Cattle Industry Carries Good Momentum Coming Out of 2013 and Into 2014, Colin Woodall SaysThu, 02 Jan 2014 10:31:41 CST
With 2013 now over and 2014 just beginning to unfold, Colin Woodall, vice president for government affairs with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says the beef industry posted quite a few successes last year which provides a great deal of momentum going forward.
“We started off 2013 with getting additional access to the Japanese market. And because of that we are going to finish up 2013 with well over a billion and a half dollars for the product exported to Japan. Those are huge numbers and they are great for the bottom line of this industry.
“To make it even better, in May, the OIE, which is the world organization for animal health actually upgraded our BSE status to ‘negligible’ status which is the lowest one out there. That will help us as we continue to open up new markets and to try to get back into markets such as China. So, on the trade side, it’s been a very successful year for us.”
On the regulatory side, Woodall says, some of their major accomplishments have been to slow some things down.
“A lot of times when you are dealing with an administration like we are right now, the name of the game isn’t always necessarily beating something back, it’s how long can you delay it. We’ve been able to help delay a lot of CAFO regulations. We’ve been able to delay a lot of Clean Water Act regulations and those things have been good.
“At the same time we’ve also had some victories. A great victory was how we were able to buy some time the thirty-minute rule when it comes to hauling cattle. Even though we don’t have a complete resolution to that yet we are getting closer. And I think people really understood our position-the fact that this needed to be addressed.”
On Capitol Hill, the NCBA and other agricultural organizations, spent a great deal of time watching and working on the farm bill. A lot of effort went into helping craft it and shepherd it through the process where it is now being worked on in conference committee.
“Even though we don’t have the farm bill finished quite yet, one of the biggest attacks was the amendment process and trying to get the HSUS, the Humane Society of the United States, and the UEP, the United Egg Producers, egg-laying cage agreement added into the farm bill. This was a bad deal for cattle producers because it would have allowed HSUS to put in law a production practice, something they’ve never done in the past and that could have been used against us in the cattle business some time down the road. We were able to keep that out of the Senate version of the farm bill and out of the House version of the farm bill. It’s a great victory for us because it shows even though HSUS is a formidable foe, we still have the opportunity as producers to beat that back.”
The NCBA was also successful in getting and keeping the livestock disaster assistance provisions in the farm bill. He says their sights are now turning toward the November mid-term elections where there are opportunities to help elect members of Congress who will be more sympathetic to agricultural issues and more able to constrain the current administration.
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