Our Views Columns

Our Views Columns

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 05, 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 05, 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 05, 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 09, 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 02, 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 04, 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 07, 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 03, 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 06, 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 08, 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 04, 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 06, 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 09, 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 02, 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 05, 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 05, 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)


Time Has Come To End the Destructive Death Tax - Friday, March 30, 2012

  By U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D)   Yesterday, I joined with 34 of my Senate colleagues to introduce the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act (S 2242). This legislation will permanently abolish the federal estate tax, better known by ranchers, farmers, and family business owners across America as the “death tax.” I believe the death tax is destructive, misguided, and inefficient, and that our economy, small businesses, family farms, and ranches that are expected to be transferred to future generations will benefit enormously from its demise. America’s family businesses, farmers, and ranchers were spared from the wrath of the federal estate tax in 2010, but unfortunately this was merely a short reprieve. (full story)


Preventing Barbecued Chicken since the 1800s - Thursday, March 22, 2012

By Mike Deering, NCBA Director of Communications Livestock have been roaming the western range since post-Civil War years because ranchers didn’t have a dime to buy their own ground after the war. Today, ranchers still utilize 157 million acres of public lands to feed a world population that is expected to grow from 7 billion today to 10 billion people by 2050. America’s ranchers haven’t missed a beat in producing safe, nutritious beef for a growing global population. They do this by adopting the most sustainable production practices. An important part of this equation is the cattle still roaming the public lands out West. Without a viable public lands sector of the livestock industry, food security would undoubt (full story)


Protecting the Chesapeake Bay While Preserving Agriculture and Local Economies - Monday, March 19, 2012

By Congressmen Bob Goodlatte and Tim Holden Farming is a tough business – no one can deny that.  Regardless of whether you run a large scale operation or a small family farm, many in the agriculture community have felt the impact of tightening federal regulations. Farmers and producers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are no different.  With new environmental regulations looming overhead, there is much uncertainty for those who call the watershed home.  The Chesapeake Bay watershed stretches across portions of six states – New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia – as well as the District of Columbia.  Home to more than 17 million people, the watershed includes all (full story)


Saving our Border Beef - Friday, March 09, 2012

By Congressman John Carter (R-Texas) The Presidential debates highlighted varying national opinions on how best to secure the troubled southern border. Our Governor Rick Perry pointed out that fencing the entire 2,000 mile border with Mexico was not the way to go, and that more boots-on-the-ground was the correct approach. Governor Perry may be out of the Presidential race, but he was dead right on this issue.  The difference in opinion is largely from the fact he knows the border.  The new border fence already completed in the Arizona desert, El Paso, Del Rio, and elsewhere is a tremendous tool in securing our border, and I thoroughly support constructing additional fencing in similar areas where we know (full story)


Protecting the Future of Agriculture - Friday, March 02, 2012

By U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) In communities across our nation, no tradition runs deeper from generation to generation than that of working on a family farm. By working alongside their parents, grandparents and neighbors, young people learn important life skills and values - the values of hard work, personal responsibility and perseverance. They learn how to problem solve and work on a team to get things done. Agriculture is a way of life; but now the federal government wants to fundamentally change that way of life. In September 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a new child labor rule that would ban youth under the age of 16 from participating in many common farm-related tasks. The government is now trying (full story)


Beef Producers, Exports Hurt by Stalled BSE Rule - Thursday, February 23, 2012

By U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa International trade bolsters job creation here at home and helps foster economic activity in communities across the country. The beef industry plays a big role in the United States' trade portfolio. Last year alone, U.S. beef producers exported to countries around the world nearly $5.5 billion worth of product. And, it's generally agreed upon that increasing exports are the key to increasing demand for U.S. beef products. Unfortunately, our own government is hindering progress in opening new markets for these products. The problem lies in a comprehensive BSE rule for beef imports that would make the United States compliant with international trade standards set by the World Organization (full story)


On the Menu - Thursday, February 09, 2012

By NCBA President J.D. Alexander If you're not at the table, you risk being on the menu. It's a phrase you will hear a lot over the course of my term as National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) president this year. As cattle producers, we have never faced more exciting opportunities or more risk than we do right now. We have come a long way as an industry, and as an organization, over the past year. The spirit of optimism and energy we saw in Nashville, Tenn., as more than 8,200 cattlemen and women gathered to shape the future of this industry was a testament to how far we have come and it gave me a sense of encouragement about our shared opportunities during the year ahead. As an industry there are significant challenges ahea (full story)


2012 NCBA Policy Priorities Taking Shape - Thursday, January 26, 2012

By Colin Woodall, NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Next week, thousands of cattlemen and women who are members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) will make their way to Nashville, Tenn., for the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. NCBA members will set policy priorities for 2012 and establish new policy positions for the largest and oldest national cattle industry organization. This is where NCBA’s Washington, D.C., staff will receive their marching orders for what will undoubtedly be a very interesting year inside the Beltway. Based on where we left off in 2011, I fully expect that NCBA will hone in on five primary priorities for the new year. The top priority will most likely (full story)


Terrorist Activity Has No Place in American Agriculture - Thursday, January 19, 2012

By NCBA President Bill Donald One reward of ranch life in rural Montana is that after a hard-days’ work, I get to fall asleep listening to the bawl of mama cows near the house. I imagine farmers and ranchers across the nation can relate to that calming sound. While there are many sounds that come from farms and ranches, one thing we don’t expect to hear is the sound of our farm equipment exploding outside our windows. Unfortunately, for the men and women who make their home at or near the Harris Ranch feedyard in Fresno County, Calif., that is no longer a foreign sound. Early in the morning of Jan. 8, 2012, they were awakened to the sound of 14 cattle trucks exploding and burning near the feed yard. I thank God that (full story)


