Letters

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Mar 14, 2005
by WLJ

Support for AFBF waning
Dear Editor:
We are very disappointed with the American Farm Bureau Federation for their opposition to the ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana that imposes a temporary injunction on re-establishing trade with Canada for live cattle younger than 30 months of age. Our fourth generation family ranch has been very active with Farm Bureau for over 60 years and we feel that they have really let the U.S. cattle ranching industry down!
The Canadian border needs to be closed until we have ALL our beef export markets are open and the safety of the beef supply from Canada is not questioned for having BSE. Why doesn’t Canada find other countries to send their beef to instead of forcing the U.S. to take their beef with no country-of-origin labeling?
The Farm Bureau seems to think that the sooner we open the Canadian border to all beef imports, then the sooner our trading partners such as Japan will follow suit. But in all reality, we imported 22 percent more beef, 1,196,569 metric tons of beef in 2004, of which 355,243 metric tons was Canadian. During this same time, our beef export markets were down 75 percent, to 321,675 metric tons, roughly a $3 billion dollar deficit for beef trade, according to R-CALF. So, I ask Farm Bureau this: How much more imports do we have to take, before our trading partners open their markets due to the Canadian BSE problem? Our overall ag trade surplus has also evaporated from 27.3 billion in 1996, to a projected balance of zero in 2005. What a shame!
We hope Farm Bureau will poll their livestock members and start representing the grassroots of their organization. We feel Farm Bureau has been very supportive in protecting our property rights, Farm bill, disaster aid, but they need to support mandatory COOL, reject free trade agreements such as CAFTA, and to support the continued closure of ALL Canadian beef products from entering the U.S.
Neil Glennie
Tom Glennie Ranch
Judith Gap, MT

Tunnel vision regarding the border issue
You should have been at the Federal Court hearing in Billings. What you don’t realize is: right always prevails over wrong, good overcomes bad, and truth is established by honest court judges.
I was there and I was impressed at how knowledgeable Judge Cebull was on the BSE subject. You accuse the judge of having his mind made up before the hearing. If you didn’t have tunnel vision you would also see the importance of delaying the border opening.
Pete, you were on the NCBA Canadian Trade Delegation, didn’t you realize they only showed you what they wanted you to see? Did they ask you what feed processing plants you wanted to see or just show you the big Cargill feed processing plant? Don’t you think you should have gone to see cowherds and dairies in Alberta instead of flying over feedlots? You were on a fact finding mission and I don’t believe they showed you the facts.
Your U.S. Justice Department lawyer Lisa Olson, stated that there was "virtually no risk" opening the border to young Canadian cattle. There has only been four cows diagnosed as having BSE, even though two have tested positive in 2005. Minimal risk, "virtually no risk." Judge Cebull asked Lisa Olson how that compared to the outbreak of BSE in Great Britain. Lisa said "Oh that was an epidemic." Judge Cebull reminded her that the epidemic started with one cow and several hundred people lost their lives to vCJD.
Pete, you made reference to R-CALF’s war chest of $750,000. Then you stated that the U.S. Justice Department has pretty deep pockets. Do you understand that the U.S. Justice Department is using tax payer funds to fight our own livestock producers and consumers, concerning the food imported into the USA? Pete, R-CALF has raised these funds because producers, consumers, and small business in rural America are ready to stand up and fight for their life.
I am amazed that you are so blind to what’s really happening in America, that you are willing to take the side of multi-national trading companies and corporate America to launder American agriculture to the rest of the world. By the way, R-CALF’s warchest has been voluntary contributions by producers and consumers who desire to see U.S. Agriculture persevere and produce USA (COOL) products.
Let me tell you, these USA citizens have only begun to fight!
Tom Connelley
Beefman
Belle Fourche, SD

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