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R-CALF Bids Hawks Farewell

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R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

For Immediate Release Contact: Shae Dodson, Communications Coordinator
June 14, 2005 Phone: 406-672-8969; e-mail: [email protected]

U.S. Cattle Producers Bid Hawks Fond Farewell

(Billings, Mont.) – Members of R-CALF USA were caught by surprise recently when U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the resignation of Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Bill Hawks.

Hawks has held that position since May 2001. Johanns said in a news release that Hawks would stay on until USDA can find a replacement.

Hawks has been a featured speaker at R-CALF USA's last two annual conventions. With his usual humble, down-to-earth kind of style, he stepped to the microphone and identified himself not as part of a huge bureaucracy, but "just a Mississippi farmer."

"We want to thank Under Secretary Hawks for his tireless efforts over the years, and for always being a gentleman," said Leo McDonnell, R-CALF USA president and co-founder. "Bill always made time to listen to the concerns of everyday ranchers, and we appreciate everything he did, or at least tried to do, on behalf of the U.S. cattle industry."

R-CALF USA Vice President and Co-Founder Kathleen Kelley said she recalls that Hawks "was always willing to listen and to communicate with members of the organization.

"For that, we are grateful," she said. "We wish him the best in his future endeavors."

R-CALF USA District V Director Chuck Kiker said he would remember Hawks as being very accessible.

"He showed great interest in everyone's opinion on the issues, and he wasn't biased toward any organizations," Kiker said. "He represented agriculture and the government with an enthusiastic dedication and commitment we will all miss."

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said, "Under Secretary Hawks demonstrated his leadership by being inclusive of different industry viewpoints rather than exclusive, as is traditionally the case when government is faced with a changing industry."

R-CALF USA Director of Government Relations Jess Peterson said that Hawks has been a pleasure to work with.

"Hawks and his staff have extended out their hand to work with R-CALF on animal ID and other issues impacting the U.S. cattle industry. He and his staff were always willing to listen and help out in any way they could," said Peterson. "I wish him the best, and he is always welcome to stop in at the Peterson ranch in eastern Montana."

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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on domestic and international trade and marketing issues. R-CALF USA, a national, non-profit organization, is dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA's membership consists primarily of cow-calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and feedlot owners. Its members – over 18,000 strong – are located in 48 states, and the organization has over 60 local and state association affiliates, from both cattle and farm organizations. Various main street businesses are associate members of R-CALF USA. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.

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