Concerns over “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act”

NCBA, PLC Concerns About “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act”

PLC/NCBA News Release – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council yesterday expressed reservations about H.R. 3400, the so-called “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act,” as the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee prepares to mark up the bill.

“We strongly support the principle of multiple use of public lands,” said Ethan Lane, Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and NCBAs Federal Lands. “That said, the federal government shouldn’t be in the business of favoring one use over another, and that’s what this legislation does as it’s currently written.”

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976 requires multiple use on public lands. This means that every American has a place on public lands – whether a hiker, camper, cattle rancher or energy producer, Lane said.

The Bureau of Land Management’s definition includes managing public land resources for “a variety of uses, such as energy development, livestock grazing, recreation, and timber harvesting, while protecting a wide array of natural, cultural, and historical resources.”

Lane said that ranching is an essential element of multiple use because the practice easily coexists with other activities and does not preclude any of them from happening concurrently.

“Recreation should absolutely continue to be part of the multiple use of our public lands, but Washington shouldn’t go out of its way to promote it at the expense of other uses – like ranching.”

NCBA Lays Out Principles for Regulating Fake Meat

Today the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association submitted official comments to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) outlining key principles for the regulation of fake meat products. The comments, filed in response to Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) Petition Number 18-01, encourage USDA to look beyond modifying “standards of identity” in order to provide adequate protection for beef producers and consumers.

“It is critical that the federal government step up to the plate and enforce fair and accurate labeling for fake meat,” said Kevin Kester, President of NCBA. “As long as we have a level playing field, our product will continue to be a leading protein choice for families in the United States and around the world.”

NCBA’s regulatory principles are designed to effectively address both plant-based and lab-grown imitation beef products. Specifically, NCBA:

1) Requests that USDA work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “take appropriate, immediate enforcement action against improperly-labeled imitation products.”

NCBA firmly believes the term beef should only be applicable to products derived from actual livestock raised by farmers and ranchers. For misbranded and mislabeled plant-based protein products, existing legislation gives FDA the authority to take enforcement actions. However, the agency has a history of failing to enforce labeling laws. Rather than expending time and resources to develop a standard of identity the FDA will blatantly ignore, NCBA requests USDA engage with FDA to facilitate immediate, appropriate enforcement actions against imitation meat product labels that clearly violate existing laws.

2) Urges USDA to “assert jurisdiction over foods consisting of, isolated from or produced from cell culture or tissue culture derived from livestock and poultry animals or their parts.” 

NCBA believes that USDA-FSIS is the agency best placed to regulate emerging lab-grown meat products. First, USDA-FSIS possesses the technical expertise and regulatory infrastructure to ensure perishable meat food products are safe for U.S. consumers. Lab-grown meat must comply with the same stringent food safety inspection standards as all other meat products.

Second, USDA-FSIS labeling standards provided greater protection against false and misleading marketing claims. Unlike the FDA, USDA-FSIS requires pre-approval of all labels before products hit the marketplace. This will ensure consistent labeling practices across all products, and prevent misleading marketing labels such as “clean meat.”

NCBA Applauds Another 90-Day Delay in Electronic Logging Device Mandate

Mandate Was To Have Taken Effect on Sunday, March 18

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement that the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate will be delayed another 90 days for agricultural haulers:

“This is obviously good news for America’s cattle haulers and producers, and it will provide FMCSA (the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) more time to educate our livestock haulers on the ELDs while industry works on solutions to the current Hours of Service rules that simply do not work for those hauling live animals.

“We would like to thank Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez for listening to our concerns and working with us to find a permanent, workable solution.”

NOTE: Click here to learn more about the ELD mandate and NCBA’s work on the issue.

