Resources to Help in Challenging Times - Livestock Depopulation/Meat Processing

Nebraska Farm Bureau is working closely with Governor Ricketts and others to support protection measures for employees so meat processing can continue to move forward in Nebraska. With that said, we know slowdowns and closures of processing plants due to COVID-19 may require livestock producers to make decisions about depopulation of livestock. At Nebraska Farm Bureau, we understand these are difficult decisions not easily made, but ones that may be necessary. Below are resources that may be of assistance in the event depopulation actions are needed. 

NEE Allowance of Livestock Numbers Beyond Permitted Level
To provide greater flexibility to producers, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NEE) has issued guidance allowing a temporary period for operations to have more livestock on-site than what their livestock farm is permitted for. At this time, the temporary assistance is allowed through June 1, 2020. NEE has outlined requirements around this allowance, including identification of water quality protection actions that should be taken should producers add pen space to take advantage of this allowance. Full details HERE .

NEE and NDA Animal Disposal Regulations/Guidance
The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NEE) and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) have updated guidance and information related to mass depopulation of livestock. Below are links to assist producers. The information covers numerous topics ranging from approved methods of disposal, to transportation, and technical guidance. 

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering financial and technical assistance to livestock producers for animal mortality disposal resulting from impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), producers can apply to receive assistance through a practice called “Emergency Animal Mortality Management” that provides both technical and financial assistance to properly dispose of livestock. Full details HERE .

Protecting Your Operation
As media reports of livestock depopulations have increased, so have reports of animal rights extremists working the Midwest to capture photos and videos. Protect your operation by being aware of where depopulated animals are placed and burial locations. Note any unfamiliar vehicles stopping around your operation. Activists working to gain employment have also been reported. Be sure to report any suspicious activity to local officials. Remember photos or video taken (even by individuals close to us) if shared on social media, can be used later and out of context by extremists. Be cognizant of what you and others in your community post. 

Taking Care of Yourself
These are unprecedented times that can bring unprecedented stress to our farms and ranches. Added stress can negatively impact mental health and overall well-being. Learn more about the warning signs and ways neighbors can help neighbors in these difficult times. Resources HERE .

Working for You
In addition to working with the governor and numerous state agencies to keep meat processing moving forward, Nebraska Farm Bureau has been working with members of the Nebraska congressional delegation and USDA to provide both support and financial assistance to livestock producers. Linked below is Nebraska Farm Bureau’s most recent letter to Nebraska’s congressional delegation seeking additional assistance. View letter HERE .