Hall County aims to become 'livestock friendly'
Despite Grand Island entering metropolitan territory recently, Hall County leaders say agriculture has to be their priority.
"Opportunities for people to live in a rural setting, but not infringe on agriculture," said Hall County board member Pam Lancaster.
That's what she said she wants for the rural community. Having more than 60,000 people makes that a little more difficult.
"We are one of the more densely populated counties, in Nebraska and that does make a difference. It does make it difficult to locate livestock facilities within the county. But there's more than just the location, it's also the support of the livestock industry," said Hall County Planning Director Chad Nabity.
Supporting the livestock industry is why Nabity said the county is taking steps to become "livestock friendly," a state designation that declares counties as being receptive to new livestock developments.
With new ag businesses opening up, Nabity said becoming "livestock friendly" highlights them.
"We have the Hendrix plant that will be opening. That's the egg hatchery. We've got JBS. We've got all of the manufacturing that supports the livestock and agriculture throughout the state and throughout the world," Nabity said.
Even though the decision to become "livestock friendly" does not impact zoning laws, it's still a concern for some.
Lancaster said they don't want to discourage folks from living in rural areas.
"On the other hand, we don't want that to be a concern for farmers and cattle raisers," Lancaster said. "We don't want there to be an adversarial relationship. We want firm rules established that people understand and live by."
Board members are still taking community input before making any final decisions.