Cattlemen Launch Monthlong Media Campaign for Comprehensive Tax Reform

NCBA Launches new website: CattlemenForTaxReform.com

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today kicked off a media and advertising campaign that will shine a spotlight on how various federal tax provisions impact America’s cattle and beef producers. The campaign, which will focus heavily on the death tax, aims to build support in Washington for comprehensive tax reform that makes our tax code fair for agricultural producers. The campaign will be centered around a new website,CattlemenForTaxReform.com, and will run through September.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact truly comprehensive tax reform, and we can’t afford to let this opportunity pass or to get it wrong,” said NCBA President and Nebraska cattleman Craig Uden. “Family ranchers and farmers deserve a full and permanent repeal of the onerous death tax, which charges them in cash on the often-inflated appraised value of their property and equipment. This campaign will shine a spotlight on the stories of real ranchers who have had to deal with this issue, and it will also highlight current tax provisions that we need to maintain, such as stepped-up basis, cash accounting, and deducibility of interest payments.”

In addition to the launch of the new website, the campaign kicked off with a two-minute video that will be heavily promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. The campaign’s first video features fifth-generation California rancher Kevin Kester, whose family struggled for a decade to pay a large death-tax bill after his grandfather passed away. With the specter of the death tax still looming, Kevin is forced to spend precious time and energy – not to mention thousands of dollars – planning for how to pass the ranch on to his children and grandchildren.

“Without a doubt the biggest challenge that keeps me up at night is trying to figure out how to pass the ranching operation – our family operation on to the next generation,” Kester says in the video as he drives across his Bear Valley Ranch near Parkfield, Calif. “The current tax code is…leading toward more fragmentation of farms and ranches, which is not good for the environment or our ranchers and farmers.”

Over the coming weeks, NCBA will roll out several other promoted videos and infographics featuring profiles of ranchers and other members of the cattle-production community. The products will enable American cattlemen and women to share their priorities for tax reform in their own words. The campaign will also connect grassroots ranchers and producers with their elected officials on Capitol Hill as tax-reform legislation is considered this autumn.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there on the tax debate – especially when it comes to who’s affected by the death tax,” Uden said. “This campaign will educate elected officials, the media, and the general public about how the tax code affects our American farmers and ranchers, who literally feed the world.”

Chairman of CFTC to Headline Stockgrowers’ Midyear Meeting

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) has confirmed J. Christopher Giancarlo, acting Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Midyear Meeting held in Great Falls, May 30 – June 1.

“We are excited to have someone as knowledgeable and respected as Chairman Giancarlo joining us for Midyear,” noted MSGA President Bryan Mussard of Dillon, MT. “We look forward to the insight he will share with our members surrounding the recent cattle market volatility and his outlook on the futures market.”

The Midyear Meeting is one of two meetings that is held during the year to set association policy. This year’s meeting is held in conjunction with the Montana Ag Summit; hosted and co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Steve Daines. The summit will bring the nation’s agricultural leaders to Montana, including newly confirmed Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue.

Other Midyear highlights include an update from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; policy meetings; a Tuberculosis update from Montana State Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Zaluski; and a reception held by the Montana Stockgrowers Foundation featuring music by Kyle Shobe and & the Walk ‘Em Boys.

To register or for more information visit www.mtbeef.org or call 406-442-3420.

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The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana’s number one industry – agriculture.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: NCBA, PLC Accepting Fall Law Clerk Applications

WASHINGTON (May 2, 2017) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council’s government affairs office in Washington, D.C., has extended the law clerk application deadline for the 2017 fall semester. The new deadline to submit an application for the position is June 1, 2017.

NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said that the law clerk position is a great opportunity for students with an interest in legislation and regulations concerning the beef industry.

“The clerkship gives law students the opportunity to work closely with NCBA’s environmental counsel and the executive director of the Public Lands Council on a wide range of regulatory issues that impact beef producers across the country,” Woodall said. “The law clerk position provides law students a one-of-a-kind view into the policy-making process while working as a valuable team member assisting the staff on several fronts.”

