With Veterans Day approaching, my thoughts turned to something I heard as a soldier many years ago: “Land of the free because of the brave.”
I think it is altogether right and proper to credit the American soldier for protecting and guaranteeing the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. There is no question that without the sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces, there wouldn’t even be the country we have today. I hope everyone takes a moment and reflects on this fact this Veterans Day.
But after the military, who else delivers freedom and prosperity to the American people every single day? I would argue it is the American farmer and rancher who does that. We all must eat every day; we must have food.
Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, “Every one of us that’s not a farmer is not a farmer because we have farmers.” Less than 2% of the U.S. population feeds the other 98%. Thanks to that 2%, the rest of us have the freedom to choose whatever it is we want to do with our lives. We do not have to worry about growing the food we eat, so we can choose to become doctors, artists, lawyers, welders, teachers and state senators because we can rely on someone else to provide us with a safe, reliable supply of affordable food. I have spent a lot of time in places in this world where the people could not take this for granted. While we reflect on our brave military on Veterans Day, we need to take stock in the many other things we have the luxury to take for granted in the United States.
Reflecting on this, one quickly realizes we should be doing everything we can to support and protect the small part of our population that provides the rest of us with this vast amount of freedom. Agriculture is Nebraska’s No. 1 industry. At least one in every four jobs and at least one in every five dollars in our state’s economy comes from this industry. Why, then, do we ask about 5% of Nebraska’s population who own the farm and ranch ground to pay over 30% of all the property taxes collected in the state? Why would we do that to our most important industry that delivers so much freedom to the rest of us?
Thank a veteran this Veterans Day. If he or she is a farmer or rancher, thank them again. We cannot enjoy the life we live in this country without either one of them. If you haven’t already, please sign the property tax ballot initiative. The people need to help the Legislature break the political logjam we’re in. Our ag producers pay the highest agricultural ground property taxes in the country. If we continue to take for granted that about 80,000 of our 1.9 million citizens are going to be able to keep paying about $1.3 billion in property taxes, we’re all going to end up going to bed hungry one day.
Contact Sen. Tom Brewer: firstname.lastname@example.org.