2016: A Year for Growing Market Access not Regulation

Published on Tue, 02/16/2016 - 1:45pm

By: Tracy Brunner, NCBA President

It’s a great honor to take the reins of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association at a time when there are so many reasons to be optimistic about the future of our industry. My roles in the beef industry have helped me broaden my view of our industry. My family’s operation in Ramona, Kansas spans the beef production chain to include farm and pasture land, seedstock cow-calf units and a feedlot operation. That background, with my two decades of service to the Kansas Livestock Association and Kansas Beef Council and six years on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board have given me a greater appreciation for the industry as a whole. In this next year, I hope to build off that experience to ensure we do everything we can to support our producers and build market access and capitalize on strong beef demand.

We had a number of monumental successes in 2015 to build from including full repeal of COOL, greater stability in the tax code, and increased congressional oversight in key policy areas. On that foundation, we will look in this year to grow exports and set our sights on regulatory overreach across the agencies.

One of the top priorities for this year will be to educate and ensure passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Trade is essential to the continued success and growth of our industry, in turn supporting future generations of cattle producers. For me, supporting the next generation of cattlemen and women is essential and the best way to do that is to ensure our industry remains profitable.

There are around 260 preferential trade agreements in force worldwide, only 14 of which include the United States. We have already seen what happens when we do not engage in these trade agreements. In 2014, Australia and Japan signed their economic partnership agreement, giving Australia a 10 percent tariff advantage over U.S. beef exports into Japan. That agreement alone cost U.S. beef producers over $100 million and counting in lost access to Japan. That lost access to the Australian market is one of a myriad of reasons that led to lower prices this fall and winter. The only way to reclaim that access and lead trade in the fast growing Asian markets is passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. TPP would immediately level the tariff disparity and provide the best access ever negotiated into the Japanese market.

This is also an election year, and while movement on Capitol Hill will be slowed, regulatory action will not rest. We still must defeat EPA’s “waters of the United States” rule. We will continue to move forward with our lawsuit in the Southern District of Texas and work with Congress to find a permanent solution to halt EPA’s land grab. We must also focus on other environmental regulations coming from EPA before they become the next crisis for our industry. Moreover, this next year, we will continue the call for meaningful reform to the Endangered Species Act and ensure the goal is not simply listing new species and regulating land use to achieve unreachable goals, but recovery and delisting. We will fight wholesale monument designations and ensure this administration does not prevent multiple-use on millions of acres of land on their way out the door.

This is a remarkable year for growth of our industry and I look forward to working with our state affiliates and NCBA members to achieve results and grow our success in 2016.