Billings, Mont. Monday, Aug. 9, 2010, has come and gone to the detriment of independent U.S. cattle producers who had hoped to learn more about the state of competition in the U.S. cattle industry by attending or listening in via the Internet to a forum on that subject featuring representatives of R-CALF USA, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), the American Meat Institute (AMI) and the National Meat Association (NMA).
Last month, KSDZ radio in Gordon, Neb., invited these four groups to participate in an open, public debate in light of the new competition rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) that would establish measures to benefit cattle farmers and ranchers and make the U.S. cattle market more transparent and competitive.
GIPSA and the U.S. Department of Justice (Justice) are hosting the last of a series of competition workshops on Aug. 27 in Fort Collins, Colo. The proposed competition rule has been hotly contested by NCBA, AMI and NMA, as well as the National Pork Producers Council all of which more represent the interests of the multinational meatpackers and not the interests of the actual producers on the ground.
When asked his view on the refusal of NCBA, AMI and NMA to participate in the debate scheduled for Aug. 9 , KSDZ Radio Owner/Manager Jim Lambley had this to say: "Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA, was the only one willing to debate the hard questions to be asked by beef cattle producers. I would think the membership of the three refusing meat industry leaders would be ashamed of the organizations they pay dearly to represent them."
Lambley said his radio station covers the largest cattle-producing county in Nebraska and the second largest cattle-producing county in the nation.
"The facts speak for themselves," he continued."NCBA, AMI and NMA obviously were afraid to step into the Round Pen with the TRUTH. On the other hand, R-CALFUSA was more than willing. That fact alone tells all of us who really is working honestly for independent U.S. cattle producers."
"The new GIPSA rule is the first meaningful effort in decades to require accountability on the part of packers and transparency in the marketplace essential steps for restoring competition," said R-CALFUSA CEO Bill Bullard. "It is a disservice to all Rural Americans when the leaders who are opposing these important new rules refuse to justify their positions in an open forum. Obviously they have something to hide and they know their position cannot withstand the critical analysis that would occur in a public debate."
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALFUSA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. R-CALFUSA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALFUSA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.