Cattle producers band together in lawsuit to bring back COOL

Consumers deserve to know where their meat comes from

Cattle Producers of Washington recently joined with the Ranchers-Cattlemen Legal Action Fund (R-CALF) to file a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to bring back Country of Origin labeling for beef products. The labeling provision that clearly marked where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered  was in effect until 2016 when it was repealed by the USDA over a trade dispute.

The COOL labeling is critical both to consumers who want to know where their meat is coming from ,as well as American ranchers who benefit from having their product clearly marked in the supermarket.

CPoW President Scott Nielson, noted how important country of origin labels are to the American family ranch.

“Cattle Producers of Washington proudly raise a safe wholesome product under the rules and regulations required by our lawmakers,” said Nielsen.” We should not be forced to compete with beef from other countries that do not have the same health and safety standards without the ability to allow the American consumer to make an informed decision about what they are feeding their families.”

The lawsuit against the USDA seeks to bring back COOL by pointing out that current USDA policy allows imported beef and pork to be classified as “domestic products”, which confuses consumers and harms American ranchers. Additionally, under current rules multinational companies can sell meat raised and slaughtered abroad with a “Product of USA” label alongside truly domestic products raised by U.S. ranchers.

The USDA previously required Country-of-Origin Labeling but a trade dispute between the U.S. and countries exporting cattle to the US caused the USDA to repeal the labeling. As a result, labeling requirements regarding beef imports are now unclear and the agency has several conflicting rules on the books. Consumers have also lost the ability to make informed choices at the meat counter.

“Transnational beef packers are supplanting U.S. beef production with imported beef, including from countries with questionable food safety practices,” said Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA. “Unfortunately, our U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping them by making sure consumers cannot distinguish imported beef from USA beef. This is harming America’s farmers and ranchers and is not what Congress intended. We hope our lawsuit helps U.S. consumers choose to buy American beef.”

Both cattlemen’s groups are being represented by Public Justice, a non-profit Washington D.C. law firm.

Beef Checkoff bill would charge buyer, not seller

A bill to increase the amount of the Washington State Beef Checkoff assessment for cattle producers has undergone several revisions this legislative session, but the most significant recent change is to charge the buyer of the cattle the assessment instead of the seller. At present, the seller (usually the cow-calf producer) pays the current fee of $1.50 per head tax–an amount that makes up both the national .50 cent Beef Checkoff assessment and the $1.00 that goes to the Washington State Beef Commission.

Senate Bill 5793 (SB 5793) sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, would change who pays the assessment from the seller to the buyer. The new bill language would levy a total assessment of $2.00 on all cattle sold in the state to be paid by the purchaser at the time of sale. The bill does include an exemption for dairy calves enrolled in the “green tag” program. A “sale” in the bill would include the transfer of cattle owned by a meat packer from a feed lot to the slaughterhouse.

According to CPoW lobbyist Jim Potts, the bill is currently setting in the Senate Rules committee and may be pulled to the floor anytime during the current special session.

 

Cattle Producers, Sunny Okanogan host FFA livestock judging competition

The Sunny Okanogan Angus Ranch, in connection with Cattle Producers of Washington, had another amazing turn out for the annual FFA judging competition held at the Sunny Okanogan Bull Sale on March 9.  The event hosted 186 kids plus advisors and helpers from across Washington State.

For the competition, the students split into teams of 5 and were able to judge 5 classes: Feeder Steers, Replacement Heifers, Calving Ease Yearling Bulls, Growth Yearling Bulls and Fall Bulls. Jerry Asmussen of Tonasket acted as the volunteer judge at the event.

 

Team Placing:

1st Place – Tonasket

2nd Place – Chelan

3rd Place – Omak

4th Place – Tonasket

 

Individual Placing:

1st – Lauran Montoya – Chelan

2nd – Shanell McCune – Omak

3rd – Rico Sandoval – Kittitas

4th – Levi Silverthorn – Tonasket

CPoW Legislative Days a Success

2017-leg-days

Many representatives from CPoW headed to Olympia in late January to talk with legislators about issues affecting our industry. Below is a list of position statements that our members shared with Washington’s Representatives and Senators:

PREDATORS MUST BE MANAGED:

No citizen should be forced to allow predators of any kind to kill or maim his flocks, herds, pets, small animals, and in some cases—his family or loved ones.

