Corporate Farming News

100 Years of Anti-Corporate Farming Laws

Thanks to the folks at the Organic Consumers Association for reminding us of this article on the importance of anti-corporate farming laws. It has new resonance in light of  the recent decision by the Nebraska legislature to allow meatpackers to own hogs prior to slaughter (LB 176). I offer it as a #tbt look back into our archives on this essential issue.

Who grows our nation’s food and how they grow it continues to gain new national prominence. Now more than ever, there is a national interest in building an agricultural system that benefits family farms and rural communities, and a system that is not controlled by large, corporate interests.

This effort to limit corporate control of our farming system has deep roots in the Midwest, where nine states have passed laws restricting corporate farming over the last 100 years. Oklahoma has the oldest corporate farming law in the nation. Originally embedded in the state constitution in 1907, the provision prohibited all corporate ownership in agricultural production.

Nebraska Ban on Packer Ownership of Livestock is Constitutional

As Nebraska lawmakers debate the state’s ban on meatpacker ownership of hogs, opponents of the law are raising a new argument about the constitutionality of the ban. We believe the present law is constitutional, and we urge lawmakers to oppose LB 176 on final reading.

The argument being lodged against the ban on packer ownership is that the current law violates the equal protection clause. The same argument was lodged against Nebraska's anti-corporate farming law, Initiative 300.

Unicameral votes for Meatpackers over Family Farmers and Ranchers

On Jan 22, the Nebraska legislature voted to advance LB 176 to the bill’s final reading. The vote on final passage could occur as early as next week.  LB 176, introduced by Senator Ken Schilz last session, would rescind Nebraska’s statute prohibiting meatpacking companies from owning and feeding hogs prior to slaughter.

Debate over the bill was halted when 33 Senators voted in favor of invoking cloture and ending debate. The bill was advanced from Select File by a vote of 32 to 12.

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