Members of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) are in Washington, D.C. this week for the organization’s annual fly-in.
Whitney Klasna, the USCA’s national secretary from Lambert, Montana, said one key legislative issue members discussed with Congress and Trump Administration officials was finding a permanent solution to electronic logging devices (ELDs) and hours of service (HOS) for U.S. livestock haulers.
“The majority of our cattle get shipped out of state at weaning stage and calfhood stage and get shipped to the southern states where they get fed out and eventually end up in feed yards and the processing plants,” said Klasna. “So it’s a huge thing as far as getting our cattle to those destinations in a timely manner without having to unload those animals and co-mingle with other animals and disease traceability issues as well.”
The USCA also supports the bipartisan Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act, which has the support of Montana’s U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines. Senator Tester said the bill is a common- sense solution.
“It doesn’t make any sense especially when you’re hauling livestock to get halfway to market or even three quarters of the way to market and have to unload the livestock,” said Tester. “Anybody who’s in the business knows it’s hard enough to get them loaded the first time and second time is nearly impossible. Plus, it’s hard on the animals and much better just get them there and get them unloaded. That’s where the law needs to be changed a little bit to allow some flexibility for particularly the livestock haulers.”
USCA members stated time is of the essence because the current extension postponing full implementation of ELDs and HOS regulations for U.S. livestock haulers ends on September 30, 2019.
Other priority issues of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association include truth in labeling of alternative proteins, country of origin labeling, trade and true price discovery in the livestock marketplace.
-Reported by Russell Nemetz/MTN News