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I figger it's too late for the NCBA

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HAY MAKER

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“Choate Vote” Results Tallied; Majority Favor Industry Reform

From the Livestock Weekly

SAN ANGELO - He’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t a “scientific “ poll, and he knows full well that it was a far cry from a binding vote, but San Angelo order buyer Wade Choate is pleased with his recent tally of cattlemen’s opinions.

What has come to be called the “Choate Vote” grew from his own dissatisfaction with the way the cattle market has behaved over the last several years. In May, Choate blew into the Livestock Weekly office in his usual hurried manner and convened a confab over a series of advertisements he proposed to place. The ads invited cattlemen to answer several questions about the industry in a sort of mail-order ballot.

Choate makes some wide circles and talks to a slew of stockmen, and the views he was hearing were not those reflected in the polls conducted by various organizations that purport to speak for the industry. In short, he didn’t trust the message the organizations were putting out, and he wanted some way to gauge the true sentiment of producers.

It took a couple of weeks for the project to jell, but in the end Choate boiled it down to five questions: Should cattle be de-listed from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange: Should the beef checkoff be subject to a producer vote every three years? Should packers be allowed to own more than two weeks’ supply of cattle? Should the membership of boards representing cattlemen be limited to cattlemen? Should American-produced commodities carry an American flag stamp?

To reduce the chances of ballot-box stuffing, Choate wanted the ad structured as a self-contained questionnaire and chose to count only originals cut from the Weekly itself. Photocopies would not be accepted. That would prevent individuals from casing multiple votes unless they had address to multiple copies of the paper, and Livestock Weekly circulates to paid subscribers only; unlike some other publications, it is not distributed in bulk.

Choate imposed a June 13 deadline for submissions. Along with a group of trusted friends, he counted that evening.

“I think I counted them too quick,” he laments, because the larges flush of ballots began arriving shortly before the deadline and they were still coming in well after the deadline passed. Those that missed the timeframe were not included in his “official” tally of roughly 200 votes, but Choate has counted them as well and reports that they would not have changed the outcome percentage-wise.



The “official results of the “Choate Vote:”

1. On the question of de-listing cattle from the Merc, the vote was 158 for and 32 against, an 83 to 17 percent ratio in favor of de-listing.

2. On the question of submitting the beef checkoff to a vote every three years, the raw numbers were 180 for and 15 against, a 92 to eight percent ratio in favor of a vote.

3. On the question of packer ownership of fed cattle, the vote was 23 for and 169 against, an 88 to 12 percent ratio opposed to packer ownership of cattle.

4. On the question of limiting cattlemen’s boards to cattlemen, the vote was 183 for and eight against, a 96 to four percent ration in favor of limitations.

5. On the question of identifying American beef and other commodities as such, the vote was 189 for and four against, a 98 to two percent ratio in favor.

Along with the ballots, Choate received scores of letters, notes and scribbled comments. Most were favorable. Expressing frustration with the current state of affairs in the cattle business, but he isn’t shy about acknowledging those that weren’t.

“I think everybody should have their say,” he explains, “which is why I did this in the first place.

Among the comments was one noting that “It’s against the law to short change or “cold” a check. How about selling cattle you don’t own at the Merc?

“There is nothing wrong with the cattle supply; there is nothing wrong with beef demand,” wrote another respondent. “The only thing wrong is the system, and it is broke because we as cattlemen let the corrupt monopoly break it.”

Another wrote: “Seems to me you have wrapped up most of our industry’s problems with five short, simple questions...I guess this business has gotten to the point where us independents are going to have to give up some independence and ...walk hand in hand into Washington. I have a feeling that's what it would take to start getting this business back on track.”

Some correspondents bridged the gap, such as the one who wrote that “the checkoff is good in some ways in that the beef ads help promote our product. But then some of the funds are used in some ways to suppress our calf prices.”

The same writer extended a conditional olive branch to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association: “The NCBA is supposed to be for the cattlemen and sometimes they act like they are. Then when you really need their pull, it seems they have to protect us from ourselves and go the opposite direction.”

