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R-Calf Gong Show

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Anonymous

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AFF Sentinel - Opinion/Editorial
For Immediate Release

Two Conventions: A Study In Contrasts

Colorado Springs, CO Feb. 13, 2005



Having recently just attended both the R-CALF and the Cattle Industry annual conventions - the latter where NCBA, the CBB, ANCW, Cattle-Fax and National Cattlemen's Foundation meet - I was struck by the contrasts I observed.

The obvious first comparison, of course, is sheer size. At the national R-CALF convention, there were never more than 100 cattlemen in the room at any time during the three days. At NCBA-CBB joint sessions, thousands of cattlemen crammed huge theaters and ballrooms. Committee sessions had 25 to 50 people in attendance setting policy. Their joint board of directors' meeting had twice the number of people as R-CALF's "all-in" sessions. NCBA, CBB and ANCW registered over 6,000 attendees. I couldn't find any convention report information on R-CALF's Web site two weeks after their convention.

Of course, for those of you who haven't attended NCBA and CBB conventions, it should be said that information is presented in both separate policy and checkoff sessions as well as jointly. But only dues- paying NCBA members can vote on policy issues and only CBB board members can vote on checkoff items.

It appears obvious from the numbers that the NCBA-CBB-ANCW groups enjoy an overwhelming share of the support of U.S. cattlemen compared to R-CALF. And it is ludicrous for R-CALF to imply - as it does by claiming that NCBA is just a tool of the major packers - that all these cattlemen turned out in San Antonio just to soldier on, on behalf of the packers.

R-CALF had very little committee activity at all during their convention. The only committee scheduled for a real meeting was an International Trade Committee, and they met just before the end of convention, after final policy had been adopted. NCBA-CBB has dozens of subcommittee and committee sessions where policy and priorities are set before the board and membership sessions vote. And the committees get input from lots of sources as part of the decision-making process.

And while NCBA President Jan Lyons pointedly reminded USDA Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns that there were several points in the Canadian Rule on which NCBA had serious concerns, the notation was done in a firm but professional manner that indicated a willingness to listen and NCBA's intention to justify its positions with facts. That left USDA the room to respond, explain and adjust if necessary. By contrast, USDA officials were insulted and their integrity questioned from the floor of the R-CALF meeting.

In fact, NCBA's extensive subcommittee and committee approach, routed to a resolutions committee and then board and membership meetings, resulted in a detailed, 11-point resolution on the Canadian issue. Printed copies of over 100 resolutions were ready for the membership to review and vote on.

By contrast, at the R-CALF convention resolutions were considered from the floor, evidently with no preliminary work done by a resolutions committee at all. No printed copies of the proposed resolutions were available at the door of the session. Several of the roughly dozen resolutions were withdrawn by their authors or held for study because of confusion as to whether policy already existed or because there was another resolution being proposed that dealt with the same issue. Evidently their resolutions committee either never met or is not empowered to do much work on proposed resolutions.

Many of the R-CALF resolutions evidently came from individual members rather than from a committee. They put the proposed resolutions up on a screen and discussed and amended each of them from the floor. As one member commented, if their members were in the least conformists, there would be no need for an R-CALF to exist. Consequently, they spent over two hours working over a half-dozen resolutions, deleting phrases, adding phrases, re- inserting deleted phrases, questioning the appropriateness of the resolution itself, etc., etc. The chairwoman of the session had no easy time refereeing such a messy procedure. Keeping track of which amendment or version was on the floor was confusing. The suggestion from the floor that next time the employment of a professional parliamentarian might be advised was met with a stony silence from the chair.

One member, perhaps making an oblique reference to the chaos, suggested that maybe R- CALF should have a committee study a more appropriate organizational structure and perhaps even examine the idea of term limits for officers. That too was met with stony silence. After all, I believe it was President Leo McDonnell himself who noted during R-CALF's RFD television show that R-CALF did not have any nominating committees "so no possible mischief" could occur in selecting candidates. McDonnell has been president since the organization's inception in 1998.

But I suspect many of the members rather preferred the chaos of a 100-member resolutions committee to what they would consider the overly secretive and too undemocratic structure of a committee.

But watching a bunch of non-conformists who can't decide whether they are anarchists or not, work through a handful of resolutions from the floor, was illustrative of the people involved. And R-CALF members are not really anarchists - they don't believe that there should be no government. But they do believe that government should not necessarily carry out the wishes of the majority. They want it to carry out their own wishes, even if they are in the minority. And they want government to protect their vision of the cattle industry - they are not interested in the "beef" industry - at the expense of other industry sectors they do not like.

In fact, they even want protection from other cattlemen, cattlemen whose innovations are designed to improve industry efficiency and attune beef products more closely with consumer demand. They are demanding that government agencies and Congress protect them from market requirements, business practices or competition they deem unfair.

