Our Views Columns

Our Views Columns

Want to Know If Free Trade Agreements Work? Look At Our Exports to Korea. - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

by Kent Bacus    There’s been a great deal of discussion recently about whether free-trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are on balance positive or negative for American workers and businesses.   That debate will continue, but one thing is absolutely certain: opening foreign markets to American agricultural exports has been an enormous boon for America’s farm and ranch families, who provide the world with a safe and abundant food supply. American consumers are blessed with a safe, affordable, and abundant food source, but Americans alone cannot consume all of the agricultural goods that we produce. For many years (full story)

Global Beef Producers Allied on Trade Liberalization and Sustainable Production - Thursday, November 3, 2016

The 2016 annual conference of the International Beef Alliance (IBA) hosted by Beef and Lamb New Zealand in Taupo, Oct. 16 – 21, offered the opportunity for leaders of the major beef producers groups of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, and the United States to exchange views on a wide variety of topics including trade liberalization, sustainable beef production, and young leader development. The Alliance, which represents 46 percent of global beef trade and 63 percent of global beef exports, is particularly concerned by the growing rhetoric opposing trade.   The rising tide of global protectionism threatens to undermine momentum in trade reform that has to date delivered subst (full story)

Fed Cattle Exchange to be Included in AMS Livestock Mandatory Reporting - Thursday, September 29, 2016

Beginning on Oct. 5, 2016 sales conducted through the Fed Cattle Exchange, an online trading platform, will be included in USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service Livestock Mandatory Reporting cattle reports as negotiated purchases. The cattle industry requested this reporting and NCBA is pleased with USDA's decision to include these transactions.     The Fed Cattle Exchange provides a web based interface where feedlots can offer pens of market ready cattle for sale, and packers can bid on those offerings in a timed format, similar to an online auction. The Fed Cattle Exchange was launched this year as a new method for marketing slaughter cattle in response to the decline in the cash slaughter cattle market. This decl (full story)

NCBA Working to Address Market Volatility - Friday, January 15, 2016

In December, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association hosted a meeting with producer-members to identify ways to address the concern of market volatility as a result of high-frequency trading. The meeting brought together industry traders, economists, and hedgers who all delivered evidence and first-hand accounts to support the shared concerns.   At the Cattle Industry Convention in San Diego CME Group Executive Chairman and President Terry Duffy will be speaking to NCBA's Cattle Marketing and International Trade Committee. In anticipation of the meeting, NCBA has identified and formally asked him to address several critical areas of interest: 1. Livestock contracts must be monitored, measured, and controlled through (full story)

Colombia Grants Full Access for U.S. Beef - Friday, January 15, 2016

At the end of December, Colombia opened its border granting full access for U.S. beef. Since 2003, Colombia placed BSE-related restrictions on bone-in cuts, but recent updates to Colombia's protocols mean that U.S. beef products are no longer subject to export verification (EV) requirements. Kent Bacus, NCBA associate director of legislative affairs said this increased access is positive news for the cattle industry as export markets continue to grow. "I'm pleased Colombia recognizes the strong protocols we have in place and has granted us full access once again," said Bacus. "This will allow us greater access to their consumers who demand the high-quality product we produce." In 2012, the U.S. passed the Colombia Free-Trade Agr (full story)

Senate SubCommittee Holds Hearing Addressing ESA - Thursday, October 1, 2015

On September 29 th , the Senate Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife held a briefing titled “Improving the Endangered Species Act: Perspectives from the Fish and Wildlife Service and State Governors.” The briefing consisted of two panels including Dan Ashe, Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Governor Mead of Wyoming and Governor Bullock of Montana. Prior to the hearing, the Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association submitted a letter to the committee leadership to address problematic and outdated Act.   “While the original intent of the ESA was positive, it has not been reauthorized since 1988 and has an abysmal record of success,” the let (full story)

US District Court Overturns ESA Listing for Lesser Prairie Chicken - Thursday, September 3, 2015

On Sept. 1, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas overturned the Administration’s listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act. Ruling in favor of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association and other plaintiffs, the judge concluded that the listing was arbitrary and capricious and that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to properly follow its own process for listing determinations in this matter. Further, conservation efforts have already been undertaken across millions of acres over five states to improve habitat and diminish threats to the Lesser Prairie Chicken. The Court determined these conservation efforts, which have resulted in a 25 percent increase in the population of Less (full story)

Kansas Cattleman Testifies to Fallacy of COOL - Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing today to discuss the implications of retaliation due to the failed Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling program. Jaret Moyer, cattle producer and president of the Kansas Livestock Association, testified at the hearing. “Proponents of COOL have long said mandatory labeling would increase demand for U.S. beef,” said Moyer. “After six years of implementation, it is clear that this is not the case.” Moyer cited a November 2012 study published by Kansas State University that determined demand for beef has not been positively impacted by COOL. He also referenced an April 2015 report to Congress authored by K-State Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics Glynn (full story)

Forest Service Withdraws Groundwater Directive - Thursday, June 25, 2015

Last week, the U.S Forest Service formally withdrew their proposed ground water directive, a decision applauded by the livestock industry following a years-long effort opposing any expansion of federal control over water beyond existing limited control via federal statute and Federal Reserve rights. The directive, proposed in 2014, would have allowed the Forest Service to regulate activities on or near National Forest System lands based on their interpretation on how those activities could affect groundwater and despite private water development and property rights. Public Lands Council Executive Director Dustin Van Liew said the USFS directive was an unprecedented infringement of private property rights. “Private water (full story)

BLM and USFS Release Resource Management Plans for Sage Grouse - Thursday, May 28, 2015

Today, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service released their final environmental reviews for proposed land use plans for the greater sage grouse habitat on public lands across 10 western states. Upon initial review of the resource management plans, the livestock industry is concerned the BLM and USFS have overstepped. Inclusion of one-size-fits-all requirements on how multiple uses, including livestock grazing, will be managed on public lands is not the answer to conserving sage grouse. The agencies have included legally questionable provisions in the Resource Management Plans which run contrary to what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has requested for protecting the bird. These plans are yet another example (full story)

A Call-to-Action on Transportation - Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Cattle Transportation Symposium, an effort led by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, with support from the Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program and Colorado State University, was held May 14 th and 15 th in Fort Collins, Colo.   The event brought together all sectors of the beef industry to discuss and evaluate current transportation issues in the beef industry, with a focus on potential research areas and solutions for the future of cattle transport in the United States.   Nearly 100 attendees were on hand to hear from industry leaders, transportation experts, and to participate in hands-on demonstrations involving trailer design and safety during the two day symposium.     (full story)

FWS, NOAA Propose Actions on ESA - Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Monday, May 18 th , the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) that would require petitioners to solicit information from relevant state wildlife agencies prior to submitting a listing petition to the Services. The proposed rule would also limit petitions to one species at a time. According to FWS and NOAA, this new set of tools will improve the effectiveness and demonstrate the flexibility of the ESA. According the official press release, FWS and NOAA will be unveiling additional proposals over the coming year to achieve four broad goals; 1.) Improving science and increasing transparency; 2.) Incentivizing voluntary (full story)

House Natural Resources holds Sage-Grouse Hearing - Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Tuesday, May 19 th the House Natural Resources Committee held an oversight hearing on “Empowering State Management of Greater Sage Grouse.” The purpose of the hearing was to examine the conservation efforts of states, to give states the opportunity to explain their role as wildlife managers, and to support true cooperation between the federal agencies and state and local governments. Witnesses included Kathleen Clarke, Director of the Utah Public lands Policy Coordinating Office and former Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM); Dustin Miller, Administrator of the Idaho Office of Species Conservation; John Swartout, Senior Policy Advisor to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper; and Dr. Ed Arnett, Senior Scientist (full story)

House Ag Committee Passes COOL Repeal Legislation - Thursday, May 21, 2015

After over a decade and two administrations failing to successfully implement the rule, House Agriculture Committee approved legislation (H.R. 2393) to repeal Country of Origin Labeling by a vote of 38 to 6. Originally introduced in the 2002 Farm Bill covering beef, pork and chicken; and implemented in 2008, COOL has been detrimental to the U.S. livestock industry and without benefit to U.S. consumers. After multiple rulings against the U.S. by the World Trade Organization, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President and Chugwater, Wyoming, cattleman, Philip Ellis said this action by Congress is long overdue. “As a fifth-generation rancher I am proud of the products we produce and we produce the best beef (full story)

Bill Introduced to Allow States to Retain Control of Sage Grouse Management - Thursday, April 23, 2015

