Cattlemen Join Forces At Conference To Address Industry Concerns
DENVER – Members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) voted today to oppose government intervention in the renewable fuels marketplace and to support immediate efforts to significantly reduce the impacts of that intervention on the cattle industry.
The vote, taken at the 2008 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, amends current NCBA policy to allow for more engagement in the debate over renewable fuels, as well as active promotion of a market-based system of renewable energy.
“NCBA is an organization of cattlemen and for cattlemen that is always working on solutions to challenges facing the industry,” said Andy Groseta, a beef producer from Cottonwood, Ariz., and NCBA president. “The decisions made at this meeting allow us to create a more favorable business climate and aggressively oppose policies that would negatively impact cattle producers.”
Other resolutions included beef quality assurance efforts, cattle health, conservation, climate change and national security policies. Amendments and resolutions approved at this meeting are interim policy until they can be voted on by the Board of Directors at the Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix, Ariz. in January of 2009.
At the meeting, NCBA also launched a Governance Task Force to study the association’s governance workings and identify improvements.
“We’re always looking at how we can better serve cattlemen. I think our willingness to improve what we do is a large reason why we are one of very few associations experiencing double digit growth in membership,” said Groseta. Membership in NCBA has grown by 12 percent this year.
One such improvement in services was an interim policy passed today to introduce a Young Producers Council at NCBA. In his term as president, Groseta has advocated engaging and developing programs to serve younger producers. The Young Producers Council will focus on reaching producers between the ages of 18 and 35.
The Federation of State Beef Councils Division of NCBA held discussions during the meeting about the importance of qualified state beef councils working together and maintaining a coordinated state and national program to increase beef demand and improve the business climate for beef.
“We leave here with a renewed sense of purpose and unity to support an effective state and national checkoff partnership,” said JD. Alexander of Pilger, Neb., Federation Division Vice Chairman. “With limited resources, it’s even more important that we find the most effective and efficient ways of investing in programs to increase beef demand.”
In discussions on how to better coordinate the work of state beef councils and efforts of the national Federation, members raised the possibility of changing the name of the Federation.
Also during the Summer Conference, joint checkoff committees with members representing the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the Federation of State Beef Councils, individual state beef councils and other groups met to review and recommend programs in research, information, education and promotion that can help increase demand for beef. The programs are funded through the $1-per-head beef checkoff.
The recommended programs will be presented to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, made up of producers representing the Beef Board and the Federation, for funding. Final programs must be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before implementation.
Expressing his optimism about the future of the cattle industry, Groseta pointed to positive trends, including increased producer support of the Beef Checkoff Program. Seventy-four percent of producers say they approve the program, as compared to 72 percent who approved in January 2008.
Groseta said he is encouraged by growing support among cattlemen because cattlemen face a growing list of opportunities that need to be addressed. He said the changing industry presents new policy challenges.
“This is an exciting time for the cattle industry, with a great deal of opportunities before us. Now, more than ever, it’s critical that we present a unified voice so that we can take advantage of these changing dynamics,” stated Groseta. “Meetings like this allow us to roll up our sleeves and work together to make this a stronger industry.”
More than 850 cattlemen and women attended the 2008 Cattle Industry Summer Conference and participated in meetings of the NCBA, the Beef Board and the American National CattleWomen. The 2008 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show will be held in Phoenix, Ariz., Jan. 28-31, 2009.