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Media Contact: President David Wright, 402-929-0339, ICON Director Chris Abbott, 308-0282-2826, or Communications Director Linda Wuebben, 402-357-3778.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 26, 2013


ICON Supporting Legislative Brand Bills


Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) have spent a busy month making Nebraska livestock producers aware of two brand bills the group is supporting. President Dave Wright visited several livestock barns on market days to talk to livestock producers about LB654 and LB 647, both submitted by District 43 State Senator Al Davis.

LB654 has been introduced to change the brand area in Nebraska to include the complete state. As it stands now, the eastern third of the state is not in the brand inspection area. LB647 is designed to go hand in hand with the brand inspection act and make changes to Nebraska’s cattle importation act.

Livestock producers were encouraged to head to Lincoln on Tuesday, Feb. 19, for the hearing on the two proposed bills. The hearing room was indeed full of cowboys and others who offered several perspectives in their testimony supporting the bills including Jay Rempe with NE Farm Bureau; John Hanson, NE Farmers Union; David Wright, ICON; Richard Schrunk and Koinzan – owners of livestock markets; and livestock producers Chris Abbott and Doug Ferguson.

"The quality of the testimony was exceptional and demonstrated to the committee why one law should apply to the entire state,” Davis said. “When the brand area was established in the l940s cattle were all moved from central points of collection and only traveled on railcars to their destination.”

Davis said with the advent of trucking as the means of transportation the job of policing cattle theft is much more complicated. It is extremely easy to remove animals from the brand area on one day and sell them in the non-brand area the following day before the rancher in the brand area even knows they are gone. The fees associated with brand inspection are well-worth the expenditures required for inspection.
Additionally, residents west of the brand line are held to a different standard when paying the beef checkoff, since it is collected by brand inspectors west of the line. East of the line, the collection of country sales is purely based on the honor system. Instituting an all-state brand inspection area and inspection program would solve all these problems.

“Finally if you read the statute you will find that the animals do not have to be branded--there just needs to be some way for an inspector to identify that the cattle belong to a specific individual,” Davis said. The hearing attracted about 60 interested Nebraskans.


"Solid as a windmill. Always working for the independent producer."