Wyoming reps give update on NCBAWritten by Saige Albert
Multiple representatives of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association were present at the convention to discuss issues facing the beef industry.
“NCBA has two divisions, but wears three hats,” NCBA Region V Vice President Philip Ellis explained of the organization. “The policy division represents the more than 25,000 dues paying members. There is also the federation of state beef councils division, and we house the beef promotion operating committee.”
Ellis noted that the beef promotion operating committee works hard in both research and marketing for the industry.
“We can come in with the research done under the auspices of the checkoff, and we have the data to show that a particular issues should not be regulated, whether that be through the USDA or Congress,” explained Ellis.
“We’ve also been concerned about GIPSA, and we are strong supporters of producers making the decision on how to market their cattle,” said George, noting that the organization has had a number of successes in influencing policy.
On the potential rules for dust regulation, George said, “We got those rules set aside. We can’t wait until the rules are published in the Federal Register – that’s too late.”
He also mentioned that, while some issues may be gone for now, they will likely reemerge.
George also cited water as a prominent issue for the industry, marking permitting and water on federal lands as areas of particular interest. Because of the importance of grazing on federal lands, George said water issues are at the forefront.
“We’ve had some terrific winds with exports,” added George on a positive note. “We have been pushing for the free trade agreements and finally got them passed. We are so excited about that.”
Because of the opening of trade with South Korea, George explained that the door will open to other countries on the Pacific Rim. In a 30-month age restriction with South Korea, he added that a trade pact in the Pacific Rim could influence other countries, such as Japan, to increase their age limits.
“Greenhouse gases, clean water, dust, property rights, EAJA abuse, federal lands issues, the death tax and a whole boatload of other issues are out there. NCBA is working on all these issues,” commented Ellis. “The obstacles can be dealt with.”
Ellis also mentioned child labor regulations, horse slaughter and animal traceability as prominent issues on the forefront of NCBA’s roster of issues.
“We’re dealing with so many things that are so problematic, but so exciting,” commented George. “Our congressional delegation is really listening to our problems and helping us out.”
Other major efforts by NCBA include promoting and developing new beef products, namely new cuts. Because the shortage of the beef supply, prices of popular cuts are increasing, so NCBA is working to create cuts from parts of the carcass formerly used only for hamburger.
“We are looking at breaking the carcass in a different way,” explained George. “If we don’t keep our customer base buying the product, we won’t be able to stay in business.”
The newly established cuts have added a new price point for consumers, providing steaks and good quality meats at a cheaper price than traditional steak cuts.
George also added that there is an opportunity to build cattle herds by holding back additional replacement heifers or to get the next generation back into the cattle business.
“If we can expand, now is the time to do it,” said George. “If you can raise cattle, folks, this is the time.”
“The opportunities for the beef cattle industry are huge,” added Ellis. “There are seven billion people on the planet, and they should have the opportunity to improve their lives and their health by enjoying the best protein on the planet – beef.”
“We have the infrastructure and have removed the obstacles to get that protein from our pasture to their plate,” Ellis continued. “Our current division statement and long range plan was developed around a common goal of being the world’s most trusted an preferred source of beef.”
“It is our opportunity and our privilege to provide that protein to the planet,” commented Ellis.