Local Control Prevails in Nebraska — Set back for industrial ag

For Immediate Release Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815

April 2, 2015

Local Control Prevails

Lincoln, NE. Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) hailed the successful first round legislative efforts that gutted LB106, the Priority Bill of Sen. Dan Watermeier as a clear victory for local control. The amendment adopted struck all the original language and replaced it with the authority for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to develop a completely voluntary livestock siting matrix. “LB106 in its original form was a clear assault on local control in its efforts to impose a mandatory state controlled matrix that would have shifted the ultimate authority for local decision making to the state level. The Legislature wisely derailed that anti-local control effort. All the “shalls” are gone,” said John Hansen, NeFU President. “This was a major victory for local control.”

Hansen praised the combined efforts of their organizational partners including the Center for Rural Affairs, Nebraska Sierra Club, Nebraska Women Involved in Farm Economics, and Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska. He also praised the efforts of local government officials, including county commissioners and planning and zoning leaders despite NACO support for the Bill. Hansen also noted that in addition to Farmers Union, Center for Rural Affairs, Nebraska Sierra Club members and many others who worked hard to call their State Senators to oppose LB106, he thanked all the rural residents who helped defeat LB106 in its original form, including many county Farm Bureau organizations. He also praised the many rural State Senators who worked so hard to amend and defeat LB106 that lead to the massive overhaul it received.

“For our organization, we understand that when it comes to local planning and zoning decisions, it is the local officials who best know the natural resources and the desires of the local people as they chart the course of their county. Local people, unlike state officials, are more likely to make the right zoning decision for the local community. And, if a mistake is made, they have a vested interest to fix it because they actually live with the consequences of their decisions. The thrust of LB106 was to replace local control with state control and a one size fits all state grid system called a matrix,” said Hansen. “That would have been a terrible mistake for our local communities and our livestock operations who need to live and work together.”

“While we do our best to work together with the organizations that represent rural interests, we were in strong conflict and disagreement with the Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Association of County Officials, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska State Dairy Association, and Smithfield, the Chinese government owned pork producing and processing company. Fortunately, the folks back home in the country supported our position and made this big win for local control possible,” concluded Hansen. “The grassroots ruled on this issue.”

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.