FROM: INDEPENDENT CATTLEMEN OF NEBRASKA, Box 241, Hyannis, NE 69350
Media Contact: Mary Mulligan (402) 967-3464; Email: email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 11, 2006
INDEPENDENT CATTLEMEN OPPOSE CHANDLER KEYS NOMINATION
Hyannis, NE - The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) today joined
a growing number of cattle organizations across the nation in urging
Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, to reconsider his nomination
of Chandler Keys to replace Bill Hawks as undersecretary for Agricultural
Marketing & Regulatory programs.
ICON spokesman Jim Hanna said, "Mr. Keys represents a growing number
of appointees at USDA who have strong ties to agri-business and the
organizations that represent them. "
Keys is a career Washington DC lobbyist, having spent several years
with the NCBA, American Meat Institute and packer giant, Swift and Co.
According to Hanna, "Keys has been a long time advocate of vertical
integration and concentration in agricultural production and those ideas
run counter to everything ICON is about. We need to find people to serve
in these important positions who are interested more in the livelihoods
of folks who are involved in production agriculture and are less concerned
about the bottom lines of multi-national corporations. The perception
continues that top level positions within the Department are "for
sale" to those with the most political influence."
A paper titled "USDA INC: How Agribusiness Has Hijacked Regulatory
Policy at USDA", released in 2004 by the Agri-Business Accountability
Initiative, found that USDA had become a virtual nest for industry-related
"It's a commonly-accepted fact amongst cattle producers that USDA
is overrun with representatives from the meatpacking, food processing
and retail sectors," Hanna said. "Putting former lobbyists
from these sectors into policy or regulatory jobs sets the stage for
serious conflicts of interest by creating situations where they can
advance their agendas internally.
ICON will oppose this nomination, and will ask our congressional delegation
to oppose Mr. Keys during the confirmation process as well. "Let's
curtail the "industry" influence within USDA and search for
a candidate with credibility and integrity and the willingness to further
the cause of US agriculture and its grassroots producers," Hanna
For more information on R-CALF USA or ICON, visit www.r-calfusa.com
or www.independentcattlemen.com or call (308) 282-2826.