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Cattlemen From Across the Nation Tackle Critical Issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 23, 2002) — More than 1,000 producers and cattle industry representatives from across the country came together in Reno, Nev., for the 2002 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, July 17 - 20. Individuals had the opportunity to bring up major issues that are affecting their farming and ranching operations.

NCBA members passed more than 30 resolutions and directives during the Board of Directors meeting. The following gives a summary of some of the top initiatives:

Agriculture Policy
* Members support creating a federal reinsurance program to establish risk sharing with the private sector and ensure the availability of catastrophic risk insurance products.
* NCBA is to work with members of Congress and agency heads to allow for conservation funds to be used for noxious weed eradication efforts consistent with bill S. 198.

Beef Safety
* NCBA will support legislation that would require USDA to establish science-based microbiological performance standards to aid in reducing the risk of food borne illness, and to ensure that if a plant fails such standards, USDA will work with the plant to evaluate if improvements to its Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points system are warranted. Inspection privileges would be revoked only if a plant fails the standards and fails to take feasible actions.
* NCBA will work closely with the Beef Industry Food Safety Council and others to facilitate the implementation of irradiation technology, where appropriate.

Cattle Health and Well-Being
* NCBA will seek the assistance of President Bush in resolving the long-standing animal-health-related barriers to trade with Canada.
* NCBA will work to correct the inequities in the current foot and mouth disease indemnity proposal. NCBA will coordinate the development of comments regarding the recently proposed USDA indemnity program.
* NCBA continues to support the current screwworm eradication program and its continued funding. NCBA strongly urges that USDA take immediate steps to construct a new screwworm plant in Panama and close the existing plant in Mexico, due to security concerns.
* NCBA will organize a wildlife symposium to be held at the Annual Convention to increase understanding regarding the cattle health risks associated with the feeding and management of wildlife.

Federal Lands
* NCBA should work to defeat any federal designation of the Gaviota Coast as a National Sea Shore.
* NCBA supports the continuation of livestock grazing on federal lands and opposes any programs that are intended to permanently retire or vacate federal grazing permits.
* NCBA will pursue $500 million for the Livestock Assistance Program in the fiscal year 2003 agricultural appropriations legislation to cover grazing losses during the 2001-2002 grazing season.
* NCBA, in conjunction with state affiliates, will seek development of an experimental scientific review process that would include local range scientists among other agency range scientists, to become an official and required part of the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service administrative appeals process for decisions affecting range management.
* NCBA will work with federal agencies, including Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Forest Service to ensure that they control crickets, grasshoppers and other damaging insects on their lands in a timely manner and prior to the populations reaching epidemic proportions.
* NCBA will work with BLM and U.S. Forest Service to simplify and streamline the permit transfer process so that it is conducted in a timely manner in order to ensure the continued viability of the livestock permit.

International Markets
* NCBA will assist in the pursuit of any legal action against the European Union that may benefit the U.S. beef industry in its long battle to gain relief from the European hormone ban on beef, which the World Trade Organization has ruled to be illegal.
* NCBA calls on Senate and House leadership and Trade Promotion Authority conferees to expedite passage of final Trade Promotion Authority legislation.

Live Cattle Marketing
* NCBA members support a Congressional investigation into the workings of the livestock marketing complex with a focus on 1) impacts on producers from packer concentration, 2) impacts on producers from retail concentration, and 3) possible statutory changes to anti-trust and anti-competition laws and regulations to afford producers the same protections as consumers.
* NCBA will continue its efforts to identify opportunities for improving profitability, price discovery, and the cattle marketing system as a whole. These efforts will be part of an industry led, rational and deliberative process of finding solutions to the challenges facing the beef industry that do not jeopardize free-enterprise and cattle producers' right to conduct business as they see fit.

Property Rights & Environmental Management
* NCBA strongly opposes implementing new air quality standards on cattle production until science-based data can substantiate the need for such standards.
* The NCBA Air Quality working group recommends that NCBA formally withdraw from the current livestock coalition involved in air quality regulatory negotiations with EPA, and formalize and recommend an air issues management strategy to include a budget and timeline to accomplish the strategy.
* NCBA opposes any new regulations that pertain to agricultural odors, noise, or air that will hinder in any way the production, preparation, and harvesting of crops and the production of livestock. NCBA opposes any new regulations that pertain to changing the class and quality of air on pastures, grasslands, and desert ranges that inhibit current practices of beef production on these lands.

Science & Technology

* NCBA supports funding for research and requests expanded efforts to stop the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer and elk by depopulation of free roaming and farmed deer and elk in areas with involved and threatened herds. Members recommend intensive monitoring of all captive and wild cervidae herds in the CWD endemic areas. NCBA requests that USDA-ARS develops a current fact sheet about CWD and that this information be widely disseminated to affected parties.
* NCBA requests that the USDA place a high priority on the development of improved and validated foot-and-mouth disease vaccines, including funding for production of the vaccines.
* NCBA supports increased research funding to expand needed research in poisonous plant effects on animals including effects on the immune system and the possibility of residues in tissues. NCBA also supports the application of these technologies and research results to maintain human health.
* USDA should support research aimed at prevention and treatment of trichomoniasis in cattle, especially the differentiation of non-pathogenic from pathogenic trichomonads.

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