Help Needed to Stop Chinese from Owning Nebraska Hogs

Background: The Chinese government-controlled Smithfield Farms is trying to repeal Nebraska’s Competitive Livestock Markets Act that preserves open and competitive markets for Nebraska livestock producers by prohibiting corporations from owning livestock prior to slaughter. In other words, Nebraska law requires packers to be packers but doesn’t allow packers to be both producers and packers.

As a result, Nebraska has the second highest percentage of fat cattle sold through the price-discovering cash market. In 2015 nearly 33 percent of fed cattle sold in Nebraska were sold in the cash market. Compare this to the TX/OK/NM market where less than 3 percent of the fed cattle sold to packers were sold in the cash market.

What does this mean? It means there is no longer a functional price discovery market in some states in the United States such as in TX/OK/NM. Nebraska, therefore, is one of only a couple of states that continue to preserve at least some semblance of a competitive market for the entire United States of America.

The bill that will destroy competitive markets in Nebraska is LB176. We need every cattle producer in the country to call the Nebraska Senators listed below as soon as possible to tell them to vote NO on LB 176 and to vote NO on cloture (which is the motion to end debate).

Although the bill is only about hogs for now, it’s underlying purpose is to include all livestock, particularly cattle. See further below for an opinion/editorial that ran in at least two Nebraska newspapers last month from R-CALF USA member Joe Pongratz.

We need everyone to help us stop this dangerous bill because What Happens in Nebraska Will Not Stay in Nebraska!

Action: Below are the targets for your calls:

Be sure to call them and tell them who you are and where you are from and urge them to vote No on LB 176 and NO on Cloture.

If you are not from Nebraska, tell them that you rely on Nebraska to give our industry price discovery in our fat cattle market.

Roy Baker                           LD30               402-471-2620                    Voted for Cloture and against LB176 on Select File.

Joni Craighead                    LD6                 402-471-2714             Has not voted with us, but is sympathetic to our situation.

Galen Hadley                       LD37               402-471-2726                  Voted for Cloture and present not voting on LB176 on  Select File.

Burke Harr                  LD8                 402-471-2722                     Voted for LB176.

Robert Hilkeman                     LD4                 402-471-2621           Has not voted with us, but is sympathetic to our situation.

Sara Howard                       LD9                 402-471-2723              Has voted both for and against us, but with us by being absent recently.

Rick Kolowski                     LD31               402-471-2327           Typically stands with family farmers & food consumers but has switched his vote this year, as it appears he has worked out a vote trade with bill introducer Senator Ken Schilz

John Kuehn                         LD38               402-471-2732                 Voted with us last year, and voted against us this year.

Heath Mello                           LD5                 402-471-2710                  Is getting pressure from the beef processors in his district to vote yes.

Patty Pansing Brooks           LD28               402-471-2633      She has stood by a soft legal argument under pressure from lobbyists.

Merv Riepe                           LD12               402-471-2623                  He voted present not voting in Ag Committee and last year, and for cloture and the bill this year.

February 1, 2016 R-CALF USA Letter to Nebraska Senators re LB 176

January 2016  Nebraska Hog Industry Op-ed by Joe Pongratz