Legislation that would prevent the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the Greater Sage Grouse under the Endangered Species Act was introduced by Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) in the Senate this week.   The Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act reassures state management of the bird, rather than a federal management plan and the ESA by allowing states to implement individual conservation and management plans for the recovery of great sage-grouse. Once a state has submitted a plan, the Secretary of the Interior would be required to share scientific data with states, assist states in crafting and implementation of the state’s plan, and must recognize these state plans for (full story)

Interior Secretary Announces the Bistate Sage Grouse Population will not be Listed - Thursday, April 23, 2015

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced this week the decision to not list the BiState greater sage grouse population under the Endangered Species Act, a decision PLC and NCBA applaud. In the statement released by the Department of Interior, USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie applauded the efforts of ranchers and local governments for their work to conserve sage grouse habitat. “Together, we’ve worked with ranchers, conservation groups, local governments in Nevada and California to take proactive steps to restore and enhance sage-grouse habitat while also helping them improve their ranching operations,” Bonnie said. “The decision to not list the bi-state sage-grouse proves this work has paid (full story)

Tipton and Barrasso Reintroduce Water Rights Protection Act - Thursday, April 16, 2015

Today, Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to protect water rights. Supported by Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, H.R. 1830 Water Rights Protection Act reinforces the limit to federal jurisdiction of water and provides a means to combat the Federal Government by way of the USFS and the Bureau of Land Management from seizing water rights without just compensation in exchange for land use permits.   The legislation comes as a result of directive by the Forest Service that allowed the agency to take water rights from private entities, despite private water development and property rights. Public Lands Council Executive Director (full story)

Cattlemen Testify in COOL Hearing - Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wednesday, Mike Smith of Harris Ranch in California testified before the House Ag Livestock Subcommittee on the effects of COOL on the cattle industry. While proponents of the COOL rule tout consumer favorability, Smith pointed out that Harris Ranch’s experience has mirrored the findings of the Kansas State University Study ; that COOL is a mandatory marketing program that consumers pay little attention to and that has had no impact on demand for or the price of beef. “The K-State study actually measured how Americans vote,” said Smith. “Americans vote with their pocketbook by purchasing beef, the vast majority don’t consider COOL in their purchasing decision. Why then would we incur the costs of a progra (full story)

Ag Day Celebrated in Washington DC - Thursday, March 19, 2015

Each year, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is proud supporter of National Agriculture Day, hosted by the Agriculture Council of America. Ag Day is nation-wide effort to tell the story of American agriculture. This year’s theme was “Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations”.   “Ag Day encourages every American to understand how food and fiber are produced, the role of agriculture in a strong economy and our role in providing safe, abundant and affordable food. With over 729,000 beef producers, an economic impact of over $44 billion, and over $7 billion in exports, America’s beef producers make a major contribution, not just to rural America, but the economy as a whole,” expla (full story)

Senate Remains Involved in 2015 Dietary Guidelines Process - Thursday, March 12, 2015

Today, the Senate actively maintained their oversight role in the process of crafting the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans . At the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee hearing, Chairman Moran (R-Kan.) asked the Committee’s witness, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Hamburg, what role the FDA has in the process of writing the Dietary Guidelines, urging the Commissioner to maintain the focus on nutrition and health science. Senator Daines (R-Mont.) reinforced the Chairman’s sentiment asking Commissioner Hamburg why environmental approaches were incorporated into the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report, especially in light of Congressional language to the contrary; to which the Commissi (full story)

2015 Beef Industry Safety Summit - Thursday, March 12, 2015

The beef industry has a long-standing commitment to providing safe beef products for the domestic and global market. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there has been more than 90 percent reduction in E.coli o157 for samplings in ground beef. In 2010, the illness rate associated with E.coli dropped to less than one case in 100,000 people – meeting the government’s Healthy People 2010 goal. In 1997, the Beef Industry Food Safety Council, or BIFSCo, was founded as an avenue to open dialogue and continue improvement and innovation within the beef industry. BIFSCo facilitates input from cattle producers, packers, processors, distributors, restaurateurs and food retailers around beef safety, which allows for the (full story)

Port Labor Dispute Discussed in Senate Hearing - Thursday, February 12, 2015

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security held a hearing on U.S. ports titled "Keeping Goods Moving." The hearing focused on the importance of a reliable and efficient supply chain and was held in the midst of a labor dispute between the shipping companies and port workers. The dispute shut down 29 West Coast ports over the weekend and have caused significant delays in the transport of goods. The Asian market is a huge source of income for the U.S beef industry. In 2014 Hong Kong, Japan and Korea together purchased over $3 billion worth of beef. Norman Bessac, vice-president of International Sales for Cargill, testified in the hearing that this dis (full story)

NCBA engages in Secure Beef Supply Plan Development - Thursday, January 22, 2015

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has been actively involved in the industry effort to develop a Secure Beef Supply Plan. Designed to provide business continuity in the face of a foreign animal disease outbreak, like Foot-and-Mouth Disease, Secure Food Supply plans are a collaboration between industry, state governments, academia and USDA APHIS and plans currently exist for pork, eggs, milk and turkeys. Foot-and-Mouth Disease is an extremely contagious viral disease of cloven-hoofed livestock and several wildlife species, and an outbreak in the United States would be economically devastating to the livestock industry and close our export markets. Movement of animals would be restricted in the disease control area and (full story)

Beef Quality Assurance Program Discussed at FDA Staff College - Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Beef Quality Assurance program is an industry-initiated national standard for beef cattle production practices. This week, BQA representatives were invited to the Food and Drug Administration’s staff college to discuss long history of success of the program, building consumer confidence through producer education. Established in 1987 by the Beef Checkoff, BQA principles are based on good management practices that are designed to meet the consumer demand as well the U.S. food production system's needs. “Cattlemen and women take great pride in caring for their stock while producing a wholesome and safe product,” said Josh White, executive director of producer education for the National Cattlemen’s Beef (full story)

NCBA voices concern over USDA’s Proposal to Import Fresh Beef from Northern Argentina - Thursday, January 8, 2015

As 2014 wrapped up, NCBA submitted comments to USDA APHIS regarding their proposed rule that would allow the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef, under certain conditions, from northern Argentina, a region located north of Patagonia South and Patagonia North B. NCBA stands strongly opposed to the proposed rule on the basis of concerns regarding animal health. NCBA has long been a proponent of integrated domestic-foreign trade policy which encourages reciprocity, elimination of unfair trade restrictions and a movement toward private enterprise and free markets. Currently, the United States does not consider the region of northern Argentina to be free of Foot-and-Mouth disease. Opening this market for fresh beef presents sign (full story)

Dietary Guidelines Committee Verbalizes Move to Limit Lean Meats - Thursday, January 8, 2015

When the meetings of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Committee began, they started with the premise from prior years, that “common characteristics of dietary patterns associated with positive health outcomes include: higher intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish/seafood, legumes, lean meat, and nuts.” However, at the last and final meeting of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in December, the committee made the unprecedented move of striking “lean meat” from the pattern associated with a healthy diet, implying a plant-based diet. This is a major departure, not only from the past guidelines, but from more than 30 years of nutritionally-accepted science and peer-reviewed studies. Desp (full story)

Congress Passes 1.1. Trillion Omnibus Spending Package - Thursday, December 18, 2014

With strong bipartisan support, Congress passed the $1.1 trillion Omnibus Appropriations Bill in back in December, which funds much of the government through fiscal year 2015. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Bob McCan said the bill contained several key victories for cattlemen and women.  “We were very happy to see a number of issues that have affected our producers addressed in this legislation,” said McCan. “It is clear that Congress recognizes and agrees that the Administration’s regulatory overreach has gone too far and if left unchecked, it will impede the economic growth of rural America.” Key for cattlemen and women, the report language for the USDA contained a provi (full story)

Congress Passes Grazing Improvement Act Provisions- NCBA Priority Legislation - Thursday, December 18, 2014

It was no small feat, but after decades of work, Western ranchers have a huge victory to celebrate. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act, Congress passed the necessary provisions of the Grazing Improvement Act, amending the grazing section of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act for the first time in many years. Championed by Sen. Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Labrador (R-Idaho), the provisions were passed with a strong bipartisan majority vote, 89 to 11.   Brenda Richards, Public Lands Council president and Idaho family rancher said the passage of these provisions is critical to providing a stable business environment for ranchers that utilize public lands. A key provision passed was the grazing ‘rider (full story)

Cattlemen and Women Call for Border Security and Immigration Reform - Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tonight, the President is expected to announce his plan to address the immigration issue in the U.S. through a series of executive orders. While we do not know what exactly what the executive orders will address, we do know the reforms cattle producers need to see to support any changes.   Reform to the U.S. immigration system is important to NCBA’s membership. Cattle producers support efforts to strengthen border security which is a first step to ensure any immigration reforms will be meaningful. Our membership has long supported modifications to the agricultural guest worker program to ensure the availability a visa program to better fit year-round employment needs. First and foremost, producers demand action securing (full story)

