Beef Meetings Will Cover Three Hot Issues

COOL, beef checkoff and new state inspection law are topics.

Cattle producers have the opportunity to attend one of the several meetings scheduled across Nebraska in July and August to address three key industry issues.

Those issues are country-of-origin labeling, the beef checkoff and LB 677, the livestock facilities inspection bill passed in the 2007 Unicameral.

COOL is mandatory under current law and will be enforced beginning Sept 30, 2008, meaning it could pertain to spring 2007 calves, says Mike Fitzgerald, NC vice president of communications. The meeting is intended to make producers aware of the need to be prepared to provide documentation to comply with the law. Examples of documentation will be discussed along with other requirements of the law

The beef checkoff program is 20 years old and an industry-wide checkoff improvement taskforce is reviewing the program. Approval of the beef checkoff remains high, at approximately 70%, according to the latest survey of beef and dairy producers. The meetings will allow producers to comment on their ideas for increasing the checkoff, the timing of such an increase and the use of the dollars generated.

Under LB 677, according to Fitzgerald, ranchers under certain conditions must apply for an inspection by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and many producers were unaware of this requirement and subject to stiff penalties. LB 677 provides a window of opportunity for ranchers that are required to request an inspection to do so without fear of late penalties.

The meetings are free.

The COOL, beef checkoff and LB 677 meetings will all be held from 7 to 10:00 p.m. at the following dates and locations:

July 23 - Chadron (Country Kitchen).
July 24 - Scottsbluff (Panhandle Research Center).
July 30 - Beatrice (4-H Building, Gage County Fairgrounds).
July 31 - in conjunction with the Nebraska Cattlemen Region 6 Roundup, Brule (Bayside Golf Course).
July 31 - Albion (Albion Country Club).
Aug. 1 - Blue Hill (Senior Center).
Aug. 15 - in conjunction with the Nebraska Cattlemen Region 2 Roundup, Thedford (Stubbs).
Aug. 16 - McCook (Fairgrounds Community Building).
Aug. 20 - Laurel (VFW).
Aug. 21 - Ainsworth (Elks Lodge).

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