Nebraska Cattlemen reflect on 2016
December 30, 2016
LINCOLN, Neb. (Dec. 30, 2016) – Aside from the cattle market and a continued battle with property taxes, Nebraska Cattlemen looks back at 2016 seeing some major accomplishments.
Almost a year ago, in January NC Board of Directors gathered together kicking the year off at the annual legislative meeting. During two days of reviewing and discussing bills and resolutions NC designated 4 bills as priorities for the organization. NC's voice was heard and our hard work paid off having 3 of the 4 priority bills passed during the session. LB 977 which changed provision relating to weight limits for implements of animal husbandry on highways passed unanimously during the session. Two other priority bills LB 958 & 959 also passed after senators worked long and hard with the Governor's office to amend and approve both bills. Great accomplishments came from the last session and we hope the same for the coming year.
The Nebraska Cattlewomen were also hard at work with many programs across the state from beef in the classroom, promoting the school beef lunch program, and hosting the Nebraska Beef Ambassador contest. This program provides an opportunity for youth, ages 14 – 24 years old, to become spokespersons and future leaders for the beef industry. They have two competitive divisions, senior and collegiate, that were judged upon three different areas of the industry consisting of a mock consumer promotional event. This year the judges included Kyla Olson, Mitch Rippe, Sallie Atkins, Ginny Lee and Tricia Grabenstein. The winner of the collegiate division and Nebraska's representative at the National Beef Ambassador Contest in February 2017 is Elisabeth Loseke and the winner of the senior division was Sydni Lieneman.
An exciting addition to the NC Calendar this year was the Cow Calf tour held in September near Ashby. The tour participants were served lunch and had the opportunity to hear from Kelly Bruns, Pate Reece and Chip Ramsey. They also toured JHL Beef, a commercial cow operation that works "on the ranch and on the rail", emphasizing the importance of good females. The Cow Calf council was excited about the great attendance and hope to continue this in the future.
Less than a month later the NC Board of Directors met for their October meeting. The Southeast Community College (SCC) Bond proposal that was to be on the November voting ballot for 15 counties in the southeast part of the state, was brought to attention. After much discussion, the NC Board voted to oppose the $369 million SCC bond issue. The final decision was not taken lightly as NC is very supportive of education and job training at the community college level. With an ongoing effort to find property tax relief for members across the state NC could not support a bond that would increase the tax burden in the 15-county area.
With great success in some arenas came hardship in others for NC members. 2016 continued to bring challenging conditions for the cattle market. In an effort to discuss first hand with members across the state, NC leadership and staff, being very thoughtful and aware of the situation, held multiple marketing forum meetings. Topics of discussion included fundamental market factors, the deterioration of the bid-and-offer price discovery process and negotiated cash volume in the nation's fed cattle trade, CME Live Cattle and Feeder Cattle futures contract specifications and increased levels of volatility in both markets, and the evolving role of USDA's Mandatory Price Reporting platform amid changing market dynamics.
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Most recently, the Office of Inspector General released an audit following an extensive and thorough investigation of the animal handling procedures of the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center. The audit results prove the high internal standards of the dedicated and talented scientists and researchers at U.S. MARC have been and continue to be upheld. U.S. MARC is driven to provide food security and sustainability to producers and the growing world population. NC members genuinely appreciate and thank the dedicated staff at U.S. MARC that have endured this unfortunate incident.
As we near 2017 Nebraska Cattlemen leadership and staff look forward to another rewarding year working for the entire membership.