Browsing Posts tagged packers

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

 

“Fighting for the U.S. ! Cattle Producer”

 

For Immediate Release                                                                         Contact: R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard

December 19, 2011                                                                                          Phone: 406-252-2516; r-calfusa@r-calfusa.com

 

8 Days of Opposition to USDA’s Proposed Mandatory Animal Identification Rule:  Part VI of VIII-Part Series

Billings, Mont. – As promised, R-CALF USA has launched an 8-day series of news releases to explain in detail many of the reasons our members vehemently oppose the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS’) proposed mandatory animal identification rule titled, Traceability for Livestock Moving Interstate (proposed rule).

With this effort, R-CALF USA hopes to bring to light many of the dangerous aspects associated with the proposed rule that R-CALF USA described in its voluminous comments submitted to APHIS on Dec. 9, 2011. Click here to view the entire 41-page comment submitted by R-CALF USA, which includes all of the group’s citations to specific references that are removed from this news release to save space.

Part VI:  APHIS’ Proposed Rule Is Unscientific and Discriminates Against Cattle Producers Unlucky Enough to Live in a State Where Major Packers do not Operate Packing Plants.

  1. APHIS’ Proposed Rule Ignores Differences in Risk Inherent to the United States’ Diverse Cattle Industry; Is a One-Size-Fits-All Solution to an Ill-Defined Problem; and, Contradicts APHIS’ Pledge to Manage Animal Health Using a Risk-Based Approach to Trade and Disease Management

APHIS has long advocated that trade-related disease management and domestic disease management be addressed using a scientific, risk-based approach, as opposed to, presumably, a precautionary-based, geopolitical-boundary-based, or one-size-fits-all approach.

APHIS stated in 1997 that its goal “was to create a mechanism to establish regionalized, risk-based import requirements that are consistent with obligations of VS [APHIS Veterinary Services] under the World Trade Organization’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (EXHIBIT 20).” (Emphasis added.)

As discussed in Part V of this series, the Deputy Administrator of APHIS represented that APHIS was opposed to the voluntary Beef Export Verification program from its inception. He claimed at the time of its inception that trade decisions should be risk-based and stated in regard to the Beef Export Verification program:

It could have been avoided if there were a more practical, risk-based approach to trade with countries, such as Canada, that have had only isolated occurrences of BSE and have responded aggressively with appropriate mitigation measures. (EXHIBIT 19).

In a July 2007 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding APHIS’ efforts to implement the national animal identification system (NAIS), the GAO stated that APHIS officials told GAO that the agency did not expect that equal levels of involvement in the NAIS across all species “will be necessary, and that new, risk-based participation benchmarks for premises registration, animal ID, and animal tracking may be developed accordingly, which could vary by species.” (EXHIBIT 21, p. 13).

In a July 2009 report describing APHIS’ action plan to address bovine TB, APHIS explained it was proposing to replace the current split-state status system used to address bovine TB with a risk-based approach that imposes movement restrictions that associate with a zone rather than an entire state (EXHIBIT 22, p. 8).

In a September 2010 concept paper for a new approach to address brucellosis, APHIS stated its new approach to managing brucellosis would “employ a flexible risk-based disease management system (EXHIBIT 23, p. 14).”

The foregoing discussion clearly reveals APHIS’ ongoing intention of using a risk-based approach to trade as well as for managing domestic disease issues. The proposed rule, however, is the antithesis to a risk-based approach to either trade or disease management. This is because the proposed rule expressly targets all livestock that are imported and exported among and between each and every geopolitical, state boundary, i.e. it targets livestock engaged in trade between and among each of the 50 states. Thus, the imposition of the proposed rule would be an economic burden on all domestic trade in livestock between and among each state, regardless of the degree of risk associated with livestock from any state.

Not only is the proposed rule void of any risk-based consideration, but also, APHIS’ implementation of the proposed rule would constitute unfair and discriminatory treatment against domestic cattle producers when compared to foreign cattle producers. This is because domestic cattle producers that must cross a state boundary to access a slaughter plant would be required to incur the cost of APHIS’ mandatory animal identification scheme as a precondition to marketing their products into the U.S. beef supply chain. Foreign cattle producers, however, are not required by APHIS, or any other agency of USDA, to participate in any mandatory animal identification scheme as a precondition for marketing their products into the U.S. beef supply chain, regardless ! of whether they must ship cattle across provinces, states, or departments within their respective countries to access a slaughter plant that is eligible to export beef into the United States.

