When talks of the Farm Bill begin, many aren’t aware of the impact the programs implemented through the bill will have on the livestock industry, specifically, beef cattle. During the National Cattlemen’s Beef Convention and Trade Show at the end of January, multiple sessions were spent on policy and priorities of the upcoming Agricultural Act, giving insight to members on what they should expect to see coming from NCBA in Washington, D.C. NCBA opposes inclusion of a “Livestock title,” preferring to keep programs under the,” Miscellaneous title,” in an effort to keep overreaching government regulation out of the industry and prevent detrimental programs, such as COOL and the GIPSA rule, from being implemented.
Many discussions focused primarily on Foot and Mouth disease, a stance that is prioritized in all livestock industries. A detrimental disease, FMD is highly contagious, and an outbreak is costly for producers, which potentially could wreck economic havoc on the entire industry, from livestock to crop production. What NCBA hopes to accomplish under this upcoming bill is $150 million in funding for a more adequate vaccine bank to prevent widespread contamination and major economic destruction in the event of an outbreak. Currently, the vaccine bank is not equipped to handle any significant outbreak, which makes the funding more of a priority for producers.
Another priority includes conservation, proving the effect the Agricultural Act has on all industries. Programs under this title are beneficial to the livestock industry, specifically EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentive Program). This program improves grasslands, which in turn, benefits the beef industry, which relies heavily on high-quality grazing land. NCBA is in full support of continued and growing funding of this title.
Finally, a major concern NCBA is targeting for the Farm Bill in regards to trade. With international trade being a hot topic, NCBA wants to protect trade with two key programs: the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program. According to the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service, through MAP, “FAS partners with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities.” While the FMD “also known as the Cooperator Program, helps create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. Under the program, FAS partners with U.S. agricultural producers and processors, who are represented by non-profit commodity or trade associations called “cooperators,” to promote U.S. commodities overseas.”
NCBA and other livestock industries have an important role in developing Farm Bill policies, regardless of the lack of a livestock title. In every way, the policies implemented through the other titles impact all areas of agriculture, and therefore, NCBA has specific priorities during bill discussions.
Markie Hageman is a senior, majoring in agribusiness, at Fort Hays State University. She is actively involved in her state Cattlemen’s Association, Young Farmers chapter, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Follow her series exploring various parts of the next Farm Bill.