Earlier this week a coalition of Nebraska citizens joined together to push against large livestock operations in the state. If the petition is followed, it would put a temporary stop to confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in the state.
This proposal would encompass all CAFOs, so any agricultural enterprise where animals are kept and raised in confined situations. These operations congregate animals, feed, manure, dead animals and production operations in a small land area, according to USDA’s definition of the practice.
Randy Ruppert, Nickerson, Neb., is leading the charge against animal operations, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. Ruppert help start Nebraska Communities United in 2015, a group with a goal to “stop corporate takeover of Nebraska family farms.”
His fight started when Costco opened a poultry processing plant in Fremont, Neb. He’s been a critic of the company since and is speaking out against their plans for a poultry farm near Montrose Bluff, Journal Star reports.
Costco’s plans have sparked debate in the state over where CAFOs should be housed and how much notice neighbors have a right to receive before they’re built. This ignited the fire that lead to citizens proposing a ban on new livestock operations.
“Such a moratorium is needed because state and local zoning laws are inadequate to deal with large confined animal feeding operations,” Ruppert told the Lincoln Journal Star.
He claims zoning regulations are 40 years out-of-date and need revised.
“We’ve been prepared for this kind of activism for a long time,” said Ansley Mick, Nebraska Farm Bureau state director of government relations to AgriTalk Host Chip Flory. “They’re saying there’s tons and tons of community opposition to those [chicken barns].
“We need to slow down. I think if you pull back the curtain, there are a lot of individuals and organizations involved that have a broader agenda,” she added.
Agricultural groups in the state see this petition as an attack against not only this single poultry operation, but against the entire livestock industry. It could set a dangerous precedent for Nebraska and other states.
“The agenda is anti-modern agriculture,” Mick said.
The Costco operation that started the discussion would house more than 500,000 chickens in 12 barns.