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Media Release: Ag Leaders Back Ricketts

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For Immediate Release: October 6, 2014


Kearney – Agricultural leaders from across the state of Nebraska today voiced their support of Pete Ricketts’ campaign for governor.

“Pete is the leader we need to move agriculture forward,” said Dale Spencer of Brewster, a past president of the Nebraska Cattlemen Association. “He’s demonstrated he’ll not only be a friend and supporter of animal agriculture, he’ll be a promoter and advocate for Nebraska livestock producers.”

“Pete understands agriculture is a business,” said Debbie Borg of Allen, a Nebraska Corn Board member. “As someone with a record of success in business, he knows about risk and making the right decisions for long-term growth. We need his fresh perspective in Lincoln.”

“Pete is the right leader for our state and for the future of agriculture,” said Ken Boswell of Shickley, president of the Nebraska Soybean Association. “He’s made a concerted effort to gather input from producers across the state, and he’s formulated sound plans to grow agriculture as a business and as an industry. I’m proud to support him in his campaign for governor.”

“I support Pete,” said Joel Grams, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers. “He’s demonstrated that he’s willing to listen and work hard on behalf of farmers and rural communities. His family is only one generation removed from the family farm; he understands the importance agriculture has not only on our economy but also on our communities.”

In last week’s gubernatorial debate, Chuck Hassebrook claimed he had the endorsements of presidents and board chairmen of Nebraska agricultural commodity groups. He later had to clarify his statement, saying he misspoke and meant to say “past” presidents or chairmen of those groups.

Ricketts, at the outset of his campaign, formed a 15-member agricultural advisory team consisting of ag producers and agricultural experts from across the state. He’s also earned the endorsement of the Nebraska Farm Bureau and the support of the Nebraska Cattlemen PAC.

The following list of current and former leaders of Nebraska farm commodity groups are endorsing Ricketts. The organizations have not endorsed political candidates; the following list reflects the personal endorsements of ag leaders and does not necessarily represent the views of their organizations.


J.D. Alexander, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, Pilger
Doug Bartek, Nebraska Soybean Association Board Member, Wahoo
Debbie Borg, Nebraska Corn Board Member, Allen
Ken Boswell, Nebraska Soybean Association President, Shickley
Dave Bruntz, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, Friend
Homer Buell, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, Bassett
Dayton Christensen, Nebraska Wheat Growers Association Past President, Big Springs
George Cooksley, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, Anselmo
Nathan Dorn, Nebraska Soybean Association Secretary, Hickman
Larry Flohr, Nebraska Wheat Board Member, Chappell
Chuck Folken, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, Leigh
Dennis Fujan, Nebraska Soybean Association Vice President, Prague
Joel Grams, Nebraska Corn Growers Association President, Minden
Shane Greving, Nebraska Soybean Association Board Member, Chapman
Tom Hansen, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, North Platte
Dave Harrington, Nebraska Pork Producers Association Past President, St. Paul
Brandon Hunnicutt, Nebraska Corn Board Member, Giltner
Alan Janzen, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, Henderson
Von Johnson, Nebraska Wheat Board Chairman, Cambridge
Robert Johnston, Nebraska Soybean Association Treasurer, Clearwater
Eric Kamler, Nebraska Corn Growers Association State Director, Geneva
Dave Merrell, Nebraska Corn Board Vice Chair, St. Edward
Shane Meyer, Nebraska Pork Producers Association Past President, Diller
Jim Miller, Nebraska Soybean Association ASA Director, Belden
Scott Olser, Nebraska Wheat Growers Association Board Member, Elsie
Randon Peters, Nebraska Wheat Growers Association Board Member, McCook
Kevin Peterson, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Board Member, Osceola
Jim Ramm, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, Atkinson
Jay Reiners, Nebraska Corn Growers Association Board Member, Juniata
Scott Richert, Nebraska Soybean Association Board Member, Gresham
Bill Rishel, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, North Platte
Brent Robertson, Nebraska Wheat Board Vice Chair, Elsie
Jeff Rudolph, Nebraska Cattlemen Political Action Committee Chairman, Gothenburg
Geoff Ruth, Nebraska Soybean Association Board Member, Rising City
Craig Safranek, Nebraska Corn Growers Association Board Member, Merna
Todd Schroeder, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, Wisner
Carl Sousek, Nebraska Corn Growers Association Board Member, Prague
Dale Spencer, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, Brewster
Mark Spurgin, Nebraska Wheat Growers Association Board Member, Paxton
Al Svagjr, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, Cozad
Russ Vering, Nebraska Pork Producers Association Board Member, Howells
Greg Whitmore, Nebraska Corn Growers Association Board Member, Shelby
Jay Wolf, Nebraska Cattlemen Past President, Albion

Ag Team Members:

