A Red Letter Day for the U.S. Cattle Industry: Alabama Jury Rules for Cattle Producers in Landmark Competition Case

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

For Immediate Release                                                             Contact John Lockie

February 17, 2004                                   406-252-2516, johnlockie@r-calfusa.com

A Red Letter Day for the U.S. Cattle Industry:

Alabama Jury Rules for Cattle Producers in Landmark Competition Case

(Billings, MT)  R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) heralded the jury verdict in the landmark Pickett vs. IBP class action cattle competition lawsuit.  Today the jury awarded $1.28 billion to the cattlemen suing Tyson/IBP for using captive supplies to negatively manipulate live cattle prices.

“The packing industry has been holding us hostage for a long time,” said R-CALF USA member Sam Britt from Pasamonte, NM who testified during the trial. “They [Tyson/IBP] took over the chickens and hogs, but they just found out cowboys weren’t going to role over and play dead for ‘em!” Britt said.

The case was filed in 1996 against IBP.  The named plaintiffs are Lee Pickett (AL), Mike Callicrate (KS), Chris Abbot (NE), Robert Rothwell (NE), Johnny Smith (SD), and Pat Goggins (MT).  They represent a class of approximately 30,000 cattlemen who sold to IBP exclusively on the cash market from 1994 to 2002.  IBP was purchased by Tyson in 2002, and thus the case is now entitled Picket vs. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.

R-CALF USA Directors Leo McDonnell, Kathleen Kelley and Herman Schumacher all testified on behalf of the plaintiffs during the trial.

R-CALF USA Vice President Kathleen Kelley said, “As far as cattle producers go, we have all lost so much. We have been told that we have to go along to get along, and with the verdict, we have found out that acceptance is not inevitable. We got our democracy handed back to us today!”

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R-CALF USA, the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America is a national, non-profit cattle association representing cattle producers in the areas of trade and marketing.  R-CALF USA has over 8,300 individual members in 46 states and 57 affiliated local and state cattle and farm organizations. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or call 406-252-2516.

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