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POLICY WATCH

Governor Signs Redistricting Bills

This week, the Legislature passed and Gov. Ricketts signed all six bills establishing new boundaries for the state’s three congressional districts, the 49 legislative districts, the Public Service Commission, University of Nebraska Board of Regents, State Board of Education, and the Judiciary/Supreme Court. The Legislature is required to redraw the district lines following the latest U.S. Census data. The delayed release of the 2020 census data required the need for the Special Session with the purpose of drawing new districts. Passing this legislation by the end of September with an emergency clause allows the Secretary of State, local election officials, and political subdivisions the necessary time to complete their work for the upcoming election in 2022.

Myth Buster: Methane Emission Tax on Livestock

Nebraska Farm Bureau has heard from members concerning a possible tax on methane emissions being extended to the livestock industry under consideration in Congress’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. Currently, the bill’s tax does not extend to agriculture, but to the oil and gas industry. While the Build Back Better Act does not impose a methane tax on agriculture, increased taxes on energy producers could lead to higher prices for supplies farmers rely on to grow food. Nebraska agriculture is among the leaders in conservation and methane reductions. We are always looking for opportunities to build on voluntary strategies already in place. NEFB has opposed and fought against all methane taxes, regardless of the industry. We will continue to monitor the debate over the reconciliation package in the House, and its impact on Nebraska agriculture.

AFBF, NPPC File Prop 12 Appeal to Supreme Court

The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take their case against California’s Proposition 12, which would ban the sale of pork from hogs that don’t meet the state’s arbitrary production standards. The appeal to the high court comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in July upheld a lower court ruling against the NPPC-AFBF case. The appeals court found despite the organizations plausibly alleging that Prop 12 “will have dramatic upstream effects and require pervasive changes to the pork industry nationwide,” 9th Circuit precedent won’t allow the case to continue. That precedent, however, runs counter to numerous Supreme Court decisions and is in conflict with nearly every other federal circuit court.

FACA Encouraged by USDA Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) is encouraged by USDA’s announcement this week inviting proposals to advance voluntary climate-smart farming and forestry practices. The alliance is pleased to see USDA embracing an incentive-based approach that would increase demand for climate-smart farm, ranch and forestry products, while building trust that the climate benefits are real and verifiable. Nebraska Farm Bureau joined FACA in May 2021.

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