Soil quality remains high on Sen. Tim Gragert’s radar as the legislative session continues.
The District 40 representative from Creighton spoke during a town hall meeting on Friday at Creighton Community Schools, spending much time on LB 243 — his bill which proposes to create the Healthy Soils Task Force.
“Having worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service for more than 30 years, I have a deep interest in soil health and water quality,” Gragert said. “Healthy soils are fundamental for the healthy and sustainable food production.”
Gragert said the bill proposes to create a healthy soil task force that would consist of the director of the department of agriculture or his designee and the following members appointed by the governor—two representatives from NRD, two academic experts in agriculture and natural resources, five from production agriculture (producers), two from agri-business and two from environmental organizations.
“The purpose of LB 243 is to promote a widespread use of healthy soil practices among farm and ranch owners and operators in Nebraska in order to improve the health, yield and profitability of the soil; increase its carbon sequestration capacity and improve water quality,” Gragert said.
He said the task force would develop a healthy soil mission statement as well as an action plan to carry out the initiative.
Gragert, who spent 40 years in the military and was deployed to the Middle East four times, retired in 2017.
He said LB 243 is one of 739 bills introduced this session and is now in the hands of the natural resource committee, which is one of two committees Gragert serves on. He also serves on the banking, commerce and insurance committee.
Gragert told those in attendance that as a rookie senator, he has a lot to learn in a short amount of time.
“It’s like I’m a freshman and soon to turn 16,” he said.