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Agricultural News

NCBA's Bob McCan: Cow-Calf Outlook Continues to Improve for Producers

Fri, 01 Aug 2014 11:57:55 CDT

NCBA's Bob McCan:  Cow-Calf Outlook Continues to Improve for Producers
The outlook for cow-calf producers is improving across the nation. Rains across much of the country has improved the likelihood the nation's producers will begin to expand their cowherd. At the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Bob McCan talked with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about the state of the industry. You can hear their full conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.

"It's nice to see a lot of the country side recovering from drought," McCan said. "There are some pockets, especially in California that are still suffering and our prayers go out to those landowners and producers out there."

"We've had some good rain in Texas and a lot of the central part of the United States... with the good markets we're enjoying right now it's a pretty good time in the cattle business," he said.

Right now cattlemen are enjoying record high prices. McCan says cattle producers are seeing uncharted territory.

"It's almost kind of scary as good as it has been, just seems like there is no end to it," McCan said. "Of course everyone is a little bit scared when they see the beef prices go up, but we have lots of good things that are helping to maintain that market with our good international market demand and of course our good domestic demand we have going on too."

In terms of federal policy, NCBA's top priority is the 'Water of the US' proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency and Army corps of engineers.

"It just effects all of our producers in such a big way," McCan said. "This is a private property rights grab that we're not going to stand down for and we've got to make sure our voice is heard on this."

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and their state affiliates have a goal of submitting 10 - thousand comments to the Federal Register on the proposal.

At the Cattle Industry Conference, Gerry Ritz, the Canadian Ag Minister told Ron Hays that it's time for repeal of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling in the US. Canada is looking toward retaliation against the US under the World Trade Organization.

"Country of Origin Labeling has been a very contentious issue and of course has been a detrimental issue in my opinion to the whole industry," McCan said. "Canada and Mexico are some of our biggest customers of our product and have been for quite a few years and it's just not a good way to treat your best customer."

Canada and Mexico has suffered economic losses. As a Texas cattle producer, McCan said he personally has felt the impact of COOL in feeding out Mexican steers when they have extra grass.

"With the global market and with the low cattle numbers, we need to be able trade across borders freely and have harmonious trade and Country of Origin Labeling just doesn't allow for that," McCan said.

At the meeting, Dr. Harry Kaiser of Cornell University concludes that each dollar invested in the Beef Checkoff Program between 2006 and 2013 returned about $11.20 to the beef industry. McCan said this study shows the effectiveness of the check off. He said this study also the support for the checkoff, which increases the likelihood of increasing the national beef check off.

"It's better than I have it in a long time," McCan said. "I was discouraged for a few years, it just looked like we weren't getting anywhere, but I think we may have option that might work for everybody and if all the organizations can make that effort to work together I think there is a shot of this."


Bob McCan talks about taking advantage of positive market signals for herd expansion.
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