Billings, Mont. On the day R-CALF USA conducted its June 26, 2009, news conference before a crowd of about 150 in the small town of Herreid, S.D., to highlight Tyson Fresh Meat's (Tyson's) seizure of the home of Herreid, S.D., rancher and cattle feeder Herman Schumacher, Tyson faxed R-CALF USA a complaint letter.
Tyson Senior Group Vice President for Fresh Meats James Lochner complained that R-CALF USA had "twisted the facts in its recent press announcements on the boxed beef pricing litigation that occurred in South Dakota." Lochner's letter also informs R-CALF USA that Tyson intends to proceed in its action to seize Schumacher's home, and Tyson attempts to justify its action on the basis that Schumacher would do the same to Tyson if the outcome of the price manipulation case had turned out differently.
R-CALF USA fired a letter back to Tyson informing Lochner that he has erroneously cited an 18-month-old news release from the group, which was not a part of any of R-CALF USA's announcements for the news conference held to highlight Tyson's current action of retaliation against Schumacher. R-CALF USA's letter explains that Lochner's error demonstrates that Tyson and R-CALF USA have long had "different views regarding what constitutes a competitive cattle market."
But, R-CALF USA's letter is hardly a defense against Tyson's criticisms. Instead, it is an appeal to Tyson to attain a higher moral standard. The group's letter states in part:
R-CALF USA does not contest Tyson's right to seize and sell Schumacher's home. However, R-CALF USA believes there is a higher, moral imperative that should govern the outcome of this controversy. It is fundamentally wrong for Tyson to seize the modest home of Herman Schumacher after Tyson's actions were found to have financially harmed Schumacher and other cattle producers in the amount of $9.25 million. The fact that an appellate court shielded Tyson from any obligation to make Schumacher and other cattle producers whole even after it was found to have engaged in conduct prohibited by the Packers and Stockyards Act does not absolve Tyson of this higher, moral responsibility.
The R-CALF USA letter further states, "R-CALF USA respectfully requests that Tyson immediately withdraw its judgment against Herman Schumacher and its ongoing legal action to seize Schumacher's home."
R-CALF USA also asks Lochner to let the organization know whether Tyson will agree to the requested withdrawal by 5:00 p.m. CDT on Monday, June 29, 2009, so that R-CALF USA will know whether it needs to begin preparing for the forced sale of Schumacher's home, which is expected to occur on or after July 1, 2009.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. R-CALF USA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALF USA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.
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