Producer-led and consumer-focused, NCBA is the nation’s oldest and largest national organization representing America’s cattle producers. PLC is the only organization in Washington, D.C., dedicated solely to representing cattle and sheep ranchers that utilize federal lands. The organizations work hand-in-hand on many issues, sharing office space in the heart of the nation’s capital.

The fall law clerk will provide support to both NCBA and PLC staff on matters ranging from environmental legislation and regulations to issues relating to federal lands management, grazing, and the Endangered Species Act. The law clerk will have the opportunity to attend key hearings, evaluate detailed policy documents, research current and proposed federal regulations, and help inform industry response to new federal regulations. To apply, students must be currently enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school.

The full-time law clerk position will begin August 28 and end December 22, 2017.  To apply for the law clerk position, visit www.beefusa.org.

moving cattle montana pasture

Cattlemen Applaud Delay of GIPSA Rule, Call for Its Ultimate Demise

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) applauded today’s announcement that the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is delaying the effective date of its interim final rule an additional six months to Oct. 19, 2017.

 

“This is another step toward common sense and away from counterproductive government intrusion in the free market,” said NCBA President Craig Uden. “That said, while a delay is welcome, ultimately this rule should be killed and American cattle producers should be free to market our beef without the threat of government-sanctioned frivolous lawsuits.”

 

Two proposed rules and one interim final rule came out on December 20, 2016, one month before the end of the Obama Administration. The interim final rule regarding the scope of the Packers and Stockyards Act and the proposed rule regarding undue preference and unjust treatment have a direct negative impact on the cattle industry.
Current systems that allow producers to market their cattle as they see fit reward them for producing the higher-quality beef that consumers demand. Under the interim final rule, USDA or a producer no longer needs to prove true economic harm. Instead, one only needs to say that he or she was treated “unfairly” to file a damaging lawsuit that could discourage cattlemen from continuing to invest in improving the quality of beef being produced.

“Trial lawyers are salivating at the prospect of this rule becoming the law of the land,” Uden said. “If this rule isn’t killed once and for all, cattle producers will lose nearly all incentive to invest in the production of higher-quality beef. That would mean less revenue for producers and lower quality for consumers. That’s a lose-lose proposition and exactly why the rule needs to not only be delayed – it needs to be killed outright.”

From: NCBA

USTR Defends U.S. Beef from European Mistreatment

Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced it will start the process of reinstating retaliatory tariffs on goods and products from the European Union due to the E.U.’s unfair treatment of U.S. beef. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Tracy Brunner applauds USTR Ambassador Michael Froman for standing up for the U.S. beef industry and taking action in defense of U.S. beef producers.

“The European Union has left us no choice but to seek compensation for the long-standing mistreatment of U.S. beef exports,” said Brunner. “Our temporary agreement with the E.U. was meant to be an opportunity to build a bridge of trust between U.S. beef producers and E.U. consumers, and to compensate the United States for the losses we have suffered as a result of the E.U.’s hormone ban. The E.U. has violated the spirit of that agreement and caused U.S. beef exports to become a minority interest in a quota meant to compensate U.S. beef producers.”

In 2009 the U.S. and the E.U. signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which the E.U. agreed to create a new duty-free quota for imports of specially-produced beef to compensate the United States for losses arising from the E.U.’s ban on the use of hormones in beef production. Imports under the quota have grown steadily since then, and for the past two years, the entire 45,000 metric ton quota has been filled, though from countries other than the U.S.

Over the past two years the U.S. government has attempted, without success, to engage the European Commission in discussions about ways to rectify this situation.

“While this is not our preferred choice, retaliation is the only way cattle producers are going to secure our rights for the losses we have incurred over the years due to the E.U.’s hormone ban,” said Brunner. “If the E.U. is unwilling to honor the terms of the agreement then we have no alternative but to seek restitution. We will not continue to be subjected to such trade agreement abuse.”

