Photo: Gov. Ricketts (right) interviews former U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad (left) during today’s summit.
Today, Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed over 400 leaders to Kearney’s Younes Conference Center for the “Governor’s Summit on Ag and Economic Development,” co-hosted by the Nebraska Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development.
“Nebraska has emerged from the pandemic with the nation’s lowest unemployment, higher-than-expected revenues, and strong overall growth,” said Gov. Ricketts. “Today’s Summit convened leaders from across Nebraska committed to building on this momentum. I look forward to seeing how the collaboration at this year’s Summit turns into action to further prosper and grow our state.”
The annual Summit—a premier forum for discussing issues related to the growth of the state—recommenced this year following 2020’s postponement, with a new format and a dual focus on agriculture and economic development.
“Focusing on agriculture and economic development in the same summit meeting makes sense as great production from Nebraska agriculture means great growth for our state,” said Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman. “Today, we were able to bring together many influential leaders in agriculture to identify and discuss topics, trends, and action items needed to move forward to strengthen and grow Nebraska agriculture.”
“We’re proud to be here today with Governor Ricketts, our teammates from the Department of Agriculture, and leaders from around our state to discuss ways we can work together to grow Nebraska,” said Department of Economic Development Director Anthony L. Goins. “We all wear the same jersey, and we all have something to contribute to Nebraska being the best state in the country, and a place where any individual, family, or business owner can come to experience economic opportunities and a high quality of life.”
The Summit kicked off yesterday evening with a reception and banquet hosted by the Nebraska Diplomats, where a number of local, business, and agricultural leaders were recognized for their contributions to the state economy. Honorees included Diplomats Past-President Dan Duncan, who was recognized for his organizational leadership.
Today’s all-day event commenced with welcome remarks from Gov. Ricketts, followed by a full slate of discussion tracks featuring issues central to the state’s growth. Session topics included growing opportunities for Nebraska’s exports, developing value-added agriculture, and expanding broadband connectivity across the state.
Over the lunch hour, Gov. Ricketts interviewed Terry Branstad, the 12th U.S. Ambassador to China and former Governor of Iowa, for the Summit’s keynote. Their wide-ranging conversation covered former Ambassador Branstad’s experience in China during the coronavirus outbreak, U.S.-China trade relations, and the ongoing need to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable to respect human rights and honor international trade agreements.