Nebraska Farming Groups Still Have a Lot of Questions About Biden's Conservation Plans

April 8, 2021, 8:13 a.m. ·

“Family farms own almost 97% of the land in Nebraska,” says Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue. (Photo courtesy University Communication/UNL)

The Nebraska Farm Bureau is expressing concern over the Biden administration’s goal of conserving 30% of the nation’s land and waters by 2030.

In a letter addressed directly to President Biden, Bureau President Mark McHargue pressed the president over how he intends to achieve his goals and what it would mean for the farmers and ranchers of the state.

“Family farms own almost 97% of the land in Nebraska,” McHargue said. “So anytime we start talking about 30% of our landmass doing ‘X’ we get very concerned because what does that mean? So my primary question to the administration was ‘we need clarity on this statement.’”

So far, McHargue said he and his constituents are still in the dark.

Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen said he brought similar questions to USDA officials this week and was told that many of the plan’s details are still in flux.

“So you have a whole bunch of folks out there who are already drilling holes in the bottom of this 30X30 boat and have all kinds of details and have all kinds of fears and all kinds of things that they're already doing and the boat is still in the building process,” said Hansen. “The boat has not yet been built.”

Still, Hansen acknowledged the administration must address landowner's concerns if it wants the backing of rural communities.

Hansen said years of conservation work have taught him that education and monetary incentive will be key in getting buy-in from landowners in Nebraska and across the nation.

A rough outline of the administration’s conservation plan is expected in late April.