As part of our centennial celebrations, NASDA is starting a new feature in NASDA News to highlight our members. This week's feature is Nebraska Director of Agriculture Greg Ibach. Director Ibach is currently serving NASDA as our 2015-2016 President and will be hosting our Annual Meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska.
- How do you start your day?
I know how important it is to be connected in today’s age of technology and communication so the first thing I do when I wake up, sometimes even before I get out of bed, is grab my tablet and start scanning the top news and agriculture websites. I try to focus on the stories I know have the most impact on agriculture. By the time I am out of bed and getting that first cup of coffee I’m going through the myriad of emails all of us directors get each day.
- What do you think is missing from the conversation when we don’t have young people at the table and in leadership roles?
Fresh ideas and youthful enthusiasm. For those of us who have been around for a while, we can get into ruts and lose some focus, even when we have the best intentions. Having interaction and exchanges with those of a younger age can energize us and get us to at least consider other perspectives. I think this is especially true in agriculture, where we may have done things the same way for a long time and need to look around us at how many things have changed. Even though tried and true things may still work well, we should consider whether there’s a new and better way going forth.
- What has been your most memorable experience as Nebraska Director of Agriculture?
In 2005, our department’s trade representative and I made a special trip to Japan to hand-deliver two boxes of Nebraska beef that represented the first beef imports to Japan after they lifted the ban on U.S. beef imports due to BSE. Beef exports are so critical to Nebraska, and so it was a true thrill to open the door back up to such an important trading partner as Japan.
- What is the most important function of your department/agency?
To be honest, we feel everything we do has equal importance or we wouldn’t be doing them. Promotion is just as important to as regulation, even though it takes different types of resources to do each. I’m just fortunate to have a great staff in all areas who take their jobs very seriously. In the end, we need to do both well for the benefit of the agriculture industry as well as the general citizenry of the state.
- In seven words or less, what is some advice you would offer your fellow agriculturalists?
Go to work each day with passion.