R-Calf Raise $200K to Prevent OTM Rule

US – American Cattle producers group, R-calf USA, have reported that two hundred thousand dollars have been raised to help overturn the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s over 30 month rule, which has made it legal for Canadian cattle to cross the border. Eighty four thousand dollars of this cash has been rasied through auction yards.
calendar icon 18 January 2008
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“I’m very proud of all the South Dakota independent cattle producers for putting their money on the line,” said Linda Gilbert, a co-owner of the Gilbert Angus Ranch. Gilbert Angus Ranch donated the heifer calf auctioned off at Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange that raised more than $14,000 for this litigation effort. Gilbert Angus Ranch has been around for six generations and is owned and operated by Ray and Linda Gilbert, Lloyd and Patty Gilbert, and Sawyer and Grey Gilbert.

“R-CALF USA is the only national organization that’s been 100 percent for the producers, and that’s the reason I hosted a fund-raiser,” said Dean Strong, owner of Belle Fourche Livestock, located in Belle Fourche, S.D. “The OTM Rule impacts the prices that producers expect to get for their cattle, and if it stops overseas shipments, that slows demand down and keeps the prices lower.”

The OTM Rule allows older Canadian cattle with an inherently higher risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to be imported into the United States, even though the U.S. has been unable to reopen lost export markets resulting from the discovery of a BSE positive cow found in a Canadian-born cow in Washington state in 2003. The OTM Rule also allows beef from Canadian cattle of any age into the United States.

"This is not a hobby, this is not a game, this is our livelihood."
R-CALF USA Region III Director Johnny Smith,

Fort Pierre Livestock Auction has raised more than $32,000 to help stop the OTM Rule.

“The feeding cow market was affected when the USDA announced it was going to bring in Canadian cows,” said R-CALF USA Region III Director Johnny Smith, who also is a partner in Fort Pierre Livestock Auction. ”We lost approximately $10 to $12 at that time, and since the actual implementation, we’ve lost another $6 or $7.

“The reason the people contribute so well to R-CALF in South Dakota is because people in South Dakota make a living selling cattle,” Smith continued. “This is not a hobby, this is not a game, this is our livelihood. Our existence depends completely on the cattle industry and having a fair and honest market.”

Lemmon Livestock, located in Lemmon, S.D. raised over $5,700 at a recent fund-raiser.

“I think producer and auction yard support is a very positive thing for the producers, and these fund-raisers are a way of getting the word out there,” said Paul Hoffman, who owns Lemmon Livestock and who donated the calf for the event. “The more producer involvement we can get in this, the more positive response we’ll have.”

More than $5,000 was raised at a calf sale fund-raiser at St. Onge Livestock Co., located in St. Onge, S.D. Justin Tupper, manager of this auction barn, said that any time producers speak in unison to fight for an issue, it is a benefit to the industry.

“I think South Dakota sets a good bar for other states to try to come up with similar amounts of money to match,” said Bill Kluck, who donated the cull cow auctioned off at St. Onge Livestock Co.

“The response to our legal challenge has been tremendous, with producers already raising over $200,000,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. “We estimate a total of $500,000 will be needed to maintain a successful challenge, so we encourage producers everywhere to continue making contributions to our legal fund. While we can’t know the final outcome of this challenge – win, lose, or draw – this legal challenge is the right thing to do and it demonstrates that U.S. cattle producers will do everything possible to protect the health and safety of their U.S. cattle herd.”

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