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Well-known member
Feb 13, 2005
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On Tuesday, April 12, 2005, at 07:33 PM, RONNIE STOUT wrote:

HEY LEE,I been looking high and low for that story you told about R calf and the ncba in the boxing ring ,R CALF wearing red white blue robe,dusty cowboy boots,etc..if you get time e mail it to me ............GOOD LUCK

Is this it?

Lee Pitts 2/24/03 Front Page Story
They have sparred before but never have they come to blows like this.
In one corner wearing black trunks and a golden robe you can see right through, we have a fifty year old former heavyweight with flabby fat and withering muscle that is being propped up by a large entourage of packers, feeders and allied industries. In the other corner we have a young challenger, less than ten years old, cloaked in an American flag and wearing dusty cowboy boots, who against all odds is attempting to dethrone the cocky veteran.
Yes, the fight is on between R-CALF, with an annual budget of less than $80,000, and the NCBA with a budget of 65 million checkoff dollars. To the casual observer it might look like a one armed man wearing a suit of paper going against a grizzly bear. A David and Goliath battle. But David is on a win streak. In places like La Junta, Colorado, and Cottonwood, California, where NCBA has been foolish enough to engage R-CALF in debate, the fledging organization has whipped the NCBA badly. As a result R-CALF is the fastest growing livestock organization in the country and NCBA membership is dropping like an aging heavyweight that just took an uppercut to its glass jaw.
On more and more rancher's scorecards R-CALF is ahead on points and the knockout blow will come when the Supreme Court takes away NCBA's checkoff cash.
Punch and Counterpunch
These two fighters have far different styles.
• The NCBA supported opening the border to Canada to cattle movement. R-CALF does not. NCBA embraces the World Trade Organization and NAFTA. R-CALF was against NAFTA and has said from its beginning that if we could keep imports from Canada and Mexico from destroying our markets then our cattlemen would thrive. Judging from current cattle prices its looks like R-CALF's is the winning strategy. Even with most of our export markets closed, without live cattle imports from Canada, American cattlemen are receiving the highest prices in history.
• NCBA has fought hard against mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, despite the fact that over 80% of American consumers are in favor of it. R-CALF fought with a coalition of groups to implement COOL. R-CALF says that If COOL had been in place when the mad cow reared its ugly head we wouldn't have lost our export markets.
• NCBA says mad cow is a North American problem despite the fact that both mad cows came from Canada. The NCBA says Canadian beef is just as safe as ours and NCBA's President said, "the Canadian beef safety system is virtually identical to the system we have in place in the U.S." R-CALF contends that mad cow is a Canadian problem and we should identify the beef as to country of origin so the consumer can make the ultimate choice. "We have never traded with a country of moderate risk," says R-CALFUSA's Bill Bullard, "and our industry is too valuable to start now."
• R-CALF believes in one man one vote. You must be a bona fide cattleman to be a full fledged member. NCBA is going through agonizing contortions to give the allusion that they are a democratic organization. But those with the power in NCBA don't want to share it. Never have. Never will.
• In the Pickett case the plaintiffs contended that Tyson/IBP used captive supplies to suppress the cattle market and the jury agreed. NCBA testified on behalf of IBP. Half of R-CALF's board testified on behalf of the cattlemen bringing the suit.
• R-CALF says that if a packer wants to test their beef for BSE so they can reopen lost export markets they should be allowed to do so. The NCBA and USDA say they want to reopen export markets but won't allow the companies to test for BSE.
• The USDA and NCBA say that "testing does nothing to enhance the safety of our products" and COOL has no impact on our export market. Yet Japan and South Korea say they'd buy our beef right now if it was tested or was from the USA only.
• The NCBA wants to impose an industrialized global food system, controlled by a handful of powerful and politically connected corporations, whereas R-CALF is trying desperately to save the independent family ranch. R-CALF is fighting against special interests in Washington DC and believes those special interests have taken over the country. NCBA represents those special interests.
An Embarrassing Turn of Events
At this year's convention NCBA members gave USDA's Dr. Ron DeHaven a standing ovation as he addressed the NCBA membership at their BSE forum. The NCBA was quite impressed by Dr. DeHaven and the USDA. DeHaven bragged, "I don't mean to be critical of the Canadian investigation. Had BSE first been discovered on this side of the border we might have made the same mistakes."
No Mr. DeHaven, the USDA made a lot more dangerous mistakes.
The NCBA/USDA tag-team said all along that they had everything under control in regards to BSE. "You can trust us," they said right before the USDA's Inspector General confirmed a USDA official wrongly kept a suspect cow in Texas from being tested. Then it was announced that the USDA secretly began allowing imports of Canadian ground beef, sausages, frozen dinners and jerky into this country. Meat that was supposed to be banned from entering this country and that is of much higher risk of carrying BSE. The USDA kept their dirty secret for six months and would still be getting away with it if R-CALF hadn't found out and exposed USDA's illegal behavior.
The USDA says the Canadian ground, bone-in and processed beef really was safe to eat. How they would know this we haven't a clue. A spokeswoman for the Agriculture Department also said that Secretary Veneman wasn't aware of the illegal imports. Bill Bullard, CEO of the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund says, "I can't believe the secretary didn't know what was going on. This is among the highest- profile issues in her agency, and it's beyond belief that she would not be fully aware of every step the agency is taking in this area."
By the way, the USDA staff member who insisted Secretary Veneman was not aware of the additional Canadian processed products coming into the United States illegally was USDA spokeswoman Alisa Harrison. You may remember her as a former NCBA staff member. In fact, the USDA is filled with former NCBA staffers. You may also recall that Chuck Lambert, formerly of the NCBA and now chief economist for USDA, testified before the House of Representatives that there was no possibility that imported meat contaminated with BSE could be imported into this country.
As someone once remarked, you could put the NCBA and the USDA in a barrel together, roll them down a hill and there'd be a liar on top the entire trip.
Not that it wouldn't be a good idea mind you.
A Technical Knockout
The NCBA was caught with a huge uppercut and is now reeling. After having given a standing ovation to the man responsible for USDA's BSE actions, and proclaiming that the USDA was doing a good job handling the issue, imagine the NCBA's embarrassment when the man they gave the standing ovation to at their convention, Dr. DeHaven, said in regards to USDA's handling of BSE, "Clearly the process and our failure to announce some of these actions was flawed."
"To say that we erred in process is correct," said William Hawks, an Agriculture Department undersecretary.
The NCBA got caught with its trunks pulled down and it was time for damage control. What to do? Blame someone else. An e-mail sent to NCBA members said the group is "very proud" of its relationships with federal agencies. "But today, the producers of NCBA are very disappointed with recent shortcomings by the USDA. We do not believe the department is conducting itself in a manner that's representing the needs of our industry, and these actions are causing producers nationwide to lose confidence in the USDA."
Please keep in mind this is the same government agency the NCBA was praising just weeks ago. Also keep in mind that the NCBA is financed by the checkoff which the NCBA has testified in court is a government program under the auspices of the USDA.
Unfit To Lead
Our current high cattle market presents a real conundrum for the NCBA. Their packer buddies don't like the prices they are having to pay for cattle. At the same time the NCBA would like to say the higher market is all because of the beef checkoff. But we've been checking-off for years and never enjoyed a market like this. It must be very uncomfortable for NCBA right now because more and more cattlemen are realizing that we are enjoying this market because of the efforts of R-CALF in keeping the border to Canada closed to live cattle and ground beef. The NCBA may get some livestock publications to print the packer's professors gibberish that says the border closing is only adding six to ten cents to the current cattle market, but most ranchers know better. And even if it was only six cents when, if ever, can the NCBA claim a similar market uptick solely as a result of their efforts?
