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Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska, Inc.

PRESS RELEASE - For release on Wednesday, February 14, 2005  

Independent Cattlemen to take get-acquainted tour of Nebraska

A new organization, the Independent Cattlemen Of Nebraska (ICON), will travel across Nebraska Feb. 21-23, explaining their motivation and goals to Nebraskans.
“We are in the 11th hour on major issues affecting the cattle business and Nebraska,” ICON president Chris Abbott of Hyannis said. “We need an organization that will fully represent us.”
Abbott and others agreed in mid January to form an organization for independent cattlemen and named it ICON. It is now chartered and registered and has about 50 members, Abbott said.

Founding members Chris Abbott, Al Davis and Bob Rothwell, accompanied by Jess Peterson of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) will kick off the tour in Hyannis Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Winters Building. Everyone is invited.
At 10 a.m. Feb. 22, they will be in North Platte to talk to the press at the Royal Colonial Inn, and will return to the Royal Colonial Inn that night from 7-10 p.m. for an informational meeting with area cattlemen, farmers and anyone interested.

The next day, ICON founders and Peterson will be in Lincoln at the State Capitol for a noon press conference and meeting with Nebraska senators. Another founding member, Dave Wright of Neligh, will join them there. Cattle feeder Korley Sears of Ainsworth is another founder.

Jess Peterson is the director of governmental relations for R-CALF USA with an office in Washington, D.C. ICON will affiliate with R-CALF USA. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on domestic and international trade and marketing issues, and Peterson will talk about those issues during the tour.

R-CALF USA’s membership consists primarily of cow-calf operators, cattle backgrounders and feedlot owners. It has 12,000 members in 46 states, and more than 60 local and state affiliates, including both cattle and farm organizations. Supporting businesses are associate members.

"We have to get our industry back," Abbott said. "We face critical issues this year that could virtually eliminate independent cattlemen from this country."

ICON will address the March 7 Canadian border opening to beef imports, advocate for country of origin labeling of meats and scrutinize pending trade agreements such as CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement. CAFTA was signed May 28 and the next step is a vote in Congress this year. ICON is also opposed to the consolidation/monopolization of agriculture and opposes the closures of small schools.

"We must have fair trade, not free trade," Abbott said. "If beef is allowed to come freely into this country, it will drive down our prices and drive more money and people from rural Nebraska. Agriculture is the base of Nebraska's economy and cattle are at the base of Nebraska's agriculture."

Membership dues in ICON are $50 a year.

Contact Abbott at 308-458-9814 (cell) or 308-282-2826 (ranch)