CPoW becomes an R-CALF affiliate

Earlier this year, the Board of Cattle Producers of Washington voted to become an affiliate of R-CALF USA. CPoW will be working closely with R-CALF in the future to advance the interests of ranch families at the state and national level. Below is a welcome letter from R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard:

A Warm Welcome to CPoW Members


Dear Members of CPoW,

From the very beginning, the ranching members of the Cattle Producers of Washington (CPoW) have worked aggressively to preserve competition and improve economic opportunities for independent ranchers.  From highlighting the need for country of origin labeling (COOL) through the collection of actual import data to starting a meatpacking plant, CPoW personifies the American rancher:  hard working, independent, never gives up, and does what’s right.

Those qualities are needed now more than ever, particularly at the national level.  With a new Administration and New Congress, CPoW’s voice needs to reach Washington, D.C., and needs to be strengthened with the voices of other like-minded cattle ranchers so the ongoing decline of our U.S. cattle industry can be reversed.

CPoW’s decision to affiliate with R-CALF USA will help us accomplish this task. By working together, state-to-national support will be greatly enhanced for such issues as reinstating COOL, removing market access restrictions, restoring competition, stopping packers from undermining domestic prices with unlimited imports, and reforming the beef checkoff program so ranchers aren’t compelled to finance lobbying organizations that work against them.

The national Board and staff of R-CALF USA extends a warm welcome to CPoW and its members and we look forward to working with all of you to continue fighting for the independent U.S. cattle producer.


Bill Bullard, CEO





R-CALF, CPoW ask judge to decide on COOL case

Spokane, Wash. – Last week, co-plaintiffs R-CALF USA and the Cattle Producers of Washington (CPoW) filed a brief for summary judgement in their country-of-origin labeling (COOL) case in the federal district court located in Spokane, Wash.  The groups seek to reinstate that portion of the recently repealed COOL law that required beef and pork imported from foreign countries to retain their origin labels all the way to the consumer.
The brief alleges that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is knowingly violating U.S. law by not requiring meatpackers to carry forward the country-of-origin labels that are on the packages and containers when meat is imported, so that origin information is passed along to consumers rather than stripped off the products.
It alleges the USDA is allowing meatpackers to remove origin labels even after the agency itself, its attorneys, and the Congressional Research Service have acknowledged that the USDA’s regulations are in conflict with U.S. law.
The groups further state that rather than comply with the law, the USDA allows multinational meatpackers to reclassify foreign meat as a domestic product even if all the meatpackers do is unwrap and rewrap the imported product.
They state the USDA then allows the repackaged foreign product to be labeled as a ‘Product of the U.S.A.’
“Accordingly, the packers, who control nearly the entire market, only compensate domestic producers based on what they would pay for foreign meat, produced free from the United States’ food safety, production and labor laws,” the groups state.
They argue the USDA is aiding multinational meatpackers while undermining the viability of domestic ranchers.
The groups explain that before Congress’ repeal, this problem was resolved because the COOL law required labels on imported meat to be retained ‘through retail sale.’ Consequently, companies could no longer pass off imported meat as domestic and they had to compensate domestic producers at a premium rate for their premium domestic product.
 The brief asserts that R-CALF USA and CPoW’s members receive increased compensation for their cattle when they can market it as fully produced in the United States because of the high consumer demand for domestically produced beef.
And, it states, that when Congress repealed COOL, the meatpackers began paying domestic producers at the rate of the lowest common denominator of beef – what they pay for foreign meat.
The groups’ members have been told by multinational meatpackers that if COOL returns, the packers would again have to pay a premium for domestic cattle.
Put simply, the groups argue the USDA is unlawfully undermining their market for domestic cattle and their lawsuit is needed because the proper enforcement of labeling requirements on imported beef is central to domestic ranchers’ livelihood.
Attorneys representing the ranch groups include David S. Muraskin, a Food Safety and Health Attorney at Public Justice; Beth E. Terrell and Blythe H. Chandler of Terrell Marshall Law Group; and J. Dudley Butler of Butler Farm & Ranch Law Group, PLLC.

Annual banquet coming up Oct. 28


Our annual Cattle Producers of Washington banquet is coming up on Sat., Oct. 28 at Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights. Ticket prices are $75 for all day and dinner; $35 for a day ticket that includes lunch or $45 for a dinner-only ticket for our prime rib dinner.

Below is a schedule of events for the day:


Registration: 9:30-10:00am

10:00am-11:15am—Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA

11:15-12:00pm—Ken McNamee, Washington State Department of Natural Resources


1:00-2:00pm—CPoW business meeting

2:00-3:00pm—Travis Fletcher, U.S. Forest Service on grazing issues

3:00—4:00pm—Steve McLaughlin, wolf issue

4:00-5:00pm—Brian Dansel, Farm Service Agency

5:00-6:00pm–Social hour

6:00pm–Prime rib dinner

6:00-8:30pm–Ron Tebow, Cowboy poet and auction


THANK YOU TO OUR 2017 BANQUET SPONSORS! Make sure to support these businesses when you are purchasing supplies or services:



PLATINUM ($1,000):



GOLD ($500):




NW FARM SUPPLY (Mike Countryman)



LAZY LIGHTNING H RANCH (Chad and Jamie Henneman)

RED BULL RANCH(Dave and Julie Dashiell)

SILVER ($250):




COWS-R-US (Craig and Bonnie Schafer)


BRONZE ($150):





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


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.



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


RANGE Magazine

Les Schwab (Alkali store)

Washington Trust Bank

CHS Connell Grain

Coastal Farm

EPL Feed


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!


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!:


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