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Contact Al Davis, 458-2220


Fullerton, NE---The message is loud and clear: Independent cattle producers must get involved in industry issues if the industry is to survive. The message was delivered by the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska Board of Directors, who addressed livestock producers and consumers at an informational workshop held at Mid-Nebraska PRIDE's Annual meeting here on April 17.

Board members Chris Abbott of Gordon, Bob Rothwell of Hyannis, David Wright of Neligh, as well as Abbott's son, Carver, shared current information on issues which have been the focus of ICON since its inception in February of this year. Again and again, they stressed that the time to get involved in the cattle industry is now, with so many decisions being made that will impact the future of the industry and the State.

The ICON Directors fielded questions that centered primarily around the Canadian border and BSE issues, Country of Origin Labeling of US beef ("COOL") , and LB 150, a bill currently before the Nebraska Legislature that aims to establish a state beef check off.

The Board also briefed the crowd on the Federal Pickett v. Tyson case concerning captive supply of beef and price control in the cattle industry. Chris Abbott and Bob Rothwell were two of the original six plaintiffs in the case, which was filed in 1996.

Carver Abbott spoke for the next generation of cattlemen, citing his concerns over the viability of the industry and longevity of farm and ranch communities if changes aren't made to preserve profitability. He hopes to step up to run the family ranch, but fears it won't be sustainable with trends that have stripped profits and threatened the integrity of US-produced beef.

Cattlemen were urged to be more vocal with their state and federal representatives, and to unite to have an even stronger voice. "Trade and health issues are being decided today that will influence every aspect of our lives---from who buys our cattle, to what our land is worth," said Rothwell. "This isn't just about the ranch---it's about the economy of the State and rural America." he added.

Nearly 600 Nebraska cattle producers have joined ICON since its inception in February of this year. ICON can be reached at 308-282-2826 for more information.