Progress and Promise in the Pork Industry – A Resource for County Officials

Our goal is to provide conversations and experiences to understand modern pork production from environmental, social, and economical positions. We invite County Officials, staff and other representatives to learn about the pork industry as it is today.


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture, The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) and the Nebraska Pork Producers Association hosted a conversation with experts to discuss the building process, contract production, cost, equipment, odor, operations, permits, returns, science, technology and more. If you have not been inside a pig barn in a while, this is the next best thing to know about modern pig barns, as well as the latest innovations in pork production.

The discussion includes perspectives from:

  • Alan Stephens

  • Shane Meyer – Plymouth Ag Group



Please listen to each panel member’s responses during the discussion here below, individual discussion points have been time stamped for your convenience:

  • Introductions
  • Mat Habrock
    • How can high cropland prices make it difficult for young people to return to the farm?
    • How does animal agriculture impact the state of Nebraska? 01:12
    • What resources are available for farmers who decide to add a livestock operation? 02:10
    • How does the new assessment matrix benefit Nebraska counties making livestock siting decisions? 03:30
    • Audience response: Livestock expansion is a solution for farmers. 05:35
    • What resources are available for county officials who may want to learn more? 06:50
    • Audience response: Livestock Friendly County Program. 07:25
  • Alan Stephens
    • How are some of the farmers you work with managing their farms differently in light of tightening margins?
    • What is an integrator and what are some of the benefits for farmers who work with one? 00:40
    • How does the addition of livestock operations benefit local communities and economies? 02:35
      • Mat Habrock responds. 03:40
    • Audience response: Tax benefits from owning livestock. 04:10
      • Shane Meyer responds. 04:55
      • Mat Habrock responds. 06:05
    • Audience response: Finance side of integrators and Lunch and Learns. 07:25
      • Shane Meyer responds. 09:04
      • Mat Habrock responds. 10:00
  • Dr. Amy Schmidt
    • What impact does the cost of fertilizer have on profitability for a grain farmer?
    • What are the key benefits of manure? 01:15
    • What has research shown about the value of manure from a hog operation? 03:00
      • Alan Stephens responds. 03:55
    • How can working with an integrator help farmers manage the volatility of the livestock market? 04:30
      • Mat Habrock responds. 06:25
    • What would you recommend as the first step for our county officials if a grower approaches them about adding livestock to their farming operation? 07:13
    • Audience response: Manure Application costs. 09:55
      • Shane Meyer responds. 10:30
      • Audience member responds. 11:40
      • Dr. Schmidt responds. 12:25
  • Shane Meyer
    • Nutrients and manure benefits on crop yields.
      • Mat Habrock responds. 01:40
    • How are producers diversifying their operations to help deal with these market challenges? 02:40
    • Audience response: Biggest challenges in expanding pork production. 04:50
    • Audience response: Neighbor interaction before barn construction. 07:50
      •  Mat Habrock responds. 09:05
      • Alan Stephens responds. 10:50
      • Dr. Schmidt responds. 11:30
    • Audience response: Open houses. 11:35


Get an inside look of a recently built a state-of-the-art finishing barn between Jansen and Plymouth here.