There’s now a state law that spells out the right to farm and ranch in Nebraska but an effort is underway to include that law in the state constitution.
Laura Field, legislative director for the Nebraska Cattlemen, says that’s one of four bills the association is making a priority this legislative session.
“In the November general election, the voters would vote on that question,” Field says. “It would say that the legislature could not pass any legislation that would prohibit someone’s right to farm and ranch in the state. Other states have done it recently, Missouri and North Dakota, and Oklahoma voters will be facing that question this fall.”
Field says the measure will be heard in the Unicameral’s Agriculture Committee next month. It will then need at least 30 votes before the full legislature to put the measure to a vote of the people. She says the idea came about due to pressure from activist groups.
“We’ve heard a lot of discussion around genetically-modified organism issues,” Field says, “and a whole lot of the different movements that have really started to hinder the activities that go on on farms and ranches as people try to do the best they can to feed the world.”
She says another legislative priority is the clarification of provisions related to farm implements on state highways.
“It more clearly defines which vehicles fall under this category,” Field says, “and for those vehicles that meet the definition in the rules of the road statute, they would be exempt from weight restrictions on Nebraska roads and highways, other than bridges or interstates, which are regulated in other parts of our statute.”
The goal is to make it very clear to people who drive those farm vehicles — and to law enforcement — who can and can’t be on the road and with what kind of load.
The association’s final two legislative priorities deal with property tax relief and support for the governor’s plan to cap the increase on ag valuations to 3% per year.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton