Washington cattlemen optimistic about future of industry

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Dec 16, 2008
by WLJ
Washington cattlemen optimistic about future of industry

The Cattle Producers of Washington (CPoW) recently hosted its fifth annual meeting in Colville, WA. Participants heard from several speakers including U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) Region I Director Lee Engelhardt and USCA Director of Government Affairs Jess Peterson.

CPoW President Ted Wishon stated, “Washington cattle producers have benefitted a great deal from CPoW’s affiliation with USCA. The past year has truly been a success story as USCA provided industry leadership and advanced the issues and interests of U.S. cattle producers in Washington, D.C.” “Continuing to do the right thing despite opposition and difficulties will always define the character and success of organizations and the people involved in them,” noted Engelhardt. “It’s been a rough road at times, but these recent months have proved it all worthwhile as producers won defining victories on country of origin labeling (COOL) and the prevention of foreign animal diseases. It’s amazing what a small number of dedicated individuals can accomplish; let’s keep it going.”

“Input costs are at a record high and at times, it’s difficult to remain optimistic about remaining in the cattle business,” stated Peterson. “However, when you take a look at the Wall Street financial disasters and the government bailout, folks realize how important it is to have an $80 billion dollar, non-subsidized industry that not only feeds the world, but also stimulates the economy with jobs, purchasing of goods, and a steady taxable income. The only thing this industry asks from its government is:

‘don’t mess it up’.” “Optimism for increased opportunity in the cattle industry includes T. Boone Pickens’ plan to increase wind energy usage and free up natural gas for fuel usage,” Peterson continued.

“Any increment of success in this plan will result in lower input costs. Also, cattle producers can take advantage of the National Carbon Offset Coalition’s carbon credit programs.

This is a great opportunity for ranchers to increase profits by following good gazing and land stewardship practices that are oftentimes already in place.”

“These opportunities, combined with USCA’s commitment to ensure COOL will be properly implemented and carried out by the packers and retailers, along with working to earmark a portion of Beef Checkoff dollars for U.S. beef promotion and ensuring USDA withdraws its plan to increase meat imports from Argentina are all reasons cattle producers can look forward to the future with optimism and reassurance that the U.S. cattle industry will remain competitive and profitable,” concluded Peterson.

During a special evening ceremony, CPoW members honored the Lee Engelhardt family for their service to Washington and U.S. cattle producers. CPoW leader Craig Grub presented Engelhardt with a special commemorative painting.

“Lee and his family members have spent the last 10 years tirelessly working to enhance the voice of cattle producers and advance the issues affecting the U.S. cattle industry,” stated Grub. “We are extremely appreciative of their time and service, and cannot thank them enough for all their contributions.” — WLJ