Nebraska Livestock Producers Seek Relief

NEBRASKA - Livestock producers are feeling the pinch as prices of corn, soybeans and other livestock feed go higher.
calendar icon 7 July 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Both the Nebraska Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union are seeking relief for livestock producers.

According to The Independent, Nebraska Farm Bureau has asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer to immediately release Conservation Reserve Program land in Nebraska and other Midwest states for haying and grazing. There are more than 1 million acres of CRP in Nebraska.

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Keith Olsen said, in a letter to Schafer, that livestock feeders are currently looking at severe losses never before experienced in the livestock sector.

"Nebraska has more than 6.5 million head of cattle and 3.2 million pigs, and many of those producers finishing the animals are losing anywhere from $20 to $40 per head for pork and more than $200 per head for cattle due to higher feed costs," he said.

Before the recent floods, Olsen said, corn was trading around $6 per bushel, but it is now about $1.30 higher and may go higher before the crop is harvested in the fall.

He said many pork producers and some cattle feeders have already lost a significant amount of equity since Oct. 1, 2007.

"In particular, many pork producers have lost about 25 percent of their equity thus far and could lose another 50 to 60 percent of their remaining equity," Olsen said.

According to the National Farmers Union's board, recognizing limited budget resources and congressional pay-go rules, the board said assistance could be provided by offsetting or reducing previously approved tax incentives to large oil and gas entities that are posting record profits.

"Energy has a far greater impact on food costs than commodity prices," said NFU President Tom Buis. "Agriculture is very energy intensive and because farmers do not set their own price, they have no way of passing on the increased energy expenses needed to produce a crop. Meanwhile, large oil and gas companies have benefited from multiple tax incentives, while at the same time posting historic profits."

View The Independent story by clicking here.

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