Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Published in Cornhusker Economics, 10/01/2003. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


The construction of large swine facilities has been very controversial in Nebraska for the past several years. A major focus of the “hog wars” has been county livestock zoning regulations. In Nebraska livestock facilities are subject to state environmental regulation by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and to local zoning regulations if the county is zoned (or if the livestock facility will be located near a zoned community). The number of zoned counties has more than doubled in the last decade, from 36 to at least 80. Most of the newly zoned counties have adopted zoning in order to regulate the size and location of confined livestock facilities (which typically would be swine confinements). The legal ability of counties to regulate livestock facilities through zoning regulations was confirmed by the Nebraska Supreme Court in 2002, when the court ruled that a Holt County zoning regulation could require a conditional use zoning permit before swine production facilities could be developed. Premium Farms v Holt County, 263 Neb 415 (2002).