News

Census of Ag: 370,619 U.S. producers report military service

Conducted every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Census of Agriculture is a count of all U.S. farms and ranches and the producers who operate them.

A question about veteran status was a new addition to the Census released last month. Here are a few takeaways:

Expansion efforts hit snags in states where voters expand coverage

On April 1, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) submitted a State Plan Amendment to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for review. The plan is a key first step to expanding the state’s Medicaid program to provide health insurance to those in the coverage gap. Pending approval, the plan outlines an October 2020 timeline for enrollment. This leaves hardworking Nebraskans in the coverage gap for nearly two years after the passage of the ballot Initiative 427.

Farm bill implementation ahead

The final farm bill passed in December 2018. Now, our attention turns to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is responsible for enacting the farm bill. Below describes how and when your input is particularly valuable.

Your rural voice: striking a property tax balance with LB 614

The Center for Rural Affairs agrees that property taxes are too high and local schools and government entities are forced to be too reliant on property taxes. This reliance upon property taxes for education and local government demands even the most comprehensive property tax relief plan receive careful scrutiny as these institutions underpin the existence of rural communities. Although we recognize that farmers and ranchers often bear the greatest tax burden, our mission is to support policy that builds strong rural communities and provides opportunity for all rural people. LB 614 achieves that policy goal.

From the desk of the executive director: Is industrial hemp an opportunity?

The most recent farm bill establishes a roadmap for the cultivation of industrial hemp. Congress was right to loosen the restriction on growing this crop, a non-psychoactive relative of marijuana.

Each state now has the opportunity to establish a regulatory framework under which industrial hemp may be cultivated. If a state does not act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will develop a uniform framework that will be applied in the state. The Center for Rural Affairs supports a bill working its way through the Nebraska Legislature to establish the framework in our home state.

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