Others were clearly at odds with the implied intent of the questionnaire: “We would be broke if we did not have our yearlings hedged this April. The Merc is the best thing available to a rancher,” wrote one dissenter, who went on to add that “voting is great, but it disrupts the business of Promotion and Research.

“I’m on the Beef Board,” he continued, “and we’re doing our damndest to look after my and your dollar.

“Your question are a little biased,” he opined, “but glad you did it.”

Another wrote, “I feel the checkoff has been very beneficial and is responsible for new products on the market. I’m glad you ran this poll.”

And another: “Surely you and I have been to enough roundups to know that our industry, not to mention producers’ problems, are much too complex to be solved by simple “yes/no” answers.”

In regard to de-listing cattle, he wrote, “Yes, if the current contract terms are not changed. No, if the contract is changed so that physical delivery is a viable option for producers and a discipline for speculators.”

On packer ownership: “Yes, if all transactions are fully and promptly disclosed. No if the current secret contracting regime is continued.”

The respondent conceded that he could indeed answer one of Choate’s question “with a simple yes or no. Yes, we should re-authorize the checkoff on a regular basis.

Choate himself responded to those who took the time to write with a letter thanking them for their opinions. “It kind of makes this effort worthwhile,” he said.

“I am not totally against the checkoff,” Choate continued. “I think it has a place in our business. I am not totally opposed to the NCBA. I think we have a wonderful young follow at the head of it now whose name is Terry Stokes. I have known him almost all of his life. However, the NCBA has to get its credibility back among the real cowmen or other associations will have to represent the cattleman.”
 

HAY MAKER

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Sometimes change comes slow,but I believe the "MNCBA"is about done in TX.All we wanted is for them to treat us fair :???: ............good luck
 

redriver

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Wow, 200 whole votes! That is an amazing reponse! Ya, right.
When you get that small of a response to a poll, the likelyhood is that the questions were designed to elicit the desired result.
While I don't disagree with the views expressed, the poll itself is a joke and the result absolutely meaningless. And for it to be used by HM as some kind of proof of something just shows what a loser you are.
 

HAY MAKER

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redriver said:
Wow, 200 whole votes! That is an amazing reponse! Ya, right.
When you get that small of a response to a poll, the likelyhood is that the questions were designed to : elicit the desired result.
While I don't disagree with the views expressed, the poll itself is a joke and the result absolutely meaningless. And for it to be used by HM as some kind of proof of something just shows what a loser you are.


redriver,if you could prove to me, you are not sixteen and female,I would go into this with you. ................good luck PS I thought I told you to go away :wink:
 

redriver

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HAY MAKER said:
redriver said:
Wow, 200 whole votes! That is an amazing reponse! Ya, right.
When you get that small of a response to a poll, the likelyhood is that the questions were designed to : elicit the desired result.
While I don't disagree with the views expressed, the poll itself is a joke and the result absolutely meaningless. And for it to be used by HM as some kind of proof of something just shows what a loser you are.


redriver,if you could prove to me, you are not sixteen and female,I would go into this with you. ................good luck PS I thought I told you to go away :wink:

It sure doesn't take much to get you to display that Texas stupidity, now does it! You got something against young people and women? You're so typical of the classic "ignorant Texan" that it is almost funny, if it wasn't so pathetic. Keep it up, boy. Keep proving what a complete ass you are.
 

nenmrancher

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Redriver, the only person showing how big an ass they are is you. I have yet to read a single post by you that does not show a inmature, and just down right mean and pissy attitude. Please grow up and post something mature and meaningful, that will cause people to pay attention to what you write and not just write you off as a loose cannon with a bad attitude.
:p
 

Beefman

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HAY MAKER said:
Sometimes change comes slow,but I believe the "MNCBA"is about done in TX.All we wanted is for them to treat us fair :???: ............good luck

Haymaker, better recheck your "figgers".

It's difficult to fully express how incorrect your statement is. NCBA is alive and well in Texas. The Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Assn recently completed a survey of their paid suscriber base of 14,219.

The reader survey reported only 2.8% of TSCRA members are also R Calf members. 17.5% reported they are NCBA members. I'm sure the Texas Cattle Feeders Assn has a much higher NCBA member rate, making your state one of, if not the largest source of NCBA members.

Suffice it to say, NCBA is alive and well in TX.

