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Cattlemen head to RC over country of origin labeling, animal ID, and check-off

Hundreds of ranchers from as many as 20 states will descend on Rapid City, SD, next week for the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund annual convention. R-CALF, as it’s called, has made a lot of promises on the meeting agenda.

  • Learn how we will reinstate mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL).
  • Learn how we will stop the USDA’s second round effort to impose a mandatory animal identification system on U.S. cattle producers.
  • Learn how R-CALF USA’s pending lawsuit is beginning to reform the beef checkoff program.
  • Learn how we will begin reining in the beef packer cartel and restore competition to the marketplace.
  • Learn how we can stop the beef packers and retailers from imposing unreasonable terms of production under the so-called Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.
  • Learn how we can more effectively reinstate import restrictions to better prevent the introduction of foreign animal diseases into the United States.
  • Learn how the U.S. can adopt trade policies that promote domestic supply chains, balance trade, and properly recognize the supply-sensitive nature of the cattle industry.
  • Learn the status of the investigation by the U.S. Comptroller General into the cause of the disastrous cattle price collapse of 2015-2016.

Just ahead of R-CALF’s convention, two beef industry leaders warned cattlemen about the Billings, MT-based organization’s association with an activist legal service not seen as friendly to rural America. Pete Crow, the publisher of the Western Livestock Journal, was the latest to fire a shot at R-CALFs association with Public Justice.

“A quick review of Public Justice’s website (www. publicjustice.net) shows they may be a radical legal advocate like the Center for Biological Diversity or Western Watersheds Project,” Crow wrote.

“They are a strange group for anyone in agriculture to be involved with, and yes, they have folks on staff who have worked for the Humane Society of the U.S.”

Public Justice represents R-CALF in lawsuits against state beef check -off programs. Check-off programs fund beef marketing and safety research.

Earlier, Kendal Frazier, CEO, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association went so far as to accuse R-CALF as being in bed with the Humane Society of the U.S. ” I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat it, so it’s clear: HSUS does not care about beef producers or the checkoff. They care about stopping the production and consumption of meat! Every member of the beef community that collaborates with this group, for any reason, is helping them achieve that goal,” Frazier wrote in Drovers, a cattle industry publication.

“They will stop at nothing to change your way of life, drive beef producers out of business and irreparably harm the social and economic fabric of rural America,” Frazier added.

Bill Bullard

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard invited Frazier, without getting a response, to debate. Bullard said he wanted the debate “in a big public room full of real cattle-owning ranchers – not just Packers in hats.”

As for those activist lawyers, Bullard has David Muraskin, a Food Safety and Health Attorney at Public Justice who represents R-CALF USA in both the group’s successful beef checkoff program lawsuit and its pending country-of-origin labeling (COOL) lawsuit speaking on two convention panels.

Tomi Lahren, the American conservative political commentator, and political operative will keynote the R-CALF conference. The former host of Tomi on The Blaze, she is Rapid City native with an uncle who a South Dakota cattle rancher.

The August 25-26 event will be at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City, SD.

R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only cattle trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry.

For information about the R-CALF USA convention, visit www.MakeTheCattleIndustryGreatAgain.com, or call Tatum Lee at 405-834-5710.

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