Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Friday, April 07, 2006

Center Joins Legal Fight Over Corporate Farming Law

Center for Rural Affairs Joins Legal Fight over I-300

Today, the Center for Rural Affairs joined six organizations and the Nebraska Catholic Conference in filing an amicus curiae, or, “friend of the court” brief in support of the state of Nebraska’s appeal to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals of Federal District Court Judge Laurie Smith Camp’s decision on December 15th, 2005 striking down Initiative 300, Nebraska’s constitutional prohibition of corporate farming.

In addition to the Center for Rural Affairs and the Nebraska Catholic Conference, Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska Grange, Women Involved in Farm Economics, American Corn Growers of Nebraska and Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest were also co-signatories on the court brief supporting Initiative 300.

Attorney General Jon Bruning, in for the appeal argued that, “The district court went far beyond the language of Initiative 300, the explanatory statement, and the ballot title in reaching the conclusion of unconstitutionality.”

“Numerous briefs supporting Initiative 300 have been filed from all over the country and this demonstrates the strong state and national support for I-300. This is not just about corporate farming in Nebraska – it’s also about the rights of states to chart their own economic course, it’s about environmental responsibility, it’s about protection of a beneficial economic and social structure,” said John Crabtree of the Center for Rural Affairs."

If the appeal is successful, the case could be sent back to Omaha for trial. Smith-Camp’s ruling was a summary judgment made prior hearing evidence on the facts of the case.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced in January that a three judge panel in St. Louis will hear arguments on the case. In 1982, by a vote of the people, the constitution of Nebraska was amended to include a provision that prohibited corporate farming, with crucial exceptions for family farm and ranch corporations. That provision has been commonly known by its ballot number, Initiative 300.

The appeal is a result of a ruling by Federal District Court Judge Laurie Smith Camp that Initiative 300 violates the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


  • At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    organizations that signed or filed amicus briefs in support of I-300

    Farmers Legal Action Group I-300 Amicus Brief Organizations
    National Family Farm Coalition
    American Corn Growers Association
    Federation of Southern Cooperatives
    Land Stewardship Project
    Western Organization of Resource Councils
    National Farmers Union
    Alaska Farmers Union
    Arkansas Farmers Union
    California Farmers Union
    Kansas Farmers Union
    Illinois Farmers Union
    Indiana Farmers Union
    Iowa Farmers Union
    Michigan Farmers Union
    Minnesota Farmers Union
    Missouri Farmers Union
    Montana Farmers Union
    North Dakota Farmers Union
    Ohio Farmers Union
    Oregon Farmers Union
    Pennsylvania Farmers Union
    Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
    South Dakota Farmers Union
    Texas Farmers Union
    Utah Farmers Union
    Washington Farmers Union
    Wisconsin Farmers Union
    Campaign for Family Farms
    Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana
    Dakota Resource Council
    Dakota Rural Action
    Illinois Stewardship Alliance
    Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
    Missouri Rural Crisis Center
    Organization for Competitive Markets
    R-Calf, USA
    Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska
    Independent Cattlemen of North Dakota
    Mississippi Livestock Markets Association
    Montana Cattlemen’s Association
    Nevada Livestock Association
    Oregon Livestock Producers Association
    Spokane County Cattle Producers

    Steve Virgil Amicus Brief Organizations
    Great Plains Environmental Law Center
    Nebraska Sierra Club
    Nebraska Environmental Action Coalition
    Rural Environmental Action Conservation Team

    Bob Broom and Jeff Kirkpatrick Amicus Brief Organizations
    Center for Rural Affairs
    Friends of the Constitution
    Nebraska Catholic Conference
    Nebraska Farmers Union
    Nebraska Grange

    Minnesota Attorney General Amicus Brief States
    Minnesota Attorney General
    West Virginia Attorney General
    North Dakota Attorney General

    Pat Knapp Amicus Brief Organizations
    Nebraska League of Rural Voters
    Nebraskans for Peace


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