Initiative 300 Fact Sheet

Facts about:

* Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
* Rural Communities
* Agricultural Production
* The Environment
* Market Access
* Free Enterprise
* Public Opinion

I-300 and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

* Nebraska has 33 percent more farmers and ranchers under the age of 35 than the United States as a whole according to the most recent data. (2002 Census of Agriculture, USDA)
* Nebraska has more farmers and ranchers by percentage under the age of 35 than Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Minnesota. (2002 Census of Agriculture)
* I-300 was designed for the easy transition of beginning farmers and ranchers into production agriculture. I-300 allows unrelated farmers and ranchers to own up to 49 percent of an agricultural entity before that arrangement is no longer considered a "family farm." The arrangement has 50 years to regain "family farm" status. Beginning farmers and ranchers have sufficient time under I-300 to acquire agricultural assets and be in I-300 compliance.

I-300 and Rural Communities

* Nationally renowned rural sociologists Dr. Rick Welsh and Dr. Thomas Lyson found in a 2002 report that anti-corporate farming laws are beneficial to the economies and people of rural communities, and communities in states with anti-corporate farming laws are in better shape than comparable communities in states without such laws.
* Communities in states with anti-corporate farm laws have: lower poverty levels, lower unemployment and a higher percentage of farms reporting cash gains.
* States with more restrictive laws – and the Welsh/Lyson report named I-300 as the nation’s most restrictive – have even lower unemployment rates and more farms with cash gains.

I-300 and Agricultural Production

* Nebraska led the nation in 2002 in: commercial livestock slaughter, commercial red meat production, commercial cattle slaughter, great northern bean production and light red kidney bean production. (Nebraska Agriculture Statistics Service, Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture)
* In 2001 and 2002, Nebraska ranked second, third or fourth in the nation in: cash receipts from all meat animals, cash receipts from cattle and calves, all cattle on feed, pinto bean production, all dry edible bean production, cash receipts from all feed crops, all cattle and calves, millet production, cash receipts from corn, cash receipts from sorghum, cash receipts from livestock and livestock products, corn production, cash receipts from farm marketing, and ethanol production. (Nebraska Agriculture Statistics Service, Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture)
* Since 1982 Nebraska’s share the nation’s hog operations increased; while losing hog operations, Nebraska has lost fewer than most leading states, including North Carolina, the king of corporate hog production. (Nebraska Agriculture Statistics Service, Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture)
* Since 1982 Nebraska has increased its share of the nation’s cattle on feed, while the number of feedlots with cattle on feed remained constant since 1997 (compared to a national decline). (Analysis of Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture and USDA data)
* Nebraska ranks at the top in the number of smaller commercial feedlots (far exceeding that of Kansas and Texas, two states that respectively have a weak anti-corporate farming law and no law at all). (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, IANR)
* According to a University of Nebraska study, Nebraska is the only major cattle-producing region that had feedlots of all sizes. (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, IANR)
* "Actual numbers of cattle and hogs rose (by 30% and 12%, respectively) from 1990 to 2000; yet their value of production either increased little or decreased due to declining market price." The Agricultural Economy in Nebraska: Making Nebraska the Agricultural Leader of the 21st Century (the Nebraska Department of Agriculture report that called for changes in I-300)
* "Corn and soybean acreage in Nebraska increased (by 10% and 90%, respectively) from 1990 to 2000, the price per bushel dropped 17% for corn and 21% for soybeans." The Agricultural Economy in Nebraska: Making Nebraska the Agricultural Leader of the 21st Century.
* "[Nebraska] is currently the #3 corn producer in the U.S., the #5 soybean producer, the #3 livestock producer, and the largest red meat producer and livestock slaughterer. In total, Nebraska produces more agricultural value than all but three states in the U.S., and it has increased its position in each of the above categories over the past decade." The Agricultural Economy in Nebraska: Making Nebraska the Agricultural Leader of the 21st Century.

I-300 and the Environment

* I-300 prevents the environmental destruction wrought by corporate farming that has occurred in states such as Iowa and North Carolina.
* I-300 does not allow corporate skirting of liability and responsibility and absentee ownership associated with environmental damage by corporate agriculture in other states.
* Studies have found that higher levels of geographic concentration of livestock and resulting environmental damage are associated with the "corporate-driven style" of production; I-300 has prevented such concentration and the damage it can do to our water, air and land resources.

I-300 and Market Access

* I-300 IS a ban on packer ownership of livestock.
* Nebraska is the only cattle producing area with feedlots of all sizes (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), demonstrating I-300’s ability to provide market access to all sizes of operations.
* In the 2000 University of Nebraska Nebraska Rural Poll, farm/ranch households supported by a 72% to 12% margin the inclusion of a ban on packer ownership of livestock in the 2002 Farm Bill – I-300 has provided Nebraska a packer ban since 1982.

I-300 and Free Enterprise

* I-300 does not prohibit anyone from being involved in Nebraska agriculture.
* I-300 does require all participants in Nebraska agriculture take personal responsibility for their actions by being accountable for their agricultural assets and liabilities.
* I-300 protects all Nebraskans from irresponsible environmental practices and negligent financial schemes.
* I-300 combines two time-honored American values that benefit rural people and communities – free enterprise and personal responsibility.

I-300 and Public Opinion

* In a 1994 University of Nebraska and Nebraska Agricultural Statistics Service survey, Nebraska farmers and ranchers supported I-300 as is by a 65% to 20% margin.
* In the 1994 survey, only 18% of Nebraska farmers and ranchers supported repeal of I-300, and only 22% to 27% supported suggested modifications to I-300.
* In the 1999 University of Nebraska Nebraska Rural Poll, 80% of rural Nebraskans and 89% of farm/ranch households prefer that in 20 years none of Nebraska’s farms and ranches be owned by non-family corporations – exactly what I-300 provides.



Contact Jon Bailey, jonb@cfra.org or 402.687.2100 x 1013 for more information.

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