Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Frontmatter

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. v

Illustrations

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. vi

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. vii

Many thanks to Nancy Finken, news director at the Nebraska Public Radio Network, who permitted me to take a leave of absence to write this book; to Paul Olson, Chuck Francis, and Clark Whitehorn for their enthusiastic support and advice; and to Bud Pagel, Bill Kloefkorn, and Sandra George, who made helpful suggestions on early drafts of the manuscript. Thank...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xii

What I learned of the contemporary swine industry began in 1997 at Nebraska Public Radio. On a beat that encompassed both agriculture and the environment, I naturally paid attention to the growing storm in the countryside. The Norfolk Daily News called it “a vitally important struggle...

read more

Chapter 1. If Economics Rule

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-12

To drive through Chase County, Nebraska, in June and July is to marvel at how, in every direction, irrigation pivots spread water like long rows of gossamer curtains over the green corn.With an annual production of more than twenty-two million bushels of corn and an abundant aquifer, Chase County is also a likely place for pigs.1 Confinement hog production—the...

read more

Chapter 2. Hog-Wild to Expand

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 13-17

In the spring of 1997, 44 percent of the hog farms in Nebraska resembled those run by Ron Dubas and Kevin Wetovick, in that they had fewer than two hundred hogs. But a trend toward bigger operations had been evident for more than thirty years. Between 1965 and 1997 more than thirty thousand...

read more

Chapter 3. Riled Up

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 18-28

The town of Fullerton in east-central Nebraska lies at the confluence of two shallow, slow-flowing prairie rivers, the Cedar and the Loup. Neatly kept houses and gardens along wide, shady streets reflect the efforts of descendants of hardworking German and Polish farmers who settled the...

read more

Chapter 4. Home Rule

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 29-43

While the Nebraska legislature and the governor studied how best to respond to the influx of swine operations, local officials were feeling intense pressure from constituents—particularly in about a dozen unzoned counties that had been targeted by big hog producers. InHarlan County, two small towns...

read more

Chapter 5. The Legislature Weighs In

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 44-55

In its sixty-day session the 1998 Nebraska legislature considered and passed bills to reform the death penalty, increase penalties for drunk driving, provide property-tax relief, and create a sex-offender registry. In addition to the hours of public testimony, negotiation, and debate on these weighty...

read more

Chapter 6. Hog Hiltons and Initiative 300

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 56-67

Brian Mogenson and his father, Harry, didn’t set out to make history. They just wanted to make money raising pigs. In 1999 the Mogensons had state permits for more than 130,000 hogs at sites in four northeastern counties andwere on their way to ranking amongNebraska’s biggest pork producers.1...

read more

Chapter 7. A Tale of Two Counties

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 68-82

Nebraskans who in the late 1990s were speculating about the short- and long-term effects of putting thousands of hogs in a limited space could have considered evidence from two counties with long experience of industrial hog farms—Holt County in the northeast and Furnas County in the south....

read more

Chapter 8. The Marshal Comes to Dodge

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 83-94

In Elaine Thoendel’s kitchen, stacks of paper and bulging manila file folders compete for limited space with pots and pans, detergent bottles, and toaster. Although Elaine and Dennis Thoendel have seven sons, ages seven to seventeen—all living at home—the most heavily used appliance in this...

read more

Chapter 9. Pork Tenderloin at the Capitol

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 95-104

One day in March 1998 the savory aromas of sage and pork filled the hallways of the Nebraska State Capitol. In a room on the west corridor, tables were laid for a feast of pork tenderloin with dressing and a glaze of mangoes and peaches, new potatoes, asparagus spears, and Black Forest cake. Hosting...

read more

Chaper 10. Another Pass at the Legislature

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 105-111

When the Nebraska legislature convened in January 1999, senators would become acquainted with a new governor, a new director of the NDEQ, a new chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, and newly riled-up citizens from counties that had recently become home to tens of thousands of hogs....

read more

Chapter 11. Building on Sand

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 112-124

About thirty miles southeast of Arthur is a windmill like hundreds of others in the Sandhills—wooden, about thirty feet high, with metal blades. Often such windmills are situated in low meadows, perpetually spinning in the reliable Nebraska wind, feeding water from a pipe into a broad, low metal...

read more

Chapter 12. The Smell of Money

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 125-134

Driving south of Imperial in ChaseCounty in June 2001, I open the windows to get a whiff of what people are complaining about. Although I’m within a mile of the forty-eight thousand hogs at Champion Valley Enterprises, I smell nothing....

read more

Chapter 13. To Make a Silk Purse out of a Sow’s Ear

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 135-147

Wayne Kaup has a mission statement: “To become a large, diversified agricultural company.” A vision of energy and effort, Kaup—tanned,muscular, with a closely trimmed beard and sunglasses—is proud to show off his Holt County hog operation. Gesturing at the neat, grassy slopes around the long...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 149-172

Index [Includes Image Plates]

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 173-191