May/June President’s Report

7 07 2010
First to get a little housekeeping out of the way; DON’T forget that convention has been changed from our traditional time of January to December 10-11 in Salina!

Frank and Deborah Popper, authors of the paper “The Buffalo Commons” which addresses de-population on the high plains and has been so controversial over the years, have committed to participating in our convention as well as several others that I am in the process of locking in.

To deal with a December state convention the KFU board of directors decided to hold our policy drafting meeting in the summer so that we can get county input into proposed policy changes at their meetings before the December convention.  We will be holding policy drafting in McPherson at the Holiday Manor (room 108) on Aug. 21.

Now, onto the USDA hearing in Fort Collins on Livestock concentration Aug. 27.   U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have invited U.S. cattle producers to meet with them on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, beginning at 8 a.m. MDT on Friday, Aug. 27, 2010 to explore concentration in the livestock industry.

This is a serious opportunity for Kansas cattlemen to make themselves heard! If you can possibly get away from the operation for a couple of days your presence there will make a strong statement about our concerns!

In that regard the KCA is hosting a bus to Fort Collins and has invited KFU members to take advantage of this opportunity to join other cattle producers. Call KCA at 785-238-1483 or visit http://kansascattlemen.com/ for more information.

Our sometimes ally R-CALF has sent out a passionate call for attendance to the Fort Collins meeting. It was so passionate and does such a good job of outlining the reasons you need to participate that Daryl Larson and myself have decided to reprint it in our Kontact. Here it is:

Open Letter to the United States Cattle Industry
Dear U.S. Cattle Producers and Other Rural Americans,   The most important day in the history of your U.S. cattle industry, and perhaps all of Rural America, is soon to arrive. Never in history have two presidential Cabinet members invited Rural Americans to meet with them in the center of the United States to show their support for restoring competition to the U.S. cattle industry. Never in history, that is, until now.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have invited U.S. cattle producers and other Rural Americans to meet with them for one day on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, beginning at 8 a.m. MDT on Friday, Aug. 27, 2010.

We must accept this unprecedented invitation! Every U.S. cattle producer, every main-street business owner who supports our cattle industry, and every consumer who wants USA beef produced by U.S. farmers and ranchers must be in Fort Collins on August 27 to show the U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture that the No. 1 priority for Rural America must be to restore competition to the U.S. cattle market.

Your attendance at this historic event, without saying a single word, will send a more powerful, compelling message to Washington, D.C., than could ever be achieved during several years’ worth of sending letters, making phone calls, or even flying to Washington, D.C., to visit with your elected representatives and agency officials.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime to genuinely make a positive impact on the future direction of your U.S. cattle industry and the future of Rural America. This opportunity is not only unprecedented, it is unique. It is unique because the invitation is not for the purpose of exploring whether there has been a loss of competition in the U.S. cattle industry. Indeed, the very reason the Attorney General and the Secretary of Agriculture have scheduled this unprecedented meeting in Fort Collins is because they do understand there is a serious problem in the U.S. cattle industry and it is affecting all of Rural America. The purpose of this meeting is to determine if it is the will of U.S. cattle producers and Rural Americans that immediate, aggressive action be taken to restore competition to the U.S. cattle industry.

This is why your attendance is absolutely essential and why just being there will be so effective. When the U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and all the media that follow these two gentlemen around look out at a crowd of 25,000 they will draw one, and only one, conclusion: U.S. cattle producers and Rural Americans want the federal government to put an immediate and permanent halt to the anticompetitive practices and antitrust activities that are rapidly causing the U.S. cattle industry to shrink, resulting in the hollowing out of rural communities all across the United States.
We encourage you to bring with you a simple, respectful sign that includes two critical pieces of information: 1) your message, which can be “Fix our Cattle Markets,” “Restore Competition,” or “Stop Anticompetitive Practices;” and, 2) the name of the state you are from.
When we all arrive with our simple, respectful sign on the Colorado State University Campus in Fort Collins, at 8 a.m. on Friday, August 27, we will make history. We will send Congress and the Administration a mandate they cannot ignore. We will mark the beginning of the reversal of the contraction of our U.S. cattle industry and we will preserve for ourselves and our children the opportunity to participate in the U.S. cattle industry as independent cattle producers who sell into a fully competitive market. This is our goal. This is our opportunity. And this is what is at stake.
Please do not underestimate the importance of this event. The concentrated beef packers and their supporting trade associations will be pulling out all the stops. They will hire economists to write glowing studies to show that producers and consumers benefit when beef packers control the cattle market. They also will initiate a media blitz to stop any efforts to limit their tremendous market control. Your attendance in Fort Collins will trump their self-serving efforts. When 25,000 people from all across the U.S. with an interest in preserving our U.S. cattle industry stand together in Fort Collins on August 27, we will indelibly imprint our message on the mind of each and every Washington, D.C., decision-maker, and all the money andself-serving efforts put forth by the powerful beef packers will be outshone.
Many of you have spent years helping us lay the foundation to change the course of our industry. But, to actually implement that change we need you, your family, and your neighbors to stand with us to make this historic event extraordinary. We look forward to your attendance on Aug. 27 and welcome any assistance you can provide to encourage as many people from your area as possible to be there with you. Please call us for further assistance or information.
This is the real deal! This is what we have all been working for! The time is now! Help us show the world that we are serious about preserving and strengthening Rural America – a feat that can only be accomplished by preserving and protecting our United States’ cattle-producing heritage.

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