Nebraska Cattlemen selects priorities from legislature bills

Jan 29, 2010
by WLJ

The Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) board of directors has completed its review of legislation proposed in the Legislature. The NC Legislative Committee reviewed and recommended positions to the board on 150 Legislative Bills (LB) related to NC policy or with potential to affect Nebraska cattle operations. All six NC committee chairs and vice-chairs analyzed proposed legislation recommending positions for leadership and staff to achieve.

From the bill review process, four bills were prioritized but not ranked as the most significant to the future of NC policy and businesses.

NC supports LB 865, the Adopt the Livestock Animal Welfare Act, which would place current statutory language that regulates animal welfare and cruelty into its own section of Nebraska law. Current law regulates equine, companion, livestock and law enforcement animals. Due to statutory language added over the last 20 years, intent toward the affected animal sector became convoluted. LB 865 places current livestock language into its own section of law. This bill is critical for the legal clarity for livestock owners. The bill has a wide range of support from the livestock groups. NC appreciated Sen. Deb Fischer, Valentine, for introducing and working for the passage of LB 865.

LB 882 would change provisions relating to disposal of dead animals and NC supports the bill. Nebraska cattle producers need state law modified in order to comply with federal regulation and enforcement of the transport and disposal of dead animals. Currently in state statute, the only entity allowed legally to transport dead animals is a rendering industry.

Given the unique demands of the cow/calf sector, producers need to have the flexibility to address appropriate disposal challenges. NC has worked extensively with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Environmental Control, and other livestock industry groups on LB 882.

Sen. Kent Rogert, Tekamah, has introduced the proposed change on behalf of NC.

LB 1077 would change the manner of valuing agriculture land for property tax purposes. The bill is nearly verbatim to long-standing policy, Agriculture Real Property Valuation. NC has continually fought for legislative change regarding appropriate property tax valuation based on capitalized annual earning capacity on a per-acre basis, which would be adjusted by an amount that reflects the landowner’s share of the gross return. LB 1077, brought forward again by Sen. Russ Karpisek, Wilbur, seeks to fairly assess property taxes instead of the current arbitrary system.

LB 677 would change provisions relating to division fences. Sen. Kate Sullivan, Cedar Rapids, has worked steadfastly over the last 12 months to gain input from all sectors of affected landowners to put forth clear, direct legislation that will improve statutory language dealing with division fencing issues. LB 667 is a bill introduced last session to draw attention to its issues and to solicit knowledgeable input to benefit all parties regarding fences. — WLJ