NeFU Testifies at RFS Hearing in KC

For Immediate Release                                           Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815

June 25, 2015

 

NeFU Testifies at EPA RFS Hearing in Kansas City

 

Kansas City, KS:  Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) Vice President Vern Jantzen of Plymouth represented Nebraska Farmers Union at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing on their proposed ethanol production targets for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Jantzen’s testimony took EPA to task for their failure to get the production targets finalized in advance of the production years, and also for the target levels themselves.  In his testimony, Jantzen said:

“Timing:  EPA is inexcusably late with their decision.  EPA was under obligation to set the production targets, and propose and finalize the rules well before the 2014 production year began to give the ethanol industry the certainty it needs to prepare for the next year.  The 2014 production year has already come and gone.  The 2015 rules will not be finalized until the year is mostly over.  It remains to be seen if the proposed rule is finalized before the 2016 production year begins.  In our view, EPA’s failure to set production targets in advance of production years is inexcusable, and damaging to the ethanol industry by virtue of the uncertainty it creates.”

“Production levels:  EPA flat out blew the setting of targets.  We believe the proposed targets are not consistent with the intent of Congress.  In our view, EPA bought a bogus blend wall problem argument from the oil industry.  The oil industry is the source of any real or imagined blend wall problem by virtue of the fact they have failed to make higher retail ethanol blend options available to the consuming public.  They have denied fuel consumers the ability to purchase E85, E30, and E15 blends, and then claim there is a blend wall problem.  EPA’s proposed production targets rewards the oil industry for dragging their feet on the retailing of higher grade ethanol blends.”

“Summary:  EPA’s proposed ethanol production targets are not consistent with the Administration’s efforts to reduce the carbon emissions that drive global warming, not consistent with the intent of Congress, not consistent with our nation’s efforts to improve air quality, and not consistent with the needs of production agriculture and rural America that is facing a dramatic downturn in commodity prices for corn.  EPA’s proposed production targets hurt our ethanol industry, and our nation’s corn producers and the rural communities they live in.  We urge EPA to pull back their proposed rule, and stick with the original legislatively set targets for 2015 and 2016.  Thank you again for the opportunity to testify.”

NE Cattle Ranchers Divided on COOL

Nebraska cattle ranchers divided on country-of-origin labeling

Darrel Buschkoetter can’t understand it: When he buys a shirt or an appliance, it says “Made in China,” or wherever the item was produced. But when it comes to the beef cattle he raises at his Webster County farm, laws requiring country-of-origin labels are under attack.

Under threat of trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico, the U.S. House on Wednesday voted to repeal parts of a law requiring the labels on packages of beef, pork and poultry. Now labeling opponents are pressuring the Senate to do the same.

Buschkoetter said that’s misguided: “Consumers would like to know where their beef is coming from.”

It’s an issue that divides Nebraska’s cattle industry and its congressional delegation, as Canada and Mexico threaten measures including tariffs against a variety of U.S. imports if the label law isn’t repealed. Those nations oppose the labeling because it causes their animals to be segregated from those of U.S. origin — a costly process that has led some U.S. companies, including Tyson and other meatpackers, to stop buying some exports.

Coming from the other side, Nebraska Cattlemen President Dave McCracken said: “I cannot see how you could possibly hope to have a tariff put on your product. It makes no sense to me.” He said the organization favors voluntary, not mandatory, country-of-origin labeling.

Beef sellers also are divided. The National Grocers Association, representing independent supermarket operators, supported the repeal, saying the law imposes costs on retailers for something that is “of very little value to the consumer.”

Omaha Steaks said it would continue to provide labels even if not required. “There are hard costs involved with labeling products with country of origin but given the scale of our business it’s minimal,” spokeswoman Kelsey Bugjo said.

In York for his organization’s midyear meeting Thursday, McCracken said Cattlemen members celebrated the House’s vote and now will lobby Nebraska’s senators on the issue. No Senate bill has been introduced.

“It is important we work quickly to honor our trade commitments,” she said. “We must protect U.S. producers and manufacturers from regulatory tariffs that would have disastrous consequences for Nebraska jobs and exports.”

