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US Cattlemen’s to push policy to reform beef checkoff

RENO, NV – For the first time ever, the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) held a summer business meeting. It was at the Silver Legacy hotel in Reno the same days the Western Video Market was holding their 34th annual July sale just down the stairs from the inaugural meeting.

There were a lot of folks there in person, and joining in online, to make sure their voice was heard by the cattle group. Justin Tupper, USCA President told Northern Ag Network’s Andy Schwab, the discussion helped shape policy direction and provided a good networking opportunity.

“We had the President of the CBB (Cattlemen’s Beef Board) and the President of the Federation of State Beef Councils there to give us a full overview of the Beef Checkoff and what they have going on, and after they were down we were able to have some policy discussion on not only the Checkoff but several other issues,” said Tupper.

Along with that checkoff discussion came some difference of opinion. However, by the end of the day, Tupper said the group came to a conclusion of support and reform.

“We’ll look forward to pushing policy that supports the Checkoff but works hard to maybe make some changes and some reforms that make it stream a little better,” Tupper added.

Day two of the inaugural USCA summer business meeting was filled with a Public Lands Permittees Townhall and hosted FSA Administrator Zack Ducheneaux and Errol Rice, Senior Policy Advisor for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). As you can imagine, a lot of folks wanted to hear what the BLM Senior Policy Advisor had to say about the proposed conservation rule from the BLM that just wrapped up their public comment period earlier this month.

Rice said his main message that he wanted to share was the agreeance that grazing is conservation.

“The recognition is absolutely it is. We think we have an opportunity to look at a framework that can just help streamline everything and take the good conservation that grazing is already doing and take it to the next level, as well as, from my perspective, try and look for other opportunities to enhance these landscapes to the benefit of public lands rancher as well,” said Rice.

Following their meetings, USCA Executive Vice President Lia Biondo was on Capitol hill to take part in a USDA and White House meeting to discuss competition priorities in the farm bill. and what is holding the cattle industry back from stronger markets.

Biondo noted the three major US cattle organizations also had a consolidated message of hold Brazil accountable on their beef.

“You bet that we talked about halting the importation of Brazilian beef because it is one of those competition related matters that we feel could really make a difference in our market and that’s because Brazilian producers raise beef under much less standards of productions than we do here in the U.S.,” said Biondo.

USCA is also focused on the upcoming farm bill and pushing the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act that was introduced by US Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jon Tester (D-MT).

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