Grassroots… What does it mean to NC?
Grassroots—everyone says it, but what does it mean? At Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) it means that all policy starts with members. The member brings forward an idea for policy to either one of the councils or a policy committee. If it goes through a council it is then referred to a policy committee. The committee discusses it and either adopts it or not. If the committee adopts the policy, it is forwarded the membership to vote on it at the Annual Business meeting. If the membership approves the policy it becomes the policy for action with the Unicameral or a regulatory agency. Sometimes the policy is forward to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) for adoption in their process.
Not every policy is the desire of every member. All members have a different perspective. But the membership knows the majority of the policies are supported by the majority of the members and the process vets the policies thoroughly. Most policies remain true to core ideals such as less government in our businesses, lower property taxes, being leaders on cattle and beef issues across the nation, being good stewards of our resources and our belief that each production segment is part of a greater whole industry.
Staff and leadership take up the policies for action. The staff lobbyists present to state and federal lawmakers or regulators. Many time leaders are called upon to testify during hearings. This week a couple of bills that address property taxes were heard in the Unicameral Revenue Committee. The NC Legislative Committee had determined in late January that NC policy allowed for support of LB 497. It was the second bill to be heard and there were a lot of testifies on the earlier bill. Testimony ran into the night. President-Elect Ken Herz gave his testimony on behalf of NC members at 7:40 p.m. Vice Chair of NC Taxation Committee, Lavon Heidemann also testified as an individual. The hearing was over at at 9:15 p.m. Ken had a two-hour drive to get home after that. It makes me proud to work for such dedicated volunteers who are working to make things better for cattle producers in Nebraska.
While policy works is the reason most members join, NC also has some great educational programing, youth leadership development and opportunities to network with other producers. Cattlemen’s College in December brings in many knowledgeable speakers to help producers with issues they may be experiencing. Produce education extends to webinars as needed and the annual Road Trip which tours the state bringing updates to our members. The NC Young Cattlemen’s Conference is a two-year leadership development program which takes 10 selected members each year. It exposes the young cattlemen and women to all segments of the industry and the inner workings of NC. Many of the participants go on to be leaders in their local affiliates and on the NC Board of Directors.
So where do you fit in? NC has a dynamic structure, which is ever evolving. We are always looking at how best to delivery of information and different communication platforms, like this new blog. Finding answers for our members is a daily focus. Are you letting us focus on you?
Written by: Melody Benjamin