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.
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.