R-CALF USA 10th Annual Convention slated for January in Rapid City
The R-CALF USA Board of Directors announced that the group’s 10th annual convention and trade show will take place Jan. 23-24, 2009, at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel, located at I-90 and Lacrosse St., Exit 59, in Rapid City, SD.
“R-CALF’s very first convention was held at the Ramkota in Rapid City 10 years ago, making this year’s event pretty special for those of us who’ve backed this organization since its inception,” said R-CALF USA Region III Director Johnny Smith, who also chairs the group’s convention committee this year. “We’ve come a long, long way in a decade, but there’s still plenty of work to do to return the U.S. cattle industry to the days when a producer could make a fair profit for his cattle.”
Due to the recent drop in cattle prices and the uncertainty about the overall U.S. economy, it was decided to cut the event from four days to two in hopes that it would result in less expense to members who want to attend to help establish new R-CALF USA policy.
From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 23, the R-CALF USA Private Property Rights Committee will conduct its third annual seminar on issues that affect landowners or those who graze cattle on public lands. The luncheon speaker for the day will be a representative of the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), a group dedicated to reforming harmful U.S. trade policies for agriculture and manufacturing. The afternoon wraps up with reports from the group’s marketing, trade, checkoff and membership committees. The highlight for the evening’s dinner will be keynote speaker G.B. Oliver III, executive vice president of the Paragon Foundation, which was created in 1996 to support the advancement of the fundamental principals articulated by the United States’ founding fathers in both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
On Saturday, Jan. 24, the day kicks off with reports from the HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) committee, as well as the animal identification, animal health and COOL (country-of-origin labeling) committees. The business session, where proposed policy resolutions are brought forward, will flesh out the rest of the day.
“We’re not bringing in any speakers from the government or any other self-proclaimed industry experts,” Smith noted. “Our leaders themselves are excellent speakers on R-CALF issues, and in 2009 we have some real opportunities to get some things changed that will improve the profitability and viability of our members. But we have to work hard, work quickly and work together to accomplish these goals.
“During the daytime, in all seriousness, it’ll be a time to roll up your sleeves and make things happen,” he added. “This convention is not going to be a social event. It’s going to be a 2-day work session – all business. We’ll have the mealtimes and the evenings to catch up with old friends and do some visiting, but our focus has to be the very survival of the U.S. live cattle industry and restoring its competitiveness and transparency.”
“The trade show space is filling up pretty fast, so vendors who’d like a booth this year should contact me at their earliest convenience,” said R-CALF USA Membership Services Coordinator Laurel Masterson. “This year, in addition to trade show booths, companies can show their support for both R-CALF USA and U.S. independent cattle producers by sponsoring an event during the convention.”
“Anyone who is at all concerned about the rising tide of globalization and risky food imports, the increase in corporate influence over our governmental agencies and the erosion of our personal freedoms should attend,” urged Smith.
For more information about the convention or trade show, or to donate items to the silent auction, call Masterson at 406-252-2516. To make room reservations, call the hotel before Jan. 5, 2009, at 605-343-8550 and ask for the R-CALF USA group rate of $88 plus tax per night. In order for credentialed media to secure complimentary registration and meals, they should contact R-CALF USA Communications Coordinator Shae Dodson at the phone number or e-mail address listed above no later than Jan. 5, 2009.
For more information or to download a convention registration form, please visit this link: http://www.r-calfusa.com/Events/event%20list.htm#jan21.24.