Before his time in the Unicameral, he was a member of the Metropolitan Utilities District board for nearly thirty years. He’s sponsored energy policy bills in the Legislature, including one in 2015 that he says “leveled the playing field” for renewable resources like wind and solar to compete with coal and natural gas. “Nebraska has had the fastest growing renewable energy situation in the entire country,” he says. “We are number three in wind resources, and we need to fully capture that source of energy to make our environment more clean and more healthy.”
The next step, McCollister says, is using net metering to incentivize individual energy contributions to the grid through solar panels and wind turbines. And moving outside of energy policy and looking at the future of the state as a whole, he backed up what many have said is key to keeping jobs and industry within Nebraska: an expansion of trade education, training people for specialized jobs. Read more here and listen to the full interview on July 12, 2019.
Photo Credit: Nebraska Unicameral Information Office
Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) presented Representative Jeff Fortenberry with the Golden Triangle Award, National Farmers Union’s (NFU) highest legislative honor. The award was presented recently as part of the annual NFU fall Fly-In that brought 380 Farmers Union members from across the country to Washington, DC to share their views and concerns with their elected officials. Fortenberry was one of 26 House and Senate members honored this year. The Golden Triangle is an annual award presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Continue reading here.
Nebraska’s March flooding offers a significant test case. With an estimated $1.4 billion in damage and 81 of its 93 counties eligible for disaster aid, the state is moving to repair its infrastructure. It’s an opportunity Mayor Moenning here in Norfolk doesn’t want to pass up. “When we fix mangled highways, why not put in place the fiber optics and telecommunications infrastructure that addresses that rural broadband gap that politicians have talked about for so long?” he asks. Instead of fixing the region’s two-lane highways, why not the four-lane corridors that rural Nebraskans were promised decades ago? Let’s “rebuild electricity transmission infrastructure that helps meet growing market demands for clean energy and accommodates the renewable energy generation potential that the state has in abundance,” he adds. Read more here.
By Bryce Oates, Climate, Rural Environment and Agriculture Project, Civil Eats
Despite the heated political rhetoric on both sides of the issue, the realities of the changing climate are driving farmers of all stripes to take action . . . [The] evidence that agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—as well the role farm practices can play in both mitigating and helping farmers adapt to climate change—has only mounted. And while some advocates are working to bring the conversation to the fore among rural communities, others are more focused on supporting farmers to change their practices and build healthy soil, regardless of what language they use. Read the entire articlehere.
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Nebraska Farmers Union Nebraska Farmers Union members approved five top priorities for 2018 at their last state convention. These Special Orders of Business include: Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and Net Metering: The members of the Nebraska Farmers Union support an increase of the maximum guaranteed access level for net-metering from 25 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts. Secondly, the members support changing and updating current state law to allow single owners the option of aggregating their multiple meters for the purpose of net metering.
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Nebraska Farmers Union members approved five top priorities for 2018 at their recent state convention. These Special Orders of Business are:
#1: Special Order of Business on the Farm Bill and Prolonged Farm Crisis #2: Special Order of Business on Property Tax Relief #3: Special Order of Business Supporting the Use of a Private Public Partnership #4: Special Order of Business on Net Metering The members of the Nebraska Farmers Union support an increase of the maximum guaranteed access level for net-metering from 25 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts. Secondly, the members support changing and updating current state law to allow single owners the option of aggregating their multiple meters for the purpose of net metering. #5: Special Order of Business on Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS)
Click here for complete details about all five NeFU top priorities for 2018.
State tax reform and renewable energy are topics this weekend for the 104th Nebraska Farmers Union State Convention at the Hotel Grand in Grand Island. “Harnessing the Power of Cooperation Since 1913” is the convention’s theme . . . [Nebraska Farmers Union President John] Hansen said wind energy and ethanol are value-added, renewable energy-based opportunities. They use natural resources and agricultural commodities available or grown in Nebraska. The state has more than a $7 billion investment in ethanol and wind energy resources. “It is not the total answer, but it is a big deal,” Hansen said. “It is a tremendous opportunity that stares us in the face in a time of great financial need.” He said the continued economic crisis is driving families off farms and ranches. It is also causing rural communities to lose population. Read more here.
Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen announced that eight NeFU members will participate in the National Farmers Union Fly-In scheduled for Sept. 10 to 13 joining nearly 300 other Farmers Union members from across the country. Hansen said this year is particularly important because this is the fourth year in a row of below cost of production ag commodity prices . . . This year, the Fly-In will focus on the need to strengthen the farm safety net in the next farm bill; support homegrown renewable energy development; and ensure family farmers and ranchers have access to affordable and quality health care.
Read more here, including the names of all eight Nebraska representatives in this year’s National Farmers Union Fall Fly-In.
Graham Christensen grew up immersed in values of public service, integrity, education and all the responsibilities that come from work on a family farm. His family farm, established in 1867 under the Homestead Act, operates on about 800 acres in his hometown of Oakland, just north of Fremont.
Christensen also grew up in the era of the 1980s farm crisis, where he learned the value of hard work. He came to understand that when a person runs up against difficult times, maintaining the ability to speak out for what you believe imparts great purpose and impact on individuals’ own circumstances, as well as on the surrounding community. Read morehere.
Photo: Courtesy GC Resolve. Graham Christensen, founder and owner of GC Resolve, is working on a solar project for a Nebraska family farm.
“There is a large and united coalition growing in Nebraska. It started with the pipeline and it is moving into clean energy,” said Graham Christensen, Director of the Nebraska Farmers Union, and member of a new coalition called Clean Energy Nebraska. “There are a lot of people working hand in hand. There is no going backward,” he said. The Farmer’s Union, the Nebraska Wildlife Federation, The Nebraska Sierra Club and The Center for Rural Affairs are members. Each organization appeals to a different audience. Continue reading.
Clean Energy Nebraska’s Website: www.cleanenergynebraska.org
Photo: Graham Christensen, District Director of the Nebraska Farmers Union, Owner of GC Resolve LLC
Art Tanderup discusses the solar panels he uses to generate electricity at his Neligh-area farm during a renewable energy forum Thursday night in Norfolk. Since January, the panels have supplied 82.5 percent of the energy he’s used, which decreased his energy bill by 66 percent compared to the same time frame in 2014.
By Christina Lieffring, Columbus Telegram
NORFOLK – The Nebraska Farmers Union organized a forum Thursday evening at Northeast Community College’s Lifelong Learning Center, where presenters discussed renewable energy’s impact on the economy, climate change and faith.
NECC’s dean of applied technology, Lyle Kathol, first presented on the opportunities for students and professionals with the development of wind energy in Nebraska. NECC offers the state’s only wind energy technology associate degree, a two-year program that trains students to work in construction or repair of wind turbines.