Keith Olsen, the former president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau and for nearly 20 years a member of the state bureau's Board of Directors, has accepted a position on the 25x'25 National Steering Committee.
The 25x'25 Alliance is made up of nearly 1,000 endorsing partner organizations who believe that by 2025, America's farms, ranches and forestlands can meet 25 percent of the nation's energy needs with renewable energy - biofuels, biomass, wind energy, solar power, geothermal energy and hydropower - all while providing an abundant, affordable and safe supply of food, feed, fiber and fuel.
Olsen, who is from Grant, NE, retired in December after nine years as the state farm bureau's president. He has been a member of the Nebraska Farm Bureau since 1967, becoming vice president in 1997 before being elected president in 2002. He was elected to the board of directors of the American Farm Bureau Federation in 2004. He is also a director of Farm Bureau Life, Farm Bureau Property & Casualty and Western Ag. In February 2003 he became a director of Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Nebraska.
Olsen received a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics in 1967, and since then has been raising dryland wheat and corn on 3,000 acres in southwest Nebraska. He is also a producer and marketer of certified seed wheat, and was a self-employed tax practitioner for a number of years.
Nebraska has experienced remarkable growth in renewable energy, including biofuel and wind energy production. On-farm facilities, including anaerobic digesters, solar panels and small wind turbines, as well as some geothermal development, also are showing strong potential in the state.
"I believe my background as a farmer and my involvement in public policy on both the state and national level will serve me well on the Steering Committee," Olsen said of the appointment. "During my years with Farm Bureau, I have had the opportunity to work for the development of alternative fuels. As a producer, I have changed farming methods that have made my farm more energy efficient. It is experience that I can use in helping 25x'25 meet its goals and help this country prepare to meet the energy and food needs of an increasing world population."
"Keith will bring some honest farming perspective to our steering committee," said Bill Richards, steering committee co-chair. "He understands the practical application and benefits of bringing solutions to many of our energy challenges from the land. We will benefit greatly from Keith's years of leadership in Nebraska and U.S. agricultural circles."
"It's important that as we pursue the 25x'25 vision, we must take advantage of the experience of a veteran agricultural producer like Keith," said Read Smith, the other steering committee co-chair. "With Congress drafting a new Farm Bill, Keith's views on how that legislation may enhance our pursuit of the 25x'25 goal will be valued."