Lobbying pressure is also on from the Nebraska Farmers Union. Its president, John Hansen, said consumers deserve to know where their meat was raised and slaughtered, and he said U.S. meat producers want to be able to distinguish, at retail, what they believe is a superior product. He called the House vote an “unfortunate and tragic surrender” that amounted to giving in without looking for another solution.

The vote came after the World Trade Organization rejected a U.S. appeal last month, ruling that the labels that say where animals were born, raised and slaughtered are discriminatory against the two U.S. border countries.

The Obama administration has already revised the labels once to try to comply with previous WTO rulings. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said it’s up to Congress to change the law to avoid retaliation.

The law was initially written at the behest of northern U.S. ranchers who compete with the Canadian cattle industry. Supporters have called on the U.S. government to negotiate with Canada and Mexico to find labels acceptable to all countries.

The House bill would go beyond just the muscle cuts of red meat that were covered under the WTO case, repealing country-of-origin labeling for poultry, ground beef and ground pork. The legislation would leave in place country-of-origin labeling requirements for other commodities including lamb, venison, seafood, fruits and vegetables and some nuts. Congress required the labels in 2002 and 2008 farm laws.

Reps. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., and Brad Ashford, D-Neb., supported repeal of the labeling requirements. So did Reps. Steve King and David Young, both western Iowa Republicans.

Young said tariffs could total billions, severely hurting U.S. producers, and he questioned the point of the labeling requirements.

“While (the labeling) is well-intentioned, we have voluntary programs already in place that give consumers information and the right to know where these products came from,” he said.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., voted against repeal.

“If you know where your shirt comes from, then you should know where your food comes from,” he said. “I anticipate that we will be able to come up with a solution that avoids retaliation.”

World-Herald staff writer Joseph Morton contributed to this article, which contains material from the Associated Press.

NeFU Hails Defeat of LB176

For Immediate Release                                                                Contact:      John Hansen 402-476-8815

 

NeFU Hails Defeat of LB176 as a Victory For Family Farmers and Rural Communities

LINCOLN (May 28, 2015) – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) said the legislative battle to modify the current statutory state prohibiting pork processors to directly own hogs in Nebraska was an important victory for family farmers and ranchers, and rural Nebraska.

“Where do we want the profit centers to be located for hog and livestock feeding in our state, rural Nebraska or Beijing, China?” asked John Hansen, NeFU President.  “When family farmers and ranchers own the livestock, the profits stay in rural communities and powers capital investment, equipment purchases, hiring of more labor, expansion, and improvements in the quality of life since that is where they and their families live.”

Hansen pointed out that Smithfield is a company owned by the Chinese government.  Smithfield owned 887,000 sows in the U.S. at the end of 2014, and 1,111,000 total when counting their operations in Mexico, Poland, and Romania according to Successful Farming magazine.  That is over twice as many sows as Triumph Foods, which includes five hog operations.  Smithfield is also the largest pork processor in the nation.  The top four hog processors control over 63% of all hog slaughter in the nation.

“Why would it possibly be in the interest of Nebraska for the Legislature to help facilitate the ownership and control of the Nebraska hog industry by hog processors, especially from hog processors from China and Brazil?” Hansen asked.  “Hog processors ought to process hogs, and hog producers ought to own and raise hogs.  That is how we keep competition in the marketplace.  LB176 was a frontal assault on the structure of the hog marketplace.  It would have economically, socially, environmentally, and structurally changed how we raise hogs in our state, damaged the current hog market, and undermined the state ban on beef packer ownership of cattle.  LB 176 was a major change for the worse in our state.”

Hansen noted that according to AgWeb, only 3% of all hogs sold in the U.S. today are open market hogs sold on the cash market.  “When a marketplace has only 3% cash sales, that is a cry for regulatory help and a disgrace to our American free enterprise and competitive marketing system. The anti-trust division of the U.S. Justice Department has failed our nation.  The last thing rural America needs and hog producers need is to have the Chinese government take over control and ownership of our domestic hog industry,” Hansen said.

