Thanks to growing demand for beef and positive progress on policy issues, the U.S. cattle industry is positioned to continue it current trend of higher profits and increased consumer demand, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) Chief Executive Officer Chuck Schroeder said.
Schroeder spoke to reporters, while visiting Washington to lobby on behalf of cattle producers. Congress has many issues to address before adjourning, and Schroeder visited the capital to lobby lawmakers on pressing cattle industry issues.
"Although Congress is in its final months, we are not done yet," Schroeder said. "There still are several key issues, suck as Permanent Normal Trade Relations for China and disaster relief for cattle producers, that have to be wrapped up before lawmakers leave town. These issues are key to the cattle industry's future."
The Senate is expected to vote whether to grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations for China. NCBA has been a proponent of this legislation from day one, because it will open the world's most populous market to U.S. beef producers, Schroeder said.
"Because this would foster a drop in tariffs on U.S. beef, from 45 to 12% over five years, we are projecting exponential growth in beef exports to China over the same period," Schroeder said.
Schroeder also outlined regulatory issues that NCBA is following, such as carousel retaliation ensuring that the U.S. cattle herd is protected from foreign animal diseases, working with U.S. Department of Agriculture to solve some beef purchasing problems with the school lunch program, the final rule on mandatory price reporting and a proposal to end the use of the USDA quality grade on imported beef carcass.
Schroeder told reporters that NCBA is working to ensure that international trade partners abide by World Trade Organization rules.
Carousel retaliation has been law since May, but the office of the U.S. Trade Representative has yet to release the revised list of products. NCBA is continuing to work to ensure beef industry interests are represented when the list is completed.
This year's drought and wildfires are a contributing factor in record supplies of beef, because cattle producers are liquidating or substantially reducing their herds, due to the devastating toll Mother Nature has taken, Schroeder said. NCBA will continue to lobby for disaster relief to be included in the interior and agriculture appropriations bills.
"Natural forces are hurting a lot of our producers," Schroeder said. "We are working to get them the assistance they need."