Nebraska Farmers Union Efforts Turns a Major Negative into Two Major Positives

26 10 2011

LINCOLN, Neb. (Oct. 25, 2011) — Thanks to the efforts of Nebraska Farmers Union (NEFU), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has agreed to change its focus in Nebraska. John Hansen, Nebraska Farmers Union president, released the following statement:

“HSUS has agreed to take a potentially divisive statewide ballot issue off the table.  HSUS has made a commitment to help develop and expand marketing opportunities to reward farmers and ranchers for producing livestock in a mutually agreeable fashion.  We not only eliminated a major negative, we have replaced it with a major positive.  That represents a positive turnaround for our livestock producers.  Our organization will continue to focus on market reform issues so that we can not only keep producers in business, but also open the door to new farmers and ranchers entering agriculture through the traditional path of livestock production.”

“We undertook this action to serve the best interests of Nebraska Farmers Union members and all livestock producers of Nebraska. This agreement represents neither National Farmers Union nor any other state Farmers Union division. Each state or region is independent of each other and sets their own policy as developed by their grassroots membership.”

“Nebraska Farmers Union has not changed its grassroots developed policy on livestock production.  NEFU has not agreed to any HSUS livestock production regulations or changes in state law relative to livestock production standards.  The approach NEFU took successfully prevented a statewide ballot issue that could have put new livestock production standards into state law.”

“In addition, we think the creation of an advisory council of Nebraska livestock producers to help with market development, and to provide counsel and advice to HSUS on livestock issues is a second major positive.  Nebraska livestock producers are the real experts on livestock production issues.  Education is at the base of the Farmers Union triangle.  The advisory council will have a strong educational role.  The overwhelming majority of livestock producers in Nebraska take excellent care of their livestock.  Nebraska is the largest red meat producing and processing state in the nation.  Our livestock producers produce top quality livestock in a responsible fashion.  We are rightly proud of them and their efforts.”

“The response from food consumers to our agreement with HSUS has been extremely positive. They continue to wish us well in our market development efforts.  That is a hopeful sign.  Many consumers said they longed for traditionally produced meat.  It is important to listen to food consumers who are our real customers.”

“Our efforts have bought valuable time for the agriculture industry in our state to educate voters and consumers. We support positive efforts to educate voters and consumers about the great job Nebraska livestock producers do of raising top quality livestock.  Extreme and inflammatory rhetoric are not conducive to constructive engagement or problem solving.  Harsh words seldom create positive results.”

“We think it is better for everyone involved to work together to create new market based premiums for our livestock producers than to fight polarizing and expensive state ballot issues over livestock standards.  We think our new approach represents a positive change in direction.  Any time you can trade one major negative for two major positives, that is a darn good horse trade.”




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