USDA Publishes Notice of Inquiry on Duplicate Checkoff - Tuesday, November 11, 2014

On Monday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack published his agency’s Notice of Inquiry on the duplicate beef checkoff under the 1996 Generic Commodity Promotion Act. The Secretary made his publication over objections voiced by 45 State Affiliate cattlemen’s associations, representing over 170,000 cattle producers and without request by mainstream cattle producers. Cattle producers overwhelming support the current Beef Checkoff program under the 1985 Beef Promotion, Research and Education Act. In a recent survey, the Checkoff received support from 4 out of 5 cattlemen and a recent poll conducted on our NCBA telephone townhall showed the same results. Yet despite concern shown by cattlemen, state cattlemen’s associ (full story)

APHIS Extends the Comment Period for the Proposed Rule on the Importation of Fresh Beef from a Region in Northern Argentina - Thursday, November 6, 2014

Last week, USDA APHIS reopened and announced a 60-day extension to the comment period for the proposed rule that would allow the importation of fresh beef from northern Argentina. The new deadline to submit comments is December 29, 2014. With over 70 documents posted to the Federal Register docket regarding this proposed rule, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, along with the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants firmly believe that additional time is required to review and evaluate this extensive number of supporting documents. Over 25 percent of the supporting documents required obtaining independent English translations (full story)

WTO Hands Down Latest COOL Decision: US Law in Violation - Thursday, October 23, 2014

The title pretty much says it all, and for all intents it comes as no surprise. On Monday, the WTO publically released their awaited opinion from the dispute settlement body on the US Country of Origin Labeling rule. The rule, placed into effect in 2008 requiring all beef be labeled as to its origin, was found not to be compliant with our international trade obligations, first in 2011. It was amended in May 2013 by the USDA to include born, raised and slaughtered information. The intent according to USDA, was to bring this rule into compliance. The WTO, however, ruled that, “because it necessitates increased segregation of meat and livestock according to origin; entails a higher record-keeping burden; and increases the original COOL (full story)

Washington D.C. Office Welcomes two Interns for the Fall Semester - Thursday, October 16, 2014

Each semester the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council host a public policy internship in Washington D.C. In September, staff welcomed Brianna Roberts and Ben Granholm to D.C. to work with the policy staff on legislative and regulatory issues impacting cattle producers across the country. From Carlton, Georgia, Roberts grew up in a community whose livelihood was largely dependent on production agriculture. Roberts said her lifelong involvement in the industry has led to her desire to be an advocate for the future success of farmers and ranchers. “I could not be more excited about being a part of the NCBA staff this semester,” said Roberts, an agricultural communications junior (full story)

Judge Rules Against the BLM in Idaho Sage Grouse Case - Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ongoing grazing permitting litigation in Idaho hit a stumbling block on September 29 th , when Idaho U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Winmill issued a decision in favor of the plaintiffs—anti-grazing group, Western Watersheds Project (WWP). The lawsuit, brought by WWP in October 2008, concerns some 600 individual BLM grazing permit decisions, which WWP claims fail to protect greater sage grouse. Judge Winmill’s decision, although disappointing, was not surprising. He had already made a similar ruling in February 2014 on “Phase I” of this case. (Due to the large number of grazing permits in question, the case was earlier divided into different “Phases.”) “Phase I” of the suit dealt with (full story)

NCBA and Veterinary Groups ask for Comment Period Extension for Argentina Proposal - Thursday, October 9, 2014

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants joined together in requesting an extension of 120 days to the comment period for the USDA APHIS proposed rule allowing the export of fresh beef (chilled or frozen) from northern Argentina to the United States.   Collectively, these groups, representing cattlemen/women and veterinarians, share a strong dedication to ensuring and maintaining the health and well-being of the cattle under their care as well as the safety of the beef produced in the United States. Overwhelming scientific evidence, including over a hundred years of real worl (full story)

NCBA’s Kristina Butts Recognized by Drovers 40 Under 40 - Thursday, October 9, 2014

It doesn’t take long to recognize that the cattle industry is unique among not only agriculture, but American small businesses. A visit to NCBA’s Washington, D.C. office makes that clear very quickly. Our producer members are dynamic, strong willed and independent much like the animals they raise and the lands they are proud to steward. The people that have the privilege to work on their behalf in one of the most metropolitan cities in the world, come from the same roots, sharing their dedication to family and country. That is certainly true of NCBA’s executive director of legislative affairs, Kristina Butts. Kristina is an impassioned advocate for the cattle industry, because she grew up in it, and understands the (full story)

NCBA, PLC and Affiliated Livestock Associations file Comments on Proposed Changes to Endangered Species Act - Thursday, October 9, 2014

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council and 26 affiliated livestock associations collectively filed comments today regarding three proposed changes to implementation of the Endangered Species Act by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The changes would modify the process of designating areas of critical habitat, what it means to adversely modify critical habitat and consulting on the effects of federal actions on critical habitat.  The first proposed rule revises the definition of "adverse modification." Under current law, the federal government cannot take any action, or help fund any (full story)

Ranchers Recognized on National Public Lands Day - Saturday, September 27, 2014

In honor of National Public Lands Day, the Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association want to recognize the 22,000 ranchers that hold grazing permits, managing more than 250 million federally-controlled acres and providing critical economic return on the vast public lands that cover much of the West. Livestock grazing represents the earliest use of western lands, leading to our nation's expansion westward. Today, grazing continues to represent a primary multiple use that is essential to the livestock industry, wildlife habitat, open space and the rural economies of many western communities. In the west, where approximately half the land is under federal control, countless rural communities (full story)

Congress Requests GAO Audit for Brazil and Argentina Proposals - Thursday, September 25, 2014

In two separate letters sent by Congress, an audit conducted by the Government Accountability Office has been requested in response to the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s proposed rule to allow the importation of fresh and frozen beef from regions in Brazil and Argentina, as well as live cattle from Argentina. The audits are to focus on the methodology and controls used in the site visit review process, which were the foundation for these decisions. “Our concern stems from the risk of introduction of Foot and Mouth Disease, which is the most economically damaging livestock disease, and one of the most contagious diseases, in the world,” according to NCBA Chief Vet (full story)

Tax Extenders Expected Post Election While Reform May Wait for the New Congress - Thursday, September 18, 2014

One of the critical concerns for cattlemen and women, and for all small businesses nationwide, is a stable tax code. A stable tax code allows businesses to plan and manage profits and losses efficiently. The absence of a stable tax code, further adds uncertainty to an already volatile economy and commodity market. This year, a number of tax provisions, important not only for the cattle industry but for the business community as a whole, expired. We lost key provisions like bonus depreciation, taking away our ability to accelerate depreciation schedules, and the Conservation Easement Tax Credit. These provisions not only add to producers’ bottom line, but they encourage large capital investments, driving the rural economy forward. (full story)

Antimicrobial Resistance Research Topic of Discussion at FDA Staff College - Thursday, September 18, 2014

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association hosted another Food and Drug Administration staff college this week in Washington D.C. As part of NCBA’s continuing effort to educate policy influencers here in the District, Guy Loneragan, veterinary epidemiologist and professor of Food Safety and Public Health and at Texas Tech University, attended the meeting to share some of his research pertaining to antimicrobial resistance. Education remains a top priority for NCBA and bringing producers and industry experts to D.C. is one of the most influential ways grassroots members can be involved in the policy process. As antimicrobial resistance continues to be a topic of conversation in Washington D.C., it is important we have (full story)

NCBA Remains Engaged in Dietary Guidelines Discussion - Thursday, September 18, 2014

At the previous public meeting held on July 17-18 to discuss the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, conversations among the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) leaned toward the recommendation of plant-based diets to promote sustainability in the food chain. This week’s fifth public meeting appeared to follow suit. Food Sustainability and Safety subcommittee chairperson Nelson stated that sustainable diets generally included lower intakes of red meat and dairy but that the evidence was not strong enough to make specific recommendations for reducing or limiting individual foods. Instead, she said recommendations were for more of a “shift to plant-based foods from animal-based diet.” The (full story)

Hearing held to Discuss Forest Service Groundwater Directive - Thursday, September 11, 2014

The U.S. Forest Service's proposed groundwater directive was the topic of discussion at Wednesday’s hearing hosted by the House Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry. Forest Service Chief, Thomas Tidwell, testified on behalf on the Forest Service, doing little to ease the concern of Committee members and stakeholders in attendance. Panelists included Tony Willardson, executive director of Western States Water Council; Don Shawcroft, president of Colorado Farm Bureau; and Scott Verhines, New Mexico State Engineer. Tidwell stated the proposed directive is intended to provide a framework for clarifying current policy and streamline existing requirements across the National Forest Syst (full story)

