LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Legislature is receiving praise from Nebraska agriculture and business groups for advancing a bill targeted to growing Nebraska’s pork industry. On Jan. 22, Lawmakers advanced legislative bill 176 onto the third and final round of debate. The measure would eliminate a ban that restricts pork processors with facilities in Nebraska from owning hogs and in turn partnering with farmers to handle the day-to-day feeding care of the animals. The practice is common in other states and Nebraska is the last state in the U.S. to prevent pork processors from owning hogs, said Al Juhnke, executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association.

“The legislature’s action moves Nebraska one-step closer to creating a climate where pork processors that own Nebraska facilities, employ Nebraskans and pay Nebraska taxes, can work together with Nebraska farmers to raise hogs. Every other state in the nation allows this to occur. Nebraska’s self-imposed restriction on packer ownership is one of the contributing factors as to why neighboring states have expanded pork production at a faster rate over the last decade than Nebraska,” said Juhnke.

A number of agriculture and business organizations support the bill citing the numerous positive impacts of expanded pork production in the state.

“While this bill reflects an opportunity to expand pork production on our family farms, it also reflects expanded opportunities to feed Nebraska grown grains, as well as generate economic activity that helps boost rural Main Street businesses,” said Juhnke.

“On behalf of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, the Nebraska Farm Bureau, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Soybean Growers Association, Nebraska Bankers Association and the Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, we thank all of those in the legislature who have helped move this initiative one-step closer to final passage.”