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Bill

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-----Original Message-----
From: Shae Dodson [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 6:52 AM
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Subject: Billings Gazette: R-CALF Official says Group Protecting American Way of Life
Billings Gazette - - - Tuesday - - - May 31, 2005

http://www.billingsgazette.com/index.php?id=1&display=rednews/2005/05/31/build/state/25-rcalf.inc

May 31, 2005
Last modified May 31, 2005 - 12:15 am
R-CALF official: Group protecting American way of life

By JIM GRANSBERY
Of The Gazette Staff

On both sides of the U.S.-Canada border, the acronym R-CALF can invoke a string of epithets not printable in a family newspaper.

None of the nasty names, however, faze the founders of Rancher-Cattlemen's Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America, an organization based in Billings that has more than 10,000 members.

That is R-CALF for short, as in "Our Calf."

If that is protectionism, so be it, the founders say, because protecting the concerns of U.S. cow-calf producers is the exclusive aim of the organization that has taken on the role of David versus the Goliath governments on both sides of the 49th parallel.

"This is a producers organization that represents the interests of the cow-calf man and the independent feeder," said Herman Schumacher, who runs a livestock sale yard in Herreid, S.D.

Schumacher took up with the group founded in the late 1990s to stem the influx of Canadian and Mexican live cattle into the U.S. market at the expense of lower prices to U.S. cattlemen. R-CALF alleged illegal dumping by the neighbors north and south in cases filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

While most people in the cattle industry had heard of the organization, which operates outside the mainstream advocacy groups such as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Montana Stockgrowers Association, R-CALF gained international attention March 2 when a federal judge in Billings sided took its side, telling the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it could not open the U.S. border on March 7 to Canadian live cattle under 30 months of age.

How could R-CALF and U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull do that?

"That's the beauty of this country," said Leo McDonnell, Jr., who lives just east of Columbus on old U.S. Highway 10. "Our system of checks and balances provides a last resort for citizens."

The last resort in this case was to prevent the U.S. government from reopening live cattle markets to Canadian exports because Canada has verified cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy or "mad cow" disease in its western herd.

Two years ago this month, Canada announced it had discovered a cow in Alberta that tested positive for BSE, a brain wasting disease that devastated the beef producers in the United Kingdom in the early 1990s.

In May 2003, the United States closed its borders to all Canadian cattle and beef exports, later opening the U.S. markets to Canadian beef, but only boneless muscle cuts from animals less than 30 months old.

Then on Dec. 23, 2003, it was announced a cow in Washington state was found with BSE. Subsequently, that cow was determined to have come from Alberta. Nevertheless, countries importing U.S. beef shut their doors to further sales. Only Mexico, among the major buyers, has resumed its trade with the United States, while Japan is considering it. However, Japan's bureaucracy is moving with its usual deliberation to the great consternation of the USDA, the Bush administration and Congress.

The border closure has cost Canadian ranchers $5.7 billion, according to industry estimates, and a study released in April by the Kansas Agriculture Department says that U.S. ranchers, feeders, packers and wholesalers have lost between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion in 2004 because of that one cow in Washington and the subsequent loss of the exports to Japan, Korea and Mexico etc.

Through 2004, the USDA worked up a protocol by which the trade in live cattle could be resumed between Canada and the United States. And last fall, President George W. Bush reassured Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin the border would open soon.

In December, the USDA published its final rule on live cattle from Canada, arguing that they posed "minimum risk" to animal health and food safety in the United States. After a 60-day comment period, the border was to be reopened March 7.

In early January, Canada reported two new cases of BSE.

R-CALF filed suit, asking for a permanent injunction against the USDA opening the border, arguing that the risk of BSE to U.S. cattle and consumers was not minimal and that it was ignoring scientific evidence and international standards. A hearing on a preliminary injunction was set for March 2 in Billings.

Judge Cebull ordered the preliminary injunction from the bench and said he wanted to hear the whole case, setting July 27 for a hearing on a permanent injunction.

Typical of the reaction in Canada was that of Roy Rutledge of Assiniboia, Sask. In an interview with The Gazette, he tore into R-CALF as a "radical group that is perpetuating myth and fear mongering."

Rutledge raises cattle and also owns and operates an auction yard 60 miles north of the border, directly north of Glasgow. "I'm a little tired of this, BSE is not the issue, it's blow about politics. The United States can't compete."

In Canada's newspapers, such as the Lethbridge (Alberta) Herald, R-CALF is always preceded with the term "protectionist."

