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24th Annual Convention Highlights

BILLINGS, MT | R-CALF USA just completed its 24th annual convention held August 17 - 18 in Rapid City, South Dakota. It was a huge success with about 350 members in attendance and over 2,000 viewers watching and listening over the internet live streaming service provided by CattleUSA.

Next year we’re moving our convention up to June 20 - 21 and it will be held in Deadwood, South Dakota. Our reason for moving from August to June is to free up members with school-age children so they can begin attending what is truly a family-oriented event.

But this year’s convention was phenomenal. Our keynote speaker was a journalist and social media phenomenon from the Netherlands, Eva Vlaardingerbroek. Her presentation was titled, “The Global War on Farming: Control the Food, Control the People.”

As everyone knows, the Dutch government has targeted its farmers and decided to reduce nitrogen emissions by eliminating farmers, particularly cattle producers. Eva cautioned U.S. cattle producers not to do what Dutch cattle producers did – they initially sat silent as their government began imposing more and more costly regulations upon them.

No one has bothered to answer the question who’s going to feed the people when farmers are eliminated, and farmers in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe are protesting en masse.

R-CALF USA has publicly supported their protests and that’s why Eva wanted to come and speak to our membership. Her message was both clear and compelling; but ominous as well as the threat is real.

Although it started in the Netherlands it’s truly a global effort determined to overburden and overregulate farmers. A stark example in the United States is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ongoing effort to force U.S. cattle producers to increase their production costs by affixing unnecessary radio frequency identification (RFID) eartags to their cattle, at the producers’ expense and without any potential of cost recovery in the marketplace.

Congresswoman Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) told our membership that she is building a coalition to stop the USDA’s RFID mandate. She has an amendment ready to defund the USDA’s RFID program and we’re certainly going to work to help get that amendment passed.

Wyoming rancher and attorney Tracy Hunt explained how globalism, as perpetuated by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), is working to impose unnecessary social, environmental and governance standards on domestic producers to bring them into compliance with what global banks and global processors want so they can increase their shareholder’s profits. Tracy said RFID, third-party verification and the ability to limit market access were all that was necessary for the GRSB to force compliance with its standards and control how American ranchers ranch.

Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) emphatically stated that the time for Congress to enact mandatory country of origin labeling (MCOOL) is now. And he described how three separate and bipartisan bills have now been introduced in Congress to accomplish just that. With three bipartisan MCOOL bills introduced prior to the development of the 2023 Farm Bill, our prospects for MCOOL’s enactment within the farm bill are now greatly enhanced.

A sober and compelling story was told during this year’s sheep committee panel. The commercial U.S. sheep industry has now been decimated by unrestrained imports and R-CALF USA’s petition to the U.S. Trade Ambassador for an investigation was fully explained as an effort to prevent the complete dismantling of the critical competitive infrastructure needed to sustain a competitive domestic industry.

The sheep industry is the first American livestock sector to be outsourced, as evidenced by the fact that American consumers are far more dependent on imported lamb than the beleaguered domestic sheep industry can anymore produce. Presently, 74% of lamb and mutton consumed in America is imported from foreign countries – a clear threat to the United States food security interests.

Unique to R-CALF USA is our program intended to address the mental attitudes of cattle producers faced with extreme financial or weather-related challenges. Coy Young, a rancher whose lender recently forced him to sell out his cow herd, decided to assist fellow ranchers by sponsoring the “No Rancher Left Behind” project that began immediately after the Chairman of the U.S. House agriculture committee called upon Coy to be a key hearing witness. Soon a documentary was made about Coy and his challenges, and Coy shared his heartfelt and inspiring story with attending members.

There just isn’t time to cover all the unique and outstanding speakers who graced our convention. YouTube videos of every presentation are now available on our YouTube channel. Those recordings include presentations on private property rights, animal health, USDA Farm Service Agency programs, the need for tariffs and tariff rate quotas for domestic livestock producers, and antitrust and monopoly challenges in the U.S. cattle industry.

We hope you find the time to watch the videos that interest you!


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R-CALF USA’s weekly commentary educates and informs both consumers and producers about timely issues important to the U.S. cattle and sheep industries and rural America.

Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) is the largest producer-only trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle and sheep industries. Visit www.r-calfusa.com or call 406-252-2516 for more information.

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