Modernization of the Endangered Species Act Addressed at Legislative Hearing - Thursday, September 11, 2014

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing to discuss six bills that attempt to update and improve the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council stand in full support of modernizing and streamlining the ESA, which hasn’t been reauthorized since 1988. NCBA and PLC have been involved in this effort on several fronts, submitting comments in partnership with state affiliate organizations on the Gray and Mexican Wolves, Sage Grouse, Lesser Prairie Chicken, and the Black Footed Ferret, among others. While designed to protect species from endangerment of extinction, the ESA has proven itself to be ineffective and immensely damaging to lives (full story)

National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) holds Two-Day Public Meeting in Maryland - Thursday, August 21, 2014

NARMS was established in 1996 as a collaborative effort among the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local health departments. As a national public health surveillance program, NARMS monitors the susceptibility of enteric bacteria to antimicrobial drugs medically importance to human health in order to help to assess the impact of veterinary antimicrobial drug use on human health. NARMS monitors the susceptibility of enteric bacteria from humans, retail meats and food producing animals, as well as conducts epidemiologic and microbiologic research studies. On August 12-13 th , a two-day public meeting was held at FDA’s White (full story)

USDA/AMS Asks for Stakeholder Input on Possible Changes to Beef Grades - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Last week, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced they were seeking public input on possible revisions to the U.S. Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef to adjust for recent improvements and trends in animal raising and feeding.  When beef is voluntarily graded, the official grade may consist of a quality grade, a yield grade, or both. The quality grades principally refer to the characteristics of marbling and maturity and are intended to identify differences in the flavor and satisfaction of eating cooked beef. The principal official USDA quality grades for young cattle and carcasses are Prime, Choice, Select, and Standard. Significant changes (such as grass fed versus grain fed feeding regimens, instrume (full story)

Dietary Guidelines Committee Holds its Fourth Meeting - Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans series is the foundation of federal nutrition policy. The first edition of the Dietary Guidelines was released in 1980 and since then, every five years the Dietary Guidelines are jointly updated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Guidelines advise Americans on food and beverages that promote a healthy, balanced diet. Every five years members of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee are appointed by HHS and USDA. It is a group of experts in the fields of nutrition and health. These individuals are tasked with reviewing the newest scientific and medical research and based on their review, prepare a report for the Secretaries with their (full story)

House Passes Conservation Easement Provision - Thursday, July 24, 2014

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a charitable giving bill ­- H.R. 4719 - that included an NCBA supported provision to reinstate and make permanent a federal income tax deduction for voluntarily conserving agricultural lands. This provision, introduced as H.R. 2807, enhances the deductions for gifts of conservation easements that permanently conserve working farm and ranch lands. Conservation easements permanently retire development rights on private lands while allowing continued agricultural production Since 2006, an enhanced income tax deduction has allowed family farmers and ranchers to receive a significant tax benefit for conservation easement donations. This 2006 tax incentive expired at the end of 2013 (full story)

Antibiotic Resistance: The Conversation Continues - Thursday, July 17, 2014

The topic of antibiotic resistance and the judicious use of all antibiotics continue to be part of the conversation in Washington, D.C. Antibiotic resistance is a multi-faceted and complex issue that must take into account all uses of antibiotics including human, companion animal and livestock. For animal agriculture, the foundation of our industries is the health of our animals. Cattle producers work closely with their veterinarians and animal health experts to implement comprehensive herd-health management plans. Preventing an illness is just as important as being able to control illness and treat animals when they are sick. To help guide these plans, cattle producers worked together with animal health experts to develop a series of ind (full story)

Antimicrobial Resistance Research is the Main Focus at FDA Staff College - Thursday, July 17, 2014

NCBA is continuing its educational efforts in Washington by bringing industry experts to speak to the staff of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center of Veterinary Medicine.   Education has always been and remains to be a top priority for NCBA and bringing producers and industry experts to D.C. is one way grassroots members can be involved in the policy process. This week Dr. Mike Apley, clinical pharmacologist, veterinarian and professor at Kansas State University, spoke about some of the latest research on antimicrobial resistance and Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD). Conversations in Washington around antimicrobial resistance continue so it is important that we have a balanced scientific discussion on this complex (full story)

NCBA Urges Congress to Consider Ramifications of Changes to Cash Accounting - Thursday, July 10, 2014

Today, the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access held a hearing on cash accounting. NCBA president Bob McCan, Victoria, Texas cattleman submitted a letter to the committee urging the Subcommittee to ensure adherence to a simple tax code that encourages economic growth and maintains options for cattlemen and women to remain competitive. The tax code is one of the few areas where ranching families and beef operations can seek relief when disasters strike. Unfortunately small businesses continue to the face the uncertainty of an ever-changing tax code, absent meaningful tax reform. For our producers, this changing tax code is as variable as the weather and market factors we face daily. Und (full story)

Federal Spending Bill Moves Forward - Thursday, July 10, 2014

The House Interior appropriations bill passed the subcommittee this week and is expected to be taken up by the full committee in the coming weeks. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council support the bill, which allocates how federal dollars are spent for fiscal year 2015. The bill included language that would help provide relief from the regulatory burdens that continue to hamper the productivity and profitability of farmers and ranchers across the country. From language that blocks the listing of the Sage Grouse, to requiring alternative allotments where ranchers are impacted by drought or wildfire without the need to complete extensive environmental analyses, Dustin Van Liew, PLC and NCBA fed (full story)

EPA Administrator calls Cattlemen’s Concerns Ludicrous - Thursday, July 10, 2014

EPA Administrator calls Cattlemen’s Concerns Ludicrous -NCBA Environmental Counsel Ashley McDonald responds to McCarthy’s Claims During a trip to Missouri to meet with farmers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy hosted a press conference to address what she called the “ludicrous” concerns of many farmers and ranchers pertaining to the proposed “waters of the United States” rule under the Clean Water Act. However, her words do little to wash the legitimate concerns of cattle producers across the country. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Environmental Counsel, Ashley McDonald, goes head to head with the points made by Administrator McCarthy pointing out (full story)

Critical Habitat Comment Period Extended - Thursday, June 26, 2014

At the request of 47 members of Congress and many industry organizations including NCBA, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the two federal agencies responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act, have extended the comment deadline for the proposed changes to how a critical habitat is designated. The two rules and policy proposed last month will modify the process of designating areas of critical habitat and consulting on the effects of federal actions on critical habitat. These actions include a proposed revision to the definition of “adverse modification.” Under the new definition, the consideration for whether an action constitutes an adverse modific (full story)

Be BOLD: Eat Beef - Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Beef Checkoff, a contractor of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, has been funding heart health research to demonstrate that eating beef can help lower cholesterol and improve overall vascular health. Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the U.S., affecting more than 81.1 million people. Recent results of the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) Study have shown that including 4.0 to 5.4 ounces of lean beef with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber and low-fat dairy decreases total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure. Conducted by scientists at the Pennsylvania State University,   this is the first study to evaluate the effects of increasing lean beef within a balanced (full story)

Houses Discusses New Federal Schemes to Soak Up Water Authority - Thursday, June 26, 2014

This week, the House Natural Resources Committee’s subcommittee on water and power held an oversight hearing entitled “New Federal Schemes to Soak Up Water Authority: Impacts on States, Water Users, Recreation, and Jobs.” The hearing was to address the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule on redefining the “Waters of the United States” as well as the Forest Service’s new “ground water directive.” “We can foster water development for people and species if the federal government chooses not to erect hurdles to new projects,” said Doc Hastings (R-Wash). “Yet, the two proposals in front of us - the EPA's "Waters of the (full story)

NCBA and Capitol Hill Move to Bury the Death Tax - Thursday, June 26, 2014

One of the largest issues that farm and ranch families continue to face is the Death Tax. The Death Tax has been singled out as one of the largest hurdles in passing on the family ranch to the next generation. NCBA has continued to work with a broad coalition of agriculture and business interests to ensure we knock down this hurdle permanently. In early 2013, we were able to make some headway toward ensuring the tax code provided a sufficient exemption for our members. But we continue to work toward permanent repeal of this business crippling tax. Last week, Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) announced that his bipartisan, bicameral bill to permanently repeal the Death Tax secured its 221st cosponsor in the U.S. House of Represen (full story)

