Nebraska Cattlemen Discuss and Develop Policy During Annual Convention & Trade Show
Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) hosted the Annual Convention and Trade Show in Kearney on December 4th – 6th, 2019. Just shy of 600 cattlemen and women walked the hallways of the Younes Convention Center those few days. Mingling with colleagues, networking and attending council and committee meetings the week was full of opportunity.
Among all the commotion and events happening, convention is the time for members to bring up policy they are passionate about. During the committee meetings members discuss current issues and look towards the future in developing policy that NC will stand behind for the betterment of the industry.
Animal Health and Nutrition
The Animal Health and Nutrition committee heard from Mike Drinnin and Dr. Jeff Fox on the development of a Secure Beef Supply plan. All producers are encouraged to develop their own plans to ensure the movement of cattle following a catastrophic event. The Department of Ag is helping NC facilitate the process. Members in attendance were then briefed on LB 344, a legislative bill that revises disease statues in one complete act. Director Wellman explained the intent to pull it all together in one place and answered questions regarding the bill. Dr. Dennis Hughes, State Veterinarian reported on hot disease issues around the state and the response his team performs.
Brand and Property Rights
The Brand and Property Rights Committee heard from Chairman of the Nebraska Brand Committee (NBC), John Widdowson, on how NBC is progressing in implementation of the electronic programs developed to replace the paper-based system. Attendee’s then heard from a panel on how differing segments of the cattle industry in Nebraska view brand inspection. Panel speakers included: Pete Lapaseotes, represented the point of view of a registered feedlot and a producer who does not brand his calves or yearlings while inside the brand inspection area; Craig Uden, represented the point of view of registered feedlot and a producer who runs cows and calves inside the brand inspection area; and Frank Utter, a cow calf producer who brands his calves inside the brand inspection area and a former intermittent brand inspector. Policy was also reviewed during the committee meeting. There was significant discussion regarding the continuation of brand inspection, brand recording and brand investigation duties of the Nebraska Brand Committee.
Education and Research
Post-Secondary Institutions gave updates during the Education and Research committee meeting. Mike Roeber, Northeast Community College, Norfolk gave an update on their expansion. Doug Smith, NCTA, Curtis shared about their recruitment efforts and Mark Goes, Southeast Community College, Beatrice discussed their schedule changes.
Marketing and Commerce
Informational updates were provided on USDA’s Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) price and volume reporting program, the work of NC’s Dealer Trust Task Force, and cattle and beef market reactions following the August 9, 2019, fire at Tyson’s Holcomb, Kansas beef harvest plant. In addition to review and renewal of all 2017 vintage NC Marketing and Commerce Committee resolutions and policy statements, new resolutions were adopted by the Committee. The new pieces of policy supported regulatory or legislative mechanisms specifically defining “beef” as only including products derived from cattle production; encouraged the use of USDA-APHIS approved electronic ID methods for disease traceability and surveillance and helping add value; and supported an increase in CME Live Cattle spot month position limits, commensurate with increases in deliverable supply resulting from the addition of new physical delivery points in recent years.
Natural Resources & Environment
The natural resources and environment committee focused discussions on resources needed to ensure all sizes of cattle feeding operations can remain profitable while implementing controls needed to help protect natural resources. The committee also learned about efforts to help protect Nebraska’s remaining prairie from invasive cedar trees. The committee rounded off with policy discussion focused on property owners water rights and protecting the rights of farmers and ranchers in Nebraska to expand the livestock sector.
Revenue Committee Chair Lou Ann Linehan presented her 2020 legislative plan for property tax relief. Additionally, Scott Peterson, NCBA Vice-Chair for Tax & Credit, and Colin Woodall, NCBA CEO discussed ongoing efforts related to federal tax reform. New policy includes strong support for preserving stepped-up basis, which is a critical tool to meet cattle producers’ unique needs for protecting assets for future generations.
Nebraska Cattlemen encourages members to attend annual convention and other meetings throughout the year to voice their sentiments during policy discussion. Policy is NC’s guidebook when combating for our members on the state and federal issues level.
The Nebraska Cattlemen association serves as the representative for the state’s beef cattle industry and represents professional cattle breeders, ranchers and feeders, as well as county and local cattlemen’s associations. Its headquarters are in Lincoln with satellite offices around the state to best serve members.