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A couple of weeks ago, when President Trump announced he was going to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, he was both praised and criticized, but he made true on a campaign pledge.

It did cause quite a storm as it stirred up the whole climate change issue and proved again the emotion in this issue. I’ve said before, we almost all agree that the climate is changing, but is it caused by humans? Both sides have arguments.

Those who agreed with the President’s decision, like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said that President Trump was right to pull out of the deal because other countries were not holding up their end of the bargain.

“China doesn’t have to play by the same rules,” Sen. Paul said of the agreement. “The debate should be over whether the Paris Accord is fair. Is it fair for China to keep polluting at alarming rates and for us to be cutting back on carbon while China has to do nothing? Is it fair that Russia gets to increase their carbon output by 50 percent?”

I read another article from the Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltimore that also agreed with President Trump’s decision based on some facts of the agreement.

First, the Senate never signed the agreement. The U.S. Constitution states that the President “shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur,” in Article II, Section 2.

Second, the emission reduction targets are not binding. Reporting is mandatory, but actual reductions in fossil fuel emissions are not. Even then-Secretary of State John Kerry said, “If there had been a penalty, we wouldn’t have been able to get an agreement.”

Third, the agreement costs roughly $100 billion annually. The Wall Street Journal reported, at the time, “Developed countries like the U.S. have to help provide at least $100 billion annually from a variety of sources after 2020 to help developing countries cut their emissions.”

Fourth, the non-binding targets are totally arbitrary. The emission targets are not just non-binding, they are self-made.

Fifth, the agreement relies on self-reporting. The teeth of the agreement come in mandatory reporting, but what if you can’t trust it?

Sixth, the U.S. will almost certainly not meet its target. That could have an adverse impact. Everyone knows the U.S. will not meet the ambitious carbon reduction targets laid out by the Obama administration.

As the Washington Post reported, “It’s clear that the Trump administration will fail to meet the climate goals the Obama administration established under the agreement, namely, a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below their 2005 levels by the year 2025.”

This could be problematic, assuming some nations actually do take the targets seriously.

Seventh, the jury on carbon dioxide is still out. This is the big issue out there. Our climate models over the last decade were way off. Both scientists and lay-people have differing opinions.

In my opinion, at some point, the president needs to renegotiate the terms with the agreement, sign on and get the Senate to approve the agreement. The U.S., along with all countries, need to address climate change and study the effects of carbon. It shouldn’t be a method to stop business growth if carbon proves to not be an issue. Proactive action may be required as we find new evidence on the truth of carbon.

It looks like summer is here. We can toss out our worn-out overshoes, muck boots and torn-up raincoats for the moment, and it is time to muck out the mudroom. Grass is starting to grow on the floor boards of the pickup, as the collected dirt is so thick.

The weather people have said it’s certainly been an interesting winter and spring. They should have experienced living it outside of a building. But now, it is our turn to enjoy the outdoors.

About the time we brand, we start thinking about how to market those calves with the fresh brands. Some already know what they are going to do. They have a plan they follow every year, and it works for them. Others like to try new ways or times to sell their calves or yearlings. The best part is, it’s our decision to make, a freedom we’ll die for.

It is called marketing.

For a number of beef producers, marketing stops when the last calf or yearling is loaded on the truck. What happens with that animal is someone else’s decision after it leaves the ranch. Other producers will make decisions on the animal until it is processed. Either way is okay. But in my way of thinking, we should all be concerned with what happens to beef products as they make their way through the marketing chain, as it all really reflects what we do on the ranch every day.

Not being concerned is kind of like saying, “Once my child graduates from high school, life is their problem.”

I know that is a stretch of comparison, but it is how I view the importance of marketing of beef locally, nationally and global. And that is where the issues of supply and demand come up in marketing beef.

Supply and demand are major factors, and there are a number of issues that affectthem. Everyone who is involved in the beef business has a responsibility.

Two of the biggest factors concerning Americans and eating beef is image and good taste. However, if you are staying in a five-star hotel in China eating beef, you are proud of the fact you can afford a protein such as beef with great taste and tenderness. You really don’t care where it came from. Both will spend money to get what they want.

In a column for BEEF readers, Nevil Speer had a great comment.

He said, “There’s a substantive difference between consumption and demand. Demand is a function of both supply and price. In other words, even with a smaller supply, if consumers aren’t favorable toward beef, there’ll be little pricing power to clear the market.”

He went on to say, “What really matters is spending. To that end, per-capita beef spending in 2010 was approximately $261. In 2015, that measure reached $340. Meanwhile, the U.S. population was about 309 million in 2010 versus 321 million in 2015. Doing some quick math, that means U.S. beef spending increased nearly $28.5 billion in just five years. The beef industry has proven its ability to successfully capture new spending at an increasing rate.”

New spending results from marketing, both in America and China, and we all need to have a part in it. Our part comes from supporting the beef checkoff and livestock organizations that work on trade issues and keeping yourself abreast of marketing issues, both at home and abroad.

