NCBA's Colin Woodall Races Against Clock to Tie-up Legislative Priorities as Fall Deadlines ApproachTue, 11 Sep 2018 10:54:20 CDT
As Congress continues to try to wrap up all its appropriations measures between now and the end of the month which is the end of the government’s fiscal year, chief lobbyist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Colin Woodall, says there is a couple of issues within the appropriations bill that his organization remains interested in. The first of which has to do with electronic logging devices, or ELDs, which essentially limits the amount of time and distance truckers can travel each day. It is a measure that could potentially have significant, yet unintended consequences for those carrying live animals.
“Right now, the livestock haulers are exempt from ELD implementation thanks to language we have in the FY18 Appropriations bill,” Woodall explained. “The good news is that in both the House and Senate versions of the FY19 bills, that exemption has been extended for another year. So, whether we complete the bills or if we actually do a continuing resolution, regardless we will see an additional year added to our ELD exemption.”
In addition, Woodall says the NCBA has a lot more riding on that bill. For instance, if passed the way he hopes, the included language in this bill would also place the regulatory authority over “fake meat” products under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture and effectively evening the playing field between the marketing and inspection protocols of traditional beef products and lab-grown protein. The September 30th deadline also marks the end of the current Farm Bill. Woodall, though, remains optimistic that the new bill that is still being drafted, will be completed by that deadline- assuming the two major controversies (SNAP work requirements and the combination of the conservation titles) are resolved in a timely fashion. One other opportunity that Woodall is attempting to take advantage of is the prospect of modernizing the burdensome and outdated Endangered Species Act. This is one measure that is not as time sensitive as the other priorities, but Woodall says he would like to see it happen before the current Congress is completed so the next one can start fresh without this contentious matter on their plate.
“ESA modernization is still one of these efforts that we’re really excited about, because again, this is really a once in a career opportunity to address the Endangered Species Act and everything seems to be aligning to allow us to do that,” he said. “Right now, our effort is focused on finding a Democratic co-sponsor. We are still working to make that happen. So, once we find that co-sponsor, I think we will see much more effort complete this.
Listen to Woodall outline the NCBA’s legislative priorities for this fall, with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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