Friday, January 29, 2010

Cattlemen's Challenges Discussed

Cattlemen Confront Challenges
by Gary Truitt
Hoosier Ag Today

A group of Indiana Cattlemen have joined their colleagues in San Antonio, TX this week for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association convention. The cattle business is a much different business than it was just a year ago when the group met in Phoenix, AZ. Attacks on animal agriculture have intensified, and beef demand has declined due to poor economic conditions. Cattleman’s Beef Board President Lucinda Williams told the convention that the industry must confront these challenges head on, “We must be more proactive and more aggressive as we deal with changes taking place in our country.” She said changes taking place today will forever change the way cattle producers do business and could eliminate their ability to make a profit. Williams said cattlemen must reconnect with their customers, people who eat beef, “We must make our customers understand that our abundant supply of protein will not continue if we remain on the current path.” It is up to cattlemen, according to Williams, to educate consumers that those consumers are funding groups whose primary purpose is to abolish animal agriculture and decrease the availability of meat, which will ultimately drive up the cost of food.

CBA President Gary Voogt said another challenge facing producers is excessive and burdensome regulations from Washington, “There are politicians who do not know where food comes from, and some seem not to care where food comes from.” He called on the cattle industry to unite to confront these challenges. He said cattlemen have their work cut out for them this week. He urged support for the governance task force that will change the organization and provide a simpler and more unified structure, “We all have to live in one house.”

The event is the largest of its kind in the cattle industry, attracting nearly 6000 people this week. The meeting includes the annual meetings of NCBA, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen, Cattle-Fax, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. The 2010 Cattle Industry Convention wraps up Saturday, January 30, when the annual meetings of the NCBA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board are conducted. Link

There are certainly no lack of challenges that need discussing at this years Cattle Industry Convention. As I walked through the crowds, you heard discussions about everything from range management to international trade. The one topic that continues to be near the top of everyone’s list is about the attacks being launched on American agriculture. I had the pleasure of making a couple different presentations in San Antonio and that was my focus. I am very encouraged at the level of enthusiasm from the cattle producers who want to become better spokespeople for their industry. It’s hard to believe that we need to work so hard to defend the one occupation that sustains life on this planet, but that’s where we are.

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