Texas cattle feeder takes part in FDA Staff College - Thursday, June 19, 2014

Continuing NCBA’s educational efforts on behalf of cattle producers continues to remain a top priority in Washington. This week we invited Dr. Paul Defoor, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Cactus Feeders, Inc., to D.C. to speak at the Food and Drug Administration’s Staff College. The main message of Defoor’s presentation revolved around feedyards and their importance to the beef industry. Cactus Feeders, Inc. produces 3.3 million, eight ounce servings of beef per day. “Our product is a well-cared for food animal,” Defoor said. “We have roughly 500,000 of these in our care at all times.”   Improving the standard of living is what drives the motivation behind every emp (full story)

EPA’s Interim Rule versus Proposed Rule - Thursday, June 12, 2014

There has been a lot of rhetoric thrown around lately about how agriculture has been saved from the devastating impacts of the proposed Clean Water Act definition of “waters of the U.S.” by means of an “interpretive rule” published in the Federal Register the same day as the proposed “waters of the U.S.” definition. However, most people, even those within the agencies, do not know what an “interpretive rule” is, how it functions, and how it compares to a traditional rulemaking. A legislative rule, generally called a regulation, requires the highest threshold of public involvement and agency procedures. It requires “notice and comment” procedures. The agency must propose (full story)

Need Responsibly Raised Beef? Call Us - Thursday, June 5, 2014

Written by the Beef Checkoff    In response to a recent blog post on the Huffington Post website by Chipotle Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO, Steve Ells entitled Conventional vs. Grass-fed Beef , we spoke with two California ranchers about how they raise beef today: one grass-fed beef producer and one conventional (grass-fed and grain-finished) producer. Darrell Wood is a cow/calf producer in Vina, CA, and President of Panorama Meats , a supplier of certified organic, 100% grass-finished beef to retailers in the Western United States. Darrel Sweet is a cow/calf producer in Livermore, CA, who raises cattle on grass then sells them to a feedyard in California that finishes the cattle on a combination grass and grain. The (full story)

Boots Within the Beltway - Thursday, June 5, 2014

For the past week, 62 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association members from all across the nation, stretching from Hawaii to Virginia, have been partaking in the Young Cattlemen’s Conference. Starting in Denver and traveling across the country to wrap up in Washington, D.C., YCC’s primary objective is to develop leadership qualities in young cattlemen and expose them to all aspects of the beef industry.  “YCC has given me the opportunity to network with other young industry professionals and also learn more about the challenges and opportunities we face on a daily basis as beef producers,” said Zac Hall, cattle rancher from North Dakota.    The tour helps these young leaders understan (full story)

Arizona Witnesses Testify against EPA’s Proposed Land Grab - Thursday, June 5, 2014

In Phoenix, Ariz., this week U.S. Representatives Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and David Schweikert  (R-Ariz.) hosted a joint field hearing to analyze the EPA's proposed rule to expand the definition of “waters of the United States" and the potential harm the expansion may cause to businesses and consumers. Five members of the United States Congress attended including Reps. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), and Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. EPA’s proposed rule expands the Clean Water Act jurisdiction over nearly all areas with any hydrologic connection to downstream navigable waters, including man-made conveyances such as ditches. Contrary (full story)

House Committee on Ways and Means Approves Extension of Bonus Depreciation and Conservation Easement Tax Credit - Thursday, May 29, 2014

Today the House Committee on Ways and Means approved two pieces of legislation that are important provisions of the tax code for farmers and ranchers: H.R. 2807, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2013, and H.R. 4718 to make permanent bonus depreciation. Both pieces of legislation address sections of the tax code that expired at the end of 2013 and have traditionally been addressed in tax extenders packages and were considered as part of the tax reform proposals in the House and Senate. H.R. 2807 would make permanent the conservation easement tax credit. NCBA views conservation easements as a valuable tool for estate planning and making this provision permanent will provide much needed stability in the tax code for families (full story)

Arkansas Cattle Producer Speaks at FDA Staff College - Thursday, May 29, 2014

The most important job the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has here in Washington, D.C., is to continually educate about the beef industry. That doesn’t always mean Congressional members or their staffers, it also includes governmental agencies. The Food and Drug Administration hosts a staff college, in which industry members are invited to speak. NCBA often participates by bringing producers and industry experts to discuss issues that are important to our industry. A strong grassroots presence here in D.C. makes the biggest impression, and last week, Marcus Creasy, an Arkansas cattle producer, flew in to discuss the beef industry’s largest sector- the cow/calf producer. With more than 750,000 cattle farms (full story)

Arkansas Cattle Producer Speaks at FDA Staff College - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The most important job the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has here on Capitol Hill is to continually educate about the beef industry. That doesn’t always mean Congressional members or their staffers, it also includes governmental agencies. The Food and Drug Administration hosts their own staff college, in which industry members are invited to speak. NCBA often participates by bringing producers and industry experts to discuss critical issues that involve the FDA. A strong grassroots presence here on the Hill makes the biggest impression, and this week, Marcus Creasy, an Arkansas cattle producer, flew in to discuss the beef industry’s largest sector- the cow/calf producer. With more than 750,000 cattle farms (full story)

The Fallacy of COOL - Thursday, May 30, 2013

By Scott George, NCBA President With the recent action by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in releasing their amended Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) rule, it seems COOL is once again the talk of the sale barn and the cafe. That has me thinking quite a bit about the subject and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) policy on COOL. The NCBA sets its policy at the beginning of every year, with members and state affiliates bringing forward resolutions to be discussed in committees made up of cattle producers, and then finally voted on by a mail-in ballot sent to all 24,000-plus members of NCBA. And it is well known that NCBA has long been opposed to any mandatory country of origin labeling rul (full story)

ADUFA/AGDUFA Reauthorization Advances in the House - Thursday, May 23, 2013

By Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) Similar to human drugs, we have in place a process for ensuring that animal drugs distributed in our country are safe and effective. Keeping our animals healthy is crucial in insuring our own health.  The Center for Veterinary Medicine and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are responsible for ensuring that animal drugs are safe and effective, and manufactured to the highest quality standards. Reauthorizing the programs that support the testing and review of new and generic animal drug applications will continue to secure a safe supply for our livestock and family pets. On May 15, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved by voice vote H.R. 1407, which would reauthorize the Animal Dru (full story)

EPA's Data Sharing is a Debacle - Thursday, May 16, 2013

By Nebraska Sens. Mike Johanns and Deb Fischer The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding yet another chapter to the dismal saga of its strained relationship with American agriculture. Its sordid history of aerial surveillance over ag operations, attempts to regulate farm ponds and ditches and efforts to corral dust clouds are just a few examples of how the agency has actively made life difficult for the folks who dedicate their lives to putting food on the plates of millions of people around the world. But this time, the agency really outdid itself. Earlier this year, EPA provided information on 80,000 livestock operations to activist groups Earth Justice, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Natural Resources Defense Council (full story)

Immigration Reform, Border Security Benefits the Beef Industry - Thursday, May 9, 2013

By Scott George, NCBA President NCBA members have made immigration reform one of the organization’s key issues for my term as president, so I have been pleased to see our elected officials also take it up as a priority. Although we are a long way from final legislation, we are optimistic about what we have seen so far from both the House and Senate. As you know, agriculture relies on a viable year-round workforce for our success. We depend on these workers and so a workable, common-sense, guest worker program is vitally important to our future. When I was growing up, my father and a lot of neighbors depended on migrant laborers. We would get together as a community to feed and house them and in return the laborers would come (full story)

FUELS Act Will Provide Relief from Overreaching EPA Regs - Thursday, May 2, 2013

By Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) When I talk to farmers and ranchers who run small operations in my congressional district in Arkansas, they consistently tell me how regulations from Washington hurt their bottom line. When I ask them which agency seems to impose the most oppressive regulations, I always get the same answer:  the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2003, the EPA quietly passed a rule requiring farmers and ranchers to prepare a spill containment plan for oil products stored on their property. The program, commonly referred to as the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) program, requires oil storage facilities with a capacity of more than 1,320 gallons to make costly infrastructure improvements (full story)

The Renewable Fuels Standard: Reforming an Unworkable Federal Policy - Thursday, April 25, 2013

By Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) Who’s paying the costs of the federal ethanol mandate?  The American people are paying for this mandate. Every livestock producer who faces higher feed costs, every family who shops in a grocery store or dines at a restaurant and every motorist who fills up their tank at the gas station pays the price of this unworkable policy. The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) debate is no longer just a debate about fuel or food. It is also a debate about jobs, small business, and economic growth. The federal government’s creation of an artificial market for the ethanol industry has quite frankly triggered a domino effect that is hurting American consumers, livestock producers, food manufacturers and (full story)

President’s Budget Would Increase Grazing Fees, Lower Estate Tax Exemption Levels - Thursday, April 18, 2013

