FROM: INDEPENDENT CATTLEMEN OF NEBRASKA - Box 241 - Hyannis, NE 69350
CONTACT: Dottie Davis 308-458-2220 firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - MAY 25, 2005
Cattlemen Groups Gain Steam at $28,000 Memorial Fund-Raiser
Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska and R-CALF USA teamed up to raise
nearly $28,000 for their fast-growing organizations at a gathering in
O'Neill on Saturday, May 21. The event was held in honor of Tom Whitehill,
who was a Holt County rancher and a highly-effective State Membership
Chairman for R-CALF USA until his death in 2004.
Guest speakers at the event were Leo McDonnell, President and Co-Founder
of R-CALF USA, and Omaha attorney David Domina, lead trial counsel in
the Pickett vs Tyson lawsuit. That case was the nations first
class action suit filed and tried under the Packers and Stockyards Act
McDonnell addressed the crowd of over 150 ranchers on R-CALF's position
on international trade issues. He said that liberal trade agreements
like the Central American Free Trade Act (CAFTA), if enacted, "will
become the blueprint for other trade agreements in the future."
R-CALF has opposed CAFTA and any trade act that does not include fair
protection of US producers in the global marketplace.
McDonnell also spoke on the need for mandatory Country of Origin Labeling
(or "COOL") in order to stimulate and sustain increased consumer
demand for US beef, both here and abroad.
Domina discussed a "Friend of the Court" brief, which has
been co-signed by 35 organizations, in support of a March 2nd decision
in US District Court to keep the Canadian border closed to live cattle
importation. The USDA and allied entities have appealed that decision
to the 9th Circuit Court. The border was closed in 2003 when a Canadian
cow was diagnosed with BSE. Canada is the origin of 3 subsequent BSE
cases, the most recent in January, 2005.
Domina also provided an overview of Pickett vs Tyson, an 8-year legal
battle challenging the right of packers to enter into forward contracts
with producers, giving the packer a captive supply of cattle. Such agreements
suppress the price of cattle by artificially controlling the demand.
ICON President, Chris Abbott, and Board member, Bob Rothwell, are lead
plaintiffs in the suit.
Domina emphasized to the gathering of cattlemen that they must educate
themselves on industry issues and use their collective voice to influence
policy and legislation. Both speakers were given a standing ovation
by the enthusiastic crowd.
Whitehill's family was presented a plaque in memory of Whitehill's
hard work and dedication on behalf of R-CALF. Holt county boasts over
300 R-CALF members, more than any other county in Nebraska, due to Whitehill's
Don DeGroff of Atkinson donated the calf which generated a large part
of the revenue through a roll over auction. ICON organizers were pleased
with the turn-out and the generous outpouring of financial support for
the two producer organizations.
Abbott said, "It was a great honor to be a part of this event.
The folks I've met over the last year in this area of Nebraska really
make you feel at home and appreciate what we're doing for the cattle
industry and rural America. Leo McDonnell and Dave Domina gave excellent
speeches. It's encouraging to know that these two men of such stature
and passion are committed to preserving the cattle industry for the
Dave Wright, ICON Board of Directors, commented, "Tonight was
a great success. Richard Schrunk [Shamrock Livestock Market] and his
crew did a great job organizing this event."
ICON member and organizer T.J. Zark from the Atkinson area commented,
"Domina and McDonnell each gave very compelling and concise summaries
of free trade and the condition of the cattle market in this country.
They were both very motivating."
Entertainment was provided by "Jimmy Hanson and The Good Old Boys"