Double Deck Trailer Ban in Highway Safety Bill - Thursday, January 12, 2012

By Cindy Schonholtz, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation recently included the double deck trailer ban in S. 1950, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Enhancement Act of 2011. Section 905 of S. 1950 prohibits the transportation of all horses in double deck trailers, not just those bound for slaughter. This measure is currently waiting for further consideration on the Senate floor. The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will likely mark up its version of the Highway Bill in early February. You may be curious as to why Congress is trying to expand this provision. This issue has been a strong interest of Senator Kirk (R-Ill.). While Senat (full story)


Make 2012 the Year for Permanent Estate Tax Relief - Thursday, January 05, 2012

By Kent Bacus, NCBA manager of legislative affairs If you’re like me, you enjoy watching the History Channel and Discovery Channel. I enjoy learning about other cultures and civilizations and listening to experts discuss how mankind has advanced throughout the years and make predictions on what the future will hold. Lately, a theme has revolved around what will happen on Dec. 21, 2012. Many ancient cultures have predicted that some major, perhaps apocalyptic, event will happen on that day. Perhaps the ancient Mayans were a few days off. For the beef industry, our real concern is what will happen after Dec. 31, 2012. One of the most important issues facing family farmers and ranchers and small business owners nationwide is the (full story)


How to “Vitalize” Federal Lands Grazing - Thursday, December 15, 2011

By Joe Guild, NCBA Federal Lands Committee chairman; and John Falen, Public Lands Council president The U.S. beef industry is diverse, with a presence in all 50 states. Despite that diversity, we all have common goals of raising healthy beef in an environment free of overly burdensome government interference and to pass down successful operations and healthy natural resources to future generations. These goals are threatened by the growing number of laws and regulations that govern what we do. Federal lands ranchers have unique challenges. In the West, where the federal government owns roughly half the land mass, more than 22,000 ranchers have the challenge of running our operations, in part, on federal land. Much cost and uncertaint (full story)


Clearing the Air on Dust: Debunking Myths - Thursday, December 08, 2011

Ashley Lyon, NCBA Deputy Environmental Counsel The opposition to Rep. Kristi Noem’s (R-SD) Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011(H.R. 1663) cannot get its arguments straight. On one hand they argue that farm dust regulation is a “fantasy issue” and liken it to fairy dust and children’s nursery rhymes. On the other hand, they say the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority should not be taken away because it will be the ruin of health of rural America. Unfortunately for these folks, they cannot have it both ways. They cannot claim that farm dust regulation is a fairytale while simultaneously saying that removal of such authority will imperil the health of rural Americans. Either EPA does or does (full story)


Evaluating Certification Programs - Thursday, December 01, 2011

Tom Field, PhD, NCBA executive director of producer education Beef markets have undergone significant transformation over the past several decades resulting in a variety of market niches and opportunities based on associating breed, management practices, feeding practices and a host of other verifiable claims with beef products. The market has provided economic incentives at a variety of levels to encourage participation in supplying the needs of these various market niches. In some cases, these incentives have been significant and as a result cattle producers have shown increasing interest in learning about program requirements and the process associated with becoming certified for participation. This article is designed to serve (full story)


Big Government Hijacks Clean Water Act - Thursday, November 17, 2011

By Ashley Lyon, NCBA deputy environmental counsel What you can‘t legislate, regulate. Such has been the case time and again with the overzealous regulators in the current administration. Fortunately for farmers, ranchers and private property holders nationwide, the U.S. Congress is on the verge of blocking the administration from moving forward with an overreaching, potentially devastating expansion of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The U.S. Senate could vote, possibly this week, on an amendment offered by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2012 that would defund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers‘ (Corps) and the Environmental Prot (full story)


Time to Move on Highway Bill - Friday, November 11, 2011

By Kent Bacus, NCBA manager of legislative affairs Over the years, U.S beef producers have been anxiously waiting for Congress to vote on legislation to address our concerns with antiquated and inconsistent transportation rules and regulations that hinder the flow of commerce for small businesses. Legislative solutions are typically consolidated into one piece of multi-year authorizing legislation commonly known as the highway bill. Instead of keeping our transit laws current and reflective of the needs of today’s economy, Congress has the unfortunate habit of kicking the can down the road by extending the existing highway bill to a time when political and fiscal forecasts seem brighter. In fact, the previous highway bill expired (full story)


A Change in Japan’s Cattle Age Limit Holds Tremendous Potential for U.S. Producers - Thursday, November 03, 2011

By U.S. Meat Export Federation Staff A recent news report from Japan generated a great deal of talk about increased beef exports, suggesting that Japan was ready to increase the cattle age limit on U.S. beef imports above the current 20 months. While the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) cautions producers that this change in policy is unlikely to happen in the next few months, it holds the potential to become a very big opportunity for our nation’s beef industry. USMEF Economist Erin Borror estimates that an increase in the cattle age limit – if it is combined with risk-based criteria for handling products that would still be ineligible for export to Japan (such as products from older cattle) – could boost U.S. (full story)

I am an NCBA Member...
...because I think they're the greatest national association
we have in this country. And they provide wonderful
assistance and services to cattlemen across this country.  
-Bob McCan, Texas