Over 600 cattlemen and women gathered in Denver, Colo., this week to discuss the policy priorities for the cattle industry for the upcoming year. Throughout the meeting, the various policy committees reviewed expiring policies and discussed proposed policy brought forward from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s state affiliates.
According to Philip Ellis, NCBA President and Chugwater, Wyo., cattleman, the leadership of the association renewed their dedication to the policy priorities for 2015. “The Cattle Industry Summer Conference is the time when our producer members are able to gather and tackle the business of the association,” said Ellis. “From continuing and renewing current and expiring policy, to discussing and passing policy to tackle the upcoming and emerging issues, this is our chance to work together to ensure NCBA remains on the forefront representing our membership.”
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans process continues with Congressional oversight. NCBA members remain committed to working with the administration and Congress to ensure the final guidelines reflect the highest quality science and the role of lean beef in a healthy diet. The EPA has finalized their “waters of the United States” rule, and NCBA’s membership stands firmly opposed to this land grab by the administration. NCBA continues to work with Congress to rein in the administration’s regulatory onslaught and has joined with other land use groups in litigation again the agency.
NCBA members continue their strong support of trade, which adds value to our cattle and returns over $350 for each head of cattle sold. With the passage of Trade Promotion Authority, NCBA supports finalization and passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership and other pending free trade agreements. With preferential trade agreements currently in place, and other countries actively negotiating, the United States cannot afford to fall behind in this critical area.
While COOL has for many years been a cost to the industry without benefit to producers or consumers, the NCBA urges the Senate to act quickly in passing repeal language, following the strong bi-partisan action in the House. Although USDA/APHIS finalized their import rules for Northern Argentina and a region in Brazil, these rules were pushed through without the necessary risk assessments and jeopardize the health of our domestic herd.
NCBA will continue to work with Congress and the administration to ensure the proper process is followed before allowing inspection and exports from these areas with a history of Foot-and-Mouth Disease. NCBA continues to work with the state and federal governments to ensure multiple use on public grazing lands. Ranchers are closest to the lands and the best stewards of the natural resources, ensuring productive use, maintaining open space, and mitigating fire hazards. We will continue to ensure these uses are accounted for in future range management plans and wildlife habitat decisions.