2019 NCBA Victories in Washington D.C.


by Mayzie Purviance

As 2020 began, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) met in San Antonio for their annual gathering, Cattle Con.

Although Cattle Con was riddled with various events such as the trade show, a concert, a PBR bull riding, and numerous seminars, one session stood out: the NCBA D.C. Issues Update.  In the update, numerous industry experts gave a brief surrounding a specific sector of the beef industry and provided progress made in 2019 as well as plans for 2020.

The session started with a video displaying NCBA’s 2019 victories which included the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), trade with China, trade tariffs with Japan, the Green New Deal, Water of the United States (WOTUS), open doors with the European Union, and new fronts on the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“It has been a really exciting year for NCBA and none of these things are coincidental.  I can assure you this has not just been the luckiest six months in the history of NCBA, this is years of work and planning — and the Genesis of those victories lies in this room today,” NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane said.  “Take credit, pat yourself on the back.”

Lane said the industry’s ability to advance as a whole is based on the ability to stand together and push in the same direction.

“It’s more than just additions and changes and subtractions from our policy book.  It’s an illustration to capitol hill, federal agencies, and our partners around the country and around the world that this industry has solved its internal issues, it’s figured out a path forward, and it’s moving forward towards what we want to achieve.”

Lane made it a point to mention the difficulties of accomplishing reform in an election year.  He said with elections dominating headlines for the next year, it’s important to get the ball rolling early.

“This was a good year for NCBA’s policy division.  We achieved the objectives we wanted to achieve.  Now let’s talk about where we’re going,” Lane said.

Allison Rivera and Dr. Jessica Watson gave an update on agriculture and food, as well as cattle health and well-being.  Rivera mentioned the transportation industry as well as the delay of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Act and said NCBA was pushing for more regulation with the Responsible & Efficient Agriculture Destination (TREAD) Act.  Watson spoke on disease traceability, specifically the implementation of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.

Danielle Beck, the “Queen of Fake Meat,” spoke on NCBA’s fight against fake meat and protecting the word “beef.”  She said she’s seen claims that 2020 will be the year of the vegan — “not if NCBA has anything to do with it,” she concluded.

Kent Baucus recounted NCBA’s 2019 trade victories and mentioned trade priorities for 2020 (namely the European Union).

Darryl Blakey discussed the cattle markets which are a priority for NCBA in 2020 (read more on this on this week’s front page).

Caitlyn Glover and Tanner Beemer gave an update from the Public Lands Council.  Glover discussed the modernization of ESA regulations as well as the delisting of specific wild animals such as the gray wolf.  Beemer talked about National Environmental Policy Act reformation as well as an update on the wild horses and burros.

Scott Jager and Mary-Thomas Hart closed out the session with talk of environmental policy.  “American Beef IS a climate change solution,” they stated.

All in all, 2019 was a winning year for NCBA.  Producers can only hope 2020 is just as successful.

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