April 22, 2013

Agribusiness Virtual Roundtable–Bob Campbell


*The Business Leaders "Virtual Roundtable" discussion was gathered for the Spring 2013 CornsTalk publication. The responses of these business associates were consolidated for the publication, but you can find the full responses through this blog series.


Bob Campbell, Senior Vice President, Farm Credit Services of America (Lincoln)

How does Nebraska's strength in agriculture—and corn, livestock and ethanol specifically—influence your business/organization? How does the fact that you are located in Nebraska provide a competitive advantage or growth opportunities for you?

Farm Credit Services of America is a cooperative with the sole purpose of supporting our customer-owners in all facets of agriculture. According to a recent University of Nebraska-Lincoln economic impact study, Nebraska agriculture accounts for nearly 290,000 jobs and represents 24 percent of our workforce. With that in mind, the strength of agriculture in Nebraska and across the country is economically vital to our customer-owners and our country. Our cooperative has 14,000 customer-owners in Nebraska, and we returned $36.6 million in cash-back dividends to them in 2012 through our Patronage Program. The distribution supports our customer-owners operations and benefits the communities they call home.

What should Nebraska do to leverage its strength in agriculture to enhance economic vitality across the state—and position the state for long-term success in meeting global demand for food, feed and fuel?

We need to ensure that Nebraska provides a place where producers and businesses can thrive. We need to make sure our tax and regulatory environment allows Nebraska producers and agri-businesses to be competitive in a global market. We also need to make sure we have a common-sense approach to how we manage our natural resources so that Nebraska is a great place to live and work for generations to come.

What do you think Nebraska consumers—especially those in urban areas—need to better understand about Nebraska agriculture and your organization's relationship to agriculture?

First, consumers need to know that agricultural producers in Nebraska are committed to providing the highest quality and safest food in the country. Producers need to manage their businesses in a manner that allows them to provide a living for their families and employees and in order to accomplish that, they have to provide high quality and safe products. Since agriculture is our only focus at Farm Credit Services of America, it is important to us that consumers and agricultural producers understand each other’s needs so that everyone wins. FCSAmerica has 714 employees in 13 Nebraska retail offices and the Omaha headquarters, serving 14,000 customer-owners.

How important is it that Nebraska corn farmers continue to invest in the future of their industry through their checkoff?

We believe producers have the responsibility to promote and educate others about their products and how they are produced. The checkoff program has enabled producers to tell their story and educate the public about agriculture.

What concerns you most about the future of agriculture in Nebraska? And what will it take to address those concerns?

Nebraska is a leader in agricultural production, agri-business and ag-education. Our economic base in Nebraska is agriculture. If we want to continue to have a state that is a great place to live and work, we need to make sure that our agriculture industry is vibrant and competitive.

Fewer people are coming from a farm or ranch background which may present workforce challenges in the future. The agricultural industry is a great place to work and it is important to start talking to people who don’t have agriculture backgrounds about the career possibilities. The industry needs people with training in math, science, computer technology, biology, social sciences and many other skills.

Any other comments or perspectives regarding Nebraska agriculture that you wish to share.

As a mission-driven cooperative, we are proud to serve the men and women who work in today’s agriculture industry. Nebraska agriculture is the backbone of this state and will continue to be a source of economic development for the benefit of all of the state and rural America. We will continue our efforts to be agriculture’s most valued financial partner.

No comments:

Post a Comment