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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

The MeatingPlace reports that the Nebraska Attorney General’s Supplemental Environmental Project Fund is allocating $100,000 to a new coalition of agricultural organizations formed in light of an animal rights group’s increased efforts in that state.

We Support Agriculture was launched by five groups — Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Poultry Industries, Nebraska Pork Producers and the Nebraska State Dairy Association — in September to fight advances by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) directed at the agriculture industry.

“In Nebraska, agriculture is more than a resource — it’s a way of life,” said Attorney General Jon Bruning in a press release. “I’m proud to support efforts to protect the cornerstone of our state economy from the actions of extremist groups like the Humane Society of the United States.”

The $100,000 is funded by fines and payments from natural resource-related legal settlements. When the Attorney General’s Office settles an enforcement case, companies are required to clean up the mess, pay appropriate fines and may agree to fund a court-approved Supplemental Environmental Project.

But it may not go far in light of HSUS’s massive legal fund.

According to the HSUS 2010 federal tax return, it dedicated more than $48 million to its Advocacy and Public Policy program, which funds the organization’s Animal Protection Litigation Program. The program employs 13 attorneys in four cities and oversees more than 1,000 pro-bono attorneys currently involved in nearly 60 ongoing cases.

Still, We Support Agriculture is readying itself for ballot initiatives similar to those in nearly half a dozen other states designed to limit or ban animal agriculture industries. In July the United Egg Producers and HSUS agreed to work together to enact federal legislation that would set new standards for housing egg-laying hens and mandate labeling to describe production methods.

That has concerned the National Pork Producers Council, which has said that similar moves in the meat and poultry industries may set a precedent for allowing the federal government to dictate how livestock and poultry producers raise and care for their animals.

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