News Update
Jan. 25, 2011

Livestock Marketeers Honor Cotton, Lefty and Spader

The names of three livestock professionals — Terry Cotton, Saint Joseph, Mo.; William (Bill) Lefty, Lincoln, Calif.; and Richard “Dick” Spader (posthumously), Rosendale, Mo. — were added to the Livestock Marketeers Hall of Fame wall at the National Western Stock Show Club Jan. 15.

The Livestock Marketeers — an informal fraternity of livestock fieldmen, auctioneers, sale managers and related livestock business leaders — met for their 46th Annual Banquet in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo.

For the complete release, see the March 2011 Angus Journal.

Ag Groups Call for Congress to Pass Long Awaited KORUS-FTA

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) along with 60 other food and agricultural groups and companies, representing nearly all sectors of the agricultural economy, sent a letter Jan. 24 to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio); House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in support of the recent agreement between the United States and South Korea on issues that have delayed approval of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). Kent Bacus, NCBA manager of legislative affairs, said the groups urged Congress to ratify the overdue trade agreement at the “earliest possible opportunity.”

“Congress has an opportunity to ratify one of the most significant trade agreements in history. This trade pact is long overdue. The inaction of Congress to approve this trade agreement has jeopardized America’s competitive advantage in this very important market and consequently has stymied economic growth and job creation,” said Bacus, adding that NCBA submitted an official statement for the House Ways and Means Committee hearing today about the pending trade agreements. “We commend the compromise that has taken place, but to date, it is still a no deal until Congress makes their mark.”

Bacus said stalling on the KORUS-FTA poses serious consequences for U.S agriculture. He said if the FTA is significantly stalled or not implemented the likelihood of relinquishing U.S. agricultural export sales to other countries is imminent. According to the letter, there are 13 trade agreements between Korea and U.S. competitors in place or in the works, involving approximately 50 nations around the world. For example, South Korea’s FTA with the European Union is set for implementation July 1. NCBA President Steve Foglesong says he worries about Australia beating the U.S. to the finish line.

“With other countries like Australia moving forward on trade agreements with Korea, it’s more important than ever that Congress take immediate action on the KORUS-FTA. If Australia were to successfully ratify a similar bilateral trade agreement with Korea a year before we do, it would give them a 2.67% tariff advantage over U.S. beef for the next 15 years,” said Foglesong. “This would be devastating to the U.S. beef industry and, sadly, the losses would be of our own doing.”

If implemented, the KORUS FTA would reduce Korea’s current tariff from 40% to zero over the next 15 years. The U.S. beef industry would see $15 million in new tariff benefits in the first year alone, with about $325 million in tariff reductions annually once fully implemented. In 2003, U.S. beef producers sold $815 million in beef, beef variety meats and processed beef products to Korea. If KORUS enters into force, Korea could eventually be a one billion dollar market for U.S. beef producers.

“We are hopeful President Obama truly makes the immediate implementation of this trade agreement a priority,” said Foglesong. “During his last State of the Union address, he made a bold goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years. It will be interesting to hear his remarks tonight on the progress of this commitment and the importance of ratifying the KORUS-FTA, as well as the agreements with Colombia and Panama.”  

— Release by NCBA.

Supreme Court Refuses to Take up PSA Case Against Tyson

According to Feedstuffs, the U.S. Supreme Court refused yesterday, Jan. 24, to take up the matter of Terry vs. Tyson Foods Inc. in which Alton T. Terry accused Tyson of violating the Packers & Stockyards Act (PSA).

Terry is a former chicken grower for Tyson whose contact was terminated because of his confrontational efforts to organize a grower’s union against Tyson and for failing to make upgrades to his farm (Feedstuffs, Nov. 22, 2010).

He said Tyson violated sections of PSA that prohibit unfair, unjustly discriminatory and/or unreasonably prejudicial practices by packers and processors with respect to livestock and live poultry transactions. His allegations referred specifically to Tyson's refusal to allow him to observe his chickens being weighed after growout.

However, the district court found for Tyson on the grounds that Terry needed to demonstrate not only injury related to the PSA sections that he cited but also that the company's conduct adversely affected, i.e., “harmed,” competition and pricing in the chicken industry.

To read the full release, click here.

White House To Overhaul Regulatory Review System

According to Beef magazine, in an Executive Order released this week, President Obama indicated a change in direction for his administration by handing down new guidelines on how bureaucrats and regulators write and review regulations.

In an editorial in the Jan. 18 Wall Street Journal, Obama defended the need for regulations on business, but admitted that those same regulations stifle the economy and kill jobs. “Regulations do have costs,” he admitted, “and often, as a country, we have to make tough decisions about whether those costs are necessary.”

Obama’s Executive Order essentially orders an overhaul of how new rules are released and reviewed by regulators. In addition, the order requires that within 120 days, each agency submit to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs a preliminary plan for the periodic review of existing regulations to determine if they need to be modified, streamlined, expanded or repealed.

To read the full article, click here.

— Compiled by Mathew Elliott, assistant editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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