NCBA's President-Elect Jennifer Houston Jumps into the Animal ID Disease Traceability DiscussionThu, 15 Nov 2018 12:45:16 CST
As the beef industry joins the rest of the nation in digesting the results of the November midterm elections, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with President-elect of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Jennifer Houston, owner/operator of East Tennessee Livestock Center in Sweetwater, Tennessee. During the 2018 National Association of Farm Broadcasters Convention in Kansas City this past week, she offered her perspective on how the outcome of these elections might affect the industry agenda moving forward.
“We have a long history of working with both sides of the aisle. Obviously, some things may be a little more problematic than they might have been with a Republican controlled House. But, we feel pretty optimistic,” Houston said. “We have been assured that we will get a Farm Bill and we’re going to hold them to their word that we get it done in this Lame Duck session, which would be great.”
For over a year, Houston says the NCBA has worked with Congressional leaders to secure terms in the next Farm Bill, important to the beef and livestock industry. Specifically, NCBA and its industry partners have advocated for full authorization and funding for a Foo & Mouth Disease (FMD) Vaccine Bank. Houston says this necessary facility is needed to protect the livestock industry from any future threat of a potentially devastating outbreak of FMD in the US. Fortunately, Houston says the issues holds bipartisan support and believes the Farm Bill will be passed by the end of the year and will bring the measure to fruition. This has also played a role in the ongoing discussion of animal ID/disease traceability. She remarked that while there is still disagreement among NCBA members of how this issue should be handled, she believes the industry will eventually find common ground and be able to unite in resolving the matter. Houston says this is being done through the Cattle Traceability Working Group as well as NCBA’s own task force that is tackling the issue.
“Right now, we’re doing fine with the system we’ve got. If we have an outbreak, heaven forbid, we need to have it,” she said. “We’ve got a portion of members that don’t ever want it and a portion that says we should’ve done it 20 years ago. Then we have a whole lot of people in the middle who want to see what kind of value they get for it, what the cost is going to be and who controls the data. That’s all very important to producers and they need to get comfortable with that before we really jump in with both feet.”
Listen to Houston speak with Hays about disease traceability and how passing the Farm Bill will help advance the industry’s ability to control those things that threaten its security, on today’s Beef Buzz.
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