I-BAND Holds 14th Annual Meeting
On November 15 and 16, the Independent Beef Association of North Dakota (I-BAND) held its 14th annual meeting at the Ramada Wyndam in Bismarck, ND. Dozens of cattle producers from across North Dakota and surrounding states participated in a diverse schedule of activities during the two-day event. “This was one of our most successful and well-attended annual meetings,” said Dwight Keller, I-BAND President. “A great deal of valuable information was exchanged on a diverse set of topics and issues and we had the opportunity to interact with one of our federal policy-makers as well. We received excellent input from members present and we will be acting on their directives.”
On November 15, a resolutions session was held during which stakeholders drafted and advanced a number of policy resolutions for I-BAND members to consider and vote upon.
The November 16 session involved presentations from speakers including Vaughn Meyer (beef checkoff); Corbitt Wall (markets); Dr. Susan Keller (animal health and animal identification issues); and Leesa Zalesky (industry issues and the press). Leesa Zalesky received recognition during the evening banquet for the work she has done for the livestock industry over the years.
“We are thankful that U.S. Senator John Hoeven spent nearly an hour during the afternoon listening and responding to producer concerns,” said Keller. “I believe Senator Hoeven learned how important reinstating mandatory country of origin labeling (M-COOL) is to I-BAND members. He seemed surprised to learn that almost one hundred percent of annual meeting attendees oppose USMCA (U.S., Mexico and Canada Trade Agreement) unless a COOL provision is included. Producers voiced their concerns to him about USMCA along with their strong desire that COOL be included in all international trade agreements. While Senator Hoeven was unable to provide reassurance this will happen the message was delivered and duly noted.”
I-BAND members also questioned Senator Hoeven about Brazilian meatpacker JBS receiving $62 million in federal money since mid-January under the Trump Administration’s ag bailout program related to trade issues with China. JBS has secured multiple contracts for federal pork purchases since the beginning of the year, constituting more than 28 million pounds of pork. Senator Hoeven promised to look into this issue.
Brian O’Shaughnessy, Vice-Chairman of the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), served as the keynote speaker for the November 16 annual banquet. O’Shaughnessy, the principal owner of Revere Copper Products, Inc., is a widely recognized expert on international trade issues and currency manipulation and how they impact domestic production of anything grown or manufactured in the U.S. O’Shaughnessy also spoke about how other countries devalue their currency to benefit themselves in the international trade arena. CPA is a nonpartisan coalition of farmers, ranchers, domestic manufacturing and organized labor focused on making international trade work for its members.
I-BAND members will receive resolution packets and ballots within the next two weeks along with ballots to vote for I-BAND directors. Ballots must be returned and counted within 45 days of the annual meeting. “I encourage members to watch the mail for their packets and return their ballots as soon as possible,” said Keller. “I-BAND is a grassroots organization driven by membership engagement so voting is an important responsibility. Resolutions will also be available for review on the I-BAND website at i-band.org.”
–Independent Beef Association of North Dakota
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