WASHINGTON, D.C. — On May 17, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Todd Wilkinson testified before the House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry at a hearing titled “A Review of Animal Agriculture Stakeholder Priorities.”
Wilkinson, a second-generation cattle producer from South Dakota, highlighted stronger market conditions in the cattle industry and discussed new challenges facing farmers and ranchers from burdensome regulations and inflation.
“Many of you have said it before, and I wholeheartedly agree, food security is national security,” Wilkinson testified. “Working together, we can ensure the long-term success and viability of those on the front lines providing said crucial food security. We owe it to the next generation to get it right.”
According to an NCBA news release, Wilkinson explained that the cattle industry faces challenges including the threat of foreign animal disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “overreaching” Packers and Stockyards rules, and attacks against the Beef Checkoff.
Wilkinson’s testimony also focused on key priorities for the cattle industry during the 118th Congress including:
- Passing the 2023 Farm Bill with provisions to protect animal health, promote voluntary conservation programs, reinforce disaster programs, and support risk management programs.
- Nullifying the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Packers & Stockyards rule that “injects heavy-handed government mandates in cattle producers’ businesses.”
- Defending the Beef Checkoff, which supports the cattle industry’s long-term success and is supported by the majority of producers.
- Reauthorizing the Animal Drug User Fee Act to protect the efficient Food and Drug Administration review of animal drugs that keep livestock healthy.
- Recognizing that cattle producers are America’s original conservationists and that cattle play an important role in strengthening grasslands and upcycling forages that are inedible to humans into wholesome beef.
- Supporting new trade opportunities by reauthorizing Trade Promotion Authority and seeking a trade agreement with the United Kingdom.
- Reducing regulatory burdens producers face from the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act.
- Reauthorizing Livestock Mandatory Reporting to provide cattle producers with consistent, timely and transparent market information.
- Expanding beef processing capacity through legislation like the DIRECT Act without jeopardizing food safety.