Thus, the proposed rule would financially disadvantage certain U.S. cattle producers who have no option other than to cross a state line to access a slaughter facility while the U.S. cattle producers’ competitor – foreign cattle producers – remain unencumbered by any U.S. requirement to meet the same standards as a precondition for marketing the beef commodity in the U.S. beef supply chain.

Further, the proposed rule discriminates against U.S. cattle producers who must cross state boundaries to access a U.S. slaughter plant when compared to U.S. cattle producers that reside in a state with one or more slaughter plants. Because only those producers who must cross state lines to access a slaughter plant would be compelled to bear the cost of an APHIS-mandated animal identification scheme, U.S. producers who do not need to cross state lines to access a slaughter plant would be accorded an economic advantage in the U.S. beef supply chain by not having to comply with APHIS’ mandatory animal identification scheme.

The effect of the proposed rule, therefore, would be to financially discriminate against every U.S. cattle producer who is not lucky enough to conduct his or her cattle business in one of the few states in which the handful of remaining meatpackers have decided to set-up a slaughter plant. For example, If Cattle Feeder A is equidistant from a slaughter plant as Cattle Feeder B, but Cattle Feeder A must cross a state boundary to access the slaughter plant, then APHIS’ proposed rule has accorded Cattle Feeder B upwards of a $27.00 per head financial advantage in the marketplace because APHIS’ proposed rule would not require Cattle Feeder B to pay the mandatory cost of identifying cattle.

APHIS’ proposed rule is oblivious to the fact that known disease reservoirs (including wildlife and foreign countries) and locations where cattle are comingled are the most likely and second most likely, respectively, source of a potential disease outbreak. The location where breeding-age cattle are comingled with known disease reservoirs and with imported cattle should be the origination point for any form identification program, not at the point where a farmer or rancher ships cattle interstate. An interstate shipment of breeding-aged cows from a closed herd is least likely to be the subject of a disease investigation. USDA’s proposed rule completely ignores this fundamental and science-based principle. Only by issuing best practices guidelines and working with the states to assist them in developing a program that works best for t! hem can USDA even hope to achieve a science-based and functional disease-traceback program for the entire United States.

The foregoing discussion demonstrates that APHIS’ proposed rule, which imposes a requirement to incur the cost of mandatory animal identification based solely on whether livestock cross a state boundary, which requirement is oblivious to whether or not the livestock originate from an area of negligible risk or high risk for any disease, would financially advantage some cattle producers while financially disadvantaging many others. As a direct consequence, the proposed rule would interfere with domestic commerce by financially discriminating against cattle producers based solely on where they live in the United States, and those that would be discriminated against when compared to domestic cattle producers also would be discriminated against when compared to foreign cattle producers.

R-CALF USA encourages readers to share this information with their neighbors, state animal health officials, and their members of Congress. 

 

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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com  or, call 406-252-2516.   

 

The Last Frontier II

By Vaughn Meyer – Nov 5, 2010

Throughout history “The Last Frontier” has been associated with the settling of the West during the 19th century. As children this time frame of history was narrated through history books and multi generation family recollections. Probably some of the most vivid attributes to this period were the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Indian – Whiteman wars, the large cattle barons, huge cattle drives and our very own roughrider president, Teddy Roosevelt.

Near the end of the 1800s we witnessed a new policy of Homesteading which introduced the concept of family production agriculture. This introduction of family ownership and management of agriculture created more incentive for individual achievement and our industry flourished. As agriculture grew it stimulated creativity on the national level which economically and industrially established the U.S. as a world leader.

However as the number of family farms and livestock numbers increased and competition for our product decreased, Congress realizing the need for competition and fair markets for our livestock drafted the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921. As the 20th century drew to a close it became apparent to livestock producers that without tools for the enforcement of the P&S Act we still remained at the mercy of the anti competitive practices of the packers.

However during the 2008 Farm Bill debate our Congressional leaders also became aware of the need for rules to enforce competition in the market place and the need to restore fairness within our industry. They commanded the USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) under the leadership of GIPSA Administrator Mr. J Dudley Butler to draft rules to enforce the P&S Act. Nearly two years later Mr. Butler and his staff have addressed the congressional mandate and proposed new rules known as the GIPSA Rules.

