By Signal Staff
At the south entrance of Fillmore County, on U.S. Highway 81, people driving by the “Entering Fillmore County” sign will clearly see that Fillmore County is Livestock Friendly. Do any of those people driving by wonder what being “Livestock Friendly” means?
On August 5, 2015, Gov. Pete Ricketts was in Geneva to announce that Fillmore County had become designated as a Livestock Friendly County (LFC) through a program administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA).
At that time, Geneva City Mayor (then Councilman) Eric Kamler was the MC for the presentation ceremony, which was attended by officials from Geneva, Exeter, Shickley and Ohiowa, along with the full Fillmore County Board of Supervisors, other county office holders, several Shickley FFA members, local economic development staff members and area business representatives.
“The Livestock Friendly County program showcases the dedication of our citizens to Grow Nebraska through the livestock industry that is so vital to our state,” Ricketts said.
Fillmore County took extra steps to assure prospective investors that they welcome the opportunity to expand the industry in their areas.
In 2015, Fillmore County was the 32nd county in Nebraska to be designated LFC. At the end of 2016, there was a total of 41 LFC and as of February of this year, there were 49 counties designated LFC.
“Agriculture is the number one industry in Nebraska and livestock is the engine that drives that train,” said NDA Director Ibach. “Many of our rural counties and communities in the state depend on livestock to boost their local economies.”
LFC designation tells livestock producers and related businesses that the county wants economic growth and will support their industry for years to come. This type of confidence helps businesses make long-term decisions about investing in and possibly expanding their operation.
The LFC sign at the county entrance tells visitors that the county is committed to the people, the businesses, the environment and the livestock industry. The designation is a strong statement of support for animal agriculture.
While the LFC program itself does not bring a direct financial incentive, the motivation for participating in the program is clear – to promote growth of the livestock industry. This carries both substantial direct and indirect benefits to the county’s local economy. Local livestock production generates jobs, an additional marketing outlet for local crop producers, increased tax dollars, and markets for ethanol co-products and other benefits too numerous to list. The Legislature intended this program for economic development in all counties that participate.