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Mid-Year Cattle Industry Meetings Are Important

Pick up any cattle market report this week and the dominant topics are weather and the corn market, the debt ceiling deadline, and debt worries in Europe. One thing I’ve found amazing the past several years is just how much the buzz in the beef industry mimics events and drivers occurring at the national level. That never used to be the case, but will likely be on full display next week as representatives of the beef industry head to Florida for the mid-year meeting.

All one has to do is read the various releases to sense the ongoing tension over the checkoff. The Rules and Responsibilities document was altered very little despite earlier comments and concerns raised by the state beef councils. Thankfully, however, this issue finally will be debated, and the full board given an opportunity to weigh in and vote.

One can still see remnants of the personal battles and agendas, with sniping continuing from all sides on certain issues, even as arcane as the location of the meetings. But while there are a lot of hurt feelings and animosities among those in leadership, the vast majority of producers appear to be focused on moving forward. Certainly, there will be those who will continue to push the politicization of these issues, but there are indications that leadership is getting the message that it’s time to put down the swords and get behind the plow.

On the positive side for the checkoff, the proposed nominating process appears to be a step in the right direction. Meanwhile, on the policy side, there remain monumental challenges despite the fact the industry has enjoyed a string of successes over the last year that few would have believed possible in today’s political environment.