I-BAND hosts annual convention

Independent Beef Association of North Dakota president Larry Kinev addresses the membership to kick off the group's annual convention Nov. 17-18 in Mandan. Photo by Carrie Stadheim

The Independent Beef Association of North Dakota hosted several speakers during their annual convention in Mandan, Nov. 17-18.

Dr. Susan Keller, the state veterinarian, talked to the group about animal health issues within the state. She discussed the Bovine tuberculosis case from last April in Harding County, South Dakota, which borders North Dakota, and a recently announced case of TB in Tripp County, South Dakota, which is along the Nebraska border.

Republican Senator John Hoeven talked to the group next, discussing trade policy and the farm bill. Several members asked Hoeven whether he believed that country of origin labeling for beef could be included in the NAFTA re-negotiation discussions.

Hoeven was also asked whether or not he would support changes to the federal beef checkoff that would require the Cattlemen’s Beef Board to directly handle the program’s projects rather than contracting with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

R-CALF’s Tatum Lee addressed the lunch crowd, focusing on the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and why she believes I-BAND should not be involved in it and should focus on not allowing the entity to gain authority over the industry.

NDSU Beef Cattle Specialist Carl Dahlen presented information to give producers details and ideas about feeding cattle in a drought situation.

Sunny Geiser, a veterinarian who specializes in animal traceability talked to the group next, and Kim Ulmer also spoke, focusing on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and how it affects the cattle market.

Representative Kevin Cramer also talked to I-BAND members.

According to McKenzie, North Dakota member and director Mike Heaton, Cramer said that rules of origin have been a sticking point in the NAFTA negotiations.

“He said ‘we’re looking to see if the president can just walk away from the (NAFTA) negotiations,’” said Heaton.

The group gathered on the evening of the 17th to discuss potential policy changes. The organization sends ballots to give all members a chance to vote on proposed policy changes – even those that don’t attend the convention, so the policy won’t be changed until the ballots are returned and counted.

Heaton said that the directors and members in the policy meeting talked about the electronic logging device mandate that has caused anxiety for the trucking and livestock industry. “The House has given them a year to figure this out and the Senate hasn’t acted on it. We said they need to figure out a workable solution within a year or scrap it altogether,” said Heaton. The U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation Committee’s version of the appropriations bill includes a rider that would prevent the implementation of the ELD for livestock and insect haulers for one year. “This is more than just a pain in the butt for truckers. If it gets to be a big enough problem that they have off load and rest for 10 hours, will we just have to forget about having a salebarn in Bismarck? Will we have to ship to Fort Pierre or Omaha, so we can take the first leg of the trip? This will really affect those of us in the northern tier. We could take big hit on our feeder cattle.”

Another topic that the members can expect to see on their voting ballot is the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. “We don’t think we should participate, but we don’t even want this ideology furthered – the thought of giving control to an international wildlife group,” said Heaton. The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef is an international group created by the largest wildlife group on the globe – the World Wildlife Fund – to create a set of cattle-raising protocols that cattlemen would be required to follow.