October 21, 2013

Agribusiness Virtual Roundtable–Jerry Warner


*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.

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Jerry Warner, Farmers National

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?

Nebraska's strength in agriculture is of utmost importance to Farmers National Company. A vibrant ag economy contributes to strong land values, good rental rates and profits for land owners, which strengthens the overall economy of the state. The impact on the economies of Lincoln and Omaha is far greater than most people realize.

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 must continue to increase both irrigated and dryland corn production in Nebraska. We must be more efficient water users everywhere, but especially in the more limited aquifers. If rural and urban interests work together, we can bring new systems into use which will conserve water and make enough available for everyone.

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?

Many people are surprised to learn that more than half of the land in NE is owned by non operating land owners, who are partners in production and very important "investors" in agriculture. Most have a rural heritage and now reside in towns and cities within the state. Our company works with this group of land owners.

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

Corn farmers absolutely must continue to invest in developing current as well as new markets for corn. As food and fuel prices increase, the checkoff is more important than ever in all aspects of market development.

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

The diversity of Nebraska agriculture is one of its tremendous strengths. It is also one of its challenges.

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