PLC and NCBA start legislative conferences
The Public Lands Council had its legislative conference in the nation’s capital. PLC’s events were through April 16, while the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s conference were through April 18. In addition to meeting with their U.S. senators and representatives about a variety of issues affecting the livestock industry, attendees will talk with administration officials and hear from policy experts.
PLC President Brice Lee, a rancher from Hesperus, Colo., said his organization’s members are looking forward to interacting with congressional representatives and agency officials to make sure that livestock producers are represented in Washington.
A strong showing of livestock producers in Washington is vital to the success of our association and to the livestock industry. Often times, producers are very busy on their operations and believe that what goes on in Washington is a world away, Lee said. The reality is that decisions made inside the Beltway have a direct impact on families providing food and fiber to a growing population. Our legislators and regulators need to hear from those in the countryside about how their decisions impact ranchers with public land grazing permits and agricultural operations nationwide.
While in Washington, PLC members fully engage in the legislative process, including providing testimony at three hearings before the U.S. House of Representatives. PLC Vice President Brenda Richards testified on the importance of the Grazing Improvement Act, PLC’s priority legislation this session. In another hearing she urged Congress to make well-placed appropriations in order to promote business stability for ranchers. PLC Secretary/Treasurer Dave Eliason testified on the importance of reining in the president’s ability to make sweeping national monument designations.
Attending the NCBA Legislative Conference gives farmers and ranchers the opportunity to bring their hats to the Hill. Cattlemen and women are here in Washington to tell the elected officials the facts, to tell them their personal stories on topics from over regulation to the importance of passing a five-year farm bill, said NCBA President Scott George, a dairy and beef producer from Cody, Wyo. The gap between country roads and paved highways must be bridged in order for the cattle industry to remain strong and vibrant.
George added that it is important for producers to talk to their congressional representatives about key policy issues which will directly affect the cattle industry this year, such as the reauthorization of the Animal Drug User Fee Act and environmental regulations.
Lee and George agreed that the PLC and NCBA Legislative Conferences are a valuable experience for farmers and ranchers.