The Public Lands Council this week kicked off their legislative conference in Washington, D.C., aimed at addressing a variety of issues affecting the livestock industry.
During the event, attendees will talk with administration officials and hear from policy experts. Running together, PLC's event wrapped up Tuesday night, while the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's conference runs Wednesday-Thursday.
While in Washington, PLC members provided testimony at three hearings before the U.S. House of Representatives. PLC Vice President Brenda Richards testified on the importance of the Grazing Improvement Act, PLC's priority legislation this session. In another hearing she urged Congress to make well-placed appropriations in order to promote business stability for ranchers. PLC Secretary/Treasurer Dave Eliason testified on the importance of reining in Presidents' ability to make sweeping national monument designations.
Many PLC attendees will stay in Washington to join the NCBA conference, which will include policy discussions, meetings with agency officials and legislators, and a Wednesday evening reception on Capitol Hill hosted by Outback Steakhouse.
"Attending the NCBA Legislative Conference gives farmers and ranchers the opportunity to bring their 'hats to the Hill.' Cattlemen and women are here in Washington to tell our elected officials the facts, to tell them their personal stories on topics from over regulation to the importance of passing a five year farm bill," said NCBA President Scott George, a dairy and beef producer from Cody, Wyo. "The gap between country roads and paved highways must be bridged in order for the cattle industry to remain strong and vibrant."
George added that it is important for producers to talk to their congressional representatives about key policy issues which will directly affect the cattle industry this year, such as the reauthorization of the Animal Drug User Fee Act and environmental regulations.
"A strong showing of livestock producers in Washington is vital to the success of our association and to the livestock industry. Often times, producers are very busy on their operations and believe that what goes on in Washington is a world away," said PLC President Brice Lee. "The reality is that decisions made inside the Beltway have a direct impact on families providing food and fiber to a growing population. Our legislators and regulators need to hear from those in the countryside about how their decisions impact ranchers with public land grazing permits and agricultural operations nationwide."