Cattlemen lead the industry in Nashville
The Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Trade Show was Aug. 10-12 in Nashville, Tenn. The theme this year – Tune in to Tennessee – was fully embraced at the three-day event.
NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane joined the Beltway Beef podcast to give an overview of what the 2021 convention offered cattlemen.
“What a fantastic opportunity to finally get together as an industry after all of these months of COVID-19 and uncertainty,” Lane begins. “This is the opportunity for producers representing affiliates from California to New York to come with their best and brightest ideas and debate them with their peers in the industry.”
With discussion from the convention, NCBA leaders in Washington, D.C. set guidelines, organization policy and form marching orders to chase after more White House wins for the cattle industry.
The overall purpose of the Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show is to bring cattle producers and policy leaders together to fight for and improve the U.S. cattle industry. The convention participants were busy with three days of meetings and discussion.
Lane shares some of the hot topics at this year’s event included the cattle markets, regulations and concepts from the Biden administration, climate change and celebrating the good work within the industry. Ideally, after convention, policymakers will be able to advocate for the cattle industry and benefit cattle producers across the country.
To organize discussion, several committees held meetings in Nashville.
“We have the Live Market Committee, which was a hot ticket this year given all of the conversations we have been having in this space,” says Lane, giving insight to each of the committees.
He continues, “Environmental Management and Property Rights Committee is another very important committee that talks through environmental issues, water issues, species management issues and climate issues that are so top of mind for our producers.”
To shine light on the cattlemen in the West, Lane shares, “Federal Lands is always a hotly attended committee, which talks through all of those federal grazing issues across the West.”
Other cattle industry convention committees include the International Trade Committee, which focuses on building up beef products overseas. The Tax and Credit Committee discuss debt and paying the bills, while the Ag and Food Policy Committee covers food safety and conservation.
“The Cattle Health and Well-being Committee never has a shortage of issues in their space either,” Lane says, sharing another popular committee. “Whether it is traceability or use of antibiotics, there are tons of issues in this space that are critical for producers.”
Each of these committees work together to move the beef industry in the right direction with discussion between policy leaders from Washington, D.C. and cattle producers from across the country.
Lane shares his thoughts behind the NCBA’s committees, saying, “There is some very robust policy with producers who are really committed to these issues and are out in the weeds as to how we move this industry forward.”
In the policy work discussed in Tennessee, regional cattlemen can work together to improve their area. Similarly, differences between sectors within the supply chain can be discussed to create progress. Lane says this is the beauty of NCBA’s national convention.
While cattle industry leaders were excited to get to Tennessee, there were months of preparation done by cattlemen from coast to coast. NCBA’s grassroots mission stirred up discussion from local producers to advocate on the national level.
“Over the last few months, we have been extremely blessed to be back out on the road at state conventions and talking to producers in their backyard, addressing their concerns but also watching the policy process play out across the country,” shares Lane.
Policy discussed at the national convention started at county and state meetings.
“County cattlemen’s associations debate policy that is important in their backyard, then they bring it to their state meetings,” says Lane, explaining the grassroot process. “They pass something there and intend to bring it to NCBA, where we see it materialize in our policies at the national convention, and other states from around the country can put their input into the process.”
The glory of convention is bringing cattlemen from across the U.S. together on different policy.
Lane mentions the end of the cattlemen’s direct contribution, saying “Then, the new ideas get fully vetted through the policy process and truly gives us a snapshot of where the whole industry is on the issue.”
Next, NCBA leaders continue the cattlemen’s hard work at the capital.
“When we take it to Washington, D.C. and march to Capitol Hill with it, we know we have a policy that really has the blessing of the association and its members nationwide.”
Ultimately, policy coming out of this year’s convention will incorporate viewpoints from cattlemen across the country as well as policymakers from Washington, D.C.
Savannah Peterson is an intern for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.