The thought of a balanced budget in Washington is one that many of us find hard to believe. President Obama released his 2014 budget proposal last week, and though the proposal won’t likely fly with Congress, it is important to note the impacts the president’s budget would have on agriculture, including $38 billion in cuts over 10 years to agricultural programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) budget would be $146 billion dollars, which would be a $10 billion dollar cut from fiscal year 2013. And, despite all the talk of budget cuts, the president’s plan would increase government spending by 2.5 percent over this year alone. There are a couple of glaring issues outlined in the president’s budget (full story)

Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act Protects Producers and Preserves Our National Forests - Thursday, April 11, 2013

By Andy Groseta, President, Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, Past President of NCBA and PLC Member As an Arizona rancher and President of the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, I am all too familiar with the devastating effects catastrophic wildfires have on livestock producers in the West. Fire is a natural occurrence that is beneficial when it happens on healthy forests, where it removes excess debris and allows more sunlight and nutrients for upcoming growing seasons. Back before the forests became overcrowded and under-grazed, old timers in many areas used to strike a match and start a blaze behind them as they rode out with the last fall gather. But after four decades of mismanagement of our federal forests, cata (full story)

NCBA Continues to Take Action to Protect Producers - Thursday, April 4, 2013

By Ashley McDonald, NCBA Deputy Environmental Counsel Agriculture is not only the backbone of communities in rural America, but provides jobs and opportunities across the entire U.S. More than two million farmers and ranchers work hard each day to provide our nation and the world with a safe, abundant and affordable food supply. However, one of the biggest obstacles facing the ranching industry is the regulations coming out of Washington. Much of this red tape comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which so often engages in sweetheart settlement agreements with environmental extremist groups, leading to regulations the agency claims it is “forced” to issue. Family farmers and ranchers across the country endur (full story)

Food Safety Inspectors Escape the Line of Fire — For Now - Thursday, March 28, 2013

By Colin Woodall, NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Last week Congress passed what is known as a continuing resolution, a type of appropriations legislation which will keep the federal government operating through the end of this fiscal year on Sept. 30. The continuing resolution funds government agencies if a formal appropriations bill has not been signed into law, and takes the form of a joint resolution, providing funding for existing federal programs at current, reduced or expanded levels. An amendment included in the continuing resolution, authored by Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), shifts $55 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds in order to prevent furloughing Food Safety Inspection (full story)

U.S. and the EU to Engage in Trade Talks - Thursday, March 21, 2013

By Bob McCan, NCBA President Elect Over the last few years there has been success in developing Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. These agreements offer great potential to increase market share in key markets for U.S. beef in Asia and South America. In fact, according to the International Trade Commission, the three agreements translate into 250,000 jobs, a boost to our nation’s economy. For cattlemen, the trade agreements increase beef demand and profitability. These agreements give U.S. beef a foothold in growing markets in two continents, Asia and South America. Now that the FTAs have been implemented in these three countries, the U.S. will ultimately have free trade for U.S. beef with approx (full story)

Bridging the Gap - Thursday, March 14, 2013

By Philip Ellis, NCBA Policy Division Chair Springtime in Washington, D.C., is quite nice. Temperatures are typically in the 50s and 60s, the sun is shining and the famous cherry blossom trees which dot the city and line the Tidal Basin are in full bloom. Also present in our nation’s capital is the 113th Congress, which is why it is important for cattlemen and women to attend the 2013 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Legislative Conference, scheduled for Apr. 16-18. Attending the NCBA Legislative Conference will give farmers and ranchers the opportunity to bring their “hats to the hill” – literally. This important event provides NCBA members the chance to meet with key congressional and agenc (full story)

Grazing Improvement Act Gives Ranchers Much Needed Certainty - Thursday, March 7, 2013

By Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) In Wyoming and throughout the West, we understand the important role our ranchers play in providing safe, high quality beef and lamb for America’s dinner table. Ranching operations are the backbone of many of our communities, providing jobs and economic opportunities across much of rural America.    Today, two of the biggest obstacles facing our ranching communities are the rules and regulations coming out of Washington. Our nation’s ranchers should be focused on running their operations—not dealing with Washington red tape. Ranchers continue to face too much uncertainty surrounding their grazing permits. This is a common occurrence in the West, where much of the land is con (full story)

How Federal Actions Hurt Family Farmers - Thursday, February 28, 2013

By Chuck Folken, Owner/Operator, Folken Feed Yards As a cattle feeder from Nebraska I have been well-versed for more than 20 years on Clean Water Act regulations. I take great pride in the practices I’ve put in place to protect the environment, as well as the fact that what I do everyday helps feed my family and yours. What discourages me is the constant berating beef feedlots like mine must endure by environmental organizations who know little to nothing about my farm or rural America in general Being a family farmer means I work - a lot. Farming is a 24/7/365 job, which means that I don’t have much downtime, including time to cruise the internet. Which is why I was shocked to learn last week that the Environmental Prot (full story)

Weathering Through the Storms - Thursday, February 21, 2013

By Leon LaSalle, President, LaSalle Ranch Inc., Havre, Mont. Farmers and ranchers deal with a lot of uncertainty. Helping feed the nation and the world is not easy. It’s a 24/7/365 job, one which requires cattle producers like myself to weather through drought, wildfires, blizzards and tornadoes, along with other issues such as declining herd numbers and overreaching government regulations. Even though being a cattle producer is challenging job, it is one that has been in my family for many years. My maternal grandfather and his sons were among the first residents of Rocky Boys Indian Reservation, located in central Montana, to become cattle ranchers. Today, as in the past, we manage our ranching operation with future generati (full story)

Looking Ahead: NCBA's 2013 Policy Priorities - Thursday, February 14, 2013

By Philip Ellis, Chugwater, Wyo. As a fifth-generation rancher and Policy Division Chairman for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), I am pleased to announce our association’s policy priorities for 2013. These priorities, along with other important issues affecting cattlemen and women across the country, will serve as the focus of NCBA’s policy team in Washington, D.C. This organization is producer-owned and member driven. It’s important that the policy priorities set by NCBA are geared toward sustaining this industry for future generations. A full, five-year farm bill remains an important priority for NCBA. The fiscal cliff package passed by Congress in January, which extended the 2008 Farm Bill (full story)

Gardner's Transparency Bill Sheds Light on Use of Judgment Fund Dollars - Thursday, January 31, 2013

By Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) The federal government gets sued often. Sometimes these lawsuits are high profile, like when the states sued the federal government over the President’s healthcare law. Other cases garner far fewer headlines. Yet, no matter how big or small, all of these lawsuits end up costing the public money. For many who sue the federal government their legal bills may even be covered by the taxpayers — the very people they are suing — out of a pot of money called the Judgment Fund.  The Judgment Fund is administered by the Treasury Department and used to pay certain court judgments and settlements against the federal government. Many groups continuously sue the federal government, and the (full story)

A Future Farm Bill Must Include Cattlemen's Priorities - Thursday, January 24, 2013

By Kristina Butts, NCBA Executive Director of Legislative Affairs We can’t deny that 2013 has gotten off to a rocky start, legislatively speaking. The fiscal cliff package passed by Congress earlier this month left much to be desired for the cattle industry, especially when it came to a five-year farm bill. The fiscal cliff package extends the 2008 Farm Bill until Sept. 30, 2013, and authorizes limited disaster assistance for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Funding for these programs is subject to receiving the money from appropriations committees. However, realizing the importance of getting the ball rolling on agriculture policy, the Senate re-introduced its version of the bill (S. 10), which was passed last June with heavy (full story)

NCBA/PLC Battle in Court to Represent Cattlemen - Thursday, January 17, 2013

By Ashley McDonald, NCBA Deputy Environmental Counsel, and Dustin Van Liew, NCBA Director of Federal Lands and PLC Executive Director Litigation is considered a dirty word in today’s world, but unfortunately for the cattle industry it has become a necessary evil. Turning to legal action is a last resort when federal agencies do not listen to or work with our industry and instead promulgate disastrous regulations that could cripple cattle operations. Petitions, interventions and other forms of legal participation by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) have been on the rise as the number of dangerous federal actions has increased. Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court hea (full story)

In 2013 We Need a Farm Bill, Spending Cuts - Thursday, January 10, 2013

By Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) As we ring in the new year, we reflect on the hope, promise and challenges that 2013 will hold. Many individuals stop to consider the personal improvements and changes they can make to their lives to ensure that 2013 holds even more opportunity than 2012. As we begin this new year, Congress must try even harder to solve short-term problems and achieve long-term goals that will keep America secure and financially stable. The drought-stricken landscape and the loss of crops, hay and pastures in 2012 presented numerous challenges for cattlemen and women not only in my home state of South Dakota, but across our nation. Following the excessive spring moisture and record floods of 2011, no one would have predic (full story)

