KEARNEY — Gov. Pete Ricketts will host the 32nd annual Governor’s Ag Conference set for Monday, March 9, and Tuesday, March 10, at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney.

The annual event gives producers and agri-business leaders in Nebraska an opportunity to discuss the state’s number one industry and strategies to support future growth in agriculture.

“The Governor’s Ag Conference brings together Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers and industry leaders for a conversation about the important issues that matter to all of us,” Ricketts said. “From growing Nebraska agriculture through entrepreneurship to developing emerging markets, the future of the ag industry in Nebraska depends on people willing to lead and learn. I hope you will join us in Kearney for this special event.”

Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman said knowledgeable experts at local, state and federal levels have already committed to speaking at this year’s Governor’s Ag Conference.

The conference starts at 3:30 p.m. Monday with a panel presentation featuring Nebraska entrepreneurs Sara Holmquist, Normal Roasting Co.; Matthew Brugger, Upstream Farms; Jeff Hornug, Blue River Trucks; Hannah Esch, Oak Barn Beef; and Steve Tippery, RealmFive Agriculture. Tom Field of the University of Nebraska’s Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program will moderate this panel presentation that will include questions from the audience.

A “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception featuring an assortment of food and beverages from Nebraska follows at 6 p.m.

The conference resumes at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday with Michele Payn of Cause Matters Corp. and author of “Food Bullying: How to Avoid Buying B.S.” Payn will provide insights into eating choices by challenging food beliefs and identifying neuromarketing tactics used to generate food sales.

Next on the agenda will be a panel presentation addressing new and emerging markets in Nebraska. Panelists include Tyler and Amy Bruch of Cyclone Farms, Inc., and Jacob Robison with the Nebraska Hops Growers Association.

Andrei Iancu, undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, will then talk about growing start-up companies in Nebraska.

The Governor’s Ag Conference is coordinated by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and co-sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America. A $125 registration fee covers activities and food for the entire conference. Registration and more information is available at or by calling NDA at (800) 831-0550.

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