Hansen thanked the State Senators who stood up for family farm agriculture, including Senators Dave Bloomfield, Kate Bolz, Lydia Brasch, Ernie Chambers, Tanya Cook, Sue Crawford, Al Davis, Mike Groene, Ken  Haar, Sara Howard, Rick Kolowski, Bob Krist,John Kuehn, Beau McCoy, Jeremy Nordquist, Merv Riepe, David Schnoor, and Kate Sullivan for either voting “NO” or “Present Non-Voting.  “They stood up and fought for the interests of family farmers today” Hansen concluded.                                    

Packer ownership ban survives repeal attempt

by Ken Anderson

An attempt to repeal Nebraska’s ban on meatpacker ownership of hogs is dead for this session.

The bill had received first round approval, but a filibuster on Wednesday prevented it from advancing to a second-round vote.

Nebraska Farmers Union president John Hansen applauded the legislature’s action–or, in this case, inaction.

“The impact of LB176 would be to structurally, economically, environmentally and socially change how we produce hogs in Nebraska,” Hansen says.

During debate on the bill, Senator Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids said allowing meat packers to own hogs and contract with Nebraska producers would not be a positive move.

“I would suggest to you that this bill makes those producers nothing more than serfs,” Sullivan said.

But Senator John Stinner of Gering argued that agriculture has evolved since the packer hog feeding ban was instituted in 1998.

“I will tell you that the family farm has now morphed into thousands of acres of production, technology has been incorporated throughout their organizations, and many times these family farms and farms have now morphed into trucking organizations, cattle feeding, hog production, and so on,” Stinner stated. “So, they are looking for ways to continue to diversify, continue to expand, and continue to build.”

Nebraska Farm Bureau president Steve Nelson was disappointed that the bill failed to advance.

“We know there are great opportunities to expand livestock in Nebraska and this is just another option for farmers and ranchers to use to expand livestock in their operation.  It might be a way to bring a young person back into the operation,” Nelson says.

Please support NeFUF TODAY on Give to Lincoln Day

Dear NeFU members and supporters,

For the first time ever, the NeFU Foundation is participating in the annual Give to Lincoln Day on May 28thTODAY! You have the opportunity to make a contribution to nonprofit organizations in Lincoln and we’re counting on you to choose us. This is a unique opportunity because the Lincoln Community Foundation is offering to match donations up to $10,000.

NeFU Foundation’s educational programs for the public and family farmers and ranchers include topics that range from high value-added locally produced foods of all kinds, to renewable energy opportunities including wind, solar, ethanol, and biofuels to soil and water conservation programs, to climate change to livestock husbandry issues.

The NeFU Foundation embraces the educational opportunity to share information and perspective on the tough issues and challenges facing our society as a whole and family farm agriculture. We believe in the value of and need for a healthy and vibrant civil society as part of our citizenship responsibilities.

This year, we are excited to be involved in Give to Lincoln Day 2015 along with other Lincoln nonprofits. the NeFU Foundation is a statewide foundation that is headquartered in Lincoln. It is a new opportunity for us to let you know about our educational efforts to support our traditional system of independent owner-operator agriculture. We welcome your interest, questions, and support.

It is best to contribute through the Razoo page on the link below so we can better keep track of contributions but it’s also possible to drop a check by the Lincoln Community Foundation’s office in downtown Lincoln at 215 Centennial Mall S Ste 100. There are also events happening at their office that day. We kindly ask that you don’t mail a check or send it to the Farmers Union office.

Donate here: http://givetolincoln.razoo.com/story/Nebraska-Farmers-Union-Foundation TODAY!

Thank you for your generous support!

Filibuster Fails to Get Enough Support to Keep Corporate Ban

By Paul Hammel / World-Herald Bureau

LINCOLN — After a sometimes emotional, daylong debate, state lawmakers advanced a bill that would end a state ban on corporate ownership of hogs.

Proponents hailed the proposal as a way to create jobs, increase the number of hogs raised in Nebraska and lure young people back to rural areas.

But opponents, who mounted an unsuccessful filibuster, disputed that, maintaining that it would allow a Chinese-owned company to own hogs in the state and make hog farmers “sharecroppers” to big corporations.

“This bill makes farmers nothing more than serfs,” said State Sen. Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids. “You would be totally beholden to the corporate entity that owns the hogs.”

Legislative Bill 176, the priority bill of Ogallala Sen. Ken Schilz, would eliminate a ban on corporate ownership of hogs that was passed back in 1999.

