NCBA and PLC Kick Off Legislative Conferences
WASHINGTON — The Public Lands Council (PLC) kicks off their legislative conference today in the nation’s capital. PLC’s event runs through the evening of Apr. 16, while the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) conference will begin that evening and end on Thursday. In addition to meeting with their U.S. senators and representatives about a variety of issues affecting the livestock industry, attendees will talk with administration officials and hear from policy experts.
PLC President Brice Lee, a rancher from Hesperus, Colo., said his organization’s members are looking forward to interacting with congressional representatives and agency officials to make sure that livestock producers are represented in Washington.
“A strong showing of livestock producers in Washington is vital to the success of our association and to the livestock industry. Often times, producers are very busy on their operations and believe that what goes on in Washington is a world away,” said Lee. “The reality is that decisions made inside the Beltway have a direct impact on families providing food and fiber to a growing population. Our legislators and regulators need to hear from those in the countryside about how their decisions impact ranchers with public land grazing permits and agricultural operations nationwide.”
While in Washington, PLC members will be fully engaging in the legislative process, including providing testimony at three hearings before the U.S. House of Representatives. PLC Vice President Brenda Richards will testify on the importance of the Grazing Improvement Act, PLC’s priority legislation this session. In another hearing she will urge Congress to make well-placed appropriations in order to promote business stability for ranchers. PLC Secretary/Treasurer Dave Eliason will testify on the importance of reining in the ability of presidents to make sweeping national monument designations.
Many PLC attendees will stay in Washington to join the NCBA conference, which will include policy discussions, meetings with agency officials and legislators, and—always a highlight—a Wednesday evening reception on Capitol Hill hosted by Outback Steakhouse.
“Attending the NCBA Legislative Conference gives farmers and ranchers the opportunity to bring their ‘hats to the Hill.’ Cattlemen and women are here in Washington to tell our elected officials the facts, to tell them their personal stories on topics from over regulation to the importance of passing a five year farm bill,” said NCBA President Scott George, a dairy and beef producer from Cody, Wyo. “The gap between country roads and paved highways must be bridged in order for the cattle industry to remain strong and vibrant.”
George added that it is important for producers to talk to their congressional representatives about key policy issues which will directly affect the cattle industry this year, such as the reauthorization of the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) and environmental regulations.
Lee and George agreed that the PLC and NCBA Legislative Conferences are an extremely valuable experience for farmers and ranchers who are able to make the trip to Washington and take home great information from their congressional representatives and federal regulatory agencies. Producers have the opportunity to make important contacts that can last a lifetime.