I had an incredible time touring multiple agriculture facilities during the beginning of our recess period!

This Week in the District

In preparation for the upcoming Farm Bill and to enhance my work in the House Agriculture Committee, I conducted an agriculture tour Monday and Tuesday this past week in central Nebraska where I visited with Nebraska farmers and ranchers. I then concluded the tour on Wednesday with a visit to the Cooper Farm Urban Agriculture Education Center in Omaha, a 100-acre farm owned by the Omaha Home for Boys. The project is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Program, and the Omaha Home for Boys. 

Agriculture is a critical catalyst for many of the businesses of the Second Congressional District, including commodity exchange companies, processing plants, financial institutions and urban agriculture. Programs like these will help keep agriculture strong and at the forefront of national treasures now and into the future. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be there in support of the Urban Agriculture Program today. Agriculture is Nebraska’s number one industry; it contributes over $23 billion to Nebraska’s economy and food processing is the leading manufacturing industry in Nebraska so it affects the economy of the entire state. 

This week I visited various agricultural producers and business leaders. We discussed the need for affordable crop insurance, bilateral trade, healthcare and immigration reform. They told me that immigrant labor is the backbone of their business. Without the talent of these hard-working people, the entire industry would implode and adversely affect consumers. They also stressed the need to fix our broken immigration system to include securing the borders, employer verification, and an easier way to hire immigrant workers who bring a valued skillset to American farms and ranches.

I kept hearing how the Affordable Care Act has hurt farmers and ranchers due to excessive premiums and many are forced to put spouses to work outside the farm to lower their healthcare costs.  Most stated their annual healthcare expenses were between $20,000 - $30,000 for the family. 

Furthering the discussion on healthcare, I met this week with several individuals and healthcare leaders. Events included the chance to visit with the team at DaVita Dialysis in West Omaha where I received great insights on the process for treating those with kidney dysfunction. 

On Wednesday, I held a town hall for veterans I had the privilege to hear from them and their family members about the important issues of National Security and reform at Veterans Affairs. I also released my public town hall schedule and my first two are being held on Saturday, April 29: 9:00 a.m. at Gretna High School and 10:30 a.m. Millard West High School.

Finally, I visited with leadership at Boys Town and I continue to be impressed with the programs and results they have shown for 150 years. The investment they make now saves lives, repairs families and lessens the burden on society.

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