R-CALF wants the good times to keep rolling. They know at some point Veneman will get the border opened so R-CALF wants to protect the American consumer and keep the market strong for U.S. beef by labeling it as to country of origin. They launched an effort to reopen the case for COOL and were joined by consumer groups.
You'll recall that under the 2002 Farm Bill, mandatory country of origin labeling was to be required as of Sept. 30, 2004 for muscle cuts of beef. But President Bush signed a bill in January delaying implementation of mandatory COOL, until Sept. 30, 2006. Now several Congressmen are attempting to put COOL back in place as it was originally intended and R-CALF is drumming up support. At the same time the NCBA and its packer friends are attempting to kill off COOL once and for all by making COOL voluntary. Which is what we already have. In effect the NCBA is trying to kill off country of origin labeling at a time when American ranchers and consumers need it the most. Of course, put in plain English, this is not an easy sell, so what does the NCBA do? They start calling R-CALF a bunch of names and launch a smear campaign.
Class act, that NCBA bunch.
As part of their smear campaign NCBA President, Jan Lyons wrote, "Thanks to recent activist actions by a few disgruntled ranchers, (she is talking about R-CALF) consumer media seems to be rallying against all of us. How sad it is that people purporting to represent cattlemen are spurring this effort to further their own agenda by questioning the safety of our product."
"Lately, a few seemed determined to shoot themselves in the foot," said Lyons, "endangering the credibility of the entire industry in the process. I've said it before and I'll say it again. We must stop this internal industry hoopla, before it's too late and consumers lose all faith in American ranchers and simply choose to quit eating our product. It is because of our consumers' confidence that we have the highest demand for beef and the best cattle prices that we have seen in recent times."
No Jan, it's because R-CALF sued the pants off the USDA and won!
Lyons also lectured R-CALF with these words: "Throwing stones at Canada, our neighboring nation, and scaring consumers about the overall safety of North American beef is a seriously dangerous tactic. The ramifications are extensive and long-term. We must continue to place a high priority on reestablishing trade."
Lyons letter caused Clay Daulton, former NCA member and longtime beef industry stalwart, to write: "It is abominations of twisted facts, quotes out of context, and and other half, and less, truths, as those made by you, all disseminated with assistance from my tax dollars, that make both you and NCBA unfit to lead."
In a January 9 memo to its affiliates NCBA wrote: "Consumer activists like the Consumer Federation of America, Ralph Nader's Public Citizen and Defenders of Wildlife are using the terrible BSE incident in Washington to push their political agenda. These consumer groups along with R-CALFUSA and the Organization for Competitive Markets are raising a political smoke screen to stop the Omnibus Appropriations bill in the Senate. The fact is these anti-beef groups have no interest in improving the profitability of producers; they want to get beef off of the consumer's plate."
Did the NCBA just call R-CALF an anti-beef group? Talk about a low blow!
Perhaps Margene Eiguren, an Oregon cattle producer spoke for many ranchers when she wrote, "NCBA and USDA are representing meatpackers and retailers as "cattlemen." The NCBA does NOT represent U.S. cattle producers. NCBA is a political cover group for the meat packing industry. R-CALFUSA IS the representative of U.S. cattle producers. It is through their efforts coupled with other livestock and farming organizations as well as consumer groups who have fought tirelessly to bring about country of origin labeling of all meat. Don't lump the cattle producer with the NCBA. We are NOT part of them. They are in FACT our enemy."
Yes, this fight is getting real interesting. After the last punch is thrown who will be named the winner? From this observer's ringside seat, and to more and more cattlemen, it's no contest. R-CALF is the new and undisputed champion for the rights of independent American ranchers.
Hay Maker;
Hey dude, you better duck as I think there is going to be some s*** thrown at you, afte some of the people on here read this! LOL

Very informative and probably the best story ol' Lee has ever written.
And now as we go into another year of "The Border" being closed, another year of record prices everywhere, and are seeing calves already being contracted at $800+ for Nov 1 delivery the words of R-CALF seem much more viable... Makes the NCBA and Checkoff as the only voices and saviours of the industry story look smaller everyday....

What would the prices be if NCBA and the USDA hadn't fought Creekstone and other private packers 100% testing and we had our Asian rim exports open :???:
Keep those two in the ring! I love it. Keep the 'border' closed just like it is. While R-Calf and the NCBA and the USDA slug it out, we'll just keep sending our beef through your 'closed' border. I just wish you'd quit tainting it with that silly stamp. American protectionism will be the saviour of the Canadian industry in the long term. (I know, OT, 'Long Term' is a difficult concept....) So, in the word of Haymaker....... Good Luck.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
WELL MAXINE,WHATCHA THINK?.............good luck

WELL, Ronnie, that piece is a cross of Lee's professional repertory. Part attempted humor, and part lies an innuendo about people/organizations he does not like who are involved in the cattle/beef industry that he is working to turn cattle producers against for his "sugar daddy", the LMA.

His first lie comes quickly, when he states that NCBA has "a budget of 65 million checkoff dollars". FACT: The Cattlemens' Beef Board, with NO requirement for NCBA membership, and actually comprised of members from virtually all cattle organizations in the nation, controls absolutely the Beef Checkoff dollars. NCBA is simply one contractor doing work for the CBB, on a COST RECOVERY ONLY basis.

There is so much silliness in his writing here, which I suppose is titillating to some only because of whom they see as their "heroes". Doubtless there are writers who could switch the heroes and bumblers and the R-CALF loyalists like yourself would not see the humor in it.

Re. WTO and NAFTA, and the possible CAFTA, and the R-CALF insistence that we in the cattle business do not need foreign trade, Lee, and others of your buddies seem to forget that the USA has only 4% of the world population. Isn't it a little dangerous to just bury your heads in the sand to the fact that the fastest growth in beef consumption is obviously going to be outside the USA? Add to that the fact, that if we were so foolish as to close our borders to both imports and exports, it would not take long for our cattlemen to raise our production to the point of overproduction. Our prices would drop like a rock, again causing a round of "small, grass-roots family ranchers" being forced out of the business.

You all are living in fantasy land if you believe the COOL law you wrote,that is going to identify as much as POSSIBLY 5% of the beef in the retail meat case is going to save you. The real intent of your law is obvious from the requirement that the packer source verify their beef and the rancher is protected from revealing his source, making verification by the packer impossible.

FALSE: "NCBA says Mad Cow is a North American problem"(and why can't Lee learn and use the proper term, or at least the acronym, BSE?)

FACT: The world, particularly the Pacific Rim countries, see the beef industries in Canada, USA, and Mexico as the North American Beef Industry. NCBA did not originate the term.

FACT? Re. the similarities between the Canadian and the USA and our systems protecting our cattle from BSE, the facts will come out, and I among others, do not believe Lee/LMA/R-CALF will be found correct in their propaganda.

OUTRIGHT LIE: "those in power in NCBA don't want to share it...."

FACT: The Policy/Dues payer division (which is what he is talking about here) of NCBA is one man (or woman), one vote. NCBA also has a system of movement and sharing the power through change in directors and annual change in officers. Think about how much talent in leadership has R-CALF missed with one president since inception. BTW, does your "leadership" actually run the organization, or are the fine, invisible hands of some LMA/OCM "strong men" pulling the strings behind the scenes?

Lee claims NCBA testified on behalf of IBP, yet I have heard many ranchers state that they need the flexibility of forward contracting the cattle they feed. Further, the proposed llaw eliminating any packer ownership or contracted cattle may well be more aimed at the "strategic alliances" groups the LMA seems to be trying to eliminate. Doesn't sound cricket to me for them to be taking marketing choices away from ranchers. Does it sound good to you?

DECEPTION: "USDA and NCBA say "testing does nothing to enhance the safety of our product"......implying that ONLY testing can enhance the safety of our product. FACT: removal of SRM's enhances the safety of our product. Indiscriminate testing by individual businesses under unregulated conditions with tests that, at best, are not well documented as totally accurate and unquestionned clearly is not in the best interests of the entire beef industry, if it could be allowed under current laws and regulations of the government. Does Lee have the direct quotes from those Japanese and South Korean officials he claims say they would take USA only beef if we did not import from Canada? They could quite safely say that because people in the USA have many years worth of imported cattle from Canada in our pastures right now that are not separable or identifiable from our own. That is really a moot point because of the comingling of cattle for so many years.

SHOW US THE PROOF, Lee, when you say "NCBA wants to impose and industrialized global food system.....". That is a truly ludicrous (look it up if you don't know what ludicrous means) statement!

