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Why is Nebraska home to the poorest county in the U.S.?

(Wednesday, July 23, 2003 -- CropChoice guest commentary) --

Dear Gov. Johanns,

Why is Nebraska home to the poorest, most impoverished county in the U.S.? Loop county, Nebraska's per capita income, including it's many cattle producers, is $6,235. These starving farmers and ranchers are the same ones who produce the food we eat.

Consumers last month paid on average, $3.65 per pound for beef, the highest on record, while your farmers and ranchers continue to go broke. Meat packers and big retailers are not only stealing Nebraska's cattle under your watch, but also the corn, hay, and labor that go into them. You could correct your farm/ranch gate and government economic shortfall by helping restore competitive markets to Nebraska producers. The resulting positive economic multiplier would bring Nebraska's communities and the State back to life.

A good start would be to ban any person or corporation with a criminal record from buying agricultural commodities, or from doing business in Nebraska. This would include Cargill, ConAgra (Swift), Tyson/IBP, ADM...basically all the global agribusiness corporations that are profiting by sucking your state dry (literally).

Don't further facilitate and enable these predator corporations ability to rape Nebraskans by revising Initiative 300. It's time again for courageous leadership like that of the "Trust-buster," Teddy Roosevelt of 100 years ago.

The trust busting should start in Nebraska where the most damage has and is being done. It should start with the big packer, big retailer, and big grain monopolies and the first step could be by you.

As Governor you have the opportunity and responsibility to bring attention to this dire problem of economic unfairness that is gutting your State and our country.

Sincerely, John K. Hansen, President Nebraska Farmers Union
402-476-8815 Office