Sunday, December 17, 2006

8th Circuit Finds Nebraska's Corporate Farming Ban Unconstitutional

Last week, a three judge panel of the 8th Circuit held that Nebraska's corporate farming prohibition an unconstitutional restraint of interstate commerce. The law which was written into the Nebraska Constitution as Article XII section 8 (Initiative 300) was seen as one of the tougher corporate farming prohibitions.

Taking into account the ruckus that erupted here in Iowa over our state's packer feeder statute and how it ran afoul of Smithfield, it's a fair bet that this issue is headed for the Supremes in Washington. The 8th doesn't much like populist stuff like the Podunk States (that's us) telling the likes of Corporate America that we'd like to have a say in the matter before they run us over with their stretch limo Hummers. How the conservatives on the Court will treat the issue is anyone's guess.

For those of us who are concerned about vertical integration doing to the pork and beef markets what vertical integration did to the independent poultry producer (and, it may be said, a real and substantial decline in the viability of our rural towns), the issue is well worth getting up to speed on and contacting your legislators in Washington.

If you decide to contact your legislator, for heaven's sake write them a letter. Emails and phone calls are quick, easy, and forgettable. Letters are like oatmeal-they stick to the ribs.

We're not completely without friends inside the beltway, however-Senator Grassley of Iowa is, by all reports, the only senator in the United States who is an active farmer, as well as a former factory worker. For that alone, he is worthy of praise, aside from being a genuinely likable guy.

The political winds are changing in Washington-it's time to be heard about this issue, at every opportunity.


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