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

Media Contact: Mary Mulligan (402) 967-3464; Email:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 27, 2006


Hyannis, NE - In a stunning report made public recently, the USDA Office of Inspector General revealed that the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) management has blocked investigations of anti-competitive behavior through numerous means, such as failing to provide established procedures for investigations and refusing to approve and provide clearance for employees seeking to investigate wrongdoing.

The report documents instances where top employees at GIPSA instructed regional offices to count routine correspondence and other mundane activities as investigations to give the misleading appearance that GIPSA was actively pursuing cases of unfair, deceptive, and anti-competitive acts in livestock and poultry markets. The full text of the report can be found on the USDA's website at:

ICON spokesman Jim Hanna of Brownlee said, "Anyone involved in the cattle business in the last ten years knew the issues with lack of competition were getting more and more serious. However, the "Industry boys" kept telling us we were out of touch because the USDA had found no evidence of anti-competitive activity."

Hanna said the report reveals that, not only were they not looking for violations of the P&S Act, they were actually blocking any attempts to investigate them.

"If ever there was a time for a great hue and cry from the grassroots, this would be it, " Hanna said. "We cannot stand by while the agency that exists to protect our independent producers enables corrupt industry insiders to manipulate the regulatory process and defy the law. We call on the Secretary to make sweeping changes in personnel and procedures and to immediately and effectively enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act".

Al Davis, ICON Director from Hyannis agreed. "We knew the packing giants were using captive supplies and their own cattle to drive down prices on the spot market," he said. "To us, that was made abundantly clear in the Pickett case. It seems ironic that other producer organizations that were unwilling to support captive supply reforms are now calling for investigations into USDA's misdeeds."

"We will strongly urge our senators and congressmen to join in the call for hearings on the matter and ask them to see that reforms are made. Re-establishment and maintenance of a truly competitive and open market may be the most critical issue we face today, " Davis added.