Nebraska farm

Windmills across Nebraska Sandhills pumping water

(The Center Square) – Nebraska farmers oppose President Joe Biden's plan to preserve 30% of the nation’s land and water by the year 2030 as a way to fight climate change in part because the plan is "vague" and also because they say it infringes on property rights.

“It’s very vague,” Mark McHargue, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, told The Center Square. “I personally have written the Biden administration and the president specifically to ask for clarification. Where does this take place? Does it mean that we can’t use 30% of the land and water at all? ”

About 97% of the land in Nebraska is privately owned, with 93% dedicated to agriculture, McHargue said.

“We’ve been doing conservation efforts that are both voluntary and incentive based from the federal government for a long, long time and we’re nowhere close to 30%,” he said.

Biden’s plan is concerning to Nebraska farmers because it lacks specifics on exactly how it would be implemented. As a result, Gov. Pete Ricketts signed an executive order that requires state agencies to “resist” Biden's target.

“ I, Pete Ricketts. Governor of the State of Nebraska, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of Nebraska, order all code agencies to take any necessary step to resist and prevent the federal government's attempt to usurp state authority as they implement the 30 x 30 goal,” the executive order reads.

The governor’s executive order is “kind of pushing back to put parameters in to make sure there can’t just be a quick sweep of private property rights,” McHargue said.

One potential impact would be county property tax collections, McHargue said.

In his executive order, Ricketts requires the state Department of Revenue to host a minimum of three workshops to “help county officials understand the tax consequences of conservation and preservation easements, and to advise counties of their rights in reviewing conservation easements.”

There is “virtually no science” behind Biden’s plan, McHargue said.

“Why 30%?” he asked. “What not 20%, 10% or 50%? What’s the science that is driving this? We just don’t have any clarification there, either.”