For Immediate Release:
February 10, 2015
Nebraska Senator Opens Door to Chinese Meat Racket
Senator Ken Schilz is introducing two bills before the Nebraska Ag Committee this week that could turn the State of Nebraska into a massive industrial Chinese hog factory. Working hand- in-hand with Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods, the largest pork company in the world, Senator Schilz is facilitating the Chinese government’s five-year-plan to feed China while greatly reducing our own food security. The legislation opens the door to the foreign extraction of Nebraska’s most valuable resources, its fertile soils and precious water, turning the state into a polluted Appalachia of factory farming.
The two bills, LB176 and LB175, open Nebraska up to an abusive model of factory farm production known throughout agriculture as “chickenization” for the way it corporatized the poultry industry. In his book The Meat Racket, author Chris Leonard details how this phenomenon transpired as the Tyson family rose to prominence in the poultry industry. It describes how Tyson built an empire on the backs of contract poultry growers at the expense of rural communities and the environment.
LB176 allows hog processors to own hogs as long as they are have a contract with producers. LB175 undermines local planning and zoning authority, forcing counties to accept mega- livestock operations.
The bills work in tandem to reverse laws that long protected Nebraska’s family farmers from the abuses of corporate farming. Senator Schilz’s bills will force once independent family farmers, having lost their fair, open and competitive markets, into one-sided contract growing arrangements with the world’s biggest food corporations. Like chicken farmers before them, Nebraska’s family farmers will become captive serfs on their own land, while the poultry integrators take everything but the debt and the manure.
The Organization for Competitive Markets has fought for the past sixteen years for fair, open and competitive markets. We ask the Nebraska legislature to support markets for farmers, not sentence them to serfdom. We ask Senator Schilz and the Nebraska legislature to protect the state’s resources and represent the people of Nebraska, not cave in to big corporate money and foreign interests. Please kill The Meat Racket bills, LB176 and LB175!