FACT: NCBA recognizes the fact that there is a global system which has made the currently existing food system in the USA the best the world has seen. It is able to bring a world-wide variety of exotic and common foods to our country that can't be grown here. It has purchased our raw commodities (including your and my cattle) and turned them into a product that is the envy of the world, and the standard which most other nations only dream of achieving, at this point in time. IF, and that is a big IF, there truly is control by a "handful" of corporations and individuals, their "control" will change as their are always many people working to topple the mighty from power. With ever more nations moving to more democratic governments, and masses of people seeing and wanting the freedoms we in the USA and other strongly democratic countries enjoy, and with bureaucratic systems collapsing from their own red tape, I firmly believe the systems that might make his statement about control factual cannot succeed.

Lee and many of you ignore the sequence of events preceding the start of R-CALF. Those events give the lie to the claims that it was formed to protect the "independent cattleman", IMO, and expose the fact that the hands behind the scenes wanted to punish NCBA for the "sins" of members who wanted to explore and expedite the possibility that strategic alliances groups could result in more money in the pockets of cattle producers.

IF, another big IF, Mr. Pitts could forget he hates NCBA, maybe he could admit that the work done by NCBA and USDA to prevent BSE incidents in this nation were invaluable. The fact that a cow did show up with BSE was not un-expected, as the precautionary measures had not had the time necessary at that point (Dec. 2003), for us to be totally out of the woods. The foul-up in TX was not so sinister as you and some Canadians want to believe. USDA is necessarily a bureaucracy. Bureaucracies do not always work as efficiently as we might wish in such situations. Mistakes can be made. What on earth makes you believe the importation you claim was "secret" was other than an error? There surely is no one within USDA who does not realize it is impossible to keep secrets! They also knew that the Canadians processing plant were using the SAME removal of SRM's used in plants in the USA, therefore the meat would be just as safe as ours. The penchant for some people to assume that "foreign" plants couldn't possibly be as clean and safe as ours has been proven wrong many times over, after all.

When are you R-CALFers who love to see "former NCBA employees" who have gone to work in other places as somehow evil going to grow up? People do change jobs. They owe nothing but honesty to NCBA when they leave. Many of us regret losing such exemplary employees from our organization, but are certainly pleased that people of such expertise and, yes, character, are working in such important government jobs.

Re. ""you could put NCBA and USDA in a barrel and roll them down a hill and there'd be a liar on top the entire trip"....Anyone who characterized all NCBA members, leaders and staff as liars is the real liar, obviously!

Lee tries to make NCBA culpable and somehow equally to blame for mistakes by USDA, and claims they were trying to shift the blame when NCBA stated "the producers of NCBA are very disappointed with recent shortcomings by the USDA...." DUH! Who wouldn't be disappointed when bad things happen due to errors in judgement? And Lee's comment, "this is the same government agency the NCBA was praising just weeks ago"....as somehow being wrong. What on earth is wrong with calling an agency on mistakes? And certainly, the way to improve the work of an agency should be to praise them when they do the right thing! Surely anyone can understand that philosophy......except for maybe Lee, Ronnie, and their friends who seem to love to hate everything about NCBA.

Still another OUTRIGHT LIE! NCBA is proveably NOT "financed by the Beef Checkoff" as Lee claims. What is difficult to understand about a contract that pays ONLY the actual costs to do the contracted work AFTER that work is accomplished? There are stringent and thorough scouring of the finances by independent accountants, as well as antagonistic groups watching, trying their best to manufacture some form of scandal.

It is truly sad that Lee and others do not understand that the Checkoff funded work that has resulted in helping to increase beef demand has taken years of research to prove the nutritional values and health benefits of beef to medical professionals before they, and government agencies, could give the go-ahead to promoting beef as a safe and necessary food. It has taken years of research, and funding from both checkoff and others to develop the new, quick to prepare beef products demanded by consumers. No, we don't claim ALL the credit for increased beef demand.....increased disposable incomes come into play here, too. But, darn it, you guys should have the decency to give the credit due for the work done by NCBA and the other contractors for the CBB. Good grief, you even have some of your own serving on state checkoff boards, and probably on the CBB.......no one asks what org. those directors represent, after all, and there are no requirements for NCBA involvement. You also conveniently forget that a division of NCBA is actually the national org. for the state Beef Councils with representation from not only R-CALF, but also LMA on their boards.

