Governor Ricketts Proclaims FFA Week, Emergency Rental Assistance Program Launched

Governor Ricketts Proclaims FFA Week, Emergency Rental Assistance Program Launched
State FFA President Madison Stracke (podium) and Gov. Ricketts (in back of podium) at Monday's press conference.

LINCOLN – Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts began the week with the first of his two press briefings where FFA week and housing assistance were both highlighted.

From the Governor’s Hearing Room inside the Nebraska State Capitol, Monday’s press briefing first began by reminding Nebraskans the pandemic is still in progress and to continue to use all the tools to help slow the spread of the virus.

“That means keep that six-foot of distance between you and other people when you’re out in public, wear a mask when you go to the store, wash your hands often for 20 seconds at a time,” said Ricketts. “And please, please, please if you have that cough, that fever, if you’ve lost your sense of taste and smell stay home.”

Test Nebraska has delivered over 680,000 tests with a turnaround in less than 24 hours.

February 20 – 27 was also proclaimed as FFA Week in Nebraska. State FFA President Madison Stracke of Stuart spoke about activities FFA has planned in 2021. Nebraska FFA Foundation board member Lance Atwater—who farms near Ayr, Nebraska—talked about his personal experiences with FFA and its benefits to the state.

Agriculture is Nebraska’s #1 industry and Governor Ricketts added FFA is a program that works with young people who are interested in agriculture.

“I mean we have 100’s of multi-generational farm and ranch families here that are feeding our entire nation,” Ricketts added. “Just like any other industry, you have to keep up on the innovations and the technology. We have to continue to do that to increase productivity to feed a growing world.”

Governor Ricketts also announced the launch of the State’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program, funded through the U.S. Treasury as part of a federal coronavirus relief package, is available to eligible tenants and landlords. The State’s program provides assistance for both rent and certain utilities. The program is available for renters and not homeowners according to federal guidance.

Governor Ricketts mentioned a lot of restrictions impacted individuals and families this past year.

“If you’re a renter, that impacted your ability to pay the rent and if you’re a landlord, it impacted your ability to get the rent,” Ricketts mentioned. “So, last December congress passed one of the emergency packages to be able to help with that and on January 5 the Treasury Department announced their Emergency Rental Assistance Program.”

Shannon Harner, NIFA’s Executive Director, joined the Governor to discuss who is eligible and how to apply. Nebraskans can apply online at

Nebraska and local entities received $200 million dollars of the $25 billion.

An expected topic for Friday’s press briefing from 10 – 10:30 a.m. will be vaccination.