And we can’t forget about promoting our image to all.

President Trump wants large cuts to agriculture in his first proposed budget plan, and one can hear the howling across the nation. It is time to get your lobbying skills up and running.

Now, one has to realize that the President Trump’s proposed budget plan is just that – proposed. Our ranking Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) will be the first to tell you that he is the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and that is a powerful position. He will tell you that it is up to Congress to develop and approve the budget.

Of course, these days Congress is all across the board. A number of the members don’t represent or have agriculture in their districts, and so anything is a safe vote for them. Party lines or paying off the national debt may not be a priority for them, but getting re-elected is.

A lot of what the President is proposing will have to be worked out in the upcoming Farm Bill that has already had some hearings on. The plan predicts a balanced federal budget in 10 years according to a DTN Progressive Farmer article. Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, believes the country will generate higher economic growth than currently projected. 

Mulvaney said economic growth under Obama was poor at 1.9 percent, but said, “We believe we can get to three percent growth.” We hope he is right.

President Trump wants to spend these cuts to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies to increase spending to the Department of Defense by $25.4 billion in 2018, as well as a $4.3 billion increase in Veterans Affairs and a $2.8 billion increase for the Department of Homeland Security.

Mulvaney said this administration’s first official budget plan was written “through the eyes of the people paying taxes.”

He went on to say, “Spending is merited based on the number of people a program helps and whether that spending is justifiable to taxpayers. We simply cannot continue to measure our compassion by the amount of money we’ve spent.”

You know, America’s low cost of food is somewhat related to crop insurance availability and other commodity payments they receive. Dropping crop insurance availability, the amount of insurance and who can receive it may force the price of food up.

The proposed plan also wants to shift more USDA functions to user fees over time. For example, meatpackers would pay USDA $5.9 billion in user fees over 10 years for meat safety inspections, along with higher fees to the Animal and Plant Inspection Service, the Agriculture Marketing Service and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. This would collect a combined $700 million in higher user fees during the next 10 years.  I would guess these fees would ultimately cost this nation’s farmers and ranchers in the long run.

Don’t forget to attend the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) meetings in Buffalo June 6-9. It is the 125th anniversary of the Johnson County War, only this time the stock growers are showing up in the daytime, without horses and guns for a “peaceful” re-invasion. Great speakers, fun events and a good dose of history will make for a great time.  Get on the WSGA website to see all that is happening in Buffalo. It’s time to get away for a couple of days and let the grass grow. From golf to soil health to learning from others and having fun, we’ll see you there. 

Promoting beef to strangers is not an easy job, especially if you are a young lady somewhat new to the business. But to my surprise, I found some young ladies doing just that and a lot more.

For years, women involved in ranching or producing beef have been on the front lines in promoting beef, along with raising it. Most women involved, I always thought, were the innovators. Basically, if there was a problem, they thought of ways to solve it, and then they did it.

  In Wyoming, as across the nation, women involved in producing and promoting beef are doing a great job, and we don’t thank them enough. Those of us men recognize that our “better halves” are just better salespeople than we are. Promoting beef must just come naturally to the female side. They do it so easy.  President Trump should have had a member of the Wyoming CattleWomen at his side when he talked to the Chinese Premier on importing American beef into China. It would have been a slam dunk for American beef.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to visit with the Natrona County Cow-Belles. This group of ladies, besides having placed some great signs along the highways leading into Natrona County, work with their daughters and other young ladies, known as the Royal Court, to promote beef at various events, such as the College National Finals Rodeo. They have handouts on beef that help, but it is really their knowledge about beef and their confidence in going up to total strangers and introducing themselves to talk about beef that makes it successful.

Their moms and other Cow-Belles have spent time practicing with the young ladies on what to say and how to say it on speaking on beef issues. I would imagine the hard part is getting someone to stop and listen to them, but they are all dressed so nice and are so polite, they’ve won that battle.

Someday, I hope to see some of these young ladies in a leadership role with state and national cattle

women’s organizations and more importantly, state and national beef organizations. They are earning their stripes and we need to thank them and those who support them.

Around this time of the year, we at the Roundup are getting the word out for people to send in nominations and applications for the 2017 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame Award. We all know someone or a couple who needs to be honored for their work in agriculture.  They are down every road. Those nominated will be ranked by three judges from around the state. Our judges are independent and do not know who else is scoring applications. Then, I will tally up the rankings and the top persons or couples will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Nominees who are not selected will be eligible for two additional years.

Those chosen will be honored at the 2017 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame Picnic on the evening of Aug. 16 during the Wyoming State Fair.  The picnic, sponsored again by Wyoming Farm Credit Services of America, Cargill/Vigortone and the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, will be held at Riverside Park in Douglas. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso (both R-Wyo.) will present the awards. The application deadline is June 12th. The nomination application, along with a list of past awardees, are on the Roundup website or give us a call at the Roundup office and we will get them to you. It is a great way to recognize family, friends, or neighbors and business partners the way they so richly deserve. Thank you.