KLA program underscores need for advocacy

Oct 30, 2009
by WLJ
KLA program underscores need for advocacy

A veterinarian who is providing national leadership on the animal care issue, the chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and a U.S. senator from Kansas are among those on the program for the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Convention in Wichita. The group’s annual meeting will take place Dec. 3-4 at the Wichita, KS, Hyatt and Century II Convention Center.

Responding to the misleading or false accusations of animal activists will be the underlying theme of several convention presentations. It will start with Beef Industry University (BIU), sponsored by the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas, where Kansas State University (K-State) veterinarian Dan Thomson will talk about how activist groups are working to eliminate livestock production through public information campaigns, ballot initiatives and federal regulations. Thomson is co-chairman of the new North American Food Animal Well-Being Commission for Beef organized earlier this year to facilitate communication of animal care practices to the public and advance cattle health and welfare.

Thomson will bring the academic perspective to the BIU discussion about how land-grant universities, industry organizations and individual producers are cooperating to amplify the livestock industry’s voice on animal care issues. He is the Jones professor of production medicine and epidemiology at the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine and serves as director of K- State’s Beef Cattle Institute. Thomson also chairs the World Organization for Animal Health Ad Hoc Group on Animal Welfare in Beef Cattle Production Systems.

Four members of the KLA and Kansas Beef Council (KBC) staff will follow Thomson on the BIU program by taking a comprehensive look at where the industry stands on animal care and the environment, and efforts to protect members’ common business in terests on these issues.

Clayton Huseman, executive director of the KLA Feedlot Division, will explain best management practices contained in the industry’s Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program.

He’ll tell producers how following BQA protocol can be the basis for reassuring consumers beef is humanely raised and wholesome.

KLA Vice President and General Counsel Allie Devine will discuss legislative and regulatory proposals activists are using to achieve the overarching goal of eliminating animal agriculture. She will describe the efforts of KLA and NC- BA to address these challenges in a very difficult political environment.

Two speakers will talk about the industry’s efforts to correct misinformation about animal care practices and environmental stewardship. KLA Vice President of Communications Todd Domer will discuss why ranchers, feeders and industry supporters must step outside their comfort zones and use their inherent credibility with consumers to tell positive stories about beef production. He’ll be joined by KBC Executive Director Todd Johnson who will highlight some of the checkoff-funded programs designed to train producers to be industry advocates and help connect them with consumers.

The subject of Domer and Johnson’s presentation will carry over to the Consumer Trends Forum hosted by KBC and the Kansas Cattle- Women. Several KLA members will share how they are taking key beef industry messages directly to consumers.

NCBA Chief Executive Officer Forrest Roberts will speak to KLA members for the first time since he took over the position early this year. Roberts will review the work of the NCBA Governance Task Force and what that will mean for members. He also will discuss some of the issues NCBA currently is addressing in Washington, D.C., including proposed restrictions on antibiotic use in livestock and efforts to regulate the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. His presentation is sponsored by Micro Beef Technologies.

U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback will offer further insight on issues affecting KLA members in Congress. His discussion list will include cap and trade, healthcare reform and potential revisions to the Clean Water Act. Brownback also will talk about his run for Kansas governor in 2010 and where he stands on state livestock issues.

The cattle and beef market will be the focus during KLA’s Industry Information Session featuring CattleFax Executive Vice President Randy Blach. His presentation, sponsored by Elanco Animal Health, will assess the beef supply situation and how it matches up with consumer demand. Risk management and profit opportunities will be part of Blach’s price outlook for ranchers and feeders.

KLA President Todd Allen will summarize his year representing members everywhere from county producer meetings to congressional office visits. He will deliver one last speech as president, listing some of KLA’s accom plishments during 2009 and challenges that continue to face the organization.

Allen will be one of many KLA members who review proposed policy during committee and council meetings at the KLA Convention. The general membership will give final approval to resolutions that will guide KLA during 2010.

A number of individuals will be recognized with various awards at the convention. Those honored will include members who have belonged to KLA for 50 or 60 years, top KLA membership recruiters, Kansas Livestock Foundation scholarship recipients, and the graduating class of this year’s KLA Young Stockmen’s Academy.

Many of the convention activities will revolve around the equipment, technology and service displays in the KLA Trade Show. Producers will have an opportunity to talk with exhibitors about products and services that improve business efficiency.

A complete schedule and registration form are available on www.kla.org or by calling the KLA office at 785/273-5115. All livestock producers are welcome to attend. — WLJ