The Nebraska Cattlemen want to put beef on Nebraskans' license plates as well as their dinner plates.
The organization, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, has begun the process of seeking a specialty license plate that would carry the logo, “The Beef State.”
“In a small way, it's the cattle industry's way to promote the industry one vehicle at a time, from one end of the state to the other,” said Jeff Rudolph, a cattle feeder from Gothenburg, Neb., who is the organization's president-elect.
In fact, the logo would be a familiar one to Nebraskans of a certain age. All Nebraska license plates carried it from 1956 to 1965 in old-school black and white or white and black.
“It's a chance to get it back in front of people,” Rudolph said.
The organization already has proposed three possible designs, each of which feature “The Beef State” logo, said Ashley Nunnenkamp, the organization's communications director. Public voting on the organization's website ended at midnight Friday.
Under state rules, the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation, which will be seeking the specialty plate, must submit at least 500 applications — along with the $70 fee for each one — to the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles before the new plates would be produced. The department also must clear the foundation's application for the specialty plate. Only nonprofit organizations that meet certain other criteria can apply.
Once the 500-application threshhold is met, however, the plates would be available through the department's website on an ongoing basis. All vehicles can sport them except those registered for interstate trucking businesses.
Nunnenkamp said the organization launched voting for the three plates among the organization's members. Recently, it opened voting to the public, and numbers have increased dramatically.
“We've had a great response,” she said.
The cattlemen's group will announce the selected plate within the coming weeks. After that, it will post the application form for individuals interested in purchasing plates on its website.
Betty Johnson, administrator of the department's driver and vehicle records division, said Nebraska so far has only two other such organizational license plates, one commissioned by the Friends of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum and the other by Creighton University.
The other specialty plates are the “Husker spirit” plate and the personalized message plates that individuals spell out.
Motorists have to qualify for several others, such as being the recipient of a Purple Heart. Special plates also are available for special interest motor vehicles, such as a classic Corvette or Porsche, that a motorist doesn't drive daily.