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I-300 shows benefits of ban on packer feeding

(June 25, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release.

Contact John Hansen at 402-476-8815; 402-890-8608

(June 17—2003 Lincoln NE) – In testimony prepared for tomorrow’s House Agriculture Livestock and Horticulture Subcommittee hearing to be held in Grand Island, Nebraska Farmers Union President John K Hansen pointed to Inititative 300 as evidence in favor of a ban on meatpackers feeding livestock. As the nation’s strongest ban on corporate farming, Inititative 300 also functions as a ban on packer feeding.

“In 1982, our state’s voters approved by an overwhelming margin the strongest ban on corporate farming in the nation. After 20 years, what has been the effect on Nebraska’s livestock sector?” asked Hansen in his remarks prepared for tomorrow’s hearing. “In 2002, Nebraska was ranked first in the nation in commercial livestock slaughter, first in red meat production, and first in commercial cattle slaughter. In 2002, Nebraska was also ranked second in all cattle on feed, third in all cattle and calves, fifth in commercial hog slaughter by live weight, and seventh in hog production.”

In 2001, the last year for which information is available, Nebraska’s ranked fourth in the nation in cash receipts from farm marketings with a total of $9,488,580,000

“Nebraska’s livestock producers believe that our agricultural livestock markets look like, act like, and control prices like a system of shared monopolies,” said Hansen. “We are calling on your Subcommittee to bring badly needed and long overdue remedy to our badly warped and broken livestock markets. A ban on packer feeding and direct ownership of livestock would be a good starting point for what must be a comprehensive plan of action to overhaul agricultural markets.”

Hansen said Nebraska’s farm families overwhelmingly support a national ban on packer feeding. In 2001, a scientific poll released by the Center for Applied Rural Innovation indicated that no less than 72% of the state’s farm families support the ban, while a mere 12% oppose it.

Source: Center for Applied Rural Innovation “Restructuring the Farm Bill: Opinions of Rural Nebraska”