Beef Buzz News
Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association is Ready to Roll up their Sleeves and Review Policy at their One Day Winter Policy ConferenceThu, 09 Jan 2020 07:08:04 CST
The Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association is planning a one-day winter policy conference, Tuesday, January 28, at the Reed Center in Midwest City, Oklahoma. They'll be hearing from Governor Kevin Stitt at the top of the day, but then they'll be rolling up their sleeves and reviewing policy positions of the organization.
Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, Michael Kelsey says, one of the topics they will discuss is animal disease traceback or animal ID, "We're going to have a very healthy discussion about animal identification. Even within the context of animal identification, though, is being prepared for our industry as well as individually prepared for catastrophe within the realm of animal disease, for instance, African swine fever. That has really shook our industry, if you will, to say we need to be prepared and what we can do to prepare ourselves better as an industry as well as individually.
So that God forbid we ever have an animal disease, whether it's cattle specific or not, and we know African swine fever only affects pork. But we also know that if the United States gets it, it will affect the beef industry. It will affect individually how we move our cattle. And if that happens in September/October timeframe. Wow. Boy howdy, that's really going to show you. That happens maybe in June, that may be a little different, but still going to drastically affect us. So there's going to be a lot of discussion, I think, over things like the secure beef plan, things like animal identification. Beefing that, no pun intended, but beefing that system up. Things like vaccine banks, and how do we better prepare ourselves for all those types of things that are relative to that. We're gonna roll up our sleeves and talk about that."
Going along with animal identification, Kelsey says they will also be talking about the possibility of establishing a "Made in Oklahoma" type product, "We've got a bill that we're coming up this year. Last year we passed a bill regarding fake meat, plant-based proteins, and so forth. We've learned in the interim we need to refine that a bit. So, for instance, the biggest issue we need to do is transfer that to title two, which means we transfer it to the Department of Agriculture from the Department of Health. The Department of Agriculture already has jurisdiction over some labeling issues, so it makes sense to put it over there. Honestly, we should have caught that last year, but we're going to get that done this year. So that's some of the specifics, but you're absolutely right. Our Oklahoma beef labeling Task Force has been doing some great work. We're going to give a report to our membership. And then what I expect to happen is that we're going to take that task force and kind of subdivide it into some specifics of the process to create that label. So, for instance, we need folks to work on the specs of what cattle are eligible? What cattle are not eligible? We need folks to work on the label itself. You've got to go through a process to create that label. We need folks to help us with product distribution, marketing, how are we going to market this once we initiate this?
That's just a couple of examples, but get some good minds, if you will, working on specifics within because doing this is a big, big endeavor. I wish we could just light switch turn it on, but you can't. There's a very complicated process to take cattle, all the way to the consumer, under a specific label. Especially in a state where we don't have a lot of processing. But we've got some opportunity there. So we're going to talk about that. So I'm really, really excited about that, but there's some great opportunity for us to drive this boat, if you will, drive this ship that we can add value to our cattle here at Oklahoma, and I'm excited about that. So, the next steps will be talking about that at our policy meeting."
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the complete interview with Michael Kelsey as he talks With Ron Hays.
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