Rural Nerds: Who Will Sit Up with the Corporate Sow?

It's here! The #1 report in our countdown of the Top 10 Rural Research Reports. It would be hard to overstate the importance of this early research to the Center for Rural Affairs.

The report foretold the future of livestock production, not just in Nebraska, but nationwide. See for yourself.

#1 Who Will Sit Up with the Corporate Sow?
A Report on Vertical Integration and Large Scale Hog Production in Nebraska

by Lynn Spivak with assistance from the staff and board of the Center for Rural Affairs, 1974

This ground-level reporting put the Center for Rural Affairs on the map. As our co-founder Marty Strange recalled, “We dispatched Lynn Spivak, a former VISTA volunteer with no background in agriculture, to find out about vertical integration in the pork industry. We were looking for evidence of forward contracting arrangements or other semblances of the heavily industrialized poultry industry.”

This report foretold the future of livestock production. Questions it raised about environmental and social impacts are with us today.

Now, 41 years later, the Center is still battling forces in the Nebraska Legislature and elsewhere promoting corporate, industrialized agriculture at the detriment of family farming and rural communities.

Key Findings

  • A dramatic and sudden intrusion of corporate confinement was underway in Nebraska.
  • Feeder pig production was sure to move from the farm to the factory.
  • The corn belt would extend west, where irrigation, hybrids, and chemical fertilization made feed grain available.
  • Public funds were being used to create vertically integrated corporate farming operations.

Download Who Will Sit Up with the Corporate Sow?