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The NCBA owes it membership an apology

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HAY MAKER

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Feb 13, 2005
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The NCBA owes it membership an apology. It's not me asking but the
Independent Cattlemen's Association of Texas (ICA of Texas), an NCBA
affiliate. I've been amazed at how deftly the NCBA consistently manipulates
its membership over policy and how locked in step state cattlemen's
organizations, including Iowa's, have been to help the NCBA do it. I called
the NCBA on its convention ploy of having members draft an 11-point directive
of conditions that had to be met "before" NCBA would support opening the
Canadian border to live animal imports and how casually and quickly NCBA
leadership discarded the membership's directive post-convention. It's become
part of the membership's mindset to accept the fact that membership directives
are treated by NCBA leadership as mere suggestions that carry no real weight.

I've been astounded for some time that the pain threshold for betrayal is
as high as it is within NCBA membership. The 11-point directive was a total
deception of the membership. In a letter to NCBA CEO Terry Stokes, the
affiliated Independent Cattlemen's Association of Texas wrote that the ICA of
Texas "was disappointed in last week's ruling which allowed the implementation
of USDA's Final Rule and reopened the Canadian border. We are equally
disappointed in NCBA's advocacy of this opening, despite the Canadian Trade
Directive passed at the Winter Convention, and the fact that all 11 conditions
have not been met. It is common knowledge that NCBA has been calling for the
immediate opening of the Canadian border to live cattle almost since before
the ink was dry on the directive and testified to such before Congress. The
Independent Cattlemen's Association of Texas is an affiliate of NCBA, and we
are gravely concerned over NCBA's cavalier disregard for this directive from
its membership and affiliates. We have watched as the leadership of NCBA
bypassed the instructions of its members and has subsequently attempted to
justify this betrayal. The directive stated that all 11 criteria had to be
satisfied before CNBA could support opening of the border. As of today, all of
the criteria have not been satisfied; yet NCBA has been calling for the
opening of the border."

Directive No. 11 was "the most important of all. The Administration must
reach an agreement to re-establish trade with Japan, South Korea, and Mexico
and apply economic sanctions, if necessary. There is no agreement yet. ICA
appreciates the efforts NCBA is making to work with USDA to bring this about,
but it has not happened yet. The Directive plainly states that an agreement
must be reached before trade is resumed. Conclusion: ICA voted for this
Directive at the Winter Convention with the understanding that NCBA would not
call for the opening of the border until these conditions were met. NCBA has
repeatedly called for the immediate opening of the border despite the fact
that all of the directive's conditions have not been met. A number of ICA's
members are also NCBA members. It is disturbing to our NCBA members - as well
as to us as an affiliate of NCBA - to see this breach of trust by the
leadership of NCBA. It is unconscionable as well as ill advised. With this
breach uppermost on our minds, ICA respectfully requests that NCBA not use our
name nor our membership numbers in your efforts to open the Canadian border
before these conditions are met...You have violated our trust and owe it to
your members and affiliates to immediately correct this serious error in
judgment."

I believe that the conclusions reached by the ICA of Texas were an accurate
assessment of the evolution of events. It was exactly how I saw it unfold and
I have had no contact with those Texas cattlemen so we each arrived at
identical conclusions independently. Most grassroots cattlemen would tar and
feather the NCBA but the simple truth is that the NCBA could not do this
without the complicity of state affiliates, like the Iowa Cattlemen's
Association who signed on to USDA's Americus brief along with NCBA. It should
be a tough job at the next NCBA convention to explain to membership why they
lied to them deceiving members that directives dictate policy. Yet NCBA
members appear to have a great tolerance for such deception which in Texas
they describe as being all hat and no cattle.
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And when the "ICA"finally cuts all ties with the "ncba" there will be several new members....................good luck
 

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