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Independent Cattlemen Unveil “Not Just Any Beef” Logo in Washington

Hyannis, NE--- Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) Directors traveled this past week to Washington, DC, along with other cattle producers from across the country, to hold a press conference urging American consumers to ask their grocers for USA-Raised beef. The event was part of a sweeping national campaign to introduce the new “Not Just Any Beef---USA-Raised Beef---Ask For It” promotion and logo.

Joining Chris Abbott and Al Davis of ICON in speaking to the Washington press corps were cattle producer-representatives from South Dakota, Virginia, Montana, and Colorado.

The primary message delivered to over fifty television and print media representatives at the Washington Press Club, was that the “USDA” inspection stamp does not guarantee the consumers that they are purchasing US-produced meat, nor does it mean that the USDA has inspected it.

“The USDA stamp may only signify that the meat is from a country that meets broad ‘equivalency standards’—not that there was an actual inspection of the product,” explained ICON Board member, Al Davis of Hyannis. “In point of fact,” he added, “more than eighty percent of imported meat is not directly inspected by the USDA at all.”

John Lockie, Director of the Montana Cattlemen’s Association, said that this new label “will allow US consumers to know and choose the origin of the food they serve to their families.” He noted that “consumers repeatedly state that they want to buy US Beef—and consider it the safest, most nutritious and healthful beef in the world.”

The group took questions concerning the recent admission by the USDA that a cow in Texas has tested positive for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. Danni Beer of South Dakota spoke to this issue as a producer, as well as a mother. She told them, “US Beef is the product I feed my children. Despite the apparent discrepancies in the reports from the USDA, the fact remains that the animal never reached the food chain so the safeguards are working. I am confident in our meat supply or I wouldn't serve it to my kids.”

Reporters asked Abbott if this promotion is a push toward “Country of Origin Labeling” (COOL) of beef. Abbott told them that implementation of COOL was mandated in the 2002 Farm Bill but has been delayed until 2006 for lack of funding. “The USDA and the meat packing industry have opposed it,” Abbott said. “We’re here today to show consumers how easily a label can be applied to their meat and to urge them to demand it.” To underscore this, reporters received sample beef products, prepared and presented by meat processor Jeff Christensen of St. Paul, NE. The meat was labeled with the new red, white, and blue "USA-Raised Beef" logo.

The national launching of the “USA-Raised Beef” campaign was organized by the Cattlemen’s Competitive Market Project, who promotes USA beef, and fair and open trade policies. The project is funded by voluntary contributions from cattle producers. ICON is a stakeholder in this project.