Looking Forward for Agriculture - Thursday, January 3, 2013

By Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) America’s farmers and ranchers have faced a lot of uncertainty over the past several years. With new regulations coming down the pipeline constantly and the threat of higher taxes and consequences of inaction on a farm bill always on the horizon in 2012, our agriculture community has rightly been on edge. This coming year should bring a little more certainty. Just this week an extension of the current farm bill was approved through the end of the fiscal year. I have been fighting tooth-and-nail for a full, five-year farm bill, but unfortunately, the clock ran out. When that happened, the priority became locking in some certainty for our crop producers and livestock owners that need to make decision (full story)

A Look Back at 2012 - Thursday, December 20, 2012

By J.D. Alexander, NCBA President NCBA has a lot to be proud of in 2012. We continue to be the trusted leader and definitive voice serving the U.S. beef industry. We continue to successfully represent cattlemen and women in Washington, D.C., making sure that rural America’s voice is heard loud and clear. As I look back on this year a few important events come to mind. One of the highlights of this past year has been the great opportunity I have had to travel the country and meet so many outstanding cattlemen and women. Over the past several weeks I have been fortunate to have a chance to attend a number of state conventions. Many of them have seen record attendance this year and it has been good to see old friends and make new (full story)

Costa Calls on Congress to Reform RFS - Thursday, December 13, 2012

By Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) My grandparents scratched out a living in the dairy business when they first came here from the Azores and my parents carried on that tradition. But today in my home state and nationwide, cattlemen, dairymen and livestock producers are facing the perfect storm of shrinking corn supplies and soaring feed prices. One of the toughest droughts in over 50 years has stricken the heart of our country and scorched this year’s corn and wheat crops. These challenges are only compounded by a misguided policy to divert food into our gas tanks.   Since June 2012, feed prices have jumped over 60 percent nationwide adding pressure to producers already struggling to stay afloat. The Renewable Fuel Standard (full story)

Overreaching Regulations Continue to be a Burden on Cattlemen - Thursday, December 6, 2012

By Ashley McDonald, NCBA Deputy Environmental Counsel If you haven’t heard by now, the fiscal cliff is looming. Congress and the White House remain locked in tough negotiations over the “cliff” which is a set of tax hikes and spending cuts that will go into effect in January if Washington doesn't get its act together. Inaction by the government will undoubtedly affect farmers and ranchers. However, another looming issue that may not be receiving as much attention during this critical time in our government is the “environmental cliff,” the overreaching environmental regulations which continue to plague cattle producers. The  National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) continues to lead the cha (full story)

Study's Anti-Grazing Myths Debunked - Friday, November 30, 2012

By J.D. Alexander, NCBA President, and Brice Lee, Public Lands Council President A recent study published by a journal called Environmental Management has called for the end of grazing on public lands due to climate change. With funding from the Wyss Foundation, a radical environmentalist, foreign-based organization, researchers produced “ Adapting to Climate Change on Western Public Lands: Addressing the Ecological Effects of Domestic, Wild, and Feral Ungulates ,” which proclaims that global warming necessitates the end of livestock grazing—in fact, any grazing—on public lands. The study makes a series of claims and citations, each of which can be countered by credible studies. As elected officers of organizati (full story)

Florida Ranch Educates Students About Cattle As Well As Conservation - Thursday, November 15, 2012

By Casey Wohl, Rafter T Ranch and Gray Dog Communications If you are in the ranching business, then you are aware that to the general public, ranching and environmental conservation do not typically go hand in hand. However, those of us who have been in the cattle industry for most of our lives know that ranchers are the original stewards of the land, making sure the land they own and manage not only provides their cattle the ability to graze, but also employing many conservation practices which provide great returns to the many wildlife species which cohabitate with cattle on a ranch. Environmental stewardship and conservation have long been the focus of America’s farmers and ranchers.  I grew up on my family’s cat (full story)

Farm Radio's Rich Heritage - Thursday, November 8, 2012

By Chase Adams, NCBA Director of Communications I traveled to Kansas City, Mo, this week to attend the 69th Annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) Convention. The theme for this year’s convention is “Our Rich Heritage:  A Bridge to the Future.” For over 80 years, farm broadcasting has been an important part of rural America, providing an efficient means to connect farmers and ranchers with the news, markets and commentary that are so important to our daily routine. Broadcasting information to farmers started just after the invention of AM radio. The first broadcasts began in 1921, when WHA in Madison, Wis., began broadcasting weather reports. Two months later, James A. Bush, a Tuscola, Ill. (full story)

Despite Setbacks in 2012, Future Looks Bright for US Beef Trade - Thursday, October 25, 2012

By Kent Bacus, NCBA Associate Director of Legislative Affairs Drought, fires, floods, skyrocketing input costs and record herd shortage; factors we have unfortunately become very familiar with over the past couple of years and all of which would send  cattlemen and women running to the hills. In fact, many cattle families are wondering if right now isn’t the best time to hang it up while prices are good and land values are high. But before you make that decision, I encourage you to consider what you will be missing. At the end of this year, we will be fortunate enough to see the implementation of three free trade agreements (FTA); the Korea-U.S. agreement; the Colombia-U.S. agreement; and the Panama-U.S. agreement, which (full story)

Livestock Express: Coming Soon to a Ranch Near You - Thursday, October 18, 2012

By Tony Clayton, President of Clayton Agri-Marketing, Inc. As the world’s population continues to grow toward 10 billion people by the year 2050 and if expanding economies that are providing better living conditions are factored in, it equals an unprecedented world-wide demand for animal protein and dairy products. Breeders, farmers and ranchers from across the United States have been exporting live cattle in record numbers over the past few years, and the exporting of live cattle has turned from a hobby industry when someone might have talked about sending a few bulls to Mexico at the local coffee shop a few years ago, to a billion-dollar industry due to markets that have opened in Egypt, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russia and other cou (full story)

Wilson Will Take on Tough Issues in Washington - Thursday, October 11, 2012

By Heather Wilson, U.S. Senate candidate, New Mexico One of New Mexico’s oldest industries is farming and ranching. It was the Indian Pueblos, Spanish settlers and 19th century homesteaders of the Southwest that created the idea of the American dream. Today, thousands of New Mexicans rely on farming and ranching for their livelihoods. But those jobs are now under siege by politicians like Congressman Heinrich who believe Washington knows what’s best for rural America. They’re wrong. There is nothing more important in America right now than creating jobs and growing the economy. If we want to protect New Mexico’s agriculture industry, we’re going to need Washington to work for us again. That means lowerin (full story)

As NCBA’s New Communications Director, Adams Advocates for Agriculture - Thursday, October 4, 2012

By Chase Adams , NCBA Director of Communications I am pleased to join the  National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) as the Director of Communications for NCBA’s Washington, D.C., office, filling the position left by Mike Deering, who returned to Missouri as the Executive Vice President of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. As a native of Wyoming, I grew up in cattle country. I have always had a passion for agriculture and ranching. During my career I’ve held a number of positions in agriculture from working at the sale barn in Belle Fourche, S.D. to agriculture journalism, which was a nice change from doing to the work to talking about it. I received my bachelor’s degree in political science (full story)

Young Ranchers Bring Fresh Ideas to Five Nations Beef Alliance Meeting - Friday, September 28, 2012

By Travis Hoffman and Ben Neale, NCBA Young Producers Council Members As members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Young Producers Council (YPC), we recently traveled to Canada to represent NCBA during the Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) meeting as part of the Young Ranchers Program. We were nominated by YPC to share our knowledge and develop relationships with other young ranchers from Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Also in attendance were NCBA President J.D. Alexander and NCBA President-Elect Scott George, along with NCBA staff. The FNBA is represented by the Cattle Council of Australia, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganade (full story)

National Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Week: Be Aware of the Dangers - Thursday, September 20, 2012

By Mike Deering, NCBA Director of Communications President Obama signed a proclamation last week declaring Sept. 16-22 National Farm Safety and Health Week. This week is a perfect time to focus on farm and ranch safety before it is too late. Let this week be your wakeup call. Nearly everyone directly or indirectly involved in the farming and ranching business knows someone who has been injured, paralyzed or killed in a farm-or-ranch related accident. In fact, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, farming and ranching is the fourth most dangerous occupation with 38.5 deaths per 100,000. The main ingredient necessary to prevent farm and ranch injuries and deaths is a relatively simple concept – awa (full story)

Senate Candidate Deb Fischer Stands Up for Ranchers, Small Businesses - Thursday, September 13, 2012

