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Sen. Blood’s Bill Hearing This Week
LR284 is being heard in the Agriculture Committee Feb 15th. Sen. Blood brings forward this resolution because agriculture is the #1 industry in Nebraska and cattle production is the largest segment of this industry. Ag drives our economy and with that comes over 6.5 billion in cattle sales each year. This industry clearly impacts all Nebraskans whether they are meat eaters or not. We all know that Nebraska has more cattle than we do people. Policymakers in Nebraska we need to support measures that will protect our beloved beef industry as participants in a global market.
The intent of LR284 is to encourage the Nebraska Legislature to support an objective review of the “Product of U.S.A.” label by the USDA and support any future actions to restrict the scope of use in a way that is beneficial for cattle producers and consumers and is trade compliant. American consumers rely on food labeling for truthful, meaningful information about retail food purchases. If a label says “Product of the USA” they assume that the meat they are placing in their grocery cart was actually raised here in the United States, and not another country as has been happening. The legislature should support initiatives to prevent misleading and deceptive practices that negatively affect United States Cattle producers and drive down prices for the cattle producers while increasing the profits for the meatpacking industry. LR284 is in support of these efforts.
We’re targeting the USDA to review the “Product of U.S.A.” label because they are responsible for the safety, labeling, and packaging of the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products. They currently allow the use of the label on foreign imported beef or beef food products by the packing and grocery industry which we need to take a closer look at.
Multiple government entities agree that the USDA must provide a deeper review of the use of the label. President Biden issued an executive order on July 9, 2021, that directed the USDA to consider new rules defining the conditions under which meat products can bear “Product of U.S.A.” and other similar labels so that consumers have accurate, transparent labels that enable them to choose products originating in the United States.
In July 2021, the Federal Trade Commission finalized a new rule cracking down on marketers who make false, unqualified claims that their products are “Made in the U.S.A.” and specifically requires “Made in the U.S.A.” claims on labels be used only for products that are “all or virtually all” made or sourced in the United States. The review needs to reflect and support these new rules.
Nebraska has the top three beef cow counties in the U.S., including the nation’s No. 1 cow county – Cherry County, with nearly 166,000 cows. Custer County is No. 2 (100,000) and Holt County is No. 3 (99,000). It is an important part of our culture and economy, so we need to support initiatives that will prioritize better, more honest practices in the beef industry.
Updates to the Situation in Mead
“Friends, I want to begin by saying that today’s rally is first and foremost about supporting Nebraska Ag and our precious Ethanol Industry — our corn, soybean, and wheat growers. The AltEn disaster is the responsibility of one bad actor and, while this catastrophe is a stain on our state, by no means should Nebraska’s agriculture and ethanol industries be painted with the same brush. We’re holding AltEn accountable for being bad stewards of Nebraska’s environment and its water while dismissing Nebraska citizens as if they are collateral damage.
As I reflect on this environmental crisis, I want you to know that Nebraska Farmers and Ranchers and our rural residents are the victims of this crisis, as well may be their children and grandchildren if we don’t receive better answers to our long-standing questions as to how did this happen? Why was it allowed to happen? And could Nebraska have been more responsive in its actions to prevent this unprecedented crisis?
Now as we have observed the proposed clean-up, it’s clear that if we want to protect our precious soil, our life-giving water and the air that we breathe, it is time for public discourse so we can amplify our voices here today. We want to know in clear terms that if Nebraska is going to clean up these piles of polluted wet cake,why are they trying to cover them over with a seal made of fiber, cement and clay while using drainage ditches to collect chemical runoff? Why are they covering it up?
On May 18th, 2021, LR159 requested that the Legislature’s Executive Board appoint an AltEn Ethanol Plant Investigative and Oversight Committee. At that time, we were told that it would have to wait until the 2022 session. So far, there has been no hearing on this legislative resolution and the environmental clock is ticking. It’s time for voices to be heard…it’s time for public discourse.
Friends, Nebraska can do so much better. We believe the optics are very bad and the state’s reactions have appeared to be dilatory and we were saddened to see that in 2012 it was the state who gave approval for this plant to use chemically treated seed to make ethanol without the benefit of public input and this is what ultimately gave this crisis the momentum it needed to move forward.
In response, we rally together on valentine’s day to show some love to our fellow Nebraskans affected by this crisis, we share our love for a safer and healthier state and we pray that we can make movement forward in time to protect our future generations.”