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Cattle producers tackle key policy changes

Live Cattle Marketing Committee unanimously passes policy to increase cash trade levels.

A capacity crowd of cattle producers worked for more than six hours at the Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting this week in Denver, Colo., to identify a policy that would help resolve concerns about live cattle marketing issues and lead the industry to more robust price discovery.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn.’s (NCBA) Live Cattle Marketing Committee considered several proposals, each aimed at encouraging greater volumes of cash cattle trade. After an intense debate, the committee and the NCBA board of directors unanimously passed a policy that supports voluntary efforts to improve cash fed cattle trade during the next 90 days, with the potential for mandates in the future if the industry does not reach robust regional cash trade numbers.

“The policy decisions we made this week truly show the grassroots policy process at work. We had tremendous turnout for this year’s summer meeting, clearly demonstrating that cattle producers needed the opportunity to meet in person to hammer out solutions to these important issues,” NCBA president Marty Smith said. “Despite the issues going on in the world today, we had more than 600 people turn out -- the vast majority in person -- to find solutions for issues facing our industry.”

Smith noted that the results of the Live Cattle Marketing Committee capped months of working group efforts to find industry- and market-driven solutions to increase price discovery without government mandates.

“The policy we passed today is the result of every state cattlemen’s association coming together to work through their differences and finding solutions that meet the needs of their members, all of whom agree that our industry needs more robust price discovery. This policy provides all players in the industry the opportunity to achieve that goal without seeking government mandates,” Smith said. “Everyone who took the time to participate in this process over the past several months and throughout this week’s meetings is to be commended.” 

The policy passed by the marketing committee and approved by a vote of the board of directors can be viewed here.

The Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting also included a full slate of both policy and checkoff committee meetings. The checkoff meetings help set the plan of work for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 and provide an opportunity for cattle producers to review current contractor campaigns, including the successful launch of the United We Steak campaign.

“The past several months have been challenging for everyone, but they’ve been particularly difficult for America’s cattle farmers and ranchers,” Smith said. “This week’s meetings provided a crucial opportunity for us to come together — safely and with plenty of social distancing — to resolve the issues of the past several months. However, it has also provided an opportunity for a reset and chance to refocus on the priorities that haven’t gone away as we battled through this crisis. We’re thankful we had the opportunity to do just that during this week’s meetings.”

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