The over 100 resolutions considered at the NCBA session covered a wide array of the total interaction of cattlemen with the world. Some R-CALF members would counter that they only concentrate on one or two areas of cattlemen's interests and, consequently, wouldn't be expected to have so many resolutions.

Perhaps that is part of the problem. R-CALF cannot see the forest for the trees, does not have much perspective. It has demonstrated a total lack of interest in most of the rest of the world everyone else lives in - including their customers, particularly those buyers of live cattle, packers - and those who try to use cattle as a raw material to produce a myriad of products. The members at their convention who so fiercely defend the cow-calf producer at the exclusion of everyone else somehow believe they exist in a vacuum, requiring no meaningful interaction with the rest of the world. They regard as unfair and unreasonable any demands from the marketplace that they should have to worry about anything after the ranch gate.

And since the rest of the world has demonstrated an overwhelming rejection of that notion, they have turned to brute force, in the form of legal action and unholy alliances, to prove to the world that they - the producers of the raw material - should call the tune.

The two conventions just reinforce the vast chasm between the two approaches.
 
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Anonymous

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I have to agree with you guest, the differences between the two cattle mens group is obvious,the fact that one is losing members while the other is gaining momentem confirms the fact R calf works, without R CALF you would not have seen any change in NCBA's policy.................good luck
 

HAY MAKER

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Anonymous said:
I have to agree with you guest, the differences between the two cattle mens group is obvious,the fact that one is losing members while the other is gaining momentem confirms the fact R calf works, without R CALF you would not have seen any change in NCBA's policy.................good luck

R CALF is the voice of the cattle man and its getting stronger daily cattle men all over the country are demanding FAIRNESS.................good luck
 
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Anonymous

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Anonymous said:
I have to agree with you guest, the differences between the two cattle mens group is obvious,the fact that one is losing members while the other is gaining momentem confirms the fact R calf works, without R CALF you would not have seen any change in NCBA's policy.................good luck

How true-- Even if all R-CALF ever accomplished was to get NCBA back to representing cattlemen- that would be a worthwhile accomplishment....
 
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Anonymous

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R-Calf reminds me of the Titanic (actually maybe more like the S.S. Minnow). Glad some of you can find comfort and something positive in it's demise.
 

Tam

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Good post R-CALF is shown for what they are a small town group will a small mind that can only deal with one issue at a time. Right now the Canadian border is the issue and they will say anything to achieve their goal even if that means scareing US consumers away from eating any beef. But the big picture is they will destroy their own livelyhoods if they keep it up. No lie is big enough as long as it keeps the border closed and to He** with the future consequences. The demise of R-CALF will come when they are asked to explain how US beef can be safe to eat when Canadian beef is the most hazardous in the world and we have traded cattle for a hundred plus years. And that can't happen fast enough for me. The only bad thing is another radical group will pop up and replace them and start the same crap again and it will probably be that same people just under a different name with a clean slate.

"R-CALF did not have any nominating committees "so no possible mischief" could occur in selecting candidates. McDonnell has been president since the organization's inception in 1998. "


Tell me how many other beef organizations have the same president for 7 years and if you can't vote him out what holds him accountable for what he says? :???:
 

Murgen

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heard the pres. is stepping down. I guess he doesn't want to be around when it hits the fan! he'll probably go hide in some hole somewhere, hope he doesn't catch vCJD from the same hole!
 

Murgen

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But he probably doesn't believe any of the stuff he's been spouting anyway, so he's safe.
 

Tam

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I hear there is a hole in Iraq that is vacant now maybe he could hide there. :D
 

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Tam, you can say what you want about food safety etc..., but you can't ignore that the score on BSE positives is still Canada 4- US 0. Will we find a native case here? I don't think anybody would be surprised if we do, but as of today, we haven't.
 

don

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sandhusker: Tam, you can say what you want about food safety etc..., but you can't ignore that the score on BSE positives is still Canada 4- US 0. Will we find a native case here? I don't think anybody would be surprised if we do, but as of today, we haven't.

and for how much difference that makes to your export customers you can look at the long list of foreign markets you have compared to us. sandhusker, the rest of the world knows the two herds have been mixed so it's futile for r-calf to deny it. it may also be a reflection on the credibility of the american testing program. if the us is clean and we, admittedly, are not, where are your markets? that is the situation you have to deal with. and yes, we can talk about food safety because our positives don't make it into the human or animal food supply and we can trace cohorts for testing to determine the prevalence of the disease in the highest risk animals.
 
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don said:
sandhusker, the rest of the world knows the two herds have been mixed so it's futile for r-calf to deny it.

You blame this all on R-CALF-- but from their last position statement it looks like NCBA and its members don't buy into this "North American Beef" idea either.......
 

Tam

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Sandhusker said:
Tam, you can say what you want about food safety etc..., but you can't ignore that the score on BSE positives is still Canada 4- US 0. Will we find a native case here? I don't think anybody would be surprised if we do, but as of today, we haven't.