While initially imports from the United States accounted for the majority of the business done under the quota, over time imports from Australia, Uruguay and Argentina increased rapidly, taking a greater share of the quota. Neither Australia, Uruguay, nor Argentina was a party to the hormone dispute or the 2009 MOU that created the quota intended for the United States. The United States now has a minority and declining share of the quota, and imports so far this year point to a continuation of this trend.

NCBA Announces CME Scholarship Recipients

Montana brought home not one but two of the scholarships! A big Congratulations to Taylre Sitz for winning the overall essay! Taylre attends Montana State University and is active with the Collegiate Stockgrowers at Montana State University. Dan Johnson of Dillon, MT also received a scholarship; he is attending Kansas State University. Congratulations to these two stand-outs from Montana!

 

Ten top-notch college students, who are pursuing careers in the beef industry, have been chosen for the 2017-2018 $1,500 CME Beef Industry Scholarships. The scholarship is sponsored by the CME Group and administered by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF). Taylre Sitz of Bozeman, Mont., is the overall essay winner.

“We’re pleased continue our support of the CME Beef Industry Scholarships, which provides education to future beef industry leaders,” said Tim Andriesen, CME Group managing director of agricultural products. “Our partnership with NCF enables us to continue investing in accomplished university students who represent the next generation of food producers here in the U.S.”

The CME Beef Industry Scholarship was introduced in 1989 in partnership with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Today this scholarship tradition remains strong by recognizing and encouraging talented college students who will one day be industry leaders. The National Cattlemen’s Foundation and the CME Group are committed to the future of the cattle industry and continue to support outstanding youth in the beef community.

“We cannot emphasize enough how grateful we are for the continuous support from CME for Beef Industry Scholarships to provide financial assistance for future beef leaders,” said John Lacey, chair of NCF Board of Trustees. “Each year we are impressed with the caliber of students that apply for these scholarships.”

In addition to the $1,500 scholarship, Taylre Sitz receives a trip to Nashville, Tenn., for the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show where she will be recognized at the Best of Beef Awards Breakfast. Sitz currently attends Montana State University where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science, as well as a minor in Business Administration. She is currently enrolled in the pre-veterinary program with plans to become a large animal veterinarian.

“Growing up on a ranch, I developed a commitment to the beef industry at an early age,” Sitz said. “I am interested in becoming a large animal veterinarian, and through ranch life I have been able to see and visit as they doctored cut horses or lame cattle. These experiences only furthered my desire to pursue the large animal veterinary career.”

In her essay, Sitz tackled the question of describing a risk confronting the beef industry and a solution to that risk by describing the risk of decreasing consumer confidence. Sitz wrote about the importance of using education through social media as a tool to improve consumer confidence in the beef industry.

Other $1,500 CME Scholarship winners are:
Thor Burnside, Fort Hays State University, Talala, Okla.
Cole Grisham, West Texas A&M University, Van Vleck, Texas
Emily Ivey, Land Lake College, Loudon, Tenn.
Abby Marion, University of Florida, Deltona, Fla.
Garrett Nichols, Iowa State University, Marshalltown, Iowa
Dan Johnson, Kansas State University, Dillion, Mont.
Shelby Schiefelbein, Texas A&M University, Kimball, Minn.
Madison Slaven, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Rachel Waggie, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.

To learn more about scholarship opportunities and additional youth support from the NFC visit: www.nationalcattlemensfoundation.org/

CME Working Group Update

Jim Fryer

Written by Jim Fryer | Hobson, MT

Our cattle industry is going through one of the most dramatic price declines in decades. Similar events are also occurring across many different commodities, from wheat to oil. Several years of record high prices building upon momentum from the previous decade have led to a surge in supplies. At the same time, macroeconomic conditions throughout the world face challenges we have yet to fully grasp. We know full well, in our industry, that it takes longer for our biological process to ramp production. This has left many reeling from overall deflation while the expansion of the cowherd has only just begun.