Since the state or federal government claim ownership or management of these predators, they should be responsible for removing any predator that violates this basic principal.

If these governing bodies are unable or unwilling to perform this requirement, then it becomes the obligation of the county sheriff to perform this task.

If the sheriff is unwilling or unable to accomplish this obligation, then it becomes the right and the duty of the affected citizens to accomplish this very necessary mission.

NO ON BEEF CHECKOFF INCREASE

Cattle Producers of Washington will NOT support a bill that increases the Beef Checkoff fee by an additional dollar per head until the entire industry is participating and abiding by the current regulations and our checkoff dollars are used to promote a Washington born, raised and slaughtered product. Allowing certain segments of cattle owners to avoid paying the checkoff, including dairy segments, is unacceptable.

A majority of Washington producers that pay the Beef Checkoff fee do not support this increase. We demand the proposed increased fee be made voluntary, or put to a vote by those who pay the fee.

NO ON BRAND DEPARTMENT INCREASE

CPoW does not support an increase to the state brand department fees. Other alternatives, including changing from a fee-for-service system or becoming a required all-brand state, need to be considered before passing on increases to Washington’s declining number of ranchers. The number of ranchers in Washington State has declined 52 percent since 1984 but the brand department fee-for-service system still charges ranchers in the same way, passing on a growing administrative burden on fewer producers.

SITE-BASED, SOURCE SPECIFIC SCIENCE FROM DOE

The RCW that allows the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) to determine when water quality is impaired should be modified to require site-based, source-specific testing overseen by a third party.

PrintPrint

 

Thanks to our 2016 Banquet Sponsors!

Our 2016 annual banquet at Northern Quest Casino on Oct. 29 was a huge success thanks to our members, our banquet sponsors and our speakers. Here’s a list of our banquet sponsors who helped make the event possible:

GOLD ($500):

NW Farm Supply Inc.

Spokane County Cattlemen

Stevens County Cattlemen

Toppenish Livestock Market

NW Livestock Supplements

Clifton Larson Allen LLP

Red Bull Ranch (Dave and Julie Dashiell)

Washington State Beef Commission

SILVER($250):

RANGE Magazine

Les Schwab (Alkali store)

Washington Trust Bank

CHS Connell Grain

Coastal Farm

EPL Feed

Zinpro

Cows-R-Us (Craig and Bonnie Schafer)

Davenport Veterinary Clinic

BRONZE ($150):

Lawrence Oil

North 40 Outfitters

Roots of Resilience

Don’t miss our 2016 banquet!

2016-banquet-promo

Ticket prices are: $35 Day Ticket (includes lunch), $45 Prime Rib Dinner ticket(dinner only), $75 All day (includes lunch and dinner). Tickets can be purchased the day of the event.

Our 2016 banquet will feature a solid line-up of informative speakers, ready to help you plan for a successful 2017. Check it out!:

2016 CPOW BANQUET SCHEDULE:

Registration: 9:30-10:00am

10:00am-11:30am–Jim Robb, Livestock Marketing Information Center, “Cattle Markets: Divers and Outlook”

11:30-12:00—Legislative update from CPoW lobbyists Jim Potts and Zak Kennedy

12:00-1:00pm lunch—Madi Clark of Washington Policy Center on WPC’s new agricultural initiative

1:00-2:00pm—CPoW business meeting

2:00-3:00pm—U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Region VI Director and COOL Committee Chair Maggie Nutter,”COOL update, trade issues and public lands.”