As with all new game rules which are directed at leveling the playing field the opponents are those who possessed an unchecked advantage over other key players. In this case the packing industry, through its affiliated voices of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the American Meat Institute (AMI), has realized a 90 year old reign over the production side of our industry. They are squealing louder than stuck hogs and labeling Administrator Butler and his GIPSA rules as the destruction of the industry.

In a recent attempt to degrade Mr. Butler’s motives they portray him as a litigation happy trial lawyer who is attempting to drum up business for his post GIPSA years. Mr. Butler and his boss, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, have been accused of being indifferent for not considering the request by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and 114 other congressmen to delay the GIPSA rule with another economic analysis study. They also connect him to a few so called “other liberal – leaning cattle organizations”.

What critics of Administrator Butler fail to mention is that similar to the other 955,000 livestock producers Mr. J. Dudley Butler is a producer from Mississippi and a former ranch partner from Wyoming. As a fellow producer from S.D. maybe we should look at the producer side of this GIPSA Administrator like:

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler possesses compassion for his fellow livestock producers as he has witnessed the individual sorrow and defeat of the 370,000 producers and their spouses and children as they lost their livelihoods!

MAYBE… J Dudley Butler has witnessed the hunger and suffering of children in other countries who have insufficient production agriculture!

MAYBE… J Dudley Butler has experienced first hand the destruction of family enterprise hog and poultry farming and wishes to prevent the same coercion and threats from raping the cattle industry!

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler foresees the 20% drop in producer carcass share over the past 20 years is correlated to the smallest U.S. cow herd since 1952 which will have a profound effect on the future safety and procurement of our nation’s food supply!

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler noticed that Senate Ag Chairman Collin Peterson and his 114 colleges were the recipients of over $48.6 million of Agri Pac campaign contributions!

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler has observed the past 90 years of unchecked pilfering of our industry by the packing industry and affiliates and he realizes a change to honest moral values is necessary for the survival of agriculture!

JUST MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler notices the similarities of the “Last Frontier” of the 1800’s and the “Last Frontier” of the present beef industry which ironically is precipitated by the same packing industry. Possible he also recognizes that a United States without a viable livestock industry to spur prosperity in our cities may well become the “Last Frontier” of the world!

In summary, Mr. Paul Engler of Cactus Feeders testified in Ft. Collins that as a child he bought his first calves to feed and today he feeds millions annually. Just maybe Mr. J Dudley Butler, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and US Attorney General Eric Holder realize that that would not be possible in today’s broken market system. Just maybe they and hundreds of thousands of fellow producers are attempting to salvage a market system that will provide similar opportunities for future generations!

As livestock producers we can restore U.S. family agriculture and rebuild our rural communities through comments of support for the GIPSA rule at comments.gipsa@usda.gov

Or Fax to 202-690-2173, or at the Federal e-rulemaking portal http://www.regulations.gov

Thank you.

Vaughn Meyer, a concerned livestock producer

Reva, SD

WHY FARM PUBLICATIONS AND FARM BROADCASTERS WON’T TELL THE TRUTH
By Derry Brownfield
November 2, 2010

NewsWithViews.com

As Ben Roberts so eloquently stated in his book, Past, Present, and How We Can Survive For The Future in the Beef Cattle Business, “Five generations of cattlemen have lived through repeated successions of boom and bust. The ups and downs were serious problems in the past. Today, they cause even greater hardships, and cattlemen are squarely against the need to smooth out the problems we have in the beef cattle industry.” As far back as the 1860’s, four families, Swift, Armour, Hammond and Morris, launched the meat packing business and soon found that by working together they could control the meat market to their mutual advantage. The meat packing industry and the way packers secure their livestock has changed very little in almost 150 years. Today only four companies control the beef business: Tyson – Cargill – JBS Swift – National Beef. Today’s system of marketing slaughter-ready cattle is rigged and the cattle producers are abused.

In 1921 Congress realized that livestock farmers didn’t have a FAIR marketplace and passed the Packers & Stockyards Act. This 89 year old law has never been fully enforced. Recently the United States Department of Agriculture, along with the Department of Justice, decided to level the playing field between the meat industry and the livestock and poultry producers, to allow farmers and ranchers to receive a fair price for their production.