Beefman
 

HAY MAKER

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Beefman said:
HAY MAKER said:
Sometimes change comes slow,but I believe the "MNCBA"is about done in TX.All we wanted is for them to treat us fair :???: ............good luck

Haymaker, better recheck your "figgers".

It's difficult to fully express how incorrect your statement is. NCBA is alive and well in Texas. The Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Assn recently completed a survey of their paid suscriber base of 14,219.

The reader survey reported only 2.8% of TSCRA members are also R Calf members. 17.5% reported they are NCBA members. I'm sure the Texas Cattle Feeders Assn has a much higher NCBA member rate, making your state one of, if not the largest source of NCBA members.

Suffice it to say, NCBA is alive and well in TX.

Beefman


Thanks for the advice Beefman ,we know we have a lot of work here in TX,I figger slowly but surely,TX will become R CALF country,if the organizing goes as well down here as it has in some of the northern states could be sooner than later :wink: ..............good luck
 

mrj

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I missed this thread when it was new, and find it interesting.

What would be most interesting would be knowing the main businesses of the respondents and the major sources of advertising income of the Livestock Weekly. Having been a subscriber for a short time some years ago, at the time it was obviously auction market driven with a bit of cattle business news. That would seem to influence those who read it, and respond to the poll. Not saying that is bad, just that it might influence the poll answers differently than if it were in a paper heavier on the ag news and more widely diversified in the advertisers.

#1 Re. the "Merc" vote: NCBA (NCA at the time) did vote on delisting. Some supporters of delisting assumed it wouldn't pass, got mad, and went home without voting.........so we still have the Merc.

#2 There is only one process to have a vote on the Beef Checkoff and that cannot be changed without taking the law back to Congress. There simply have not been enough cattle producers who do not like it (ten percent of people owning/selling/paying the checkoff on at least one "cow" during the previous year) for that petition process to succeed. Given the level of mis-information spread by those who believe they will harm NCBA if the checkoff fails, a campaign leading to a vote would be vicious, expensive, and useless at best.

#3 So, why do ranchers sell their calves to packers if they are against packer ownership of cattle?

#4 Isn't is disgusting that 183 people do not want an organizations' members to be able to decide who shall sit on their board?

#5 Why didn't Mr. Choate ask how many ranchers were willing to put their own name on the beef their cattle become? Those figures just might reflect the number of ranchers participating in branded beef systems having the means for trace-back, if not actually the name of the rancher on the label.

Doesn't it seem strange that at a time we have enjoyed quite a run including record high prices for our cattle, ranchers are so angry and want to break up "the system" that has built that success?

Isn't it interesting that those who say "the checkoff is good in some ways, BUT".........do not mention even ONE thing they do not like .......or say "some of the funds are used in some ways to suppress our calf prices" do not feel compelled to say how that happens, or how they "know" it is done?

I do thank Mr. Choate for his comments on Terry Stokes being "a wonderful young fellow" and heartily second that thought. Yet he misses the point that it is the members who direct the board and officers, who direct Terry and the staff. And, yes, Terry does do a great job of achieving our directives. NCBA is working very hard to keep the good name and credibility they have built with years of excellent work. What a shame that it should be necessary simply because some people did not like the direction a majority of the members were taking and they chose to smear the organization with false allegations, including "living off the Beef Checkoff" which never was true and could not be done because of the various watch-dog auditors and financial firewalls built into the Beef Checkoff and NCBA. And it is a real tragedy for the beef industry that a number of ranchers have allowed themselves to be led by false information, many of them actually believing they produce only cattle, and not beef!

MRJ
 
A

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MRJ: "Isn't it interesting that those who say "the checkoff is good in some ways, BUT".........do not mention even ONE thing they do not like .......or say "some of the funds are used in some ways to suppress our calf prices" do not feel compelled to say how that happens, or how they "know" it is done?"

Most of these guys don't have a clue what goes on with the checkoff. I have heard some critics make the same statement regarding "the checkoff being good in some ways". I then asked them what they liked about it. They couldn't answer that either. Just clones repeating what they heard. In most cases, the checkoff critics don't know anything about the checkoff, good or bad.


~SH~
 

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