Lying in the middle of this malaise are the futures markets where a variety of firms anticipate forward prices for our commodity products. Price volatility is running higher than the last 30-40 years and many cattle buyers struggle with 5-10% price changes, both up and down, in short timeframes. Price bids in the country reflect the same uncertainty. This action incited the NCBA to expand their Cattle Marketing and International Trade Committee to identify problems and advocate changes with the CME’s live cattle futures contract. The NCBA accepted Montana Stockgrowers’ recommendation that I join the CME Working Group. It is an honor to be chosen to represent our industry in such a significant endeavor.

Our group assembled in early August with 26 members including Craig Uden, NCBA President-elect, as the chair. We divided into three subgroups: 1) Contract Specifications, 2) Price Discovery and 3) Price Volatility. Each subgroup conferenced several times to organize and prioritize issues within each component. I joined the Price Volatility subcommittee tasked with evaluating short-term price change and identifying pitfalls.
Following remote efforts and teleconferencing, our entire working group met in Washington D.C. during the first week of October. Our goal was to present our concerns and requests to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. The CFTC is the self-regulating agency supervising the CME while the Committee on Agriculture oversees the CFTC. The CME also traveled to D.C. to present price action data and information that the NCBA requested earlier this year.

Intention is one major theme that my subcommittee and I carried to D.C. Of the approximate 50,000 semi loads of fat cattle that trade daily in Chicago, there are many more bids to buy and offers to sell (quotes). The intention of honoring that specific bid or offer at that precise price is unknown.
Often, the bid-offer will disappear in microseconds. We want a clear answer from the CME that each bid-offer has the intention to fulfill true price discovery. Lack of intention (spoofing) is an illegal practice used by malign entities to disrupt real prices. I agree the CME must effectively enforce current spoofing rules and increase the punishment for illegal actions.

The contract specifications group is working to balance quality grades of the futures contract with industry standards. Evolution in feeding practices and technology in general has slowly pushed beef production into more choice grade carcasses. This group will be working with the CME to increase the number of choice cattle per semi load while advocating for a dynamic contract that will further reflect industry changes in a more timely fashion.

Another major component of our economic condition is price discovery. This theme runs in every current of our beef and cattle industries. The subcommittee tasked with this topic is pushing for more transparency and frequency of negotiated cash trade. As more cattle go on formula and industry average base contracts, the number of cattle setting the price foundation is dwindling. Several key players throughout the Midwest will be listing their cattle on Superior Livestock’s new Fed Cattle Exchange. This venue allows sellers of fat cattle to interact real-time with packers bidding on showlists in a public domain.

Currently, the auction is held mid morning on Wednesday to avoid a last minute rush to price cattle late on Friday after the futures market is closed for the week. As participation increases, it is likely another auction will be held on Tuesday or Thursday. That threshold is within reach following this week’s record participation.

From our meeting in Washington D.C., it is clear that our industry is getting attention. The CFTC stated our comments reflect similar conversations with other industries and that we should continue pushing for resolve with the CME. It is also encouraging to see more fat cattle going on a transparent showlist that has active packer bids. This is perhaps the single greatest opportunity. Let’s ensure we are setting the best price possible for all our formula and base contracts. We must dedicate more volume to the price setting process. At the same time, we will keep pressure on the CME to ensure malignant participants cannot place orders with no intention of honoring. I will have more information on our progress in the coming months.

In response to the recent market volatility, MSGA nominated Jim Fryer of Hobson, MT to serve on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) / Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) working group. This working group has been tasked with investigating inconsistencies in the cash cattle market and ensuring a level playing field for all market participants. Jim Fryer lives in Hobson, MT with his wife, Heather, and their three children. Jim has decades of experience working in cattle and beef cash markets. For five years he handled global trading for Cargill including direct interaction with major hedge funds and exchanges. He has years of risk management and futures trading experience which makes him a key asset to discovering the cause behind the market volatility. For any questions about the NCBA/CME working group, please contact the MSGA office.