Welcome to the 21st issue of Angus e-List


DENVER, CO — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Board of Directors yesterday vowed a vigorous defense of the checkoff and a full-court press on reform of the Endangered Species Act. The board meeting concluded the annual Summer Conference in Denver.

The NCBA board, in a unanimous vote, pledged $150,000 in unrestricted non-checkoff funds to defend against litigation attacking the checkoff. NCBA President-Elect Wythe Willey said that the constitutional challenge to the legality of the beef checkoff "has opened the door to the constitutional challenge of every commodity checkoff program in the United States. ... The stakes are high. This is serious business."

In a show of unity, the Cow/Calf Caucus introduced a letter it had addressed to the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) asking it to drop its constitutional challenge of the beef checkoff. Sixteen states had signed the letter by meeting time. The economic and social havoc caused by strict enforcement of the Endangered Species Act in the Klamath River Basin resulted in a directive for NCBA to build a coalition to reform the Act.

Earlier this year a court diverted irrigation water long-used by farmers in southern Oregon and northern California in favor of two species of fish. Congress had to respond with an emergency aid package to provide relief for farmers who lost water for their field crops and livestock.

The board also passed a resolution directing NCBA to pursue an international trade violation under current trade laws against Canada. NCBA believes that the Canadian government is using animal disease issues to prevent U.S. feeder cattle from moving across the border on a year-round basis.

U.S. feeder cattle are allowed into Canada from October through March, which is the season when transmission of Bluetongue is not a concern. NCBA insists that it should not be a concern the rest of the year. Canadian cattlemen leaders indicated in a Wednesday meeting with NCBA officials that the Canadians would ask their government to remove the Bluetongue restriction by February 2002.

Even if that is accomplished, Canadian concerns about the transmission of anaplasmosis will restrict exports from regions of the U.S. where there is a high incidence of anaplasmosis. The Canadian Cattlemen's Association will discuss this issue during a meeting next week. The Association said that it is committed to continuing to work with its government to provide year-round access for U.S. cattle into Canada.

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