Making a Statewide Impact
There’s no question that agriculture is prevalent in Nebraska. As you look across the state’s landscape, you’ll find nearly 50,000 farms and ranches in a variety of sizes. But just how big is this business?
The answer is BIG. Check out these numbers:
- In 2005, Nebraska agriculture cash receipts totaled $11.4 billion.
- $7.5 billion of that comes from livestock and related products.
- 1 in 3 Nebraska jobs is tied to agriculture.
- Total ag exports in 2005 equaled $2.8 billion in revenue.
- $498 million can be directly attributed to livestock and meat exportation.
- Every dollar in agricultural exports generates an additional $1.64 in economic activity such as transportation, financing, warehousing, and production.
- The initial $2.8 billion in exports creates a total of $7.4 billion in economic activity.
- Livestock populations in Nebraska are large.
- Cattle–6.6 million
- Hogs–3 million
- Chickens–13 million
With an industry this ingrained into our state, doesn’t it make sense to do all we can to protect it?
Feeling the Effects of Disease
Animal diseases, particularly foreign ones, are extremely damaging to the livestock industry. Although Nebraska has not suffered a major animal disease outbreak recently, we have seen the devastating effects these serious events can have across the nation.
Here are just a few examples of the economic damage disease can cause.
Bovine Tuberculosis: Since 2002, this disease has harshly impacted the cattle industry in Minnesota, Michigan, California, Arizona, and Texas. In these states alone, the USDA has tested more than 800,000 animals, and nearly 25,000 cattle have been euthanized. The cost for the USDA to control the disease and indemnify owners has reached $130 million. Now cattle in these states must be tested prior to movement.
Exotic Newcastle Disease:
An outbreak of this highly contagious and fatal foreign animal disease was first detected in California in 2002. It quickly spread to Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. Over the ten months it took to eradicate the disease, $160 million was spent on disease control, and 4 million birds were euthanized.
Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (BSE):
When BSE was discovered in the United States, the USDA went into action, spending $5 million on disease investigation, depopulations, and response. Approximately 80 percent of the U.S. beef export market was lost due to animal health concerns. Since that time, the USDA has spent $189 million on increased surveillance, and countless dollars have gone into trade missions and negotiations to reopen trade with many foreign countries.
To ward off the effects of the many domestic and foreign animal diseases that could strike our state at any time, we need the ability to quickly locate, contain, and eradicate disease. Having a program in place before a major disease outbreak occurs will save time and money, keep livestock export markets open, and prevent unnecessary livestock losses.
Protecting Your Way of Life
Because the livestock industry is so significant in Nebraska, preserving it is critical. We need to protect not only the livelihood of so many Nebraskans but also the economic vitality of the state as a whole. Numerous jobs, family farms, small ag businesses, livestock operations—they would all be in danger if a major disease outbreak hit the state.
Why is Premises Identification important? Because Nebraska’s agriculture is worth protecting.