That was when Nebraska still had a constitutional ban on corporate ownership of farmland, Initiative 300, and the ban on hog ownership was seen as an extension of that.

But Schilz said that times have changed. Not only has Initiative 300 been declared unconstitutional, but the senator said that Nebraska has been left in the dust when it comes to hog production.

While Nebraska has matched the national growth rate in hog production over the past decade at 14 percent, the senator said that neighboring states have grown much faster. South Dakota had 53 percent growth; Iowa 30 percent; Minnesota 25 percent; and Missouri, 22 percent, according to Schilz.

“Nebraska is not keeping pace,” he said.

Schilz said that he is concerned that the state’s three hog processors may someday move elsewhere, jeopardizing the 5,000 jobs they now provide. About 40 percent of the hogs they slaughter come from out of state, said the senator, a cattle feeder.

The vast majority of hogs raised in Nebraska are done so through contracts with hog processors, who set timetables for delivery and often provide feed. LB 176 would allow the processors, like Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods, the nation’s largest hog processor, to also own the animals.

Critics of the bill said that it lead to the “chickenization” of the hog industry, and could eventually spread and lead to the end of the independent cattle producer.

“Chickenization” refers to how chickens have been raised for years. Large corporations own the animals, the barns and the land, as well as the processing facilities. Workers are employees, not “farmers” in the traditional sense of the word.

Opponents of LB 176 said that just like the price of chickens are now set by the big companies, the price of pork would be established by a few corporations.

John Hansen of the Nebraska Farmers Union said that allowing corporate ownership of hogs would saddle a farmer with all the liability for buildings, taxes and manure disposal, but the company would make most of the profit.

“This bill isn’t for family farming, it’s for corporate farming,” said Scribner Sen. David Schnoor.

Gering Sen. John Stinner said that allowing corporations to own the hogs, and contract with farmers to grow them, might help bring young people back to rural areas. With such a contract, a young person, with just a small plot of land, would have the equity needed to get a loan to build a confined hog operation, said Stinner, who is a banker.

But opponents of LB 176 said that wouldn’t be the case because companies wouldn’t be seeking out startup farmers, but larger, more established hog growers.

Omaha Sen. Beau McCoy, whose family in southwest Nebraska used to raise hogs, said that he was concerned that the profits from hogs would be flowing out of the state and even out of the country, pointing out the Chinese ownership of Smithfield.

But the complaints of opponents never got traction as a series of amendments and motions they pursued over the eight-hour debate never got more than a dozen votes.

Backers of LB 176 included the State Department of Agriculture, the Nebraska Farm Bureau and the State Chamber of Commerce. Gov. Pete Ricketts has also spoken in support of expanding the state’s livestock industry.

When it came time to vote on ending the filibuster and passing the bill, supporters won easily, with most urban senators backing LB 176. The cloture vote to end the filibuster passed by a 34-9 margin, and the vote to advance the bill from first-round debate was 28-10.

NeFU Brings Country Support for COOL to DC

For Immediate Release                                                                Contact:      John Hansen 402-476-8815

 

Nebraska Farmers Union Brings Country Support for COOL to Washington, DC

LINCOLN (May 22, 2015) – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) sent two of their state leaders to Washington, DC this past week as a part of the National Farmers Union (NFU) targeted Spring Fly-In on Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) to show the strong support that family farmers and ranchers from across the country have for COOL.

The message from NeFU President John Hansen and NeFU Secretary Mike Sarchet of Minatare joined sixty other local and state Farmers Union officers from 27 states to ask their elected officials in Congress to allow the World Trade Organization (WTO) process to conclude their established process without interference from Congress.

“Family farmers and ranchers as well as consumers continue to strongly support COOL.  U.S. consumers want to know where the food they are buying for their families came from.  U.S. family farmers and rancher food producers want to be able to identify and differentiate their own food products in their own domestic marketplace just as their competitors do in 70 countries of the world that have some sort of mandatory COOL,” said John Hansen, NeFU president.  “We need to remember that the WTO decision did not outlaw COOL.  It did say the U.S. would need to make changes, not repeal the law altogether.”

