The Nebraska Beef Producers Committee is seeking a preliminary injunction in a civil case against the Nebraska Brand Committee and Executive Director William Bunce.
Katy Spohn, an attorney for the beef producers, says the Nebraska Livestock Brand Act should not be enforced as it violates the U.S. Constitution.
“The Livestock Brand Act places a burden on these producers who are selling their cattle in interstate commerce and they receive no benefit for either the producers or the public,” Spohn says. “We would say that the brand act may have once been useful in tracking lost or stolen cattle, but it’s now an antiquated system.”
She says feedlot operators are bearing a huge expense, paid to the Brand Committee, and they get little or nothing in return.
“The risk of cattle wandering or being stolen from registered feedlots is just minimal,” Spohn says, “yet they’re forced to pay a high fee, some of these feedlots, in the range of $75,000 to $100,000 a year. There’s no benefit and it’s not born equally by all cattle producers.”
Spohn says their best argument centers around the Interstate Commerce Act.
“Many will remember the corporate farming ban that was struck down as unconstitutional several years ago because it placed a burden on producers wanting to sell outside the state of Nebraska,” Spohn says. “We think the same type of law applies here.”
The civil case was filed in federal court last week. Spohn says they hope to receive a response to their injunction request this week.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton