BROKEN BOW— The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) held their annual meeting in Broken Bow on Friday, June 21 with speakers, food, and comedy.
The afternoon kicked off with a silent auction to benefit the Jim Hannah Memorial Scholarship and continued with speeches from well-known agriculture representatives. Speakers included Rick Leonard from the Nebraska Agricultural Committee and Brian O’Shaughnessy of Revere Copper and Coalition for a Prosperous America.
Featured speaker, Michael Yanney, concluded the evening’s speeches as he discussed Nebraska’s crisis and what needs to change to help improve the state.
ICON first began in 2005 and continues to grow and fight for positive change. Some of the change that ICON has been fighting for recently involves Nebraska’s number one commodity, beef. ICON president, Jim Dinklage, talked about how ICON is pushing for Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) on all meat.
According to Dinklage, the UDSA approves the meat that is being commercially sold and inspected, but it does not require that meat have the origin where it was raised. ICON wants to change that.
“All this imported meat does not have to follow the same rules that we have. So I think that we need to have a label that states that the beef is born, raised, fed, and slaughtered in the United States and make it very distinctive from any meat that is imported,” said Dinklage.
Another issue discussed at the ICON meeting that is threatening the beef industry is “fake meat.” Fake meat, veggie patties, imitation meat, faux meat, and many other names given to the plant based replica has begun to be more popular throughout the U.S.
This fake meat is often labeled as meat while containing no animal by products. Recently in national news, fake meat products have been found to be more processed and contain more additives than real meat. This is part of the reason Dinklage and ICON are pushing to separate real meat and fake meat with labeling.
“The future of our beef business in Nebraska is probably under assault right now with fake meat,” said Dinklage. “We need to do something on our label and make it illegal for them to use the word meat or burgers on it because it also confuses the consumer.”
Following the afternoon of discussions and speakers, the evening finished up with dinner and cocktails. Humorist and cowboy poet R.P. Smith entertained those in attendance to conclude the 14th Annual ICON Meeting and Convention.