More than 750 cattle producers from around the country gathered at the 18thannual Cattlemen's College held during the 2011 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen's Beef Association Trade Show Wednesday. One highly attended session featured an update from Tamara Thies, NCBA's chief environmental counsel.
"The regulatory climate in Washington, D.C. is intense when it comes to environmental issues," said Thies. "Agriculture has become a target for onerous environmental regulation, more so than ever. Our industry has had constant battles with the current administration. There is an ever-increasing number of issues that are amounting to what I call a 'perfect storm' for cattle producers."
Cattlemen's College attendees had an opportunity to hear Thies' perspective on a multitude of issues that have the potential to negatively impact cattle farmers and ranchers with no clear environmental benefit. She discussed more than 15 legislative and policy initiatives that could dramatically change the regulatory environment for cattle producers throughout the country.
Citing the Environmental Protection Agency's interpretation of greenhouse gas regulation under the Clean Air Act as just one example of how far reaching some of the regulation can be, Thies said, "NCBA does not believe that Congress intended EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, and is supporting congressional efforts to stop EPA from acting outside of its role as an agency. Until Congress acts, EPA should not," she added.
Thies also discussed dust and ammonia regulation, as well as several initiatives focused on water quality and the Clean Water Act. Today's session was a chance for hundreds of cattle producers to get up-to-date information on environmental regulation and its potential impact on their businesses.
Cattlemen's College, which is sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health, included 18 forums with tracks covering six general topics - cattle genetics and breeding; cattle reproductive technologies; production management; business management; beef quality and consumer trends; and environmental issues. The program concluded with panel discussions that gave attendees a chance to interact directly with the speakers while they enjoyed a lunch that was sponsored by Certified Angus Beef.For those who were unable to attend the sessions, watch for coverage in the next edition of National Cattlemen magazine. Summaries of the presentations will also be posted at the Cattle Industry Learning Center at www.cattlelearningcenter.org.