’s Ag Conference March 5 in Kearney.

The conference begins the afternoon of March 4 and continues through the noon hour on March 5 at the Younes Conference Center.

“Administrator Isley works around the world to expand trade and export opportunities for American agriculture,” said Steve Wellman, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, in a news release. “We all know how important international trade is to Nebraska farmers, ranchers and agribusiness leaders, and we look forward to hearing an update from Administrator Isley on the work being done to foster and grow international agricultural trade efforts.”

NDA is coordinating the annual conference on behalf of Gov. Pete Ricketts. Farm Credit Services of America is a conference co-sponsor.

Curt Tomasevicz, a past Olympic bobsledder and former Nebraska football player, will speak March 4 at the Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture reception, sharing a message titled “Have No Fear.”

Tomasevicz  was a Cornhusker linebacker from 2000-03 and spent a decade competing for the United States National and Olympic bobsled teams, He is a two-time Olympic medalist.

The conference begins at 3:30 p.m. March 4 with a panel presentation featuring Nebraska entrepreneurs and recruiters. The panel includes representatives from three innovative Nebraska companies and three organizations involved in recruiting companies to Nebraska.

Entrepreneurs on the panel are Vishal Singh with Quantified Ag, Lukas Fricke with ChorCheck and Mitch Minarick with Farmafield. The recruiters are Phil Kozera with Bio Nebraska, Dan Duncan with Nebraska Innovation Campus and Bryan Slone with the Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The reception featuring Tomasevicz’s presentation begins 6 p.m.

The conference resumes 9 a.m. March 5 with a presentation from Jim Smith, executive director of Blueprint Nebraska, an organization spearheading a statewide, citizen-led economic development initiative.

Other speakers on March 5 will include Ricketts; Wellman; and Dave Rippe, director of the state Department of Economic Development. They will update conference participants on legislative initiatives in agriculture and highlight work being done among state agencies to grow Nebraska.

Jim Wiesemeyer with Pro Farmer will provide an update on the federal farm bill and trade policy and how they will affect farmers and ranchers.

Isley will speak at lunch, which will wrap up the conference.

The conference registration fee covers participation at activities both March 4 and March 5. After Feb. 18, the registration fee increases by $20.

For more information or to register, visit the NDA website, www.nda.nebraska.gov, or call NDA at 800-831-0550.

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