NCBA moves on action items


Washington, D.C.­More than 1,000 producers and cattle industry representatives from across the country came together in Reno, Nev., for the 2002 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, July 17-20.

Washington, D.C.­More than 1,000 producers and cattle industry representatives from across the country came together in Reno, Nev., for the 2002 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, July 17-20.

Individuals had the opportunity to bring up major issues that are affectingtheir farming and ranching operations.

"As you might expect, the beef checkoff was one of the key issuesdiscussed at our meeting," says NCBA President Wythe Willey. "Ourmembers feel strongly that NCBA should continue its efforts to support andmaintain the current $1-per-head beef checkoff."

During committee meetings, members had a chance to discuss top prioritiesfor the year, listen to fellow producers and talk one-on-one with NCBA policyrepresentatives. After four days of meetings and public forums, NCBA memberspassed resolutions that address their concerns.

"If you are a member of NCBA, your voice will be heard on CapitolHill - no matter how many thousands of miles away you are or how remoteyour hometown is. NCBA has an impressive legacy in Washington, D.C., anda strong, active working relationship with influential policymakers, administrationsand staff members," says Chandler Keys, NCBA vice president of publicpolicy.

The new resolutions passed at the conference serve as a road map forNCBA members, staff and state affiliates as they address policy issues.

"It's an open opportunity for producers across the country to takea stance and decide on the most important changes, resolutions and directives.It's one of the best reasons to be a lifetime member of NCBA. Producersbring the realities of critical issues - such as the current drought, cattlehealth, market conditions and property rights - immediately into the spotlight,"said Willey.

NCBA members passed more than 30 resolutions and directives during theBoard of Directors meeting. The following gives a summary of some of thetop initiatives:

Agriculture policy

Members support creating a federal reinsurance program to establish risksharing with the private sector and ensure the availability of catastrophicrisk insurance products.

NCBA is to work with members of Congress and agency heads to allow forconservation funds to be used for noxious weed eradication efforts consistentwith bill S. 198.

Beef safety

NCBA will support legislation that would require USDA to establish science-basedmicrobiological performance standards to aid in reducing the risk of foodborne illness, and to ensure that if a plant fails such standards, USDAwill work with the plant to evaluate if improvements to its Hazard Analysisand Critical Control Points system are warranted.

Inspection privileges would be revoked only if a plant fails the standardsand fails to take feasible actions.

NCBA will work closely with the Beef Industry Food Safety Council andothers to facilitate the implementation of irradiation technology, whereappropriate.

Cattle health and well-being

NCBA will seek the assistance of President Bush in resolving the long-standinganimal-health-related barriers to trade with Canada.

NCBA will work to correct the inequities in the current foot and mouthdisease indemnity proposal. NCBA will coordinate the development of commentsregarding the recently proposed USDA indemnity program.

NCBA continues to support the current screwworm eradication program andits continued funding. NCBA strongly urges that USDA take immediate stepsto construct a new screwworm plant in Panama and close the existing plantin Mexico, due to security concerns.

NCBA will organize a wildlife symposium to be held at the annual conventionto increase understanding regarding the cattle health risks associated withthe feeding and management of wildlife.

International markets

NCBA will assist in the pursuit of any legal action against the EuropeanUnion that may benefit the U.S. beef industry in its long battle to gainrelief from the European hormone ban on beef, which the World Trade Organizationhas ruled to be illegal.

Live cattle marketing

NCBA members support a Congressional investigation into the workingsof the livestock marketing complex with a focus on 1) impacts on producersfrom packer concentration, 2) impacts on producers from retail concentrationand 3) possible statutory changes to anti-trust and anti-competition lawsand regulations to afford producers the same protections as consumers.

NCBA will continue its efforts to identify opportunities for improvingprofitability, price discovery, and the cattle marketing system as a whole.These efforts will be part of an industry led, rational and deliberativeprocess of finding solutions to the challenges facing the beef industrythat do not jeopardize free-enterprise and cattle producers' right to conductbusiness as they see fit.

Science and technology

NCBA supports funding for research and requests expanded efforts to stopthe spread of chronic wasting disease in deer and elk by depopulation offree roaming and farmed deer and elk in areas with involved and threatenedherds.

Members recommend intensive monitoring of all captive and wild cervidaeherds in the CWD endemic areas. NCBA requests that USDA-ARS develops a currentfact sheet about CWD and that this information be widely disseminated toaffected parties.

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