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NCBA provides updates on current policies, markets, future work

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Washington, D.C. – During a press conference held Dec. 21, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane provided an update on policy changes in the Biden administration affecting agriculture. 

During the call, Lane positively reflected on the work done by the NBCA in the last year and their future plans going into 2022. 

NBCA work in 2021

“Sitting here reflecting back on the first of the year with the Biden administration, I think we’re pretty pleased with the progress NBCA has made,” shared Lane. “First and foremost, we have to start with where we are ending, which is with the Build Back Better Initiative and some of the large, aggressive spending plans which were advanced by this administration pretty quickly as they took off in January 2021.” 

Lane noted NBCA spent a lot of time during the past year educating voters on Capitol Hill, consumers around the country and others about the multi-trillion-dollar spending packet, which could negatively affect cattle producers around the country. 

Several of the policies proposed recommended changes in the stepped-up basis, which allows people who inherit property to file lower capital gains taxes, utilize higher estate and gift tax limits and the addition of 40 percent capital gains. All these could negatively affect producers’ ability to pass on operations to the next generation in the next 15 years, explained Lane.

“I’m really proud of the work NCBA did leading this charge in Washington, D.C., not just for the cattle industry and agriculture, but really small business owners throughout the industry,” shared Lane. “We know NCBA is going to have to continue to focus on these issues moving into 2022 as we see whatever the next version is of the Build Back Better initiative might be that Democrats are working to put together after the first of the year.” 

In addition to NBCA’s work, hundreds of other groups stood with the cattle industry and together provided pushback on these proposals, he explained. 

“We’re really proud of the work and the effort that was undertaken,” he said.

Changes on Capitol Hill 

Another area of focus for NCBA was on sustainability and climate goals. 

Earlier this fall, NBCA announced and solidified the industry’s commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability goals with the release of their U.S. Cattle Industry Sustainability Goals. 

The goals included: demonstrate climate neutrality of U.S. cattle production by 2040; create and enhance opportunities which result in a quantifiable increase in producer profitability and economic sustainability by 2025; enhance trust in cattle producers as responsible stewards of their animals and resources; expand educational opportunities and continue to improve the industry’s workforce safety and well-being.

In previous years, administrations have viewed grazing and the cattle industry as a threat, but today have embraced these practices as a climate solution, explained Lane. 

“This is a real step for NCBA and I think [NBCA’s sustainability goals] have been well received in Washington by policy makers,” said Lane. “NBCA looks forward to continuing to push forward because there is tremendous number of opportunities for producers who are already producing the highest quality beef in the world with the lowest environmental footprint, and to continue to not only make progress on that front, but find ways to connect with consumers who are looking for new opportunities to benefit in their businesses from the good work that is already being done throughout the industry.”

Markets and cattle prices

Another large focus for NBCA in the past year has been on cattle markets and prices, and the components affecting producers and the products they produce throughout the supply chain into the packers and retail sectors, explained Lane. 

“NBCA continues to have robust dialogue with the administration on things like packing capacity, as we monitor some of those funds that are going to be coming out soon,” said Lane. “We need to make sure we’re looking for opportunities that create new packing capacity in areas which are underserved now, and we need to make sure new packing capacity is created in a way that is generating new opportunities for producers to generate more value for their product, and put more of that beef dollar back on the ranch rather than further down the supply chain.”

There is a tremendous amount of demand both nationally and around the world, and NBCA is working to capitalize on this demand further into 2022. 

NBCA is also looking to focus on topics such as price discovery and providing producers the best option for them to market their cattle. The association will continue their conversation on price discovery Feb. 1-3, at the Cattle Industry Convention and NBCA Trade Show in Houston, Texas, noted Lane. 

Rulemaking in 2022

Rulemaking has been a big focus with the current administration, shared Lane. 

“We’re seeing a lot of rollback of Trump administration rules,” Lane said. “It’s disappointing to see some of those rules labeled as problematic, simply because of the administration they came out of when those of us who sat at the table when those rulemakings were done know full well there was strong representation from all different kinds of groups.” 

Going forward, NBCA is intending to engage aggressively in future rulemaking changes.

Foreign markets

There has been a dramatic increase in foreign markets, explained Lane. 

“The U.S. is now exporting nearly $10 billion a year to foreign markets,” he said. “This growth has been unbelievable.” 

Conversations will continue about opening up additional markets with access to places across the world. 

“As the industry looks towards the next few years, NBCA wants to see market trade growth and capacity build, so the industry can stay in the position to keep the world provided with U.S. protein, which consumers love so much,” concluded Lane.

Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to 

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