FROM: INDEPENDENT CATTLEMEN OF NEBRASKA,
Box 241, Hyannis, NE 69350
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,
ICON Supporting Legislative
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
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 Nebraskas
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.