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Farm groups want state laws restricting corporate farming upheld

Agriculture.com Staff 04/05/2006 @ 12:56pm

Farmers' Legal Action Group (FLAG) today filed an Amicus, or Friend of the Court brief asking the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a December 2005 decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska which struck down Initiative 300, Nebraska's constitutional amendment that restricts non-family-owned corporations from engaging in farming and ranching.

FLAG wants states to have the authority to enact laws that promote family farming by restricting the ability of corporations to own farmland or engage in farming.

The U.S. District Court held that the Nebraska corporate farming law violates the U.S. Constitution because it discriminates against out-of-state economic interests. The farm organizations argue that Initiative 300, like other state laws restricting corporate farming, fosters family farming and healthy rural communities, and is a legitimate regulation of a state's agricultural system.

"Studies and real-life experiences show that family farming provides real social and economic benefits for entire rural communities," says Kathy Ozer, executive director of the National Family Farm Coalition. "In contrast, non-family-owned corporate farming is associated with lower incomes, less civic involvement, and a decline in the general welfare of rural America."

Eight states have laws similar to Nebraska's that may be open to legal challenge if the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals does not reverse the lower court's decision in this case.

Farmers' Legal Action Group is a non-profit law center that provides legal services to family farmers and rural communities. Thirty-five national, regional and state farm and community organizations joined in the Amicus brief, which is available online at www.flaginc.org.

Farmers' Legal Action Group (FLAG) today filed an Amicus, or Friend of the Court brief asking the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a December 2005 decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska which struck down Initiative 300, Nebraska's constitutional amendment that restricts non-family-owned corporations from engaging in farming and ranching.

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