USCA: Sage grouse, COOL priorities
June 22, 2015
USCA (June 19, 2015) – The United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA) recently concluded the 2015 Fly-In to Washington, D.C. Producers from across the country made the trip to speak on issues affecting the industry, including country of origin labeling (COOL), trade, sage grouse, EPA and dietary guidelines.
After returning to their home states, USCA members and fly-in participants are now actively involved in aggressive follow-up on key items, such as COOL and sage grouse. Conversations on these two issues will be critical in the coming months to ensure the best possible outcomes for the country's producers and consumers.
USCA President Danni Beer commented on the fly-in, "There could not have been a better time for USCA members to be in DC. The House voted to repeal COOL and the next day our members were on the Hill speaking with their Senators urging for a counter to the blanket repeal approach taken by their colleagues."
"USCA members are urging the Senate to adopt legislation which maintains the information of country of origin, whether it be through a mandatory or voluntary COOL program. Our concern has always been, and will remain, that only products "born, raised and harvested in the U.S." be granted a US label. We will continue to work with those in the Senate and House to reach consensus on this issue and halt any action that would repeal the program."
Also discussed during the fly-in was the potential listing of the Greater Sage Grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). USCA met with representatives from the Administration and NRCS in order to relay the support across the countryside for those management plans and models as developed by the NRCS that involve producers and maintain an open line of communication with land users and owners.
Brett Dailey, (Jordan, Montana) commented on the Sage Grouse-focused meetings, "In what was a highlight of the week for many in the delegation, USCA met with NRCS Chief Jason Weller to discuss the issue. USCA commented on the need to maintain the producer-based approach being championed by NRCS and the Chief thus far and the need to expand that model to the new USFS and BLM management plans."
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"USCA members and producers across the country want certainty on this issue, not a delay that will continue to leave open the potential for litigation and mixed messaging. It is our hope that the Administration and those on the ground will acknowledge the work being done by U.S. cattle producers to conserve habitat and consequently, the grouse, and will prevent any listing from taking place. We will continue to carry the message that "what's good for the bird is good for the herd" as we near the September deadline."
Whitney Klasna (Lambert, Montana) added some final thoughts on the fly-in, "USCA producers brought several key issues to D.C. this past week. There is a tough road ahead on many of these items, but I am confident that what is best for producers and the U.S. cattle industry will ultimately prevail."