Recently in Columbus, Georgia Cattlemen gathered for their annual convention – a time that allows them the chance to fellowship, see the latest and greatest equipment and technology, and hear updates on what’s happening in the industry.
“We have, I think around seventy exhibitors, we have about four hundred and thirty or so total registration, and so, it’s really a time for us to get together as a group,” says Joe Garner, Georgia Cattlemen Association President. “We have like needs, like causes, like opportunities to learn and it allows the producers the chance to interact with the exhibitors to find out about a product line, or to get some more information for something that they may be needing on the farm.”
One highlight of the convention was the opening session in which National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President, Todd Wilkinson gave producers an update on regulatory and statutory issues such as the most recent controversial WOTUS rule in which Wilkinson believes has created confusion and headache for property owners and has a big impact on beef cattle operations.
“If you’re a producer that’s out there on the ground and you just want to know whether you can do this to your land for a new project, you can’t find a straight answer right now because they keep changing the rules, and it’s that type of regulatory problem that just adds expense to the producer,” says Wilkinson. “You want to know whether it’s a wetland, whether it’s a regulated wetland and to be able to get a clear answer and to know the rules is kind of critical for an operator.”
Wilkinson also spoke about the threat of possible disease pressure that could have a similar impact that Avian Influenza has had on the poultry industry and says traceability is key to making sure the industry is protected from a disease outbreak such as Foot and Mouth or even Mad Cow Disease that was detected just last month in Brazil.
“We’re facing increasing pressure from the possibility of like foot and mouth or some other diseases coming into the United States, and with our southern border being so exposed it’s a real concern that we will not be able to track it, so getting traceability of animal diseases quickly is very important to the producer to protect their operations,” says Wilkinson.
It’s because of those issues and others alike that Wilkinson encourages producers and others in the industry to get informed, get involved, and have a voice to issues that have a direct impact on their operations.
“We have a lot of people that think they know how we should run our operations and how we should deal with the farm and the ranch, but the best knowledge comes from the actual producer on the ground and it appears that we got a lot of regulatory issues and statutory issues that are coming at us and unless the producer is aware of that information and becomes involved it has the potential to run over the top of us,” says Wilkinson.
By: John Holcomb