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National Cattlemen’s Beef Association provides update from annual convention

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

CattleCon 24 – an annual convention hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) where those involved in the beef industry have the opportunity to learn, network, advocate, conduct business and have fun – wrapped up in Orlando, Fla. on Feb. 2. 

During a recent episode of the association’s Beltway Beef podcast, dated Feb. 8, NCBA Chief Executive Officer Colin Woodall provided some highlights from the national convention. 

“We had an excellent CattleCon down in Orlando, Fla.,” he begins. “We had over 7,500 individuals joining us for a really great show, with over eight acres of show exhibitors, all of our policy committees, good entertainment and a whole section of Universal Studios to explore. Everybody who was there had a great time.” 

Beef market outlook

Naturally, Woodall notes one of the most common topics of discussion at CattleCon24 was the beef market outlook. He points out many producers are optimistic about cattle prices, yet equally concerned about the state of the national herd.

“We have the lowest domestic cattle herd we’ve had since 1951, and it has a lot of people concerned,” he explains. 

According to CattleFax, many states received adequate moisture throughout the past fall and winter months and are set to see more well into the spring.

“It looks like we are going to change back to a La Niña weather pattern, and one of the things that might happen is a lot of cattle country going back into a drought situation,” Woodall says. “We have to have some consistent moisture that we can count on or it’s going to be hard for us to regrow the herd.” 

He adds, “Everyone is asking when we will start to regrow. Demand is good and prices are good. We just need the moisture and the grass.”

Policy priorities

Another popular topic of discussion at NCBA’s convention was government policy. 

“On the national stage, it is all about the election, and while Congress has a lot of things they ought to be doing, they just want to be back home, going to town halls, parades and fairs to shake hands because they want to get reelected,” Woodall states. 

He reiterates this year’s upcoming elections include more than just the presidential race, including elections for every seat in the House of Representatives, as well as for 33 seats in the Senate. 

“For U.S. cattle producers, the makeup and balance of power in the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate has a huge impact on where we go and how successful we are in advocating for our policy priorities. So, NCBA’s Political Action Committee is going to remain a big part of our activities this year,” Woodall shares. 

Some of this committee’s activities include raising money to help elect members of Congress who support the nation’s beef industry and working on the upcoming farm bill. 

“We don’t know if we are going to be able to get a farm bill done, given all of the other struggles Congress is facing,” he says. “But, we have made a very strong commitment to the chairwoman of the Senate Ag Committee and the chairman of the House Ag Committee, as well as leadership on both sides, that if there is a window to help with the farm bill, we are going to get it done because it contains many of our priorities including the foot and mouth disease vaccine bank.” 

Additionally, during CattleCon24, NCBA was focused on bringing producers’ attention to the 2017 tax package, which is set to expire in 2025 and includes the Death Tax. 

Woodall notes the association is in the process of rebuilding a coalition made up of ag groups and small businesses who have a common goal – to pass their operation down to the next generation. 

“We all know the Death Tax is one of the biggest hurdles in making this happen,” he says. “We have already introduced Death Tax repeal legislation, so we are going to continue to push for that. And, if we can’t get a repeal, we are going to make sure we have high enough exemptions to be able to protect the majority of those in agriculture so most people won’t have to worry about this tax liability.” 

He continues, “Food security is national security, and the only way we have food security is if we have farmers and ranchers on the land. We need to make sure we have a tax policy in place to help promote people staying on the land. This is what we will be fighting for.” 

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

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