Repeal of Nebraska meat packer restrictions stalled

After four hours of second-round debate May 27, an attempt to force a select file vote on a bill that would have allowed meat packing companies to own swine during production failed.

Currently, a restriction under the Competitive Livestock Markets Act prohibits livestock packers from directly or indirectly owning or feeding livestock. LB176, introduced by Ogallala Sen. Ken Schilz, would narrow that restriction to apply only to cattle producers.

Schilz said the change would encourage growth in the state’s swine production industry.

“Nearly every state that surrounds Nebraska is seeing significant growth in their hog industries, but we are not keeping pace,” he said. “If implemented, this will once again allow hog processors to own hogs and contract with producers under custom feeding agreements.”

Under the bill, a swine processor or packer could enter into an oral or written agreement with a person who owns, leases or holds a legal interest in the livestock operation. The packer would own the swine, while the individual producer would retain ownership of the facilities and land.

Schilz filed a motion to invoke cloture, or cease debate and take an immediate vote on the bill. The motion failed 31-11. Thirty-three votes were needed.

A failed cloture motion prevents further debate on the bill for the day. LB176 is unlikely to be debated again this session.

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