LYONS, Neb. – With possible federal support having been proposed, the Nebraska Legislature is bringing forward a bill that supporters say will help increase local meat processing and support family farms.

LB755, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Brandt of Plymouth, was applauded by 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," said Johnathan Hladik, policy director for the Center for Rural Affairs. 

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. The newly introduced legislation would provide the funding needed for the program.

How to spend federal relief dollars is a question being addressed the current legislative 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.”