International trade, cattle payment efficiency and herd health were among the key policy issues members of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association honed in on during the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn. Outgoing NCBA President Bill Donald said the grassroots policy process was put into action this week as policy resolutions, which originated in local and state cattlemen organizations, advanced through committees and were passed by NCBA members during the annual convention.
"NCBA's policy is not developed in a board room in Washington, D.C. It's developed, debated and deliberated on by cattlemen and women. This process is and always has been the strength and backbone of the organization," Donald said. "From the health of the herd, economic profitability, international trade and more, NCBA members worked this week to ensure a successful and sustainable U.S. beef industry."
Donald said NCBA members keyed in on international trade, specifically the Trans-Pacific Partnership, during the convention. He said a resolution was passed that codified NCBA support of a TPP that removes tariff and non-tariff trade barriers for U.S. beef to participating countries, which include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Donald said NCBA insists all participating countries, as well as any countries that join the TPP in the future, must fully abide by guidelines set by the World Organization for Animal Health.
Trade was not the only issue considered by NCBA members. NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said a resolution was passed to encourage a more efficient payment system for fed cattle. Woodall said at a time when it takes more capital to feed cattle and when cattle feeders want to buy replacement cattle in a timely manner, a recent announcement from the U.S. Postal Service that first class mail delivery will slow in the future will cause problems for the efficient delivery of payment for cattle. He said NCBA will work with the packing sector of the industry to development a more efficient and expeditious payment system for fed cattle.
Donald, who is a Montana rancher, said the current management of bison on federal lands by the Department of Interior has cattlemen concerned about the health of the cattle herd. While co-mingling of bison and other native wildlife with cattle is unpreventable, Donald said the relocation of the Greater Yellowstone Area or other federally-owned bison is a liability cattlemen aren't willing to bear. NCBA members passed a resolution opposing the relocation of any bison outside the current GYA management area, the expansion of that area and any increase in the currently authorized GYA bison population.