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Cattle groups converge for meeting in Florida

TAGS: Policy
Capitol Hill 2019
OCM, R-CALF USA and USCA plan for livestreamed event to be held in Okeechobee.

The Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) is meeting with representatives from Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) and the U.S. Cattlemen's Assn. (USCA) in confronting the issues that have decimated cattle markets in the U.S., according to a news release from OCM. Two producer meetings will be held in Florida, with livestreaming opportunities also offered for those outside the area to participate.

The first meeting will begin at 6 p.m. (EDT) on Oct. 28 at the Okeechobee Livestock Market in Okeechobee, Fla., and the other meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. (EDT) on Oct. 29 at the W.H. Stuart Center in Bartow, Fla.

USCA's Chuck Kiker from Beaumont, Texas, will speak on behalf of the organization and will provide an update on what has been a busy year for USCA. “From securing billions of dollars in coronavirus relief to working with members of Congress on legislation to improve true price discovery in the cattle marketplace, Mr. Kiker will walk through USCA's successes and our members' role in advancing the interests of the U.S. cattle producer in Washington, D.C.,” USCA said in a statement.

In a separate email, USCA spokeswoman Lia Biondo said Kiker will share “how a groundswell of support for our priorities on Capitol Hill has built following increased industry participation from cattle producers.”

Biondo added that Kiker will also cover COVID-19 impacts, truth in labeling for U.S. beef and alternative proteins, market reform legislation and also the checkoff.

OCM said a major focus of its involvement in the meeting will be the push for beef checkoff reform and for advancing the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act.

OCM noted that that the president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (NCBA) would also be on hand for the meeting in Okeechobee on Wednesday night. However, a spokesperson for NCBA said, “We are not participating in the event at Okeechobee.”

In an additional statement sent out by NCBA, the group confirmed that they were invited to participate in the meetings but chose not to attend. 

"Let me be clear, NCBA will not participate in events with organizations litigating against NCBA or the beef checkoff, nor will we engage in events that that lend a voice to anti-agriculture activists like Marty Irby, a former lobbyist for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), who now serves as executive director of Animal Wellness Action, a group founded by disgraced former HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle. Irby also serves as a member of the board of directors at Organization for Competitive Markets," NCBA president Marty Smith said in the statement.

Smith added, "OCM is not a producer group; it is solely a front for animal rights activists who are attempting to dismantle agriculture from the inside. It is disappointing that there are still those among us willing to give them a platform to further that work. Right now, OCM, represented by attorneys from the HSUS, is engaged in legal action aimed at destroying the beef checkoff because it promotes beef and benefits cattle producers. NCBA will not engage or lend a voice to these activists, despite the fact that there are others willing to sacrifice the reputation of themselves and the cattle men and women they represent, to do so."

To watch the livestreaming event today, go to www.okeechobeelivestockmarket.com, and click "play" on the screen.

Advance registration is required to watch the live-stream on Thursday, and connection details will be shared following registration. To register for either online event or to attend in person, go to
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cattle-industry-organizations-informational-meeting-tickets-122561559925.

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