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FARM REFORM                        Lane  says.  “You  can't  elimi-                         The Midwest Cattleman · August 5, 2021 · P14
      continued from page 3              nate the feedlot system in the     they kind of peppered some of  those are things we're all fight-
                                         highest quality beef producing
         "Economic  concentration  in    system in the world, and the       that stuff into the bill as well  ing through and working to fix
      agriculture has been hurting       most sustainable system in the     and that's brought some other  and address.”
      our country, especially rural      world and expect it to survive.    cattle groups out, kind of tacitly   Part of what the NCBA plans
      America, for decades,” Booker      This is a direct attack on cattle   supporting this,” he continues.  to do in response to this bill is
      said. “The top four beef pack-     production.”                       “We are full throated in oppo- education, Lane says.
      ing companies control nearly          Getting rid of the feedlot      sition to this bill. This is being   “Senator Booker and his al-
      85% of the market. The top four    system, and encouraging more       advanced by people who do not  lies are trying to tie this effort to
      pork packers control 71% of the    grass-fed beef production, won’t   have the best interest of cat- what the Biden administration
      market. These companies have       result in the same efficiency      tle country at heart. If you see  did recently with the executive
      too much market power, and it      that we have today, Lane notes.    Cory Booker and Bernie Sand- order. Those are two very dif-
      comes at the expense of inde-         “There's a lot of great grass-  ers and Elizabeth Warren sup- ferent things.  The President's
      pendent family farmers, who        fed beef producers around the      porting a bill to try to save the  Executive Order is devoting
      earn just 14.3 cents of every      country, but we know that the      U. S. Cattle industry, I advise  $500 million towards expand-
      dollar spent on food.”             efficiency  built  into,  and  the   being extremely skeptical of  ed packing capacity, $100 mil-
         The National Cattlemen’s        sustainability benefits of our     that effort.”                     lion towards additional inspec-
      Beef  Association (NCBA) was       feedlot system, are without          “If you read the material  tors and $55 million towards
      quick to label the bill as “mis-   equal. It's what allows us to      that he’s [Booker] put out, and  making sure state inspected
      guided,” and Ethan Lane, NC-       produce the highest quality        this is the reintroduction, he  facilities can get up to spec.
      BA’s vice president of govern-     beef in the world, with the low-   introduced in the last Congress  That processing capacity piece,
      ment affairs joined host Chip      est footprint and the best ani-    as well, it's funny because it's  and fixing product of the USA,
      Flory  on  AgriTalk  to  discuss   mal  rights  record  along  with   kind of a straw man. He talks  that's a big issue we've been
      the bill further.                  that. Attacking this system in     about packers and consolida- pushing on. Those are tangible
         “In the political sphere we     this way, there's some other       tion in the packing space, and  deliverables and very different
      talk about astroturf—it's when     pieces in there that are kind of   some of those issues that obvi- than what Cory Booker and his
      you set up a group that's sup-     buzz words,” he says.              ously we're all wrestling with,  allies are trying to do with this
      posed to look and feel like           Those buzzwords include         but then his solution to that  bill,” Lane explains. “So it's im-
      something other than what it       ‘Product  of  USA”  labeling  and   is  to  eliminate  feedlots,”  Lane  portant that folks understand
      really is—and you have these       competition, that are sprinkled    continues. It's a real straw man  the difference between the two.
      family farm action type groups     throughout the bill, drawing       argument when you drill down  These aren't the same thing,
      that kind of ride in on bills      support from some, but the         into it, and it’s playing into  and we need to make sure that
      like this and say, ‘Gosh, this is   NCBA is fully against it, Lane    some of the emotions that we  that's really, really well under-
      so great for real small family     says.                              know are certainly tangible in  stood both on the hill and out in
      farms and ranches,’ but they're       “A lot of the issues we always   cattle country right now.  And  the country.”
      always funded and staffed by       talk about whether it's a ‘Prod-
      animal rights extremists, and      uct of USA’ labeling or compe-
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