3:00—4:00pm, WSU Economist Shannon Neibergs, “Economic Contribution of the Washington State Beef Industry”

4:00-5:00pm, Ferry County Sheriff Ray Maycumber on wolf issue and local government

5:00-6:00pm Social hour

6:00-8:30 Dinner w/Bill Bullard from R-CALF as keynote speaker,”Cattle Industry Priorities for the Next Congress and Administration”

 

Great turnout for 2016 Sunny Okanogan, Cattle Producers livestock judging

2016 judging group A livestock judging competition sponsored by the Cattle Producers of Washington and hosted by Sunny Okanogan Angus ranch had over 190 students from around the state participate in the March 9 event.
The event provided a unique educational opportunity for students who were able to learn from judge Jake Cunningham on his reasons for the placing animals in various classes. The 2016 event consisted of five classes; Heifers, Feeder Steers, Growth Bulls, Calving Ease Bulls and Fall Bulls. The participating schools broke into teams of five, who competed against each other as well as individually. Congressional Representative Dan Newhouse was also there to speak to the students, present awards and answer questions.
Team Placing:
1st Place: Chelan
2nd Place: Tonasket
3rd Place: Omak
4th Place: Omak
5th Place: Chelan

Individual Placing:
1st Place: Gage Palmer, Moses Lake
2nd Place: Stephanie Olivera, Chelan
3rd Place: Krista Marchand, Omak
4th Place: Michael Tutino, Chelan
5th Place: Brice Dixon, Omak
6th Place: Rade Pilkington, Tonasket
7th Place: Leslie Garcia Ortiz, Chelan
8th Place: Teigan Field, Tonasket
9th Place: Amanda Reeves, Chelan
10th Place: Eric Straub, Chelan

Tell your senator to vote NO on SB 6638

A bill is circulating in the Washington State Senate to increase the Washington Beef Checkoff assessment by $1 per head, a 100 percent increase of the Washington Beef Commission budget. If the bill passes, there will be a $2.50/head tax on all cattle sold in Washington State. See our letter on why we are opposed and make sure to contact your senator!

Click here for a PDF link to our letter: Vote NO on SB 6638

and read our points below:

February 12, 2016
Dear Washington State Senators:

A bill coming before you, Senate Bill 6638, would increase the Washington State Beef Checkoff fee to $2.50 per head of cattle sold in the state. Cattle Producers of Washington is OPPOSED to this bill for the following reasons:

*The majority of family ranchers in Washington State DO NOT support an increase in the Washington Beef Checkoff. Any increased proposal should be put to a vote of cattle producers. The Washington Beef Commission does not want the increase to go out to a vote in WA because they know it will fail.

*A $1 increase to the Washington Beef Checkoff would double the budget of the Washington Beef Commission without any concrete benefits to producers. This would assess a $2.50 per head fee on all cattle sold in Washington State, an increase from the current $1.50.

*The current marketing strategy of the Washington Beef Commission HAS NOT benefited Washington ranch families, because the current promotions focus on “beef” in general and do not emphasize beef products raised in Washington. This strategy has improved profits for the huge slaughter plants that support the increase.

*The increased proposal is asking more from ranch families as their overall profit margin is decreasing. In 1980, 60 cents of the consumer dollar went to producers. In 2009, for example, only 43 cents of that dollar went to the producer while fees and inputs continued to rise. This is evidence the Washington Beef Commission’s strategy is not benefiting ranch families.

*The average age of the US rancher is 57 years old. If ranchers continue to be burdened with increased fees, taxes and regulations, we will ensure that ranching leaves Washington State because the next generation will not be able to absorb the financial overhead. Economically, that will be disastrous for Washington. Recent studies show for every $1 million in cattle sales, there is an increase of 43 associated jobs.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter. We ask you to vote NO on Senate Bill 6638.

Monte McPeak, President
Scott Nielsen, Vice President
Cattle Producers of Washington

CPoW 2016 legislative days coming up Jan. 27-28

legislative invite jpg

Be sure to join us for our legislative reception on Wed.,Jan. 27, in the Columbia Room at the state Capitol Building from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. If you need more info on lodging or travel, please send us an email at: cattleproducersofwa@gmail.com