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NCBA REPORT - Beef Industry Needs To Fight Its Threats

29 January 2010

US - The US cattle and beef industry has to be proactive in response to the attacks it faces from anti-meat bodies and bad publicity in the mass media, writes TheCattleSite senior editor Chris Harris.

At the official opening ceremony of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.

Chairman of the Cattlemen's Beef Board Lucinda Williams said that the industry needs the beef checkoff system and it needs it to be responsive to everyone in it.

She said the industry needs to listen to its customers and it needs to be proactive.

"Changes are coming down the pipe that will make us less profitable unless we do something about it now," she said.

She said the industry has to address the needs of the industry by providing a knowledge base and it needs to be prepared to respond to the resources of the industry's opponents and the anti meat agenda of much of the popular media.

"The supply of protein will not continue if we remain on our current path," she said.

She told the cattlemen's audience that most consumers are three generations away from being close to agriculture and she said the industry needs to actively engage consumers in production to show them how food is produced and how farmers and cattlemen care for the animals and environment.

However, she added that the consumer will not initially embrace the message and the funding and attacks from anti meat groups will continue.

She said the consumers are funding organisations that have an agenda to see the end of animal agriculture.

Eventually, she said, their actions will put up the price of food as a consequence.

"There are too many people out there for us to tackle alone. We need to strengthen our links with other agriculture groups," said Mrs Williams.

Her message was supported by NCBA president, Gary Voogt.

"This is an important time for the beef industry," he said.

"The beef industry has changed over the last 12 months. We are under attack. Beef demand levels have dropped back to 1998 levels.

"We have got to be ready for the time when the economy changes."

He said that beef demand generates profit but he said that many politicians do not remember where food comes from and many do not care.

He warned the convention that the politicians were regulating the cattlemen out of business and he urged them to address the challenge during meeting at the convention.

This year's convention has attracted more than 5,700 delegates from across the US.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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