Southeastern Cattlemen Develop Hurricane Preparedness Plan
WASHINGTON - Region II affiliates of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) held their annual regional meeting last week in Chattanooga, Tenn. More than 100 cattlemen and cattle women from the Southeast region represented state organizations from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
With hurricane season approaching, the top issue on the meeting agenda was hurricane preparedness. In 2005, many Gulf Coast cattle operations were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and cattlemen throughout the Southeast were also hit hard by hurricanes in previous years. Each time, state cattle organizations and NCBA have rallied to deliver relief in the form of transportation services, hay and feed, fencing and farm supplies, and cash donations. But this year, cattlemen in the region are proactively coordinating contact lists, transportation routes, and other measures that will mobilize relief efforts more quickly in the event of a hurricane, tornado or other major disaster.
“Our cattlemen can’t say enough about the assistance we received last year from NCBA, other state cattle organizations, and cattle producers all over the nation,” said Sammy Blossom, executive vice president of the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association. “But we can do an even better job of delivering these supplies and services in a more timely fashion, should we be hit with this type of disaster again. A few days can make all the difference in the world for family that gets caught in this kind of situation.”
Blossom said the group’s priorities include designating staging areas for relief supplies, and developing a network of available pasture for cattle that need to be relocated – either in preparation for a storm or in its aftermath.
John Queen, North Carolina cattleman and president-elect of NCBA, said the regional effort is an outstanding example of the cooperation and support that have become trademarks of the cattle industry.
“Cattlemen helping cattlemen – that’s what this preparedness effort is all about,” Queen said. “It makes me even more proud to be part of NCBA, and of our relationship with these state affiliates.”
The meeting also included discussion of animal identification, international trade and other policy issues, in preparation for the Cattle Industry Summer Conference. Cattlemen from across the nation will assemble for the Summer Conference, July 9-13 in Reno, Nev.
The Region II group also hosted cattlemen from other NCBA regions, including Region III Vice President Bill Zimmerman of Minnesota, and Region I Vice President Glen Feichtner of Ohio. They attended in part to observe the regional membership effort that has more than doubled the number of NCBA members in Region II in the past year. Queen said this exceptional membership growth in the Southeast shows that cattlemen are responding enthusiastically to NCBA’s messages and core principles.
“The Southeast region has a tremendous number of small cattle producers who simply needed greater outreach and a better understanding of what an NCBA membership has to offer,” Queen said. “Once we got that message out to them, the response has been overwhelming.”