On August 27th, the USDA and the DOJ held a workshop type meeting in Ft. Collins, Colorado where the public could be heard. Approximately 2000 farmers, ranchers and consumers packed the meeting place. During the all day session many voices were heard and the meat industry was there in full force to discourage the USDA and the DOJ from doing their job. The agricultural (farm) news media, just like ABC – NBC – CNN and the other secular news companies, is controlled by their advertisers. The big spenders – the multinational corporations – control what goes out over the air, what is printed and who receives the information.

R-CALF President, Dr. Max Thornsberry, pointed out how the farm publications tried to “down play” the Ft. Collins meeting and discourage farmers and ranchers from attending. Dr. Thornsberry quoted: Beef Magazine, “The meeting in Ft. Collins will inevitably be looked back on as a colossal waste of time and energy; it will do nothing to affect real opportunities like building beef demand. The meeting will be a sideshow, but the rules and their effects are anything but.”

Beef Today reported, “They seem to be shooting into the wind. I bet there’s some of that very kind of shooting at Ft. Collins next week.” Drover’s Journal stated, “The parade of cowboys from both sides to Ft. Collins is wasted effort and wasted resources.” Dr. Max stated, “These editorials attempted to discourage attendance or draw attention away from the joint hearing on competition in animal agriculture, before the meeting even took place.”

For over 40 years I was a member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters and the multinational corporations were many of my accounts. Up until the last decade I considered most of those farm supply companies to be honest, reputable and fair minded businesses. I’m sure there are still a few honest corporations out there who really want to help their customers, but a majority of the CEOs of those multinationals look only at the bottom line of the balance sheet.

It’s one thing that so many of these large corporations mistreat the people they rely on for their profits, but the fact that the agriculture media promotes them is pathetic. Just as the farm publications won’t “write” the truth about these companies, the farm broadcasters won’t “tell” the truth. Many of the writers and talkers don’t know any better, but the majority are afraid to speak out for fear of losing the “advertising dollars.” Since I receive no advertising dollars from Tyson, Cargill, Monsanto or any of the biggies, gaining enough income to stay on the air becomes a problem, even so, I will continue to inform my listeners as to what is taking place.

These corporations send audio messages, news releases and interviews to broadcasters and publishers who use them exactly as the public relations firms have them written. My conscience will not allow me to be a spokesperson for an organization that is destroying American farm life, which made this nation great.

Dr. Max has an excellent idea. He says: “I think to be an editor of one of these magazines it should be a requirement to have to feed two pens of fat cattle a year, and to independently market them.” This should hold true for farm broadcasters as well. I’ve been farming since I was 16 years old and in 62 years of buying, selling and being taken advantage of, I have learned a lot. It’s sad that the bulk of the farm media have become nothing more than choir members that sing the lyrics written by their advertisers.

(c) 2010 Derry Brownfield – All Rights Reserved

Derry Brownfield was born in 1932 and grew up during the depression. He is a farmer and a broadcaster. Derry attended the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees. He taught Vocational Agriculture several years before going to work as a Marketing Specialist with the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Derry served as Director of the Kansas City Livestock Market Foundation at the Kansas City Stockyard prior to establishing himself in farm broadcasting.

Derry started farming when he was 16 years old and received the Future Farmers of America State Farmer degree in 1949. Since that time the Brownfield Farm has grown to over 1000 acres maintaining a herd of 200 registered Charolias cows.

In 1972, Derry and his partner established the Brownfield Network which now serves 250 radio stations throughout the Midwest with news and market information. In 1994, Derry started his own syndicated radio talk show and he is one of the most popular radio talk show hosts in America. The Derry Brownfield Show can be heard on approximately 80 radio stations in 23 states. With his entertaining sense of humor and witty commentary he has captured audiences for over 30 years. His ability to present an informative talk show while being light and colorful is why he has a large loyal listening audience.

Derry Brownfield is a practical farmer, a practical business man and a very entertaining speaker. He travels extensively throughout the country speaking about his common-sense point of view.

