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Grit and Perseverance: Beef industry continues to fight ad come out on top, despite continuous attacks

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Cattle producers and other industry stakeholders gathered in Central Wyoming for the 2023 Wyoming Stock Growers Association Winter Roundup Convention and Trade Show, held Dec. 4-6 at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper. 

With the overarching theme of “Engaging in Your Industry,” the event provided a full schedule of committee meetings, educational programming, guest speakers, award luncheons, a legislative update, remarks from Wyoming’s Congressional delegation and a visit from special guests Gov. Mark Gordon and First Lady Jennie Gordon. 

On Dec. 5, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Chief Executive Officer Colin Woodall headlined the morning session, sharing good news from the beef industry – despite a host of attacks and challenges, the nation’s cattle producers continue to come out on top. 

“We have shown over and over again when we come together and put the squeeze on lawmakers, we can win, even in tough environments,” Woodall stated. 

Winning the alternative meat war  

To begin, Woodall noted excitement surrounding alternative meat has waned, and consumers continue to eat real beef. 

“When we look at the history of civilization, we don’t find cave paintings of salads. We find cave paintings of meat that has been consumed, and humankind still continues to do this,” he said. 

“I think the greatest show of this over the past few years is looking at what happened to Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods – two companies that came out and made it very clear they wanted to end our existence,” he added. 

Woodall noted these alternative, plant-based meat companies raised billions of dollars to get their products into the marketplace. 

However, he shared Impossible is currently laying off employees, Beyond’s stock market price continues to drop and Burger King, the first big franchise to offer alternative meat on their menu, recently announced they will not be expanding their plant-based menu items beyond the existing Impossible Whopper. 

“Americans have made it very clear they don’t want alternative meat,” Woodall said. “They want what we provide as cattle producers – beef done the way God intended.” 

With the war won on the plant-based front, Woodall noted NCBA has turned their focus to lab-grown and cell-cultured products. Currently, there are no lab-grown or cell-cultured beef products on the market, but there are a few chicken products. 

According to Woodall, these companies must receive a certificate of inspection from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in order to sell their product, which, he pointed out, is a win for the industry.

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not inspect their regulated entities everyday like USDA does, and for NCBA this is not acceptable, especially for companies using animal cells in their processes,” he stated. 

Woodall continued, “Although we have one victory on our hands by getting USDA inspection in place, we still have work to do to make sure labeling of these products is the way we want it. We need to make sure it protects us and it is very clear to the consumer exactly what they are getting.” 

Victories made in water, climate change conflicts

Woodall explained the reason companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, as well as other anti-agriculture activists, try so hard to disparage the beef industry is because of supposed environmental impacts.

However, he pointed out the flaws in this strategy, as most scientific facts stand firmly on the beef producer’s side. 

“Even the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) numbers clearly say greenhouse gas emissions from the beef industry are only responsible for two percent, and we are not going to change the course of climate change one way or the other with two percent,” he said, noting this has started to resonate with many individuals, including those on Capitol Hill.

Woodall shared NCBA is working to maintain the industry’s position on being recognized as part of the climate change solution, instead of the problem. 

“We have to tell our story in a way which resonates with society today,” he explained. “We have to pitch it as technology – a solar-powered, mobile technology that doesn’t use fossil fuels, self-replicates and can turn foodstuff with no value to humankind into high-quality protein.”

Additionally, Woodall noted the industry finally captured a win in the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) battle, which has been ongoing for over 20 years.

“Thanks to ruling by the Supreme Court and a new rule from EPA and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, we have a WOTUS proposal which actually protects our private property rights and water bodies on our operations,” he stated.

New House speaker is a success

Lastly, Woodall noted the ag industry also found some success when the new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) was elected. 

“While everyone else was asking who Mike Johnson was, we were giving him a call to say congratulations because we have known him since he was a first candidate for the House of Representatives,” Woodall said. 

Woodall explained Johnson represents the largest cattle district in the state of Louisiana, so he has always held agriculture in high regard. He also noted Johnson has been an advocate for cattle producers, and NCBA is confident he will continue to do so. 

“He has already done a lot to help us position the cattle industry for success as we go into the second year of this Congress, so we have a lot of faith in the House speaker and what he is going to be able to do to help finalize upcoming bills, including the new farm bill,” he said. 

Woodall concluded his presentation by sharing NCBA’s priorities for the upcoming farm bill, as well as some challenges the beef industry continues to face. 

Keep an eye out for the second half of Woodall’s presentation in next week’s edition of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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