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May 16, 2005, 9:00 a.m. CT

Aaron Sanderford, Gov’s Ofc., 402-471-1967


Gov. Heineman Announces Greg Ibach
as Nebraska’s New Ag Director

(Lincoln, NE) Gov. Dave Heineman today announced the appointment of Gregory A. Ibach as the new director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Gregory IbachIbach, who has served as Nebraska’s assistant director of agriculture since 1999, will replace outgoing director Merlyn Carlson, who confirmed that he will follow U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to Washington in early June.

“While I am sad to see Merlyn go, I am pleased for our state’s producers that we have such a deep well of talent at the Department of Agriculture,” Gov. Heineman said. “Greg is an excellent leader who knows the value of our state’s largest industry. He is intelligent, well-traveled and grounded, and is exactly what we need for agriculture in this global economy. Ibach knows the challenges producers face because he is one.”

Ibach is the owner and operator of a cow and calf operation near Sumner, where he grows corn, soybeans, alfalfa and forage sorghum. He was raised on a family farm near Sumner.

Merlyn CarlsonIbach said, “I appreciate the opportunity to continue working with Nebraska farmers, ranchers and related businesses, and we will continue our strong tradition of seeking input from producers. I look forward to confronting the issues facing our state’s economic engine.”

Before joining the Department of Agriculture as assistant director, Ibach worked as an assistant vice president for Farm Credit Services of America. He began his career with Farm Credit Services as a loan officer in the mid-1980s. Ibach, 42, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1984, majoring in animal science and agricultural economics.

Ibach has held leadership positions as a trade advisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Animal Products Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee. He has served as a member of the Identification Development Team developing the framework for a national animal identification plan, vice chairman of the Checkoff Division of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and chairman of the Nebraska Climate Assessment and Response Committee.

He also has served on the Nebraska Rural Development Commission and the Nebraska Beginning Farmer Board.

Outgoing Director Carlson said, “Greg knows Nebraska agriculture from a grassroots level, as well as from the highest levels of leadership in our state. His experiences as a producer and as a leader in a number of industry organizations – both state and national – clearly support his appointment. He will bring many new dynamics and dimensions as he works to continue the strong level of agricultural leadership the state has grown to expect.”

Carlson has headed Nebraska’s Department of Agriculture since January 1999, serving as an advocate for agriculture, overseeing regulatory programs and promoting the state’s agricultural products here and abroad. He was inducted into the Nebraska Cattlemen Hall of Fame in 2004.

“Merlyn has been a force for expanding the international reach of our producers, a vital step in this global economy,” Gov. Heineman said. “He also has worked hard to engage producers in every step of policy and regulation development.”

Carlson said, “I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with two outstanding governors on behalf of the Nebraska agriculture industry. Nebraska’s dominant role in feeding the U.S. and the world population has played an important part of both governors’ administrations. My goal was to bring a synergy that bridged Nebraska’s rich resources – its people, its water, its soil – into an even greater fabric and level of productivity.”

Carlson and the USDA announced Monday that he is leaving to take a position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture as Deputy Under-Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment. Ibach’s salary will be $87,500.

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