A new state government panel is charged with creating development conditions — or a matrix — that can be used by county government officials for determining where new livestock operations can be placed.
Nebraska Farm Bureau vice president Mark McHargue is on the Livestock Development Matrix Committee and says livestock growth is very important to the state.
“We just need to place our facilities very well,” McHargue says. “I’m hoping that coming out of this committee, we’ll have a very good tool that our county boards, if they choose, it’s voluntary, could use to really get good information and feel very comfortable with how they’re siting livestock facilities around the state.”
McHargue, a fourth-generation farmer from Central City, says it’s important the plan they develop be beneficial for ag producers, counties and all interested parties. He says the new matrix should also give producers more certainty in placing their facilities.
“If the county boards choose to use it, they can go through it and hopefully at the end of the day, they can feel comfortable about where they’re putting it as well,” McHargue says. “Most producers don’t want to put a facility in a place that’s not good, neither do the residents of the county. If we can strike a happy medium and use this as a tool, I think it would be a win-win situation.”
McHargue says the committee will likely look at matrix systems already in use in other states as they formulate a new development plan and adapt it for Nebraska.
“I’m kind of anxious to really dig into the numbers and see what has worked and what hasn’t worked and in some cases, we don’t need to re-invent the wheel if something is working well,” McHargue says. “We all know that Nebraska is different from Iowa and other places. We’ll take the best of what we see and put it together and hopefully, it will work good for Nebraska.”
The assessment matrix must be completed by August 30th of 2016.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton