LYONS, Neb. — Family farms and local independent meat processors stand to benefit from a bill introduced in the Nebraska Legislature by state Sen. Tom Brandt.
“We applaud the introduction of Legislative Bill 755 (LB),” said Johnathan Hladik, policy director for the Center for Rural Affairs. “This bill follows through on a commitment made by lawmakers to eliminate a key supply chain bottleneck that threatens small businesses and family farms across Nebraska.”
Passed unanimously in 2021, LB 324 established the Independent Processor Assistance Program (IPAP), which provides a roadmap for increasing local processing capacity and expanding market access for small producers. Also introduced by Brandt, that bill did not include funding for the IPAP, as the senator and 19 cosponsors recognized it would be an ideal match for the federal relief dollars flowing to the state.
How to spend those relief dollars is a question being addressed this session. LB 755 seeks $10 million in State Recovery Funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to fund the IPAP.
“The Legislature’s support has already made it easier for consumers to purchase meat from local farmers,” Hladik said. “Now they have the opportunity to help local processors secure additional space and equipment to keep up with the heightened demand caused by interruptions at regional packing plants. Officials in 18 states, including those bordering Nebraska, have developed their own grant programs. Their experience shows that the Independent Processor Assistance Program can fix this problem.”
— Center for Rural Affairs