As a life-long farmer, I tend to mark the passing of time in growing seasons. Spring is typically a time for new beginnings, but in the past few years it has been a time of adversity for many Nebraskans.

In 2019, our state saw historic flooding that wiped out many a family home and crippled agricultural operations and businesses, big and small, throughout much of Nebraska. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic again brought tragedy for many Nebraskans and forced us to adapt to a new normal.

Now in 2022, devastating wildfires have plagued central and western Nebraska. Just small sparks paired with dry and windy conditions have wreaked havoc on many farms and ranches. Thankfully, it has once again begun to rain. Many people call these rains “million-dollar rains.” However, it seems to me that these may be “billion-dollar rains.”

Our farmers and ranchers just starting to feel the impact of the disaster. Will wheat farmers be able to take advantage of record prices, or will they be crop-less? Will ranchers have sufficient grassland and crops to feed their cattle herds? Only time will tell, but I’m confident our agricultural community will feel the support of its fellow Nebraskans.

Of course, the destruction would have been much worse without the heroism and incredible bravery of our volunteer and professional firefighters and first responders who literally put their lives on the line to protect the lives and property of others.

Our thanks also go out to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, staff of the State Emergency Operations Center and Nebraska Incident Management Team, members serving in the National Guard who aided local responders, and the Nebraska State Patrol.

Yet again, Nebraska has been blessed with men and women who are willing to answer our calls for help, sometimes to the detriment of their own families and friends. It is hard to fully appreciate their service, and I offer my deepest sympathies to those facing injury and death due to these wildfires. You are forever in our debt.

If you would like to assist with wildfire relief efforts, I encourage you to visit KRVN’s webpage: ruralradio.com/krvn/wildfire-relief.

Producers in need of hay, fencing, or other supplies should visit the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s resource page at: nda.nebraska.gov/disasterresources/index.html.

Thank you to the firefighters, first responders, and healthcare workers in District 42 who help keep us safe during the hardest of times.

Mike Jacobson represents Lincoln, Logan, McPherson, Thomas, Hooker and the majority of Perkins counties – Dist. 42 — in the state legislature. Contact him at mjacobson@leg.ne.gov or 402-471-2729.

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