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SASH

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Cattle Raisers prepare for ‘a defining time’ in the beef industry
By
Mar 22, 2005

FORT WORTH, Texas, March 22, 2005¯ Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association will support efforts of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to ensure free and open trade and little or no government regulation in the beef industry.

“We’ve got to get behind the right message,” incoming President Dick Sherron told TSCRA members during the concluding session of the group’s annual convention.

More than 2,600 cattle producers, family members and representatives of allied industry gathered in Fort Worth March 18-21 for the annual convention, trade show and School for Successful Ranching conducted by the 128-year-old beef industry trade organization.

“The right message” was delivered in a rousing speech by NCBA President Jim McAdams who promised to do everything he can to unify a divided beef industry. McAdams, from Atkins, Texas, is also a long-time TSCRA director.

“We’re truly in a defining time in our industry,” Adams asserted. “At any minute we could not only be facing the loss of our checkoff from the Supreme Court ruling, but we could be starting trade wars. That could happen any day now and they could be going on at the same time.

“In addition we’ve got to develop a national animal I.D. program that could either be a breakthrough that allows our industry to progress at a much more rapid rate or one of the biggest boondoggles we’ve ever faced.

“We’re also at a point where we have probably the best opportunity we’ve had¯maybe in forever¯ to get permanent repeal of the death tax and fix the Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Protection Act. And we’re starting to talk in Congress about the next Farm Bill that could redefine agricultural policy in this nation for generations.

“And yet we’re more divided than ever. I think I can make the argument that we’ve never had it better, yet been madder about it!”

McAdams reminded cattle raisers how the industry came together to overcome crises in the past.

“We don’t have to look back very far to when we were in a drought,” he recalled. “We didn’t know how bad it was going to be or how long it would last. It looked like corn would be going to $5 a bushel and fed cattle would be going below 50 cents a pound.

“But we stepped up as an industry, we came together and we adopted a common vision that called for a dynamic and profitable beef industry. It focused resources around a unified plan; it consistently met local consumer needs and built demand.

“Since that time we’ve had remarkable success because we started working together off of one plan with one budget and speaking with one voice,” he insisted.

McAdams pointed out that U.S. producers suffered from a huge deficit in beef trade prior to passage of the mandatory checkoff that collects $1 per head each time a beef animal is sold. The program is currently in jeopardy due to constitutional challenges being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“When we got a mandatory checkoff and started focusing dollars on building international markets, we turned those huge trade deficits into trade surpluses¯ billions of dollars in trade surpluses that went directly in our pockets,” McAdams emphasized.

But even as beef producers were benefiting from the trade dollars, there were voices in the beef industry that were speaking out against international trade, McAdams said incredulously.

“A competing vision started to emerge and today we have two competing visions diametrically opposed to one another.

“Our vision says that the answer is building consumer demand and building it faster than we increase supplies,” McAdams explained. “We do that by producing the safest, highest quality, most consistent beef product in the world. That means we can produce more and sell it at ever-increasing prices.

“This isn’t impossible,” he declared. “We’ve already done it!

“From 1998 to today, beef demand has increased 25 percent. What we’ve forgotten is that from the ’70s until 1997, we lost 50 percent of our demand. We need to remember that that 25 percent increase amounts to $22 a hundredweight on a fed steer. That’s a lot of money!

McAdams said a 7.74 increase in demand during 2004 was responsible for the high prices enjoyed by beef producers. However, some producers attribute the price increases to the ban on imports of cattle from Canada. They want to continue the ban that was imposed after BSE (mad cow disease) was discovered in December 2003 in a U.S. dairy cow imported from Canada.

“The competing vision says the reason we have high prices and the way to maintain profitability is by limiting supplies.” McAdams continued. “They’ve actually called for more government involvement in where the cattle can come from, who can own the cattle and even how we can market our product.

“This creates more government involvement in our business and it also creates higher costs. I reject that vision, NCBA rejects that vision and I hope that you reject that vision.

“NCBA’s going to stick to its mission, which says we’re for increasing the profit opportunities for cattle and beef producers by enhancing the business climate,” McAdams said. “That means holding down costs, limiting government involvement and building consumer demand.

“We’re going to fight to make sure that that competing vision doesn’t ruin this industry,” he vowed.

“We’ll have prosperity by building demand, not limiting supplies.

We’ll have it by having a fair, effective and focused state and national self-help program, not by trying to do away with the checkoff program.

“We’ll have it by having international trade rules that are based on sound science, that are fair and effective, and not international trade rules that are based on pseudo science or political science.

“The way to prosperity is by accentuating our advantages so we’re stronger tomorrow, not by being satisfied with the status quo.

“It’s by building relationships and fostering trust, not by twisting the facts and distorting the truth or by trying to change things back to the way they were yesterday.”

McAdams said unity is essential for the future success of the beef industry.

“But we can’t have unification in the name of appeasement,” he declared. “We cannot appease everybody.

“The most important thing for the future of our success is to stay with the values and principles that have sustained this industry throughout our history,” he continued.

“We cannot adopt the tactics of the activists whose sole value seems to be ‘the end justifies the means, ’he exhorted. “We cannot afford to be passive or to be spectators at this time!

McAdams appealed to individual cattle producers to “cowboy up” and get involved.

“You’re going to have to go out and get more members for TSCRA and for the NCBA if you believe in what NCBA is doing.

“You have to stand up to people that are propagating the competing vision and stand up for what you believe.

“And you’re going to have to take the time to inform yourself.”

TSCRA President Sherron promised to get the message out to TSCRA members.

“We’re going to take some hits in our own organization from some who want instant gratification instead of a long-term future,” Sherron admitted. “But we’ve got to keep this business going. We can’t be looking at what we get today in the cash market as the end of the road.

“We’re going to Washington, D.C., and support in NCBA in April,” Sherron said. “We might alter the way we go through the course,” he added, “because we’re going to be pulling this wagon, not following it!”

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 128-year-old trade organization whose 13,000 members manage approximately 5.4 million cattle on 70.3 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma.

© Copyright 2002-2005 by North Texas e-News, llc
 

mrj

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SASH, thanks for posting that news story. TSCRA is a great outfit and have been a positive influence in the cattle business for a very long time.

The new president, Dick Sherron, MD, is a real asset to the industry. He also is chair of the Joint Human Nutrition Research Committee of NCBA and CBB. Having an MD in that position is a real boon to the cattle/beef industry, IMO.

The committee objective: To encourage, stimulate and prioritize beef nutrition research. To foster a working relationship and an on going communication with those principle entities involved with beef nutrition research. To arrive at a plan which allows for an effective dissemination of research results to the beef industry.

MRJ
 

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