Heupel: I-BAND Hosts Town Hall Producer Meetings with Guest R-CALF

I-BAND hosted 2 producer meetings in North Dakota on Sept. 12, in Ashley, ND and Sept. 13, in Hebron ND. The meetings were well attended by producers in both locations.
I-BAND provided an update on what the organization has been working on. Right now, I-BAND is focused on the farm bill, particularly getting MCOOL and the OFF ACT into the farm bill. I-BAND is pleased that the American Beef Labeling Act is circulating through the Senate and The Country of Origin Labeling Enforcement Act is on the House side. Rep. Johnson from SD also has an MCOOL bill in the House.

I-BAND needs everyone’s help calling our Senators and Representative to get them signed on!

I-BAND also gave a brief update on how things went at the North Dakota Capitol this last legislative session. I-BAND tried hard to get HB1436 passed, which would have allowed producers to vote on Beef Commission representatives rather than requiring the governor to appoint the representatives. In the end it was not a success, but I think we were able to draw some attention to how producers are not satisfied with the Beef Commission appointment process.
Scott Shively spoke to both crowds on his extensive research on the Beef Checkoff at both the state and federal levels. He provided information to the crowds on how and where our checkoff dollars are spent. He voiced concerns with how the Checkoff operates and how the money is spent and the producers at both locations agreed. There was displeasure voiced from the crowds on how much of our checkoff dollars go to NCBA, displeasure voiced from the crowd on our second state dollar and how it is procured and used, and displeasure voiced from the crowd on the appointment process to serve on the Beef Commission.
R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard addressed both locations on the state of the cattle industry. He gave a great presentation on where we have been as an industry and where the data suggests we are headed if we don’t fix critical issues within the industry. The critical issues Bill Bullard pointed to was the immediate need for MCOOL. Producers need their product differentiated in the marketplace and the consumer deserves to know where their beef is coming from. Another critical piece of legislation is the OFF ACT. The industry needs checkoff transparency. Another critical need is to do away with formula contracts. Formula contracts enable packers to have large numbers of cattle committed to them without a negotiated price.
This is a brief recap of the town hall meetings put on by I-BAND. Thank you to the sponsors of the events and the producers who came out. Thank you to Scott Shively and Bill Bullard for being guest speakers.
Please, if you’re not a member of I-BAND or R-CALF please become one. Strength comes in numbers, and these groups are fighting for the cattle industry and the independent producer!
August Heupel