Thursday, June 21, 2012

2012 Farm Bill Passes Senate

After several days of debate, a consensus has been reached concerning the 2012 Farm Bill. The bill passed the Senate today by a bipartisan vote of 64 - 35. Both Georgia Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson voted against the bill feeling that it is a "Midwestern Farm Bill" that did not do enough for Southeastern crops such as cotton, peanuts and rice.

Georgia Cattlemen's Association and National Cattlemen's Beef Association were concerned with several of the 73 amendments.

First, we would like to thank every constituent who contacted their senator and shared with them the views regarding the proposed agreement between the Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers. That amendment did not make the cut for Senate debate. For more information on that proposal, read our past blog post here.

Other amendments of note:

  • #2276: To prohibit mandatory or compulsory checkoff programs
    • FAILED 20-79
    • Proposed by Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
    • Opposed by NCBA and GCA
  • #2479: To improve the livestock forage disaster program because of the elimination of NAP from the 2012 bill
    • PASSED voice vote
    • Proposed by Max Baucus, D-Mont.
    • Supported by NCBA and GCA
  • #2289: To reduce the Market Access Program by 20 percent
    • FAILED 30-69
    • Proposed by Tom Coburn, R. Okla.
    • Opposed by NCBA and GCA

Also important are that the Environmental Quality Incentive Program and the research title came through in good shape, according to a message from GCA Executive Vice President Josh White.

"I was pleasantly surprised by the bipartisan efforts made to move this bill through the Senate very efficiently and without much partisan rhetoric," Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for NCBA, said in today's Beltway Beef newsletter. "Both Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Minority Leader Pat Roberts, R-Kan., should be commended for their leadership on this very important piece of legislation. Their transparency and willingness to listen to all vested interests was very refreshing for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and other like-minded organizations. NCBA stands firm in our commitment to support this legislation."

The Farm Bill now moves on to debate in the US House of Representatives.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

2012 Georgia Beef Month Update

Georgia Beef Month is half-over, but that doesn't mean Georgia Beef Board isn't busy! Brooke Williams, GBB director of industry information, went all over the state in June to promote the beef community and its beef product.

Beef Month kicked off with several media stops, including these on WTOC-TV in Savannah. Part 1 (top) is a sit-down segment where Williams and Georgia Cattlemen's Association Region 12 Vice President Ray Hicks discuss facts about the beef community, and part 2 is a cooking demonstration.

GBB was also in charge of a tour for dietitians and food service personnel that visited Mid-Georgia Livestock sale barn in Jackson, Ga., Honeywood Farms in Barnesville, Ga., and Buckhead Beef. Participants also ate lunch at LongHorn Steakhouse and had a wonderful time learning about the beef industry from the producer, marketing and retail perspectives.

For two Sundays, GBB and GCA staff and volunteers braved rain and heat to serve nearly 1,500 star-spangled cheeseburgers to hungry Braves fans at Turner Field! We would like to thank our partners for these two Beef Up Your Game Plan events: Big Green Egg, Colavita Olive Oil and Publix! Everyone had rave reviews about the burgers and people were excited to see new recipes and possibly win gift cards to the grocery store.

For more information and the latest updates on the activities of Georgia Beef Board, check out their website or follow them on Facebook!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Roger and Janet Greuel, GCA's 2012 Seedstock Producers of the Year

We've already posted about our outstanding commercial cattleman of the year. Today, we want to celebrate our two seedstock producers of the year: Roger and Janet Greuel of Greuel Family Brangus in Brooks, Ga.

Here's the video proclaiming their accomplishment, originally aired at the 51st Georgia Cattlemen's Association Convention & Trade Show and 15th annual Beef Expo.

If you know a deserving cattleman - or producer family! - to nominate for the 2013 awards, download an application here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

We Need Your Help!

On June 12, US Sen. Dianne Feinstein filed an amendment to the Senate Farm Bill.

This amendment, No. 2252, is joint legislation created by the Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers.

HSUS and UEP legislation could be a dangerous precedent for other agricultural industries
Josh White, executive vice president of Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, is putting the call out for YOU to call your state senators and ask them to oppose the amendment. Neither of Georgia’s senators (Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson) have come out publicly with a stance on the amendment, and we are not sure at this time when it will hit the Senate floor for a vote. At the earliest, it could be this Thursday — tomorrow.

Passing this “one size fits all” legislation will take away producers’ freedom to operate in a way that is best for their animals and it will ultimately limit consumer choices and increase food costs for American families. Cattle industry leaders believe such legislation will set a dangerous precedent and will encourage other special interest groups who want to influence animal production practices without scientific bases, resulting in higher production costs and job losses.

Commodity organizations including the Egg Farmers of America, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, American Farm Bureau and others have serious concerns about any federal legislation mandating production practices.

“Bottom line, we don’t want the federal government passing specific animal production mandates into law!” White said.

To contact Sen. Chambliss, call 202-224-3521 or visit his website.
To contact Sen. Isakson, call 202-224-3643 or visit his website.

We encourage YOU to contact your state senators in Washington. Here’s some bullet points you can share with them:

·      More than 90 percent of all US farms are owned by individuals, families or family corporations. Any legislative mandate will add financial burdens on these family businesses.
·      Government mandates will negatively affect niche producers who receive premiums for their chosen more expensive production practices.
·      The World Association for Animal Health is developing international species-specific animal care standards guided by scientists and veterinary experts. The guidelines are based on outcome requirements, not prescriptive housing, which US industry guidelines are also based on. It is important for US guidelines to be consistent with those of this organization.
·      Farmers recognize and follow their moral obligation to provide healthy and humane environments for farm animals by utilizing the latest research and modern techniques and training.
·      Federally mandated animal welfare production practices in other developed nations haven’t shown a measured improvement in animal welfare. Many of these countries have over-regulated their farmers out of business and are now net importers of meat protein to feed their consumers.
·      Legislation such as this will limit scientific research and industry innovation that could benefit animals.
·      Commodity groups have developed animal care standards, such as Beef Quality Assurance, based on science that are continuously updated and are audited by trained third-party assessors. They can be quickly modified and improved, unlike a legislative mandate.

Additional pertinent information can be communicated via this prepared handout courtesy of NCBA. It’s got great facts about the cattleman’s commitment to cattle care, the effects of the European Union’s mandated production practices and more details on the future of animal agriculture if this legislation passes. Click HERE to access that PDF online.

For questions or assistance about contacting your government leaders, call the GCA office at 478-474-6560 or email