FROM: INDEPENDENT CATTLEMEN OF NEBRASKA
CONTACT: Al Davis
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - APRIL 1, 2005
Independent Cattlemen Support Chambers Amendment to Beef Bill
Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) expressed solidarity with Omaha
Senator Ernie Chambers on Wednesday, for his proposed amendment to LB
150. The bill would establish a state beef checkoff to be enacted if
the current mandatory checkoff is ruled unconstitutional in a pending
federal court case.
Chambers offered an amendment to LB 150 which eliminates the mandatory
requirement that checkoff monies be collected from every producer. As
written, LB 150 offers the producer the right to a refund, but requires
the producer to write a timely request for refund each time he sells
cattle. After approval, a refund is issued at a later date. Chambers
simplification of the bill permits the producer to opt out
of the checkoff at the point of sale, which eliminates paperwork and
does not tie up the producers money for an indefinite period of
ICON found a vocal ally in Chambers. Were not just talking
about pressure brought on the producers, Chambers told the Lincoln
Journal-Star, were talking about coercion. He equated
the LB 150's checkoff refund process with being told at the grocery
store that you could apply by mail to receive your change.
ICON board member, Al Davis, said that it is not at all surprising
to have east meet west in this debate where urban Senator
Chambers backs the interests of the cattle producers.
Chambers has an excellent reputation for standing up for fairness
and he has a keen sense of justice. Those tenets arent tied to
geography. He added, If the US Supreme Court deems that
a mandatory checkoff is unconstitutional, why should there be any hoops
to jump through on the state level for those who dont want to
participate? The program will succeed if the producers want it. Its
Some senators claim that amending the bill to make the checkoff voluntary
would limit funding because small producers would decline payment of
the fees. With the current structure, however, we believe that
it will be the large producers who "opt out" of the checkoff,
leaving the small producer to shoulder most of the costs. Davis
Davis explained, At a dollar a head, a producer selling 25 head
might not find it worthwhile to file the paperwork to retrieve his $25
refund. On the other hand, a feedlot which feeds and sells over 20,000
head per year will have more incentive to file the paperwork to get
their $20,000 refund.
One of the largest revenue generators for the national checkoff collections
currently comes from imported cattle---nearly nine million dollars.
Nebraska will not be able to ask for fees from imported cattle because
there is no point of sale. We don't think subsidizing the imported
cattle will sit very well with any Nebraska beef producer, Davis
LB 150 is currently in the second round of legislative approval.
The Mission of the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) is to protect
and promote the interests of Nebraska's independent cattle producers.
Office of the Organization is located in Hyannis, Nebraska and membership
can be obtained by calling (308) 282-2826