BTW, where have you EVER seen NCBA leaders claim market cattle prices were SOLELY as a result of their efforts? Bring it on!

You claiming that Jan Lyons and NCBA conducted a "smear campaign" are totally off base! She did respond to R-CALF and their questionably motivated friends' claims that beef in our supermarkets might not be safe because some of it may have come from Canada. That was outrageously dangerous to our beef market and a true disservice to consumers, especially when the removal of SRM's and other protections against BSE are virtually the same in both countries! Our beef is safe! Giving consumers confused and mixed messages that aren't even true, in service of your own agenda, is particularly odious. Clay Daultons claims, not surprisingly not detailed or substantiated, should be taken at that value. Lee and Ronnie, when R-CALF works with anti-beef groups, some of that coloration is bound to rub off on them!

Surely you two, or Margene, or whomever dreamed up the statement that "NCBA is a political cover group for the meat packing industry" owes some proof of that statement. The fact that we are willing to talk to them does not give them control of our organization, unlike standing up with known anti-beef groups taints you with their agenda.

The major success of R-CALF, demonstrated to date, is their ability to get money out of people, especially some not previously known as generous supporters of any cattlemens' organization. Checkoff dollars do not count here, as they ABSOLUTELY ARE NOT used to promote cattle industry issues.

That, Ronnie is what I KNOW about Lee's little diatribe against NCBA!

MRJ, "FACT: The world, particularly the Pacific Rim countries, see the beef industries in Canada, USA, and Mexico as the North American Beef Industry. NCBA did not originate the term. "

Even though the Canadians, USDA, and NCBA all say this is the case, the actions of these countries do not support this conclusion.

MRJ, "Re. WTO and NAFTA, and the possible CAFTA, and the R-CALF insistence that we in the cattle business do not need foreign trade..."

R-CALF very much supports exporting US beef. Their magazine talks about that issue quite a bit. If you have a fax, I'd be more than happy to send you copies of what they are saying and what their views are in reality.

Are the dams filling up any up there?
R-CALF very much supports exporting US beef.

EXPORTING what about IMPORTING and if you export without importing where will the beef the US consumer eats come from? You do not have enough to do both on your own. Reality was/is a 22% import increase when you had no export markets to speak of.
Sandhusker said:
MRJ, "FACT: The world, particularly the Pacific Rim countries, see the beef industries in Canada, USA, and Mexico as the North American Beef Industry. NCBA did not originate the term. "

Even though the Canadians, USDA, and NCBA all say this is the case, the actions of these countries do not support this conclusion.

MRJ, "Re. WTO and NAFTA, and the possible CAFTA, and the R-CALF insistence that we in the cattle business do not need foreign trade..."

R-CALF very much supports exporting US beef. Their magazine talks about that issue quite a bit. If you have a fax, I'd be more than happy to send you copies of what they are saying and what their views are in reality.

Are the dams filling up any up there?

Sandhusker, I don't understand what you mean by your comment re. the term "North American Beef Industry".

My Fax isn't reliable. I'm really more concerned about their public proclamations re. export of beef. I was going on past news releases, particularly by Bill Bullard stating we do not need to export. If the current line is that export of US beef is good, why are they against imports, since we don't currently produce enough of the leaner beef to mix with our high fat trim for our hamburger needs, and to have beef available for our lower income customers without importing.

We got 1.5 to just over 2 inches of rain on this end of the ranch. Water was just beginning to run. We got a small puddle of water in one dam that I have seen. Doubt there is useable amounts caught in any dams around here. The cool season grasses are coming along nicely. Think most of the plum blossoms got caught in a 20% freeze a few nights ago, though some came out after that. We still have a couple of weeks till we can be fairly sure of not having a calf killer blizzard, judging from history going back to 1892 in this area.


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