The Five Nations Beef Alliance concluded a successful meeting and tour in south Texas last week, capped by the unanimous endorsement of a public statement calling for all Trans-Pacific Partnership nations to support 'gold standard outcomes' for beef that do not sacrifice important reforms for political expediency.
The annual meeting, hosted by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, unites beef industry leaders from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. This year, members of the group toured several Texas beef value chain operations, including McFaddin Enterprises Ltd., a fifth-generation ranch operated by NCBA President Bob McCan; King Ranch; Graham Land & Cattle, a 30,000 head feedlot; and Capitol Land & Livestock, one of the largest livestock dealers in the United States.
The group also visited HEB, an important retail partner which offers a wide variety of beef cuts to consumers.
"The opportunity to bring producer leaders from across the world to Texas and showcase the beef industry in the United States was an honor for me and my family," McCan said. "During the course of the week, we formed working relationships that cross political boundaries and it's those relationships that will benefit our producers in the United States as we work together to find common ground in the future."
McCan pointed to the endorsement of the TPP statement as a sign that FNBA is already fulfilling the ambitious goals set out for the group.
"The statement we issued this week, calling for 'gold standard' outcomes for beef, is an indication of the strength of these relationships," he said. "Science-based trade standards are something that benefit the global beef industry and if we can agree to place that ambition above political expediency, cattlemen and women in each of the five nations will be better served."
The statement also reaffirms FNBA's prior statements on TPP and urges international negotiators to quickly reach agreeable terms that will help further beef trade and a fair and level playing field for producers in member nations.
"The message we are sending to TPP negotiators who are meeting in Australia is that beef producers in the five nations stand united in seeking better trade treatment of the high-quality beef they produce," said NCBA CEO Forrest Roberts, who served as chair of the FNBA meeting. "To that end, the member nations also agreed to increase efforts to keep the Codex Alimentarius, World Organization for Animal Health and other international scientific groups as objective bodies free from political influence."
The business meeting also highlighted other areas of common interest, including beef sustainability, animal health and welfare and young leader development.
"Participating in international events like FNBA provide a clear picture of how diverse beef production is around the globe. As beef producers, we each face different challenges, but we also share a great deal," said McCan. "Issues like beef sustainability and mentoring the next generation of leaders are concerns around the globe. By coming together through FNBA, we can work on solutions that benefit producers in each of our countries."
FNBA members also admitted two additional associations as "observers" of Five Nations Beef Alliance for the following year. From Paraguay, the Asociación Rural de Paraguay and from Brazil, Associação dos Criadores de Mato Grosso were both unanimously approved for one year, the first step in admission to the group. Member nations also expressed interest in garnering additional members from other beef producer associations in the future.
The Five Nations Beef Alliance is comprised of the Cattle Council of Australia, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Together, FNBA members represent producers from countries that account for one-third of global beef production and approximately half of global beef exports.