Beef Buzz News
Cory Booker's Assault on Modern Animal Agriculture Comes from the HSUS Playbook- Colin Woodall Says That is No SurpriseWed, 18 Dec 2019 13:33:47 CST
New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker has called for radical changes and harsh oversight against modern production agriculture multiple times in recent years- and earlier this week unveiled legislation that he contends will revitalize independent family farm agriculture and ensure a level playing field for all farmers and ranchers. The measure is called the The Farm System Reform Act of 2019. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays talked shortly after with the CEO of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Colin Woodall about this latest proposal.
Woodall says Booker, a self-proclaimed vegan, has joined forces with the Humane Society of the United States to speak out against modern agriculture. Woodall says he's not surprised, "It's not a surprise here when you look at the history of Senator Booker in his attack on animal agriculture. In particular, you know he's a vegan, he has that choice, but he's also decided as a vegan, he knows how to best feed the world. And that means attacking modern agriculture, as we know it. In particular, he wants to prevent any future permitting of concentrated animal feeding operations. And then he wants to take all the ones that currently exist and phase them out before 2040. Now you have to also keep in mind that he has a very long-standing relationship with Humane Society of United States, HSUS. So it's not surprising that he's doing his bidding, and of course, he is a presidential candidate, so he has a big bully pulpit right now."
Booker has also spoken out about the mandatory country of origin labeling. But Woodall says he doesn't understand the big picture, "Again it's Senator Booker not really understanding what goes on on the ground. Mandatory country of origin labeling has been the perceived panacea for saving all of us in the cattle business for years now, and we know better. It was the law of the land for six and a half years. And we never saw any direct correlation to better prices for cattle producers. It was a mandatory, government-run program that was basically set to only market beef, and it did not work. As such, it actually threatened the relationship that we had with Canada and Mexico because the WTO case that was filed. So I think it's just another great example of where Senator Booker is listening to the detractor's groups, and he's listening to groups like HSUS."
In the past, Booker has gone after commodity check-offs as well. Woodall says the Senator doesn't even really know what the checkoff is, "He's one of the leading sponsors of the farm bill amendments that attacks the check-offs. He has new legislation that attacks the checkoff. Again, he's doing this at the behest of HSUS. HSUS understands that the checkoff has given our industry a lot of power to promote what we do as an industry, to promote the benefits of beef, and to also really show that what HSUS claims to be the environmental impact of our industry is not. So they know it's extremely powerful and what they're trying to do is take that tool away from us by getting senators like senator Booker to come out and oppose it. Senator Booker doesn't know what a checkoff is to be honest with you. He doesn't know the first thing about how they work. He doesn't understand that this is one most successful self-help programs that's out there. Again, another great example of where he is just tied directly to the Humane Society of the United States, and that's where he's getting all of his cues on anything that he introduces that has an impact on animal agriculture."
Beyond the Cory Booker legislation- Hays and Woodall also talked trade. President Trump and his USTR, Mr. Lighthizer, have been able to put together this phase one for the China trade deal. Most notably, we hear that these standards regarding hormone free beef may be rolled back. Woodall says they are hearing the same thing, "Well we're hearing that, but I think the key component is the fact that there's been a huge lack of details on this phase one. We keep being told from the White House that it's good, but without the details, we don't know. And we kind of take the old Ronald Reagan adage of trust but verify, and we need to see those details before we start celebrating. Because if it truly something that rolls back the hormone ban, we know that is going to be a tremendous benefit to us. But this is the Chinese that we're talking about here, so I think until we see it in writing, we're going to stop short of coming out fully supportive and fully celebrating this announcement."
Woodall is more certain that trade benefits are coming January first for the beef industry with the recent trade deals involving the Japanese and the European Union.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the complete interview with Colin Woodall as he talks with Ron Hays.
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