The HSUS Nebraska Agriculture Advisory Council
Local farmers, producers and other agriculture professionals join with The HSUS to foster better animal welfare and environmental stewardship
Meet the members of the HSUS Nebraska Agriculture Advisory Council, part of our emerging system of state agriculture councils.
Dr. James Keen
Keen is a veterinarian and infectious disease ecologist-epidemiologist with 27 years of teaching, research and field experience in livestock health, food safety, veterinary public health and emerging and zoonotic infections. He is author of 69 peer-reviewed scientific publications. After enabling and supporting Big Ag livestock production for decades, Keen had a 2007 epiphany and converted to become a strong supporter of livestock protection. This culminated in his whistleblowing of abuse of research livestock at the USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, NE in 2015. Keen strongly advocates improved welfare of both research and industrialized factory farm livestock.
Jim Knopik grew up on a farm near North Star, Nebraska, a village that no longer exists. In 1967, he married Carolyn and they rented their own farm, eventually becoming one of the larger conventional farmers in the area.
After twenty years, they realized they were farming more for large companies, and it wasn't something they would ask their children to do. They downsized, began farming organically, and formed a group called North Star Neighbors which they now manage by marketing and delivering meat raised by their members. Jim actively works with others trying to establish fair and new markets for small farmers.
Jim and Carolyn have four children and eleven grandchildren all living within 30 miles of their home. Family and neighbors are their most important resource.
The council works jointly with the Nebraska Farmers Union, the second oldest agricultural organization in the state, to pursue market opportunities for farmers and ranchers whose agricultural practices adhere to animal welfare standards, as well as facilitate a dialogue with individual farmers, ranchers and the organizations that represent them.