The Farmers Union delegation met with both Nebraska Senators and all three Congressmen to ask them to allow the WTO process to continue forward.  While Canada has made ever changing claims as to damages they have incurred from COOL, they are not entitled to any more damages than they can prove.  “There is a lot of difference between what you can say in a press release and what you can prove in an international court of arbitration,” said Mike Sarchet, NeFU Secretary from Minatare.  “We want the process to go forward so that the negotiations can go forward.  We know one thing for sure, if the shoe was on the other foot, the Canadian government would be dragging the process out as long as it possibly could, as they should if they thought their interests were at risk.”

Based on the recent study done by C. Robert Taylor at Auburn, the economic collapse of 2008, not COOL caused a decrease in Canadian cattle exports to the U.S. as U.S. consumers tightened their pocketbooks and ate less beef.  The study will make it difficult for Canada to prove that COOL has caused real economic harm to their agriculture sector.  Canada is not entitled to any damages unless they can prove them.

“While the recent WTO decision was disappointing, it is clear there is still a path forward for U.S. COOL,” said Hansen. “If 70 countries around the world can figure out how to implement mandatory COOL and be WTO compliant, we know the U.S. can figure out a way to implement COOL too.  If the House Agriculture Committee wanted to be helpful, they would help find a way to implement COOL in a fashion that is WTO compliant.  Instead, they chose to insert itself in the middle of the WTO process in an inappropriate and unprecedented fashion with the 38-6 passage of H.R. 2393 that would repeal COOL.  That effort breaks faith with U.S. consumers, U.S. food producers, and Congress that has passed COOL multiple times before,” Hansen concluded.

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

Amount of Carbon Dioxide in Air Hits Milestone

Amount of carbon dioxide in air keeps rising, hits milestone

 

WASHINGTON — Global levels of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent heat-trapping gas, have passed a daunting milestone, federal scientists say.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says in March, the global monthly average for carbon dioxide hit 400.83 parts per million. That is the first month in modern records that the entire globe broke 400 ppm, reaching levels that haven’t been seen in about 2 million years.

“It’s both disturbing and daunting,” said NOAA chief greenhouse gas scientist Pieter Tans. “Daunting from the standpoint on how hard it is to slow this down.”

He said it is disturbing because it is happening at a pace so fast that it seems like an explosion compared to Earth’s slow-moving natural changes.

Carbon dioxide isn’t just higher, it is increasing at a record pace, 100 times faster than natural rises in the past, Tans said.

Pushed by the burning of coal, oil and gas, global carbon dioxide is 18 percent higher than it was in 1980, when NOAA first calculated a worldwide average. In 35 years, carbon dioxide levels rose 61 ppm. In prehuman times, it took about 6,000 years for carbon dioxide to rise about 80 ppm, Tans said.

Monthly levels fluctuate with the season, peaking in May and then decreasing as plants absorb carbon dioxide. But they are increasing on a year-to-year basis.

Levels are also higher in the Northern Hemisphere because that’s where carbon dioxide is being spewed by power plants and vehicles, Tans said.

The first time levels passed the 400 ppm milestone was for just a few weeks in the Arctic in 2012. Last year the monthly Northern Hemisphere average measured in Hawaii exceeded 400 and now the global average has as well, said James Butler, head of NOAA’s global monitoring division.

Congress should NOT support TPA

Midlands Voices: Congress should not support TPA

By John K. Hansen

The writer is president of the Nebraska Farmers Union and served as a U.S. Trade Representative trade adviser for three administrations for 14 years starting in 1994.

The House and Senate have sent Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) proposals out of their respective committees to the floor for consideration, so the issue is now before us.

TPA, also known as Fast Track Authority, provides the administration with trade-negotiating direction and authority while also forcing Congress to vote up or down on trade proposals without amendment and within a limited amount of time for consideration.

My organization believes in the value and necessity of good process, especially for congressional oversight and regulation of trade, as our Constitution provides. TPA is a shortcut of Congress’ normal process that reduces their ability to do the job we elected them to do.

TPA makes the known problems associated with trade negotiations worse. It limits congressional oversight and review while empowering the administration in power to potentially cause more mischief behind closed doors with the implanting of “sweetheart” provisions for special interests. TPA then ties the hands of Congress to take the pork provisions out because of the “take it or leave it without amendment” structure.

