Close Window & Return to ICON News



CONTACT: Dottie Davis 308-458-2220



Hyannis, NE-----Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska sponsored a joint meeting with the Kansas Cattlemen Association in McCook Thursday to introduce Nebraskans to a sweeping new campaign promoting domestically-raised beef. Showcasing a banner reading, "Not just any beef---USA Raised Beef. Ask for it", guest speaker Chase Carter of the Cattlemen’s Competitive Market Project, based in Lincoln, explained that CCMP has developed the new logo and promotion, and he promised producers, "You're going to be seeing it all over the country."

"America’s cattle producers deserve a national promotional program that distinguishes their product from that of foreign nations," Carter said. "The current mandated $1.00- per- head checkoff promotes generic beef, and that includes foreign beef imported into America, sold under the guise of the USDA grade stamp of approval. This campaign is designed to enhance demand for USA-RAISED BEEF, which is the safest, most nutritious beef in the world."

Carter said that the new logo is "something for consumers to have faith in and something for producers to have pride in." He further explained that this campaign will be an impetus for the US to adopt "Country of Origin Labeling" of beef.

"The consumer has a right to choose beef according to where it's raised," he said, "and this will be crucial if the border is opened to Canadian cattle, where BSE has repeatedly been identified in the herd." Carter added, "The USDA talks of 'sound science', and tells us we don't need to worry about BSE, but anyone who tells you they know everything about BSE is lying to you. Current knowledge on BSE is very little. Why would we want to knock down the border and allow it into our cattle herd?"

Carter told producers that international trade is the most important issue facing their industry and they must make their voices heard on proposed trade agreements like CAFTA. He said that, "On the national level, only R-CALF USA and the Organization for Competitive Markets are protecting the live cattle industry." He added, " There is no room for complacency."

Kansas Cattlemen CEO, Mike Schultz, said, "These groups have taken on the challenge of focusing on trade issues because profit is essential to a fair and competitive market. Nothing else---caring for the environment, being a steward of the land, or preserving our communities ---is possible without it."

Schultz also said "[Ag Secretary] Johanns pushes free trade agreements by telling us that 96% of the world's population lives outside the US, but what he doesn't say is that they don't have the purchasing power to make that trade a two-way street. In the CAFTA nations, for example, the per capita monthly income is only $400." Carter added that, "US trade policy has the ability to break us all because our trade agreements are not with consuming countries---only producing countries."

ICON President Chris Abbott, his son, Carver, and ICON Directors Bob Rothwell, Al Davis, and Dave Wright also addressed the cattle producers and community leaders on trade issues and meat packer ownership of cattle, which results in a "captive supply" that enables market manipulation. Foremost in their comments, however, was the need for producers to get involved by uniting and by communicating with their elected representatives on the issues that impact their industry.

The meeting was a part of ICON's statewide tour to raise awareness and recruit members. The new beef producers advocacy group has signed 650 members in Nebraska in less than three months.