The Antelope County board of supervisors is currently makings steps toward becoming “Livestock Friendly," a highly debated topic at this week's meeting.
The Nebraska Livestock Friendly County program is a voluntary program, started in 2003, that recognizes counties that actively support the livestock industry.
Directed by the Nebraska Legislature, Nebraska Department of Agriculture uses the program to assist counties and agricultural producers to promote the livestock industry.
The program was brought to the supervisors attention at a board meeting last month by two Antelope County residents who supported the idea.
"There are two main reasons that I'm in favor of it," one of the supporter said, "to say thank you to all the livestock producers in the county; I think we should recognize them."
"I've been to meetings where the governor and the director of Ag have had the map of Nebraska behind them, and they show all the counties that have the Livestock Friendly designation," he said, "When I'm sitting in the crowd, I look at that and I'm thinking Antelope County isn't one of them."
35 of Nebraska’s 93 counties are currently Livestock Friendly, The most recent county to become Livestock Friendly was Hayes in September, 2015.
The issue was heard at a public hearing Tuesday morning. Several residents spoke in favor of it, believing it would promote economic development.
However, board members were concerned about the possibility of losing the local control of zoning.
"I think it's going to give you a voice to hold on to your local control. . . ," one resident said, "you're going to have community support."
Another supporter who works at a local livestock operation addressed the board saying he wouldn't want to take control away from them.
"I'm just for livestock," he said, "I'm not looking for something to make us go above and beyond what we are or to override your guy's power. We all want to get along."
According to the NDA, A county designated Livestock Friendly, through its own zoning regulations, would retain control of zoning for any livestock operation.
After much discussion, the board decided to review the resolution, and gather more information. The item was tabled until next Tuesday’s meeting.
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