In a move that made China-owned Smithfield happy, enough Nebraska state senators seemed to enjoy the idea of big business over what is right for Nebraska family farmers. Enough state senators voted to advance an awful bill that hurts family farmers and our water.

We hit a setback on Friday when the Legislature advanced the Corporate Pig bill (LB 176) that allows mega foreign-owned hog processors like Smithfield to directly own hogs in Nebraska, and “chickenize” hog production in our state. All of this means family farms get turned into large-scale pig production facilities bringing water pollution and consolidation of the market to a handful of foreign producers. 

BUT…we have not lost yet because the final vote will take place during the week of Mon. Jan. 25, 2016.

LB 176 is not about “helping keep young people” in Nebraska, it’s not a “shaky constitutional issue,” nor any of the other ridiculous reasons some state senators are giving in order to give foreign-owned Smithfield what they want. This bill is and has always been about China needing pork to feed their country. Nebraska has the land and water. China wants to own not only the market, but they want the pork sent right back to their home leaving us with water pollution and farmers with only one market to sell their product.

Nebraska is the ONLY state left to say “NO” to this corporate overreach. We have to hold the line.

You can read about all the money behind this bill: http://boldnebraska.org/money-behind-corporate-pigs/

You can read our original post describing the bill: http://boldnebraska.org/action-tell-senators-to-oppose-lb-176-packer-ownership-of-livestock/

CRITICAL ACTION

Only a handful of state senators are left that we think are keeping an open mind OR that voted initially with Smithfield but have made statements in the past on their support of local food and family farms. We need all hands on deck to call and email these state senators:

  • Sen. Sara Howard
    Phone: (402) 471-2723 / Email: showard@leg.ne.gov (she has long stood with community-based solutions, she needs more calls, she is a young state senator who understands the influence of big corporations)
  • Sen. Richard Kolowski
    Phone: (402) 471-2327 / Email: rkolowski@leg.ne.gov (he normally sides with family farmers and should be a NO on LB 1716, but he did take money from Smithfield, he has been a huge supporter of the local food movement so he needs pressure from chefs and foodies)
  • Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks
    Phone: (402) 471-2633 / Email: ppansingbrooks@leg.ne.gov (she is also a very strong progressive, we do not understand why she has not committed to voting against this bill, she took money from Smithfield, her public reason about the legality of the bill is off base)

FINAL NOTE

I am not the only progressive, populist or independent Nebraskan who is totally disappointed with senators who have sided with Smithfield for money reasons or plain-old favor returns/loyalty to a small group of folks in Lincoln and Omaha who run the inner circle of politics. The state senators listed below can be heroes in our eyes for family farmers and are heroes on others issues we care about like equality of healthcare. They usually stand up for the little guy. We are sure they will give you a reason why they voted for this bill; but reality is all groups and individuals who stand for family farming are against this bill.

So, the real question is “will you change your mind?”

  • Sen. Burke Harr
    Phone: (402) 471-2722 / Email: bharr@leg.ne.gov (he often sides with very conservative bills even though he is a Democrat, he took money from Smithfield)
  • Sen. Heath Mello
    Phone: (402) 471-2710 / Email: hmello@leg.ne.gov (we understand Mellon has packers in his district and they are the big operations that want this bill; but we need Mello to stand with family farmers on this one, and to stand up for our water)

These state senators are conservatives who usually stand up for family farmers. They either said they were voting NO or actually voted NO in committee, so what has happened?

  • Sen. John Kuehn
    Phone: (402) 471-2732 / Email: jkuehn@leg.ne.gov (why did you vote for a bill you told everyone was a bad bill? what happened, who got to you?)
  • Sen. Roy Baker
    Phone: (402) 471-2620 / Email: rbaker@leg.ne.gov (why did you  why did you vote for cloture and then vote against the bill? who got to you? voting for cloture is like voting for the bill, you know that)
  • Sen. Merv Riepe
    Phone: (402) 471-2623 mriepe@leg.ne.gov (why did you vote for a bill on the floor you could not vote for in Committee?)