Summer meeting: NCBA CEO discusses policy and association goals
Reno, Nev. – The 2022 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting was held July 25-27 at the Nugget Casino Resort and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, American National CattleWomen, Inc. and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation were all present at the meeting.
These organizations discussed issues affecting the cattle industry, and NCBA policy committees and subcommittees met to discuss current developments and work on initiatives brought out at the Annual Cattle Industry Convention and to plan for the upcoming fiscal year.
During the meeting, NCBA CEO Colin Woodall shared an overview of the agenda, the policies discussed and expressed NCBA’s support for the Beef Checkoff.
“Each summer, we have our business meeting which is focused on just that – business,” said Woodall. “It doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of our annual convention, but that’s alright because we need people to really buckle down and focus on the business of running NCBA, and in particular, look at our policy.”
Woodall acknowledged the importance of policy updates being debated at the meeting.
“This is the opportunity to scrub our policy book to make sure our policies truly reflect the priorities of our membership in this association and to look at where we are lacking,” he said.
The cattle industry is constantly changing, and NCBA needs to be present and actively involved with these changes, he said.
“While our process as an association is very robust in addressing a lot of issues, it’s all based upon our policy book,” Woodall said.
He mentioned NCBA policy is developed and implemented by members.
“We are not an association where the staff make the decision on a position we are going to take, the members make the decision,” he said. “It’s this process we are going through here in Reno.”
Woodall said policy is debated in committees, passed on to the board and then passed out to NCBA members for review.
“It is very grassroots-focused – to be able to allow producers to sit in these committees, debate these issues and vote on these issues,” he said. “Every single NCBA member ultimately has a say in what NCBA policy is, and only after that process is done do we take it and advocate on behalf of our members in Washington D.C.”
During the meeting, the risk management for cow/calf producers and what NCBA can do to assist producers in the next farm bill was a highlighted topic.
“We need to make sure our priorities are dusted off, reviewed and ready to go,” Woodall said, in reference to the farm bill. “So here in Reno, probably one of our most important committees is looking at the work of the association.”
NCBA wants to ensure funding for the foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank is maintained, said Woodall. He acknowledged the vaccine bank as NCBA’s “big victory in the last farm bill.”
Conservation programs such as Conservation Reserve Program are at the top of NCBA’s list to maintain as well.
“Those programs utilized by cattle producers across the country are so extremely valuable and we need to make sure they stay valuable and well-funded programs,” Woodall said. “We can’t have those programs raided to fund other farm bill titles.”
He acknowledged farm bill titles have been “raided” in the past – noting the research title as the best example of funding trailing off over time.
“We need to make sure the research service, economic research service and land grant universities have the funding to do what they need to help us as an industry,” he said. “They’re doing great work on measures to prevent foreign animal diseases like foot-and-mouth disease from coming into the country. We need to maintain that.”
The Beef Checkoff has been around since it was included as part of the 1985 Farm Bill, said Woodall, and NCBA has seen the positive contributions from the checkoff throughout the years.
“NCBA is a huge supporter of the Beef Checkoff because of the great work it has done, we can argue it is probably one of the most successful self-help programs ever put out there,” he said.
Over the years, misinformation about the Beef Checkoff and NCBA’s involvement has been spread, Woodall noted.
“A lot of people think NCBA is the checkoff and we are not,” he said. “We are one of nine contractors to the Beef Checkoff.”
NCBA competes for the dollars in order to implement programs on behalf of the checkoff such as food safety research, the “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” campaign, working with different retailers, etc., said Woodall.
“Not only are we a contractor, but on our policy side of NCBA, we are a big supporter of the checkoff,” he said.
Woodall mentioned NCBA defends the Beef Checkoff.
“When Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) filed a lawsuit challenging the checkoff, especially focusing on the Montana Beef Council and other beef councils, NCBA, several of our beef council partners and several individual members stepped up and decided it was worth the fight,” he said. “It has been six years now and we finally received word from the Supreme Court at the end of June they have denied R-CALF USA’s petition to hear the case.”
“This was a huge victory in protecting the checkoff, but more importantly it shows the U.S. Department of Agriculture has adequate oversight over this program to make sure every dollar is being spent in accordance and compliance with the act,” Woodall said.
Kaitlyn Root is an editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.