Green Supports Local Growth in Value-Added Agriculture

29 Mar 2018

Ronnie Green spoke to a packed crowd of 132 local residents at the 2018 Phelps County Development Corporation Annual Meeting on March 22 at the Taste of Texas restaurant in downtown Holdrege.

Green complimented Phelps County leaders for their progressive spirit, shared statistics about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and talked about the future of agriculture in the state.

Prior to Green’s speech, PCDC Board President Doug Stevenson listed PCDC and community accomplishments in 2017, including:

  • BD’s investment of $300 million in the local plant,
  • Briggs & Stratton’s addition of new employees (they are now up to 140) and their plans for an upcoming expansion,
  • PCDC’s investment of $1 million into a new baseball/softball complex,
  • Housing solutions including a housing study, the construction of the Washington Square apartments, five new homes purchased through the down-payment assistance program and the partnership between PCDC and the HDC for a $1 million housing project,
  • Formation of a local builder’s bureau to create more opportunities for local contractors,
  • PCDC’s gift of seven $1,000 First Impression Grants to local businesses,
  • Eight high-demand job scholarships awarded to students who plan to return to work in Phelps County,
  • A contract with a statics and marketing group, Buxton Co., to encourage and support retail growth,
  • Gap-financing to support the opening of a new business, Lost Way Brewery,
  • A publicity campaign to raise awareness of Phelps County as a great place to do business,
  • Distributing the Phelps County Business Journal to every household in the county so all residents can be aware of economic development activities and opportunities.

Doug also presented Business of the Year Awards to The Bridal Isle in Loomis and Phelps Memorial Health Center. (click the links to read more about these businesses)

“You should be proud of what you are doing,” Green said. “I can tell you that it’s not like this everywhere I go. The spirit’s different here. I can feel it. You should relish that and be proud of it. The attitude here is that you want to grow, and the attitude here is that you want to change and you want to be progressive. And, I just want to tell you that I could feel that here tonight.”

Green, who was raised on a livestock and grain farm in southwestern Virginia, has served as UNL chancellor for two years. He said the university is growing, and he is looking forward to celebrating its 150th anniversary on Feb. 15, 2019.

Current enrollment at UNL is 26,079 students, and Green said he expects that number to grow by 1,000 students next fall.

“I cannot tell you what a phenomenal number that is,” Green said, especially when other schools such as Kansas State and the University of Missouri are seeing declines in enrollment.

Eighty-two students from Phelps County currently attend UNL.

“You are in important part of our enrollment, and we want you to know how proud we are that your young people are studying with us at the university,” he said.

Green, who has a strong background in agriculture, said the university is committed to preserving the future of ag in Nebraska and talked about opportunities for growth in agriculture, especially in Phelps County.

He talked about the “golden triangle” of ag production that includes crops, livestock and value-added products, such as ethanol or food.

“When you look at the production zone, and you think of what is ideal for that kind of production  system – you sit in it – you sit in a zone that is very ideal for those kinds of enterprises,” he said.

He encouraged Phelps County leaders to continue to discuss value-added ag opportunities.

Also at the meeting, Doug awarded his President’s Priceless Pick Award to Stacy Pafford, PCDC’s Director of Administrative Services.