From trade, electronic logging devices, and dietary guidelines, to Environmental Protection Agency regulations, a lot happens in Washington, D.C. that impacts rural America.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association works on those issues and many more to improve opportunities for cattle producers.
Colin Woodall is NCBA’s Senior Vice President of Government Policy is Washington, D.C. He said the NCBA works hard on the grassroots level.
“The push right now is to get Speaker Pelosi to set a date for the vote on U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA),” said Woodall. “In all the conversations we’ve had with Democrats and Republicans alike, we know that once the vote is scheduled, we will get it passed. So we’re excited about the prospect of bringing that forward, getting it done, and having some certainty as we’re dealing with both Canada and Mexico moving forward.”
Woodall added the trade talks between the United States and Japan are going very well.
“We’re excited about how quickly they are moving forward and if we can take down the thirty-eight and a half percent tariff that we currently have and match it with our prime competitors, which are Australia, Canada, we will have a level playing field,” said Woodall. “That way we can maintain our dominance in that market.”
The NCBA has also is addressing EPA regulations.
“Waters of the United States (WOTUS) is almost behind us,” said Woodall. “We have a completed comment submission deadline that is done. EPA is looking at those comments. They will make a final decision.”
Woodall also addressed two EPA environmental laws, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
“CERCLA and EPCRA is just the alphabet soup for EPA superfund program and through legislation and a recent rule making,” said Woodall. “We have been able to exempt animal agriculture emissions from EPA’s Superfund. A huge win for us not only is the cattle business but for all of agriculture.”
Electronic Logging Devices that impact livestock haulers are also a top priority.
“So we are pushing for a 150 area mile exemption on the back end of a haul to make sure that if you’re getting close to your destination that you don’t have to stop if you run out of hours. Both Democrats and Republicans alike can support that. In the meantime. We continue to be exempted from ELDS and we’re going to maintain that.”
Other key areas include the upcoming review of national dietary guidelines.
“We’ve spent a lot of time right now working on the dietary guidelines,” Woodall added. “This happens every five years. It’s important to make sure that beef stays in the middle of the plate. And fortunately with Secretary Purdue, President Trump and the current Administration, we believe will be able to protect that.”
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In trade aid news, there won’t be any trade relief payments for Farmers with unplanted crops.
That comes from an unnamed official at USDA who said the department has made that determination. However, a department spokesperson did not confirm nor deny that a decision has been made either way.
Of course, last month the department said it would pay up to 14 and a half billion dollars directly to producers who have been hit hard by the trade war with China. Will continue to follow up on that story here on the Montana AG Network.
In other news, it’s a small world after all.
While in Washington, D.C., the Montana Ag Network’s Lane Nordlund ran into a group of junior high students and teachers from his hometown of Lewistown by the White House.
-Reported by Lane Nordlund/MTN News