Let us talk about food safety Canada 0 US 1 for BSE infected animals found in the food chain. I'm not ignoring the fact Canada had 4 cases but you seem to ignor that one of those cases was in the US and in your food chain when talking about FOOD SAFETY . The US fell short in the food safety issue not Canada. And whether you find a case or not will probably be another fluke as the USDA sure isn't doing a great job of looking for one are they. I have a harder time trusting the US system after the Washington cow was found in the food chain than I do Canada's system that has had 3 that didn't make it to the food chain.
 

Murgen

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Every country in the world has a problem trusting the Americans, do you think this only comes down to food safety, remember weapons of mass destruction. We are judged on all our dealings with the outside world, not just our beef. Remember Canada's stance, "we don't think there are WMD" who was right? Wear your Canadian flag when you're in Europe Oldtimer, I worry about your safety! We'd hate to lose someone who posts such insightful copies of part articles!
 
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Anonymous

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Tam said:
Let us talk about food safety Canada 0 US 1 for BSE infected animals found in the food chain.

Tam- How many infected Canadian cows entered the food system that you are unaware of? Does Canada test all cattle slaughtered? Statistics would indicate that with the smaller number of cows you have and 4 positives, the chances for a positive Canadian cow slipping by is much higher than the US- just because of the increased infection rate........

Like I said before- you can compare this to Russian Roulette- You can play it with 5 empty cylinders and 1 live round or you can open the border and play it with 1 empty cylinder and 5 live rounds.......

At least give the consumer the choice of which game they want to play....
 

don

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oldtimer: You blame this all on R-CALF-- but from their last position statement it looks like NCBA and its members don't buy into this "North American Beef" idea either

i don't think the idea that the herds aren't irreversibly mixed will have any more credibility outside the usa just because ncba wishes it were so. it may be something that more ranchers would like to believe but that doesn't make it any more valid. it isn't canada you have to convince; it's all the countries who still aren't taking your product. the onus is on canada to justify to ther countries that our beef is safe enough for their people to eat. it looks like several countries are placing the same expectations on the usa.
 

Tam

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Oldtimer said:
don said:
sandhusker, the rest of the world knows the two herds have been mixed so it's futile for r-calf to deny it.

You blame this all on R-CALF-- but from their last position statement it looks like NCBA and its members don't buy into this "North American Beef" idea either.......

When are you going to get it it doesn't really matter what R-CALF or NCBA believe, it is what Japan and Korea and the rest of your exporting partners see and they see this as a system that is so intrigrated that we are as one. They told the trade delegations back in Jan 2004 that and it doesn't look to me as if they have changed their minds. If they had you could get back your export markets by claiming it was an imported case. But the OIE said you can not dismiss the signifiance of BSE in the US as an imported case because the Washington cow couldn't be considered in isolation from the whole cattle production system in NORTH AMERICA. This is a North American BSE problem in their eyes and it really doesn't matter what you or I think.
Personally I don't want to be tied to the US system because you are looseing credibility daily and Canada has a system that has proven to be working with trace back and compliance to feed bans and a testing system that is finding the odd new case but the firewalls are also keeping them out of the food chain.
 

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OT-I would appreciate it if you just answer yes or no to these questions. A yes/no answer will be sufficient, you've probably heard that before. And I know you have respect for the basis that the US justice system/law was built. On truth and concise answers!

1) R-calf contends that Canadian animals are contaminated, ever since the feed ban in 1997? yes or no?

2) Have the number of Canadian animals in the US at any one time in the last 5 years, exceeded 1 million animals? Yes or No?

3) Are these animals not being culled at the same rate as Canadian older animals, yes or no?

4) Are they all being condemned? Yes or No?

Are the majority not being killed for human consumption, yes or no?

5) By your yes and no answers I will take that as you and R-calf are stating that the US beef supply is not safe and that we as consumers should never eat beef again!
 
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Anonymous

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Tam said:
Oldtimer said:
don said:
sandhusker, the rest of the world knows the two herds have been mixed so it's futile for r-calf to deny it.

You blame this all on R-CALF-- but from their last position statement it looks like NCBA and its members don't buy into this "North American Beef" idea either.......

When are you going to get it it doesn't really matter what R-CALF or NCBA believe, it is what Japan and Korea and the rest of your exporting partners see and they see this as a system that is so intrigrated that we are as one. They told the trade delegations back in Jan 2004 that and it doesn't look to me as if they have changed their minds.

I have never seen anything definitive from Japan saying they would take Canadian beef or that they thought of this as "North American"... Last I saw from USDA was that they were not including Canadian beef in their trade talks- that they were were having to convince the trading partners of the ability for segregation again, like they did after the 2003 cow......

I truly believe our chances to open up our export market would be much better if we were not taking Canadian beef and/or Canadian beef had to be labeled as "Product of Canada" and not passed off as a US product.....
 

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