Senator features

Ibach’s love for agriculture runs in the family

Above: Sen. Teresa Ibach enjoys a quiet moment at her family farm near Sumner, Neb.

Sen. Teresa Ibach has always had a heart for agriculture. Growing up near Sumner on her family’s farm, she learned from a young age how to “roll up [her] sleeves and work hard.”

“You learn how to communicate, adjust to emergencies, pivot from things that you thought were going to happen but they don’t,” Ibach said. “From a farming and ranching aspect, you just really learn how to adapt and adjust.”

Ibach graduated from Sumner-Eddyville-Miller High School before moving to Lincoln to study human resources and family science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Upon completing her degree, she and her husband, Greg, also a native of Dawson County and an east campus graduate, married in 1988.

“I grew up on a farm west of Sumner and Greg grew up on a farm east of Sumner,” Ibach said. “When we got married, we actually bought a little place near Sumner that was his great grandfather’s first farm. We eventually built our house there, too.”

In their new home, located approximately six miles from Ibach’s original family farm, the couple began a farm and ranch operation where they raised beef cattle, corn and soybeans. Three years after getting married, the couple found out some exciting news — they were expecting triplets.

“It was very unexpected but we just embraced it and tried to prepare the best we could,” Ibach laughed.

Having triplets was both a blessing and a curse, Ibach joked, saying that while they only had to go through each developmental stage once, it was with three children at a time. The biggest challenge, she said, was during the winter months when each played a different sport — girl’s basketball, boy’s basketball and wrestling.

“In a small school, you show up for everything,” Ibach laughed.

Having triplets, however, proved to be an opportunity for many life lessons.

“They can’t all be the class president or valedictorian and they can’t all have the champion steer at the county fair, so we always taught our kids that we’re all going to work together and get things accomplished so that when one wins, we all win,” Ibach said.

All three of her children — Alec, Emily and Evan — earned degrees in agriculture from UNL.

In 2015, Ibach stepped back from a successful career in marketing and administration to help run the accounts for the farming and ranching operation while Greg continued to serve as director of the state Department of Agriculture and later as Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Alec, who now resides in Kearney, also took part in helping make sure the family business ran smoothly.

Traveling between Washington D.C. and Nebraska for four years was quite an experience, Ibach said, but one that she fully embraced. Now that the couple resides full time in Dawson County, in addition to running the books, Ibach is involved in a little bit of everything.

“I’m wherever they need me. I’m always running for parts and I love to make lunches for the guys when it’s harvest and planting [season],” she said.

Ibach has served on a variety of boards including the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, NEBRASKAland Foundation and the Nebraska FFA Foundation.

“I think [serving in the Legislature] is a continuation of what I’ve learned in 20 years and how I can still apply it, be a civil servant and make a difference,” Ibach said. “I just want to immerse myself and be as effective as I can, even as a freshman.”

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