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Meaty Issues - Processing Plant Working Group

There was a time when many rural communities supported a small meat processing plant, where farmers could get hogs or calves butchered for family and friends, or hunters could get wild game processed. These businesses also rented lockers where customers could store quantities of meat in the days before refrigeration.

In 1965, Iowa had more than 550 small meat processing plants, compared to less than 200 today. Most states have seen similar declines. However, recent consumer interest in locally raised organic and natural meat also is increasing the demand for meat processing facilities. In addition, the draft farm bill contains provisions to encourage interstate sales by state-inspected processing plants.

Across the Nation

Nebraska: The child poverty rate in the state is up 50 percent over the last five years according to a new report from Voices for Children in Nebraska. Fifteen percent of children in the state live in poverty, and 36 percent live in low-income households.

Additionally, 45,000 Nebraska children were without health insurance for the year reported. In some of Nebraska’s most rural counties the number of children without insurance is among the worst in the nation.

Why Local Foods?

In my newsletter column last month, I began to explore what local food systems and purchasing locally does for rural economies. This complex topic opens up a number of questions, and they start with the simplest one: why local foods?

Grow Your Own Local Foods — Straight from Your Garden

Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just a beginner, now is the time of year when the dreams of a summer garden full of fresh vegetables should be at the front of your mind. Winter is the perfect time to start planning for the spring planting season and remind us of warmer times ahead.

Center Legislative Priorities in the Nebraska Unicameral

This year the Center for Rural Affairs has a full state policy agenda in Lincoln. We’re pushing for the following pieces of state legislation:

Initiative 300, LB 1174 - We are seeking a legislative replacement for Nebraska’s anti-corporate farming constitutional amendment, Initiative 300. I-300 was ruled unconstitutional by federal court last fall.

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