David Bracht, former director of the Nebraska Energy Office, received the Excellence in Agricultural Law in Government Service Award from the American Agricultural Law Association on Oct. 26 during the association’s annual conference in Portland, Oregon. Nearly 350 people from 37 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Canada and the U.K. attended the conference.
The AALA’s Excellence in Agricultural Law Awards recognize AALA members for outstanding contributions to the legal profession and the agricultural community. These awards may acknowledge members from professional sectors, including private practice, academia, government and non-governmental organizations. Bracht has 30 years of experience in business, government and law.
The AALA currently has 462 members from all over the US, Canada, UK, South America and New Zealand.
“David has had a distinguished career in both the public and private sectors,” said AALA president Jennifer Zwagerman of Drake University Law School. “Focusing on agricultural- and energy-related matters, his recent governmental service as the head of the Nebraska Energy Office merits recognition.”
“In addition to his governmental service, David has had a long career serving the agricultural community as an attorney,” said Professor Anthony Schutz, chair of the AALA Award Committee. “The contributions he’s made to agricultural law would have made him eligible for the Private Practice Award, as well as the Public Service Award.”
In August, Bracht returned to Kutak Rock LLP as an attorney in the corporate practice group in Omaha. He advises clients involved in renewable energy development including biofuels, biomass and wind energy, as well as agribusinesses and businesses involved in production and processing of agriculture products.
While at NEO, Bracht was a member of the Governor’s Cabinet and advised Gov. Pete Ricketts on energy policy and economic development of Nebraska's energy resources. Bracht also served as a board member of the National Association of State Energy Officials and was appointed by U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry to the DOE State Energy Advisory Board. Previously, Bracht was a partner with Stinson Leonard Street LLP and with Husch Blackwell LLP; He started his legal career with Dorsey & Whitney LLP. Prior to that, Bracht served as director of management and finance for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and also was associate manager of the Federal Crop Insurance Corp. and adviser to the Farm Credit System Assistance Board president and CEO at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“David is a skilled attorney and particularly knowledgeable about wind energy and ethanol production and he has skills in encouraging and consummating large transactions involving agribusiness entities,” said Brian C. Buescher, Partner in Kutak Rock LLP.
A Nebraska native, Bracht earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska in 1982 and his Juris Doctor in 1995 from Georgetown University Law Center. He lives in Omaha and continues to be involved in his family’s farming operation in northeast Nebraska.
Established in 1980, the American Agricultural Law Association is a national professional association serving as the premier association for agricultural law and policy professionals. Its mission is informing and engaging the law and policy professionals who serve all facets of the agricultural and food communities. For more information, visit aglaw-assn.org.