Nebraska bill would open door to more custom hog feeding

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.

AUDIO: Excerpts from conference call with ag reporters (14:05 MP3)

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  • Nebraska does not need more hog feeding in the state. The odors from the hog barns are overwhelming and the water polution is another poblem we do not need in the state.
    As far as young people gettting a start with feeding hogs for large corporations is not the answer for young people to get a start in agriculture

  • It is bad enough to have China now owning Smithfield .Now nebr .wants to be able to feed hogs for them .Have you no shame Sen..Please outlaw all smithfield plants and hog feeding in NE>.WEcan supply and slaughter our own hogs.

  • More hogs means more hog shit and more groundwater pollution. Big Ag has many of Nebraska’s lawmakers — or, rather, lemmings — in their back pocket. But hey, let’s just continue making the state one big CAFO amidst endless cornfields and chemicals.

  • “It’s about giving young people an opportunity on the farms and ranches here in the state of Nebraska,” Schilz says.

    You have got to be kidding. How stupid do they think we are? This is about vertical integration to enrich big factory farm corporations and drive more real farmers out of business. The LAST thing it’s about is young farmers. They won’t stand a chance.

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