political rancher EDITED BY TIM O’BYRNE
Year in Review
2018 - Fighting for Our
Principles, Then and Now
KEVIN KESTER, NCBA PRESIDENT (2018)
As 2018 comes to a close, the shifting
political landscape should give cattle
producers across the country pause.
A divided government will bring its
share of challenges, but NCBA stands
ready to work with lawmakers and federal
agencies to advance the priorities
of cattlemen and cattlewomen. My
time as President has only served to
reinforce my confi dence in the ability
of our industry to enhance the business
climate and build beef demand.
Since NCBA’s inception in 1898,
advocacy efforts have been guided by
belief in a limited government, a free
market, and individual choice. These
are the principles that have allowed
cattle producers to prosper, and they
will help keep us economically viable
over the long-term.
It starts with reducing the burden
of onerous federal government regulations.
This year, we successfully
delayed the implementation of electronic
logging devices for livestock
haulers, stopped an environmental
law that treated farms and ranches
like toxic waste sites, and protected
veterinary access to new animal drugs.
NCBA has also been a champion for
open markets and fair competition.
Unrestricted, science-based trade is
the best recipe for increasing U.S. beef
sales around the world. The Trump
Administration rightly preserved
these policies when renegotiating
deals with South Korea and our North
American neighbors, Canada and
Mexico. We fully support the Trump
Administration’s ongoing efforts to
tear down more trade barriers for U.S.
beef, particularly the unscientifi c
restrictions we face in markets like
China and the European Union.
Closer to home, NCBA has been
calling on the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) and Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) to take
appropriate measures to regulate fake
meat products. Some purveyors of fake
meat have engaged in blatantly false
and deceptive marketing campaigns
designed to undermine beef. Our
industry welcomes competition and
consumer choice, but a free market
must also be fair, and consumers have
the right to make informed decisions.
Preliminary plans put USDA fi rmly in
charge of production and marketing
of lab-grown fake meat. Holding the
federal government to account will be
critical as the process moves forward.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares
a commitment to the guiding principles
that we fi ght for every day. There
will always be radical activist groups
who put their goal of ending animal
agriculture above all else. That is why
2018 saw familiar attacks designed
to reduce consumer demand for beef,
including an unsuccessful attempt to
end the Beef Checkoff and fear-mongering
about the use of antimicrobial
drugs in cattle.
Even some industry groups disagree
with NCBA’s policy positions. Instead
of economic freedom and individual
opportunity, these groups promote an
alternative vision that is marked by
greater protectionism and government
intervention in the marketplace. In
2018 they continued their calls for misguided
policies like mandatory country
of-origin labeling and the GIPSA
rules, ignoring the principles that make
the cattle industry great in the process.
Heading into the new year, we cannot
afford any distractions from the
challenges that lie ahead. The fake
meat debate shows no signs of letting
up. Producers in 22 states are still living
under the uncertainty of the 2015
WOTUS rule. And you can count on
at least one unforeseen controversy
throwing a wrench in any plan. As
long as we stay true to our ideals, we
will meet these challenges head on and
overcome any obstacles in our way.
In my travels as President, I visited
with state associations and countless
producers from every corner of the
country. By drawing on our collective
strength, I know we can build a better
future for the generations to come.
There is no shortage of work to be done.
NCBA, R-CALF USA and USCA
Editor: We are proud to offer each of
these organizations a platform to reach
out in their own words. We at WR thank
all those who give of themselves to further
improve and protect our industry, and we
urge you, dear reader, to participate in
any way you can.
78 I WORKING RANCH I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2019