Ron Coufal, Howells
Mike Henn, Battle Creek
Jon Holzfaster. Paxton
Dan Hughes, Venango
Mike Jacobson, North Platte
Mark Jagels, Davenport
Paul Kenney, Kearney
John Kuehn, Heartwell
Nick Lapaseotes, Bridgeport
Pete Lapaseotes, Bridgeport
Greg Olson, Alliance
Scott Spilker, Beatrice
Alan Tiemann, Seward
Steve Wellman, Syracuse
John Widdowson, Lodgepole
Jaclyn Wilson, Lakeside


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Media Release: Chuck Hassebrook’s Opposition to Ag Trade and Innovation

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For Immediate Release: October 2, 2014 

Chuck Hassebrook’s Opposition to Ag Trade and Innovation 

Lincoln, NE – At this evening’s gubernatorial debate, it was revealed that Democratic candidate Chuck Hassebrook co-authored a policy paper calling for the restriction of American farm exports and curtailing of agricultural research.  Had the trade restrictions recommended in the paper been adopted, the Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates the economic impact to Nebraska farmers would have been a loss of $17.2 billion in corn and soybean export sales since 2000.

The paper, entitled “Biotechnology’s Bitter Harvest,” was co-authored by academics from the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, the Rural Advancement Fund International, and Hassebrook of the Center for Rural Affairs.

The paper’s findings “support our conclusion that herbicide-tolerant crops represent a major misstep on the road toward an environmentally sound system of agriculture.”

Among its specific findings is this recommendation: “Fully inform Third World countries of the potential negative impacts of herbicide-tolerant crops and trees and urge the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to develop restrictions on the export of herbicide-tolerant plants.”

The full paper and a summary of it can be found at the following links.

Paper in entirety:

Paper summary:


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Media Release: Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation PAC Endorses Ricketts

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For Immediate Release:
June 23, 2014


Scottsbluff, NE – The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation’s Political Action Committee today announced its support for Nebraska Republican Gubernatorial Nominee Pete Ricketts with its “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement.

“Pete has been successful in business because he understands when opportunities exist,” said Steve Nelson, president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.  “There is a world of opportunity to grow Nebraska’s agriculture economy in a way that will keep younger generations coming back to the farm. That means creating a climate that encourages growth in our livestock farming sector and growth in biofuel businesses; and working to build markets for agriculture commodities. Pete Ricketts understands those opportunities and he’ll move our state in the right direction in those areas.”

“I am very pleased to have the support of the Nebraska Farm Bureau,” Ricketts said.  “Agriculture is the heart and soul of Nebraska and its continued success is crucial to our future.  From achieving real property tax reform to increasing market opportunities and helping beginning farmers, I am eager to get to work on state policies that help promote new farm and ranch income and enhance rural development.  There’s no better way to move our entire state forward than by growing agricultural opportunities.”

Founded in 1917, the Nebraska Farm Bureau is the largest farm and ranch organization in Nebraska. More than 56,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members.  Last week, Ricketts received official support from the Nebraska Cattlemen Association, the state’s largest livestock production organization.


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Media Release: Nebraska Cattlemen Association Supports Ricketts

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For Immediate Release: June 16, 2014                                                       


Lincoln, NE – The Nebraska Cattlemen Association today announced its support for Pete Ricketts’ campaign for governor.

“I am honored to have the support of the Nebraska Cattlemen Association,” Ricketts said.  “Nebraska’s cattle producers are the best in the country.  One of my top priorities will be to help promote value-added ag opportunities that lead to economic growth throughout the state.  Continued strength and innovation in the beef industry will be critical.  I am very excited about the future of agriculture in Nebraska, and I look forward to working with livestock producers across the state.”

“The Nebraska Cattlemen Political Action Committee unanimously voted to support Pete Ricketts campaign to be Nebraska’s 40th Governor,” said Jeff Rudolph, president of Nebraska Cattlemen.  “Pete is a staunch supporter of the Nebraska beef community and we look forward to working with him to continue strong leadership for all of Nebraska agriculture.”

The Nebraska Cattlemen Association is the largest livestock production organization in the state.


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Laurel Advocate: Ricketts brings his Gubernatorial campaign to Laurel Biocomposite

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February 20, 2014

LAUREL — Growing the state of Nebraska is Pete Ricketts’ vision and goal, the Republican Gubernatorial candidate said during a campaign stop here.

“The vision I have for Nebraska is around controlling the growth of the state government so we can cut taxes and therefore create a virtuous cycle, where by being more competitive on taxes, we can help companies expand here, create more and better paying jobs and therefore grow the state, broaden the tax base and then be able to keep taxes low.”

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For Immediate Release: February 10, 2014


Pledges to work with Nebraskans to move the rural economy forward with new, innovative ideas

Lincoln, NE – Today, Pete Ricketts announced the formation of his Agriculture Advisory Committee, which will advise his gubernatorial campaign on the challenges facing Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers. Leaders from across the state who have agreed to advise Ricketts on ag policy recently held meetings in Lincoln and Kearney to discuss policy priorities to move rural Nebraska forward.

The advisory committee represents diverse interests across agriculture including representatives from corn, soybean, wheat, beef, pork, dairy, and other associations. Members include Mark Jagels of Davenport, Paul Kenney of Kearney, Steve Wellman of Syracuse, Jon Holzfaster of Paxton, Jaclyn Wilson-Demel of Lakeside, Pete Lapaseotes and Nick Lapaseotes of Bridgeport, Dan Hughes of Venango, Mike Jacobson of North Platte, Mike Henn of Battle Creek, Scott Spilker of Beatrice, John Widdowson of Lodgepole, Alan Tiemann of Seward, John Kuehn of Heartwell, and Greg Olson of Alliance. Complete bio information is included below.

“The future of agriculture in Nebraska depends on strong leadership at the head of state government,” said Mark Jagels. “I look forward to working with Pete throughout his campaign to the lay the policy groundwork for a bold agenda to move agriculture forward in our state.”

Jagels has been a member of the Nebraska Corn Board since 1999. He currently represents District 2, which is composed of Fillmore, Thayer, Clay, Nuckolls, Adams, Webster, and Franklin Counties. In November, he was elected chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

“Pete has assembled an impressive committee of leaders from across Nebraska that represent every major agriculture interest in our state to help build a vision for ag policy,” said Jon Holzfaster.  “His private-sector experience will provide the leadership our state needs to keep Nebraska agriculture competitive nationally and globally.”

Holzfaster is a member of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Board of Directors where he also serves on NCGA’s CornPAC. Holzfaster represents District 8, which includes 29 counties in Western Nebraska, on the Nebraska Corn Board. Her served as chairman of the board from 2007 to 2009.

Upon making this announcement, Pete Ricketts issued the following statement:

It is a distinct honor to receive the advice and support of so many of our state’s leaders in agriculture who have agreed to serve on my Agriculture Advisory Committee. Our state’s economy is rooted in the farms, ranches and small towns from the Missouri River to the Pine Ridge. The strength of our economy depends on the leadership of these men and women, and others just like them in communities across our state. 

As Nebraska’s Governor I promise to be an unwavering advocate for agriculture and the rural economy – from trade to water issues and regulation to taxes. Our future is tied to protecting and growing agriculture, and in particular value-added agriculture. With the advice of this advisory committee, and Nebraskans across our great state, I will seek new, innovative ways to expand and improve our rural economy.

Born in Nebraska City and raised in Omaha, Pete is the son of an entrepreneur and a public school teacher.  Pete and his wife Susanne have been married for 16 years and live in Omaha with their three children, high school freshmen Roscoe and Margot and 7th grader Eleanor.

After graduating from Omaha Westside High School and the University of Chicago, Pete returned to Omaha and worked for Union Pacific before working as a customer services representative in his family’s business, a company that would eventually become known as TD Ameritrade. He went on to hold leadership roles in the company including Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, Senior Vice President of Product Development, Senior Vice President of Marketing, President, and Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Pete is the founder of Drakon, LLC that supports local entrepreneurs and startup companies.


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York News-Times: Gubernatorial candidate visits York

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By Melanie Wilkinson – January 30, 2014

Why would Pete Ricketts decide to run for governor?

“Because I love Nebraska,” Ricketts said during a visit to York this week. “This is a great state. We still live the American dream here and I want to continue what Governor Heineman has started. Living the American dream doesn’t happen by accident and that’s what we have to continue.”

The Omaha businessman, who has raised nearly $1.4 million in his campaign, is competing in a six-way GOP primary to replace Gov. Heineman, who is ineligible to run because of term limits.

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Gothenburg Times: Ricketts says his edge is business experience

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By Austin Benson – January 30, 2014

“One of our greatest strengths about proposing people to bring their jobs here is that a Nebraskan will be well educated, have a great work ethic and be loyal to the company,” Ricketts said.

Issues like property taxes and a sustainable vision for handling water throughout the state also have to be addressed, he said.

He added that only the governor can bring people together to craft that policy, not people in the government from out of the state.

“Nebraska knows what is best for Nebraska. Not someone is Washington D.C.,” Ricketts said.

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KNOP Lunch With Pete Ricketts

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By GinaLisa Tamayo – January 6, 2014

About a dozen folks sat down for lunch on Monday with Pete Ricketts.

The campaigning Republican says there are three major issues concerning folks.

It’s not only the people in Thedford who are concerned – but people across the state who have questions about education, job creation, and agriculture.

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Lincoln Journal-Star: Pete Ricketts, westward ho!

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By Don Walton – December 15, 2013

Pete Ricketts of Omaha was in Lincoln early one morning last week, but only for a cup of coffee at Starbucks before he headed west to Broken Bow.

Out there west of Lincoln in the Sandhills and the Platte Valley and the Panhandle, in the rural farming and ranching areas, in the small towns and mid-sized communities, lies the key to victory for statewide Republican primary candidates.

Ricketts knows it and he’s been centering on farm gatherings, touring manufacturing plants in a variety of communities, gathering a wide range of ag representatives together to serve on his agriculture advisory committee, scooping up the endorsement of former Congressman Bill Barrett of Lexington.

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