By Deb Fischer, Nebraska U.S. Senate candidate This is an important election year. We have an opportunity to change the direction our country is headed. I entered the U.S. Senate race because I’m very concerned for the future of America and for our industry. My family ranches in the Nebraska Sandhills, south of Valentine. Our three grown sons have all chosen to return to the ranch and now manage the business. As a rancher, I know how the current administration’s policies have affected our industry. Burdensome regulations are choking our businesses; the estate tax makes it difficult to leave our operations to our children; and complicated red tape stymies emergency assistance in times of need. The slow response of the (full story)

As Congress Comes Back to Washington, the Future of the Farm Bill Should be Discussed - Thursday, September 6, 2012

By Colin Woodall, NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs As many of you know, Congress comes back to Washington, D.C. on Sept. 10. Our senators and representatives will only be here for eight short days, and here at NCBA we hope during that time that they will address the important issue of the 2012 Farm Bill before the current 2008 Farm Bill expires at the end of this month. As I said in this week’s Beltway Beef audio , Congress has the option of passing a full 2012 Farm Bill, or it can also decide to extend the 2008 bill and its programs for up to a year and return to the debate at a later point in time. A one-year extension of the current 2008 Farm Bill would continue programs such as commodity programs, crop insurance, cons (full story)

After 30 Years as a Livestock Veterinarian, Yoho is Ready to Bring Repair to Washington - Thursday, August 23, 2012

By Ted Yoho, Candidate for U.S. Congress Last week, I was incredibly honored as the people of north central Florida’s third congressional district chose me to be their Republican nominee for Congress. It was a great victory in so many ways. For one, we were a rag-tag campaign with only one paid staffer (our campaign manager, Kat Cammack) and a handful of dedicated interns and volunteers. We raised only $300,000 compared to the massive war chest of $2.5 million that my opponent Rep. Cliff Stearns was sitting on. I had never run for or held political office in my life. We were facing a conservative congressman who had been in office for 24 years. There were two other local politicians in the race as well, making it a difficult (full story)

USDA Does Right in Scrapping Meatless Monday Statement - Thursday, August 16, 2012

By J.D. Alexander, NCBA President It’s disturbing when those who are supposed to be advocates for agriculture instead choose to advocate against it. That happened last month just as NCBA kicked off the 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Convention in Denver, Colo. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a release on July 25, expressing support for the "Meatless Mondays" campaign by saying that USDA would work to reduce environmental impacts in the agency’s cafeteria. It was a statement which shows just how out of touch our government is with the difficulties faced by farmers and ranchers who are working hard every day to produce the food which our citizens depend on. The "Meatless Monday" campaign is an effort starte (full story)

Waiving the Ethanol Mandate to Provide Relief to Producers and Consumers - Thursday, August 9, 2012

By Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) Food or feed? We should not put our nation’s livestock producers in the position of having to choose one over the other. But federal law has done just that. As a severe drought continues to hold our nation in its grip, concerns over the corn crop and soaring prices are on the minds of nearly every livestock producer. Drought maps show that farmers from Nebraska to Virginia are facing some of the driest conditions seen in the United States in nearly 50 years. Unfortunately, government policies are only adding to this difficult situation by diverting increased food and feed stocks into fuel, leading to diminished supplies for livestock and food producers. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) man (full story)

Beef Biz Better Off Without Big Government - Thursday, August 2, 2012

By Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) When my friends in Washington, D.C. ask me about Florida, like many people outside the state, they often think of Florida only for its sunshine and beaches. Many of them are surprised to hear that Florida is also home to some of the largest cattle ranches in the country. For almost 500 years, the cattle industry has contributed significantly to Florida’s economy and natural resources. Multi-generational family ranches have cared for the land, provided employment for many residents and contributed greatly to the local tax base. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with several Florida ranchers and I am encouraged by their love for their country and for their state. As a 22- year veteran (full story)

The Protect Interstate Commerce Act Offers State Trade Solution - Thursday, July 19, 2012

By Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) The food standards maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) keep food in our country safe. Imagine going to the grocery store, and instead of finding several varieties of food products, only certain brands are available and many are out of stock. This is exactly what is happening in Europe. The Wall Street Journal has reported that egg prices have jumped as much as 76.5 percent as of March of this year, and the price of eggs has more than doubled in the Czech Republic from 2011 to 2012, the result of costly over regulation of chickens. Our Founding Fathers understood states would erect trade barriers against each oth (full story)

The Regulatory War - Thursday, July 12, 2012

By Ashley McDonald, NCBA Deputy Environmental Counsel Always a hot topic in Washington, D.C. is "regulatory overreach." This phrase has been the battle cry for many industries over the past few years, and the cattle industry is no exception. As one of the top two enforcement priorities for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the cattle industry has seen an attack from all sides. We are fighting issues from dust and greenhouse gas regulation to preventing your ditches and dry washes from becoming a "water of the United States." EPA is a power hungry bureaucratic machine, and it is in their own self-interest to continue to stretch their authority and gain power over every aspect of our operations. War has no doubt been (full story)

A Look Back - Thursday, July 5, 2012

By J.D. Alexander, NCBA President At NCBA we’re all busy with summer work and the staff is working hard to prepare for the 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference at the end of the month in Denver, Colo. With nearly half of my term as NCBA president behind me it seems like a fitting time to look at some recent industry events and some of the major accomplishments we have achieved together. In June we saw major victories on several fronts as a result of our hard work in Washington, D.C., including a major win as the Senate passed its version of the farm bill. Early drafts of the Senate farm bill and several amendments included language which could have been harmful to agriculture in general, and livestock producers in par (full story)

Against All Odds, Senate Moves Ahead on Farm Bill - Thursday, June 21, 2012

By Colin Woodall, NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs The Senate’s version of the 2012 Farm Bill concluded today, June 21, 2012. The Senate finalized votes on the 73 amendments selected for consideration. The bill passed by a huge bipartisan majority with a 64-35 vote. Like many of us who have a vested interest in this legislation (S. 3240), I was pleasantly surprised by the bipartisan efforts made to move this bill through the Senate very efficiently and without much partisan rhetoric. Both Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Minority Leader Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) should be commended for their leadership on this very important piece of legislation. Their transparency and willingness to listen to all vested inter (full story)

Rough Road Ahead for Highway Bill - Friday, June 15, 2012

  By Kent Bacus, NCBA Associate Director of Legislative Affairs   In November 2011, I wrote a somewhat optimistic article about the Highway Bill and the positive momentum it was gaining in both the US House and Senate. For the first time in several years it seemed as if meaningful transportation reform was within reach—an opportunity to lift unnecessary and burdensome transportation rules from farm and ranch operations. Unfortunately, six months have passed and all we have witnessed are extensions of current transportation law and continued discussions between House and Senate negotiators. The question remains if Congress will be able to overcome what seem to be insurmountable differences and manage to secure enough (full story)

Ranchers' Rights are Being Trampled - Thursday, May 17, 2012

— The Grazing Improvement Act of 2012 By U.S. Representative Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho)   Livestock grazing is an important part of the rich ranching tradition in America. One need to look no farther than the iconic images of cowboys driving huge herds of cattle across open land to realize how big a part ranching has played in American history. Today, my home state of Idaho produces some of the world's finest tasting lamb and beef, which makes its way to dinner tables across America and as far away as Korea. Food production is a major part of Idaho's history and is an integral part of our cultural fabric and our economic security. These traditions are under attack and we must preserve them for future generations. (full story)

Clearing up the CLEER Act - Thursday, May 10, 2012

By U.S. Representative Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)   In July of 2011, a huge dust storm nearly a mile high at its largest point rolled from Tucson to Phoenix in my home state of Arizona. Bringing visibility down to absolute zero at several points on its 50 miles wide warpath across the desert, the storm grounded planes for an hour and a half and left thousands of cars, buildings and homes caked in a thick coat of grime.   Not surprisingly, this huge dust storm caused pollution levels in the area to skyrocket. It's been reported that the level of particulate matter - the scientific term for dust - reached more than double the level federal standards consider healthy the day after the storm hit.   Under the Clean Air Act (CAA (full story)

Fear Not the Ides of March - Thursday, April 5, 2012

By Kent Bacus, NCBA associate director of legislative affairs I'm not one who typically quotes Shakespearean literature but one thing I remember from high school is Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, where the soothsayer utters these ominous words to Caesar: "Beware the Ides of March." Historically, there's actually nothing ominous about the definition of Ides. It was used in the Roman calendar to denote the fifteenth day of March, May, July and October. For years, I've used that quote to remind my friends and colleagues of my ability to quote some of the great literary minds and not just Larry the Cable Guy. But in 2012, the Ides of March took on a brand new meaning. March 15, 2012, marked the implementation of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade (full story)

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