"If this is protectionism, I am not ashamed," said Kathleen Kelley of Meeker, Colo. "I am emotional about this because this rural way of life is worth protecting."

Kelley and her husband run a cow-calf operation. She got interested in the anti-dumping cases after doing some independent research and discovered that live cattle imports were counted as domestic production because they were slaughtered here in the United States.

"That meant we had a bigger import problem than was evident," she said. Kelley joined R-CALF because "I sensed a lot of people were desperate to be heard who were not being heard.

They were tired of traditional methods of working through industry groups like the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, she said. However, "There was no intent at that time to start a competition."

The beef association, while not part of the R-CALF suit, is not eager for the border to open without a list of preconditions.

During its winter meeting, the beef association, at the instigation of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, passed a resolution of 11 requirements it wanted the USDA to meet before any live cattle, 30 months old or less, are exported from Canada to the United States for slaughter.

McDonnell, 53, runs the Midland Bull Test founded by his father in 1962. Each year, ranchers from around the region who raise registered bulls consign their best animals to the McDonnell program.

A formulated ration is fed each day and the bulls are measured for rate of weight gain, feed efficiency, carcass development and fertility, all recorded in detail. McDonnell sells about 1,200 bulls each year, 800 or more at an annual spring sale.

Sitting under a map of the United States with colored dots showing where this year's bulls went, McDonnell brushes off the pejoratives tossed at R-CALF, not just by Canadians. Among the mildest are "protectionist," "obstructionist," "isolationist."

But lying S.O.B.?

"What we are doing is the same as what they (the USDA) have done to other countries with BSE," he said. "We all know the border is going to open, but the USDA has to base it on what is approved and practice by other countries."

Is the government of Canada so cynical as to poison its own people?

"I don't' think they are entirely honest with their consumers," he said. "What we want is international compliance under the same set of standards."

Kelley said Canada is ignoring the health safety of its own citizens.
"Absolutely. They are passing it off as insignificant," she said.

McDonnell denied the controversy is an economical issue for R-CALF. It has become a political issue.

The cost to R-CALF members for legal fees will be more than a than $1 million, he estimated.

"We have a plus balance sheet," he said. R-CALF has held fundraising auctions around the country. A recent event in Idaho garnered $50,000, he said. "The producers are frustrated with the handling of the affair by USDA."

Schumacher, 55, said he became an activist when he lost money in the whole-herd dairy buyout in 1986.

And, he has been fighting "the meatpacker control of the cash market through captive supply since 1994, he said. In 1996, he got involved with the antidumping cases which were eventually lost, costing him $1.2 million.

"On March 2-3, bids on live cattle went from $83 to $90 (per hundredweight)," he said "That's 9 percent in 30 hours. That is a personal victory over the packer. That is the ultimate!"

Schumacher said that when the BSE cow was found in Washington, fed cattle in the United States dropped from $91 to $ 74 per hundredweight in just a few days.

Kelley said the suit is about getting to the truth. Her opponents accuse R-CALF of playing loose with the facts, if not blatantly lying about the risk involved.

The American Meat Institute, which represents packers and processors, has accused R-CALF of using "blatantly false arguments about the safety of Canadian beef to perpetuate the embargo because they profit directly" from it.

The growing mood in Canada is reflected in comments to The Gazette by rancher Barry Boghean of Hazenmore, Sask.: Leave it (the border) closed. Let them close some packing plants in the United States and we can build some here in Canada."

That U.S. feeding and processing jobs would be exported to Canada is a fear also expressed by the American Meat Institute. Smaller packing plants in the United States have had trouble getting adequate supply of slaughter cattle and have reduced operations or closed.

The USDA is basing its "minimal" risk assessment on two studies by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. The center's conclusion was that even if infected animals or contaminated ruminant protein feed entered the American animal agricultural system from Canada, the risk of mad cow spreading extensively within the American herd would be low.

Also, that any possible spread would by now have been reversed by controls put in place in 1997 when both the United States and Canada banned the use of rendered ruminant protein in cattle feed. A failure to recall all feed that included rendered ruminant protein in 1997 is considered the source of Canada's current problem with BSE.

The first Harvard study was completed in 2001 and the second, on the request of USDA, was completed in the fall of 2003.

For her part Kelley is "disgusted with the university researchers (not just Harvard but the agriculture college scientists). They have abandoned the average cattlemen. That is an outrage.

