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FROM: INDEPENDENT CATTLEMEN OF NEBRASKA, Box 241, Hyannis, NE 69350 Phone: 308-282-2826

Media Contact: Stephanie Trask (308) 282-2826



(Aberdeen, SD) "We are lucky to have cattlemen like Mike (Callicrate), Herman (Schumacher), and Roger (Koch) who have the fortitude to oppose this blatant market manipulation" noted Nebraska Independent Cattlemen board member, Bob Rothwell of the three initial plaintiffs in a recent class-action suit against the nations largest meat packers.

The suit involved defendant packers taking advantage of erroneous boxed beef price reports by USDA, beginning on April 3 of 2001 and going undiscovered until May 11, 2001, to under-pay cattlemen who sold fed cattle during that time period, by $1-$6/ cwt. The practice was in direct violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act which prohibits conduct which has the purpose or effect of controlling or manipulating fed cattle prices.

Several ICON members as well as cattlemen from across South Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska were present in Aberdeen, SD, Tuesday to hear closing arguments and show their concern and support for the case.

Wednesday, April 12, the eight person jury found Tyson Fresh Meats Inc, Excel Co., and Swift & Co. guilty of P & S Act violations and awarded $4 million, $3 million, and $2.25 million from each respectively. The smallest of the four defendant packers, National Beef, was found not liable.

"This is a major win for producers" said Mike Callicrate of the jury verdict. "It breathes new life into the P & S Act while opening the door for further litigation, mainly in the preference and discrimination area of the Act." Callicrate also thought Judge Charles Kornmann did an excellent job of presiding over the case.

Said Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska president, Chris Abbott, "It is unfortunate that cattlemen have to resort to the court system in order to bring fairness to the markets within our industry. With this verdict, the cattleman's' voice is heard once again across rural America. We will reclaim our livelihood and our industry one jury at a time."