Response to ‘Barbed Wire’
June 16, 2014
I read with great interest Doug Cooper's "Barbed Wire" opinion piece in the March 29 issue regarding the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. I agree with most everything that Doug highlighted regarding the current draft version of the Roundtable document. However, I feel compelled to correct his statements regarding NCBA. NCBA had no role in initiating this Roundtable. In fact, I am confident that they would much prefer that it had not come into being. Nevertheless, the Roundtable was moving forward. NCBA, I believe wisely, determined that the only way to hopefully keep the process from going awry was to engage. I have participated in conference calls in recent weeks with NCBA staff discussing a response to the draft GRSB document. NCBA has identified many of the same concerns that Doug highlighted and several others as well. Hopefully, input from NCBA, its affiliates and engaged producers such as Doug will lead to significant change. If it does not, I am confident that Wyoming Stock Growers Association, for one, will be urging NCBA to walk away from the Roundtable. It is unfortunate that "sustainability", a practice that has kept ranchers in business over several generations, has now become a buzzword for consumers, marketers and politicians. As I see it, we have two choices—engage to assure that it is defined and implemented in a manner that fosters our continued viability as ranchers, or step away and become victims of the sustainability movement. My vote is for engagement.