Nebraska Revised Statute 2-409

Chapter 2

2-409.

Producer learning community; department; powers and duties; regions, established; demonstration and research farms; report.

(1) The department shall provide technical and legal assistance in the formation of a producer learning community comprised of active agricultural producers, landowners, and others who have an interest in soil health and water quality. The department shall assist the producer learning community in building awareness and knowledge relating to soil health and water quality to guide agricultural producers and landowners in making informed decisions in order to bring about a more rapid and widespread adoption of best management practices. The department shall hire a facilitator to lead a collaborative effort to organize the producer learning community and assist the producer learning community in acquiring gifts, grants, and sponsorships. The department shall authorize the facilitator to serve as an ex officio member of the producer learning community and may locate the facilitator outside of the city of Lincoln.

(2) The department may partner or contract with any entity or entities that have resources that would assist in the formation of the producer learning community, including, but not limited to, the University of Nebraska and any association of natural resources districts. The department may also collaborate with the Corn Development, Utilization, and Marketing Board, the Soybean Development, Utilization, and Marketing Board, the Grain Sorghum Development, Utilization, and Marketing Board, the Nebraska Wheat Development, Utilization, and Marketing Board, and any private farm and ranch associations or membership organization.

(3) Because of the state's diversity of soils, topography, rainfall, cropping systems, and other environmental factors, one set of healthy soil management practices will not fit the entire state and such practices will differ by region. The department shall divide the state into different regions in which to establish demonstration and research farms that are representative of each region's particular agricultural diversity. In establishing such regions, the department may use the land management areas of the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, the state's natural resources district boundaries, and the Nebraska Extension Engagement Zones of the University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources as guidance in establishing boundaries. The department may enter into lease agreements with private landowners for the purpose of establishing demonstration and research farms.

(4) Beginning in 2022 and through 2027, the department shall submit an annual report on or before December 31 to the Governor and electronically to the Agriculture Committee of the Legislature and the Natural Resources Committee of the Legislature to report on the status and progress of implementing the Resilient Soils and Water Quality Act and any impacts and accomplishments made in protecting and improving soil and water quality across the state.

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