Opinion: Dockter: Who supports ND beef?
I am writing this letter to the editor in response to a situation that happened last week Monday, January 24th, 2022.
Dave Schwalbe from the Dakota Resource Council and myself, Kerry Dockter, President of I-Band (Independent Beef Association of North Dakota) were invited as guests to be on the Joel Heitkamp radio show on 790 AM, KFGO out of Fargo, North Dakota. The idea was to talk about the importance of getting beef producers and beef consumers alike to make phone calls to Senator Kevin Cramer’s office to encourage the senator to sign on in support of SB 2716, American Beef Labeling Act, better known as the mCOOL bill.
Before we could address the topic that was intended, Joel asked for more information about I-Band’s North Dakota Beef to School Program. I shared with him of the great success and appreciation that we had received and how the schools almost immediately contacted us, saying they were so pleased with the quality, aroma, texture, yield percentage and ease to work with as compared to the commodity beef they had been using.
After a commercial segment of the show, Joel addressed a caller who stated he had many questions and concerns of the statements that I had made in regard to the ND Beef to School Program. In conversation I soon recognized the caller as a past director of the ND Stockmen’s Association, a past president of the NDSA, a past director of the ND Beef Commission and also a past position holder on the NCBA board.
What disturbs me is the allegations he made. He indicated that he doesn’t think our ND beef can be better than the commodity beef that the schools are receiving because no “data” supports that! My point was that our ND beef is totally produced in our state: born, raised and processed here. The commodity beef has the USDA stamp on it which does not tell us where it came from, whether it was imported or produced domestically. This person identified himself as a rancher. If he does not have enough pride in his product produced on his ranch to feel confident that it would be superior to the unidentified beef from the commodity program, that totally amazes me.
If his thoughts are what he led with as a previous president and board member of other beef organizations, I know he didn’t represent a majority of ranchers in North Dakota. I am further concerned that this is the attitude and direction that NDSA is going and not supporting our North Dakota produced product.
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