Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays is featuring part two of comments from the Vice President of Government Affairs at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Ethan Lane. While in Washington, D.C., Farm Director KC Sheperd had the chance to visit with Lane about NCBA’s experience working with the Biden Administration.
“It is a good dialogue,” Lane said. “We don’t always agree with them, but they have been very open to talking. When we call, they pick up the phone, and they reach out proactively. They deserve a lot of credit for that. That is a big change from the Obama Administration, and that is to their credit.”
On the other side of the card, Lane said the Biden Administration is working to keep both sides of the table happy- including those who do not see the importance of food security.
“All we can do is keep telling them what we need on behalf of cattle producers, and hope they hear that, and hope they give us an honest shake and look for the common ground, and take them at their word,” Lane said.
Lane added that the Biden Administration is all-in when it comes to that regulatory agenda, which is disheartening.
“It is time to look for votes again, and the base of the Democratic party definitely feels like the Biden Administration has been too agreeable,” Lane said. “They definitely feel like they have not been hard enough on agriculture, and a lot of the way they can show their worth to the base of the Democratic party is through massive regulation.
That massive regulation can be seen through Waters of the United States, grazing, packers and stockyards rules, and more.
“We are seeing it on grazing in the West where they are trying to make conservation a permitted use alongside grazing, which would be massively detrimental to our western grazing system,” Lane said. “We are seeing it on onerous packers and stockyards rules where they want to guarantee the quality of outcome- basically stifle innovation in the marketplace in favor of, ‘hey, let’s guarantee everybody gets the same thing for their cattle no matter how they raised them, no matter what their genetics, and if you don’t get the same thing, you should be able to sue everybody.’”
Lane said NCBA is working to educate Biden Administration members on these topics in hopes that they will take this feedback into consideration.
“Listen to producers first, and they will tell you what they need to be successful,” Lane said.
Regarding the implementation of Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, Lane said MCOOL still is not trade-compliant and would not give cattle producers any additional premiums.
“In addition to the billion dollars in retaliatory tariffs we would suffer as an industry, if we were to implement MCOOL again, it just flat doesn’t make our producers more money on their cattle, and that is where our focus is,” Lane said. “Voluntary labeling programs, value-added programs, source-verified programs that our producers can build out in order to make more money on their cattle is where our focus continues to be. We think that is where USDA is looking as well.”
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