"The border can be opened when safeguards are in place," Kelley said. "We should not lower our standards for any trade agreement."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has asked the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco for an "emergency" hearing and a lifting of Cebull's preliminary injunction. However, the filing of briefs and replies will not be complete until after June 1. The appeals court has not scheduled a hearing on the emergency request and it is questionable if it will take any action before the July 27 hearing in Billings on R-CALF's request to make the injunction permanent.

A brief history of R-CALF
In 1998, the Rancher-Cattlemen's Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America was established to represent and file three trade cases on behalf of the U.S. cattle industry.

Trade laws generally require domestic industries to monitor trade practices and file the appropriate petitions when a trade violation occurs that is damaging U.S. prices.

R-CALF filed a live cattle and anti-dumping (selling below the cost of production) case against Canada and Mexico, and a countervailing (subsidy) case against Canada. The U.S. International Trade Commission in January 1999 dismissed the Mexico case. In the summer of 1999, the Department of Commerce found that Canada was subsidizing the production of live cattle, but not at a high enough rate to warrant penalty tariffs. The Commerce Department in July 1999 also found Canada was dumping cattle into the U.S. market at a high enough rate to warrant penalty tariffs equivalent to the violation, and such penalty tariffs were imposed. The U.S. cattle market saw an immediate improvement in domestic cattle prices.

However, the trade commission ruled in November 1999, contrary to commerce's findings, that the Canadian anti-dumping tariffs should be removed.

In the summer of 1999, R-CALF expanded its membership for cattle producers and independent feeders. Today, R-CALF is a national cattle association with more than 10,500 members and more than 60 state and local association affiliates, from both cattle and farm organizations. Its membership consists primarily of cow-calf operators, cattle backgrounders and feedlot owners.

R-CALF's by-laws limit the organization to domestic and international trade

and marketing issues. The national headquarters is located in Billings with an office in Washington, D.C.

The Billings staff includes Bill Bullard, chief executive officer, and Shae Dodson, communications coordinator. Jess Peterson, director of governmental relations, works in Washington, D.C.
 

HAY MAKER

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The membership numbers have been verified at 16700 Billy BOY,I know it chaps your * ss but thats life..............good luck
 

agman

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HAY MAKER said:
The membership numbers have been verified at 16700 Billy BOY,I know it chaps your * ss but thats life..............good luck

Haymaker, a little stretch on the numbers there? How many showed up at their annual meeting? I will give you a hint. The number starts with a four (4) and has less than three zeros (0's).
 

Bill

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HAY MAKER said:
The membership numbers have been verified at 16700 Billy BOY,I know it chaps your * ss but thats life..............good luck
No skin off my butt but maybe you could explain how a current R-Calf release states 40% less members than you claim. Which is it Haymaker? Have you been stretching the truth once again or did R-Calf quit counting the dentists, lawyers and business men who are members?

Protecting American way of life? "If this is protectionism, I am not ashamed," said Kathleen Kelley of Meeker, Colo. "I am emotional about this because this rural way of life is worth protecting."
Thanks Kathleen, we know this has nothing to do with science, food safety or herd health. I wonder where the judges of the Ninth District play pool? Bet it ain't in Billings.
 

Tommy

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From R-CALf's website FAQ's


How many members to does R-CALF USA have?

R-CALF USA, as of March 2005, has over 16,700 members in 48 states, as well as 60 state and local producer affilates
 

HAY MAKER

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agman said:
HAY MAKER said:
The membership numbers have been verified at 16700 Billy BOY,I know it chaps your * ss but thats life..............good luck

Haymaker, a little stretch on the numbers there? How many showed up at their annual meeting? I will give you a hint. The number starts with a four (4) and has less than three zeros (0's).


Most of these R CALFERS are active farmers and ranchers they dont have time to run all over the country unlike some of the packer groups that claim to represent the cattle man.................that you didnt attend your self...............good luck PS what do you think that does to your image?an ole packer backer like you ,not going to the convention :wink:
 

feeder

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It makes me wonder how many NCBA members view their time spent at the convention was a waste of time. What the members voted on there and now what the NCBA is voicing are two different things. I for one would be upset.
 

Bill

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Tommy said:
From R-CALf's website FAQ's


How many members to does R-CALF USA have?

R-CALF USA, as of March 2005, has over 16,700 members in 48 states, as well as 60 state and local producer affilates

I guess it;s just another example of R-Calf not being to keep their story consistent. Is it 16,700 members or 10,500 or maybe it's really only 8,000.
 

mrj

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feeder said:
It makes me wonder how many NCBA members view their time spent at the convention was a waste of time. What the members voted on there and now what the NCBA is voicing are two different things. I for one would be upset.

