restricted access Exploring the Politics of Pork: Industrial Hog Farming and the Role of Local Newspaper Coverage in State Agenda Setting

The growth of Nebraska factory hog industry over the past two decades has been contentious, creating both new opportunities for economic growth and substantial hazards to the rural environment and quality of life. Given that news media played a key role in motivating large-scale policy changes in hog industry conflicts in North Carolina, this study uses content analysis to explore how Nebraska’s media coverage relates to legislative actions on the issue in the state. The results suggest that there is a positive but nuanced relationship between state newspaper coverage and state legislative attention to industrial hog farming in Nebraska from 1994 to 2009. The results also indicate the significance of local government in addressing this statewide controversy, and the prominence of concern for water resources in industrial hog operation discussions in Nebraska. This exploratory case study contributes to the currently deficient body of literature on both factory hog farms in Nebraska and the relationship between media and policy attention on a state level.