PRESS RELEASE: Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 30, 2010
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more information,
contact ICON Executive Director Destry Brown, 308-458-2244,
or ICON president
David Wright, 402-929-0339, or Communications Director Linda Wuebben, 402-357-3778.
Makes Strong Showing at DOJ/USDA Hearing
A chartered bus with
54 individuals returned early Saturday morning from the August 27th, workshop
hosted at Colorado State University in Fort Collins by the U.S. Department of
Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The purpose of the workshop was
to hear from producers and rural Americans about the concentration and buying
power of the packing industry in the livestock markets. The workshop was well
attended as over 1500 people gathered to participate.
The agenda included
opening statements from both the Secretary of Ag Tom Vilsack and the Attorney
General Eric Holder. Both men stated that this was a historical event, as this
is the first time the two agencies have worked together. They both seem to have
a firm grip on not only the situation producers are facing, but also the importance
of the livestock industry to a prosperous and safe America.
After opening remarks
the Ag leaders led a roundtable discussion with various State officials. The questions
and discussion centered on the trend of the family farm and ranches disappearing
at an alarming rate.
"If the survival of the family farm and
ranch is important, then we have to admit that what we are doing now is not working,"
said Montana's Attorney General Steve Bullock, giving the audience the most important
statement of the panel that day. "If we cannot give the Packers and Stockyard
Act teeth, we can at least give it a new set of dentures."
panels were presented throughout the day on, producer issues, trends in the livestock
industry associated with contracting, price transparency, the affects of concentration,
and finally a panel dealing with market structure. Independent Producers were
well represented on these panels by several individuals. These included, Dr. Taylor
Haynes a rancher from near Cheyenne WY, also a regional director for R-CALF USA;
Allan Sents, a feedlot owner from Marquette, KS, and adDirector with the US Cattleman's
Association. Gilles Stockton, a rancher from Range, MT, and Dave Domina, a lawyer
from Omaha, NE, who was also the lead attorney in the Pickett vs. Tyson/IPB lawsuit.
These gentlemen did an excellent job of not criticizing the US Department
of Ag for past policy but providing clear solutions for the current problems we
face. They were very articulate and professional. If you are an independent producer
or feeder you should be very proud of these individuals.
most of the public testimony centered on the new proposed rules issued on June
22nd by GIPSA. There was testimony opposing the rules, there was testimony supporting
the rules and there was even testimony supporting some of the rules and opposing
others. By far the majority of the testimony was very educational and civil, but
there always seems to be the exception. J. Dudley Butler withstood some criticism
and at one point was accused, in a fictional theory, as being an economic terrorist
bent on destroying the industry from within. This was very disappointing and drew
several "Boos" from the crowd. Overall, this was a very healthy and
This was the 4th in a series of workshops and the final
workshop will be in Washington DC, December 8th, dealing with the discrepancies
between the prices received by ranchers and the prices paid by consumers. ICON
would encourage you to listen to audio of this hearing when it is available on
the Department of Justice website at www.justice.gov/atr/public/workships/ag2010/index.htm#dates.
Also, we strongly encourage you to make written comment on this issue and
the proposed GIPSA rule changes at firstname.lastname@example.org (this is an
ICON would like to thank the sponsors who provided the
charter bus that allowed producers to attend the workshop. They include: Sandhills
Equipment, Dennis Swanson, Bassett, NE; Joseph Angus, Roger Joseph, Winner SD;
O'Dea Livestock, John O'Dea, McCook, NE; Vitalix, Greg Olsen, Alliance, NE; Dyer
Feed, Doug Dyer, Hyannis, NE; Hubbard Feed, Steve Holmes, Gering, NE; Pearson
Livestock Equipment, Thedford, NE; David and Kristine Gale, Bassett, NE; and Carolyn
Hall, Bassett, NE.
The 54 producers riding the bus were also served a complimentary
lunch while traveling. The lunch was sponsored by Abbott's Sandhills Own, Chris
Abbott Family, Gordon, NE; drinks were provided by Pepsi of Alliance NE; and chips
were donated by Harris Sales, Alliance, NE. Mike Dietrich of Dietrich Distributing,
Gering, NE, also provided some refreshment for the long bus ride home.
would also like to send a huge thank you out to those who rode the bus to Fort
Collins. Sacrificing time away from the ranch did not go unnoticed, you were part
of history in the making and we are optimistic that the future holds great things
for production agriculture.
For more information concerning the workshop
or to become a member of ICON, call Destry Brown, Executive Director, at 308-458-2244
or visit our website at www.independentcattlemen.com
Cattlemen of Nebraska
"Solid as a windmill. Always working for the independent