Symens: All those acronyms and abbreviations
South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association
As I write this, I’m watching the second group of the heifers from the fence, heat-detecting with my youngest boy, it’s his first time. The first group went through last week and cycled off of a shot of PG. After their time was up, we gave a shot of GnRH and inserted a CIDR. We pulled that this morning and gave another shot of PG, and whatever cow we don’t see the heat on we’ll give another GnRH and time breed later.
All those acronyms and abbreviations can be confusing, especially in these days of Covid-19 with opportunities that seem to come at us every day and in various forms. CARES, PPP, CFAP, PRIME act, 30-14, 50-14, and more. These are on top of numerous existing programs like CRP, CREP, SHIPP, WRP, etc., all administered by the FSA. MPR is about to be brought back to the table to possibly be reshaped, and we all want the P&S Act enforced.
All of this can be a lot to try and keep up with. While each of these is intended to aid farmers and ranchers, the devil is usually in the details. Whether South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association supports a program or not is dictated by policy put in place by the membership. Rest assured, our office and board are in constant contact with our representatives in Washington, DC, to communicate our positions on issues that affect the cattle business, and to attempt to navigate the fluid nature of this new climate we have all found ourselves in. We discuss these ideas with our counterparts in other states and at the national level as well. Many hours are spent fielding calls and returning emails to make sure membership is well represented.
Those details, the ones where we often find the devil, are sometimes not thoroughly vetted by those offering the program, those voicing support for it, or agencies doing the difficult job of assigning the rules and specifications of the program. Dates and dollar amounts seem arbitrary and sometimes benefit some folks more than others. The most frightening word sometimes is “mandate.”
Mandates often have unforeseen consequences. If a mandate comes down from Washington intending to create fairer markets for the cattle industry, it can create new loopholes and ways for one entity to gain and one entity to lose in every transaction. A threshold can be set for a certain percentage of fed cattle to be purchased a certain way, and that may help some, but what happens when that threshold is met, and the next producer down the line has now lost the freedom to market how he sees fit?
When mandatory price reporting was introduced, it was an attempt to improve on existing methods with the intention of creating a fairer price discovery for fed cattle. But buried in the details were words like confidentiality and privacy. This led to many cattle being exempt from being reported, and an accurate market signal is still hard to come by. It’s one of the things SDCA is staying involved with that we can hopefully affect later this year.
If you have any questions about the direction SDCA is taking on any of these issues, don’t hesitate to call the office, or any board member, whose numbers may be found on the SDCA website. The website also has links to webinars and videos that can aid in understanding how some of these programs and sign-ups work and how they’ll affect your operation.
As I look across the group of curious heifers watching me, I see how each heifer has a sire abbreviated on her tag. CJ, EG, BM, and DVL may not mean much to you, but I’ve spent enough time looking at them to know what they mean. Each heifer was a product of a carefully considered mating. Not every bull works on every cow. I’m reminded that not every program will work for every producer, but what’s important is that every producer has the freedom to not only market their product how they see fit, but also have the opportunity to receive their share of aid.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News