As a member of NCBA who was there, I'm telling you you are wrong again.

Seems to be typical the people attempting to tear down the system that processes and retails the beef which cattle producer members of NCBA understand is our end product.

MRJ
 

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bill...I guess it;s just another example of R-Calf not being to keep their story consistent. Is it 16,700 members or 10,500 or maybe it's really only 8,000.
Bill was this a direct quote from R-CALF?
You use an article out of a newspaper to show their memebership number. How do you know where the reporter got the info?
 

Bill

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Tommy said:
bill...I guess it;s just another example of R-Calf not being to keep their story consistent. Is it 16,700 members or 10,500 or maybe it's really only 8,000.
Bill was this a direct quote from R-CALF?
You use an article out of a newspaper to show their memebership number. How do you know where the reporter got the info?

Shae Dodson is R-Calfs 's esteemed communications co-ordinator. Can't get much more official than that.
 

feeder

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MRJ. Please tell me how I'm wrong again. If I read the 11 points, I don't believe they were all met. Also with your comment, are you indicating the NCBA is only concerned with the processors and retailers and not taking into consideration the little guy who puts the product into their hands so they have something to process and retail?
 

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Bill said:
Tommy said:
bill...I guess it;s just another example of R-Calf not being to keep their story consistent. Is it 16,700 members or 10,500 or maybe it's really only 8,000.
Bill was this a direct quote from R-CALF?
You use an article out of a newspaper to show their memebership number. How do you know where the reporter got the info?

Shae Dodson is R-Calfs 's esteemed communications co-ordinator. Can't get much more official than that.

Like I said Billy Boy its 16700,take it to the bank..........good luck PS why are you so interested,maybe you are a closet R CALFER maybe an ole R CALFER wanna be ? Call that TEXAS girl that calls herself SHAE,she will get you straight on the numbers,or just keep twisting and whining like you always do............
 

Bill

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HAY MAKER said:
Bill said:
Tommy said:
bill...I guess it;s just another example of R-Calf not being to keep their story consistent. Is it 16,700 members or 10,500 or maybe it's really only 8,000.
Bill was this a direct quote from R-CALF?
You use an article out of a newspaper to show their memebership number. How do you know where the reporter got the info?

Shae Dodson is R-Calfs 's esteemed communications co-ordinator. Can't get much more official than that.

Like I said Billy Boy its 16700,take it to the bank..........good luck PS why are you so interested,maybe you are a closet R CALFER maybe an ole R CALFER wanna be ? Call that TEXAS girl that calls herself SHAE,she will get you straight on the numbers,or just keep twisting and whining like you always do............
"PS why are you so interested,"
Because I am interested in the truth.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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aymaker if your such a good member why don't you ask Shae to come on here and post the numbers and list if everyone that has joined is so proud of being a member.
 

HAY MAKER

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Big Muddy rancher said:
aymaker if your such a good member why don't you ask Shae to come on here and post the numbers and list if everyone that has joined is so proud of being a member.

I cant speak for Shae or any of the members ,so I couldnt tell you wheter they are proud to be a member ,or they just want to fight for fairness,but when I talk to Shae,ILL ask her if she would like to post the numbers..........good luck
 

Tommy

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bill...Because I am interested in the truth.

Here is their telephone number Bill, call them up and get the correct membership number if you are so interested. Lets see if you have the ba**s to do so.

406-252-2516

[email protected]
 

HAY MAKER

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Tommy said:
bill...Because I am interested in the truth.

Here is their telephone number Bill, call them up and get the correct membership number if you are so interested. Lets see if you have the ba**s to do so.

406-252-2516

[email protected]

Well Tommy ,so much for Mr Bill he ran like a damn curr dog with his tail tucked between his legs.I would have thought as interested as he claimed to be he would have called and got back with us by now........good luck
 

Andy

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i called and they said 16700, but that doesn't mean anything to me. I could care less about how many members they have, because most of there members don't even know what r-calf is doing.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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I talk to our stockgrowers office and many directors all the time and field call from producers. I can't believe how so many of you R-CALFers won't call and tell non-members that if you want to know call yourself. It's as if you want to remain ignorant of the truth . By the way this is from the guy that called Goggins when the dispute was on about R-CALFers owning cattle in Canada but couldn't get past his secretary.
 

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