Is such a scenario possible? As a former United States Trade Representative (USTR) adviser for three administrations for 14 years, I feel the implanting of “sweetheart” provisions is not only possible but probable.

First, the USTR advisory system is dominated by U.S.-based companies that have massive worldwide economic interests and footprints. These international players are oftentimes both the largest exporters and importers of products and services into our country. These heavy hitters have the ear of our trade negotiators.

When these players weigh in with advice and guidance, it is fair for the public to wonder whether they are wearing their “company” hats or their “country” hats. Whether or not these heavy hitters guide our nation’s trade negotiating hand is not in question.

Second, USTR staff tends to be young, bright and ambitious. They also tend to move from employment at USTR to the private sector — to companies they worked with closely in trade negotiations — after the trade deal is completed. There is a clear self-interest for them to cash in their public trade expertise for a higher-paying job with a large company with international trade interests.

TPA also makes the well-known trade-negotiating problems of secrecy and lack of consultation with Congress worse because it reduces the need for any administration to consult with Congress as the process moves forward. Instead of consulting with Congress as they proceed, which actually strengthens the negotiating position overall by securing congressional buy-in, TPA results in negotiations behind closed doors and then springs the final work product on Congress at the end of the process.

Why should any administration take Congress seriously when Congress fails to take its own constitutionally defined role seriously? As all parents know, there is no substitute for active involvement.

These days, trade agreements do more than target tariffs for reductions. They set economic, environmental, labor and agricultural policy, and they establish legal standing and dispute resolution processes that undermine state and national authorities to set domestic standards.

If you suspect that trade agreements have the far-reaching ability to give away our nation’s sovereignty, you are right.

The last reason Congress should not support Trade Promotional Authority is that our national trade policy is a colossal failure and needs more, not less, congressional oversight.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Trade Division, over the past 21 years, the U.S. has amassed a cumulative balance of trade deficit of $9 trillion, averaging deficits of $428.7 billion per year. And it is getting worse. The past 11 years have averaged a $585 billion-per-year deficit.

Last year’s trade deficit of $504 billion represented a 3 percent drag on the growth rate of our national economy. Trade deficits export jobs, manufacturing capacity and tax revenues.

Trade policy can produce either good or bad results. Just to be clear, a $9 trillion cumulative trade deficit over 21 years is a self-inflicted punch in the gut. TPA is a process shortcut that would make a bad situation worse.

Like most Americans, I am not against trade, but I am against 21 years of losing trade policy.

Step up, Congress. Do your job.

NeFU Receives Grants From Environmental Trust & DEQ

For Immediate Release

Contact:  John Hansen 402-476-8815

 

Lincoln, NE – April 16, 2015 –Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) announced today that it will receive two grants for their “Food Waste Reduction through Vermicomposting and Composting” project.

The Nebraska Environmental Trust Board announced funding of $169,046.00 for the project at its meeting on April 2, 2015 in Lincoln. The project is one of the 113 projects receiving $19,491,958 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. Of these, 56 were new applications and 57 are carry-over projects.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality awarded NeFU $26,850 for the same project through its Nebraska Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Act.

The funding will support efforts by NeFU to create a vermicomposting system to re-direct the waste stream from Lincoln Public School’s cafeterias and other sources of waste that would otherwise be sent to the landfill.  This project will utilize onsite worm bins and pre-composting to transform the food and other wastes into soil building, high value worm castings.  This project will also work to incorporate animal compost from the Lincoln Children’s Zoo to utilize even more waste product that would otherwise be destined for landfills. The first year of this project will evaluate the reactions of worms with foodstuffs available, creating working plans and manuals all while incorporating education for students. The project will expand to additional schools and other waste sources as soon as feasible.  The grant partners for this project to date are Lincoln Public Schools, Community Crops, and the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.  Additional partners will be added as the project capacity expands.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $233 million in grants to over 1,700 projects across the state. Anyone – citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses – can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.

NeFU President John Hansen said, “These funds will help our project coordinator Jeremiah Picard and our organization turn an unwanted and expensive landfill commodity into a soil building product that will benefit specialty crop growers of food for human consumption, gardeners, and crop producers while also helping research and educational efforts.”

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.