Agricultural Economics Department


First Advisor

Bradley D. Lubben

Second Advisor

Elliot Dennis

Third Advisor

Taro Mieno

Date of this Version

Spring 4-2021

Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Science

Major: Agricultural Economics

Under the supervision of Professor Bradley D. Lubben

Lincoln, Nebraska, April 2021


Copyright © 2021, Cicely M. Batie


This study analyzes the voluntary approach to agriculture promotion programs through the lens of the Nebraska Livestock Friendly County (LFC) Program. In 2003, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) launched the LFC program to bolster the livestock sector in participating counties. The program is unique because of its voluntary nature and targeted agricultural promotion efforts. The NDA designates counties as “Livestock Friendly,” and assists them in streamlining approval processes for livestock feeding operations. This thesis examines why a program like LFC is necessary, the patterns of its adoption across Nebraska, and finally, its impact on the livestock sector of participating counties. States with economies heavily reliant on animal agriculture have begun to develop resources to support animal agriculture in light of increased scrutiny of the livestock industry. Counties are found to be influenced by a peer effect. Counties are more likely to adopt LFC if other counties within a geographical region have previously adopted LFC. Finally, a synthetic control model determines that the LFC program does not invoke a significant change, either positive or negative, to a participating county’s livestock sector. On the whole though, counties perceive a benefit to joining, otherwise no growth in the program would occur. Further research is needed to determine what the perceived benefits are, and to accurately measure those effects to determine the full impact of the LFC program.

Advisor: Bradley D. Lubben