State, national leaders to speak to independent cattlemen
November 4, 2021
The Oklahoma Independent Stockgrowers Association will hold their Fourth Annual Convention from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Frisco Center in Clinton, Oklahoma. The keynote speaker will be Bill Bullard, CEO, R CALF, Billings, Montana.
The cattle industry is in a significant state of change with many cattlemen experiencing financial stress. R CALF (Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund) has been providing national leadership supported by Independent Stockgrowers Associations in almost every state. Bullard said, “Our only hope is to formulate new federal legislation and to use the courts to fight collusion and corruption within the cattle industry.”
R CALF has filed several lawsuits. Last week, a federal court in Minnesota denied a motion by the nation’s four largest meat packers to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit filed by R CALF alleging price fixing.
R CALF and independent cattlemen are advocating COOL (County Of Origin Labeling) legislation to insure that Americans know where their meat originates. About 20% of beef consumed in the US in imported. Through the government compelled checkoff program, ranchers are forced to pay a tax of $1 per head sold and have almost zero input as to how the resulting millions of dollars are spent.
The courts ruled against USDA this past week and stated the ongoing R CALF checkoff lawsuit can continue. R CALF is supporting the spot market protection bill that will require packers to purchase at least 50% of their cattle from the cash market. R CALF is also attempting to ban packers from ownership and control of cattle and the use of unpriced formula type contracts, and it is pushing for more local and regional beef packing capacity.
Brad Hutchinson, president of OISA, said, “We are estimating that about 75 to 85 percent of Oklahoma cattleman are part-time ranchers. Sometimes they are occupied with jobs and pay little attention to changes in the cattle industry. If they have any commitment whatsoever to their kids and grandkids to continue in the cattle business, then they need to step up and get involved. Numbers count and the fight is now.”
Margaret Byfield, American Stewards of Liberty, will provide information about the Biden administration’s 30 x 30 plan to preserve 30 percent of the nation’s land by 2030. This plan will negatively impact cattlemen in many states. Representative Justin Humphrey, R- Lane, will provide an update on Oklahoma’s beef task force and related agriculture issues. For conference information call Joshua Knop at 580-302-3039.