Cattlemen are a small minority of the population, which has little knowledge of the industry producing the beef that despite rising cost over the counter, continues to love eating the quality meat product.
Thus, necessity is set to keep that consuming public, so essential to rancher profits, aware of exact details of continuing concerned efforts to produce delicious, nutritious and conscientiously safe beef for the nation and world.
“Every part of our society has their own specific interest, and with only 3 percent of the country involved in agriculture, and just a third of those being cattlemen, the beef industry’s special interest must be at the table or be on the menu,” insisted Tracy Brunner at the Beef Producers Information Seminar kicking off the Flint Hills Beef Fest at Emporia.
Serving as vice president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the Ramona cattleman pointed out, “The NCBA is a definitive voice of the nation’s cattle and beef industry working in Washington, D.C., and around the world to keep beef eating consumers informed about the safe quality product, while equally importantly also looking out for our ‘special interests’ as cattlemen, the beef producers.”
Interestingly, the NCBA has 32,000 individual members and a quarter million affiliate members through state and breed associations representing nearly a million cattle operations with 95 million cattle, down 3 percent from two years ago.
“Cattle are a major economic impact to our country grossing more than $44 billion in farm receipts annually,” Brunner pointed out.
Forty-five state Beef Councils focus on informing consumers about the quality and safety of beef while being involved heavily in beef nutrition research.
Contrary to some philosophies, “Cattle are not a consumer. Cattle are a recycler of nutrients. North American cattlemen produce more beef on fewer resources than any other on Earth,” Brunner proclaimed.
“Many often misguided and self-serving activists groups with considerably higher funding continue efforts to keep cattle off the land and beef off the table,” declared Brunner, pointing out issues facing the most efficient food producer in the world.
These services are supported by the $1 beef check off implemented in 1985. “There are many who believe it’s time to raise that amount. I can only ask you what kind of business would raise their prices to their customers 200 to 300 percent without some corresponding increase in its investment, not only in research and promotion, but also to at least stabilize demand?” Brunner asked.
“Polling consistently indicates that the majority of cattlemen endorses and supports the work of beef check-off. Will cattlemen allow a small minority to hold back their investment in the future? I think not,” Brunner asserted.
The proposed Water of the United States (WOTUS) proposal toted by the Environmental Protection Agency is being closely evaluated by the NCBA, according to Brunner, who evaluated, “It doesn’t look to be for a common good, but rather in the interest of central control for the sake of power. Cattlemen need to express their opinions on this proposal by October 20.”
Government through the Endangered Species Act regulate with no consideration of collateral damage for ranchers who live on the land, care for it as stewards and pass it down as legacy for generations,” contended Brunner, noting that Kansas has been designated as crucial habitat for Prairie Chicken. “Drought is far more likely a threat to the populations than agriculture practices,” he said.
Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) rulings will be finalized next year and are likely to create countervailing duties from the United States’ number one and two trading partners, Canada and Mexico.
“This is real, and will not be good. Other countries will play hardball which will not be positive for beef and other agriculture products that depend on world markets,” Brunner verified.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Partnership (TAP) trade agreements are a concern. “Freer trade is not automatic,” Brunner insisted. “Trade barriers create cost and harm both producers and consumers. Our country’s economic ties here are great. No sector benefits more from expanding market access than agriculture.”
Predictors indicate there will be a billion more middle income consumers by 2025. “They want better quality food, more protein and higher quality protein. Beef is at the top of the wish list. The U.S. beef industry is positioned for growth producing world class protein, world class taste and world class value,” Brunner exclaimed.
Political Action Committees often determine legislation governing the nation, it was revealed.
“Fortunately, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has the second largest AgPac by funding which supports candidates who are sympathetic to interests of cattlemen. Our numbers are small, but our economic impact is great. Together your voice is heard. These are good times, but you are responsible for reinvesting in long term viability of your business,” Brunner analyzed.
“Is your voice, your contribution to self-government as clear, as honest, as constructive as possible for that greater good we collectively strive for?” the speaker asked.
“No one knows the cattleman’s perspective better than the producer himself. And, cattlemen working together help make government work,” the cattle leader concluded.