Nebraska commodity and farm organizations are applauding the introduction of a bill designed to expand pork production in the state.
The legislation would end the state’s prohibition on packer ownership of hogs. That would open the door for a large company like Smithfield to enter into custom feeding arrangements with Nebraska farmers.
The bill is sponsored by Senator Ken Schilz of Ogallala. Schilz, who chairs the legislature’s agriculture committee, says Nebraska needs to get serious about livestock expansion.
“It’s about giving young people an opportunity on the farms and ranches here in the state of Nebraska,” Schilz says, “and making sure that we start to address, not only the wonderful opportunities of livestock expansion, but the issues and the problems of population decline—and what can we do to help alleviate those problems.”
Nebraska Pork Producers Association executive director Larry Sitzman points out that Nebraska’s annual hog inventory, over the past decade, has increased only three percent, “compared to Kansas at seven percent, Minnesota at 20 percent, and Iowa at 32 percent—where more partners are allowed to participate in these arrangements.”
Here are excerpts of a conference call with ag reporters that was hosted by Sitzman.