NCBA VP Address Government Overreach at Texas Cattle Feeders ConventionMon, 27 Oct 2014 16:56:40 CDT
Cattle feeders are facing a number of federal government challenges. At the 2014 Texas Cattle Feeders Association Annual Convention in Oklahoma City, National Cattlemen's Beef Association Vice President Tracy Brunner of Ramona, Kansas addressed the top priorities for the grass roots organization. First and foremost being the 'Waters of the US' proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers. Brunner said this an important issue for cattlemen.
"We believe its an assault on our property rights," Brunner said. "It's a very tenacious and far reaching government overreach that will jeopardize property rights and cost millions of dollars to farmers and ranchers throughout the United States."
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm News Director Ron Hays interviewed Brunner on the impact of the proposed 'Waters of the US' proposal. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for the full interview.
The public comment period through the Federal Register has been extended until November 14th. One easy way for cattlemen to submit their comments is by going to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association website by clicking here. At that site producers can file an electronic letter to make a comment to the Federal Register.
The ongoing battle over mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is heating back up. Recently the World Trade Organization (WTO) denied the latest version of the US law. Brunner thinks the US has one more short opportunity for appeal, but NCBA is concerned over retaliation from Mexico and Canada.
"Our message continues, we need a fix, we need a long term solution and we need to have fair and open trade," Brunner said. "Cattlemen in the United States are very capable of competing on a world market on a level playing field and we just need to be consistent and help make that happen."
Earlier this month US Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an effort to create a second beef checkoff that would be run by the federal government. The concept is not sitting well with the checkoff's primary contractor. The original beef checkoff was created under the 1985 farm bill. Brunner said the concept was put together well.
"The act is fair, it is by cattlemen, for cattlemen, ran by cattlemen, includes grass roots control," Brunner said. "The money is collected by state beef councils, 50 cents is kept at home and controlled in the states. The other 50 cents goes onto the Cattlemen's Beef Board which is comprised totally of producers and importers, checkoff pairs that are nominated by industry organizations and ratified by the Secretary of Agriculture."
NCBA has shown to have the current checkoff has the support of cattlemen with 75 to 80 percent approval rating and a recent Cornell University study cited for each dollar invested in the checkoff results in a return of $11.20. Brunner said the 1985 Act has been very successful and should be checkoff of the cattle and beef industry for the future.
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