Web Site: www.derrybrownfield.com

E-Mail: derrybrownfield@learfield.com

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

“Fighting for the U.S. Cattle Producer”

For Immediate Release                                      Contact: R-CALF USA Communications Coordinator Shae Dodson-Chambers

Oct. 20, 2010                                                                                                        Phone: 406-672-8969; sdodson@r-calfusa.com

R-CALF Applauds USDA Decision to Proceed with GIPSA Rule;

Calls NCBA Attack on USDA Deceitful, Irresponsible

Billings, Mont. Today, U.S. Agriculture Vilsack reportedly declined the request by 115 members of Congress to complete a comprehensive economic analysis of the proposed competition rule (GIPSA rule) published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). In a news release also issued today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) called the Secretary’s actions “irresponsible” and asserted that the GIPSA rule “…could very likely result in financial devastation to a critical part of our country’s economy…”

“R-CALF USA fully supports the Secretary’s decision,” said R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry. “The call for a new economic analysis by less than a third of the House and NCBA was, pure and simple, an effort to delay – if not completely derail – the long-awaited GIPSA rule. NCBA could not be more deceptive in its attack on the Secretary given the Secretary had already granted NCBA an additional 90-day comment period in response to NCBA’s July 8, 2010, letter to USDA that asked for an extension of the comment period so NCBA could perform its own economic analysis.”

NCBA’s request stated, “Therefore, we need (NCBA needs) additional time to adequately perform a full legal and economic analysis on the impacts of this rule.”

“Now that NCBA received the accommodation it requested, it has suddenly changed horses in order to achieve an even longer delay in the rulemaking process,” said Thornsberry.

“NCBA’s allegation that the GIPSA rule will cause harm to the economy is absolutely baseless and irresponsible,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. “NCBA claims outright that the GIPSA rule will hurt producers because it could result in packers’ deciding to stop participating in marketing agreements with producers, which, NCBA claims, would result in all cattle being valued at an average price, regardless of quality.”

Bullard said this is evidence that NCBA is carrying the packers’ water by conveying the packers’ hollow threats directly to producers.

“This is the same sort of threat the packers made during the rulemaking for country-of-origin labeling (COOL) when packers threatened they would require producers to pay for third-party certification of origin claims, require producers to make their records available to the packers for ‘random producer audits,’ and pass all the costs associated with COOL onto producers,” he said. “Those were hollow threats then, and these are hollow threats today.

“There is absolutely no language in the GIPSA rule that would prohibit value-added or other legitimate marketing agreements between producers and packers,” Bullard continued. “These programs benefit packers as much as they benefit the producer, and the only way you could believe this NCBA nonsense is if there was absolutely no competition between packers for fed cattle or in the wholesale beef market.”

He pointed to the 2007 multi-million dollar study that Congress directed GIPSA to complete, which states in part, “Packers also identified AMAs (alternative marketing arrangements) as an important element of branded products and meeting consumer demand by producing a higher quality, more consistent product.”

Bullard said packers will not forgo the improved efficiency and profitability they gain through value-based marketing arrangements simply because the GIPSA rule would require them to maintain records that explain why price adjustments, including premiums and discounts, were applied to a producer’s cattle.

“We are dismayed by the outright scare tactics employed by NCBA and their meatpacking partners,” Thornsberry said. “But, we are pleased that USDA is not bowing to NCBA’s unscrupulous antics and is proceeding to finalize the GIPSA rule. In this rulemaking process, everyone has been given a full five months to submit their analyses and concerns, and these submissions will enable GIPSA to respond to and address any assertions of benefits and costs that were not already addressed in the proposed GIPSA rule that was made publicly available June 22.

“We’re not about trying to scare producers into opposing the most significant rulemaking our industry has seen in decades and one that holds promise to reverse the ongoing erosion of competition within our industry,” Thornsberry concluded. “Instead, we want producers to take a critical look at the rule itself and to formulate thoughtful comments that they can submit to USDA, which is how we can ensure that the rule will do what needs to be done to prevent the highly concentrated meatpackers from abusing their inherent market power.”

R-CALF USA encourages producers to read the rule, along with R-CALF USA’s summary of how the rule would impact the U.S. cattle industry by visiting http ://www.r-calfusa.com/Competition/gipsaRule.htm, and also encourages producers to submit their own written comments to GIPSA before the comment deadline of Nov. 22, 2010.

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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounder! s, and/or feedlot owners. R-CALF USA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALF USA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.

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