Beef banquet draws farmers, politicians to NE Nebraska - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Beef banquet draws farmers, politicians to NE Nebraska


It's been a good year for beef.

"Since September of '13 to the present day, we've been very profitable,” said Ron Coufal, Cuming Co. Feeders Association.

Beef prices have hit all-time highs in the United States, and for attendees of the 2014 Cuming County Feeders Association Annual Banquet, that means a year of higher profit margins after two straight years of losses.  Cuming County has been Nebraska's largest beef producing county for six decades, so as beef goes, so too goes the local economy.

"Things are very profitable and 2014 looks like it's going to be a very good year,” added Coufal.

Nebraska's current governor, Dave Heineman, was among the dignitaries attending Saturday's banquet in Wisner, but so too were candidates looking to replace him in office this November. They say that while beef prices are skyrocketing, so too are land values, and they say beef producer's taxes need to be lowered.

"We have a property tax credit relief fund. We've pumped more money into that. If we can't figure out what to do when valuations go up and levies don't go down, that's a problem,” said gubernatorial candidate Jon Bruning.

“They're feeling the pinch. Ag-land valuations have just been skyrocketing in recent years and we need to better communicate with local officials,” said Mike Foley, who is also running for governor.

U.S. Senate candidates were on-hand as well, saying that Cuming County's producers need to be protected from what they call burdensome federal regulations.

"The EPA is an agency that's out of control and thinks they can write law in the executive branch. We need a constitutional recovery,” said Ben Sasse.

“The MCOOL: The Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling. We're going to have to get in there and fix that and take that out of there. That's just another example of government overreach,” said Shane Osborn.

But producers say those are just some of the issues facing an always volatile industry. They say for now, they're content to enjoy an upswing in their profits.

"When is it going to turn lower? I don't know. We're just enjoying the good times right now,” pointed out Coufal.

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