This week, Cuming County became the 18th Nebraska County to receive an official Livestock Friendly County designation joining Adams, Box Butte, Dawes, Deuel, Gage, Garden, Grant, Hitchcock, Jefferson, Keith, Lincoln, Morrill, Saline, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, Wayne and Webster counties.
With 49 percent of our state agricultural receipts coming from livestock producers, this industry has a strong effect on local economies through equipment and supply purchases and contracts for professional services, as well as contributions to the local tax base.
The Livestock Friendly program is a way to recognize the tremendous impact the livestock industry has on Main Streets and the local economy. Each of these counties has demonstrated that they are open to agribusiness and the benefits that come from responsible livestock production.
This program is part of a larger effort to support economic development opportunities across industries. For many agriculture-based communities, attracting businesses that contribute to the success of local producers will be the key to long-term economic stability. Nebraska's vast natural resources make agriculture a natural economic driver, and we need to ensure that our producers and agricultural communities have the tools to foster local economic growth.
Administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the Livestock Friendly County program is a county-state partnership that works to promote economic development in rural areas. Most of the time, the state is the first contact made by agribusinesses and producers seeking to locate in Nebraska and the Livestock Friendly County program provides a first line of communication with counties that have demonstrated a willingness to support agricultural opportunities within their counties.
Each of these counties has recognized the important impact the area livestock industry has on rural development. The industry contributes to local economies, by serving as a valuable market for grain and the feed co-products produced by local ethanol plants. It expands both the local and state tax base for the benefit of our schools, local governments and quality of life. The livestock industry also makes significant contributions to our state economy by providing high-quality products that are in demand by consumers around the world.
Livestock production has long provided a wide range of benefits for local communities and for our state as a whole. This program is just one way for our agricultural counties to come together and stand in support of agriculture.
I would like to congratulate Nebraska's 18 Livestock Friendly Counties for supporting our state's number one industry.