The South Dakota Cattlemen's Association held their annual convention last week in Watertown, where over 220 members helped shape the 2008 policy course for SDCA.
“As a grassroots organization representing a very diverse group of cattlemen and beef producers it was gratifying to see individual members participating in SDCA's policy-development process,” notes SDCA President Scott Jones.
SDCA members weighed in on new policy and revisions to existing policy. New policy set by SDCA includes resolutions regarding equine brand inspection, mandatory animal identification for breeding age livestock, and SDCA members unanimously reaffirmed support of the freedom of marketing resolution.
Members of SDCA voted to support continuation of Equine brand inspections only if they can be financially independent of cattle inspections. This resolution was established because the current brand inspection program on equines does not cover the actual costs of conducting the program and the Brand Board is becoming burdened with additional costs associated with abandoned horses.
Another policy implemented by SDCA recognizes the health risks of Tuberculosis, Foot and Mouth Disease, and other highly contagious diseases. Because these diseases could devastate South Dakota's livestock industry, SDCA members voted to support mandatory identification on breeding age livestock in order to help mitigate the economic damage for our producers
“SDCA members feel protecting our livelihood from disease outbreak is essential to remain profitable in the industry. Changing technology including animal ID, will help protect and contain an outbreak of a potentially devastating disease” said Todd Mortenson, SDCA 1st Vice President.
SDCA unanimously reaffirmed support of our existing Freedom of Marketing Resolution that calls on SDCA to support and protect all marketing alternatives used by producers.
“The possible amendments being discussed in the Senate's 2007 Farm Bill may severely restrict marketing alternatives for cattlemen and SDCA will continue lobbying hard to ensure cattlemen can market their cattle in the manner that's most profitable for their unique operation,” said Scott Jones, SDCA President.
SDCA members voted to oppose legislation requiring feedlots to obtain grain dealer licenses and bonds to buy grain from private producers, and opposed a revision of the definition of "waters of the United States". SDCA members also affirmed support for legislation that would allow ag lands to be assess on productivity valuation for tax purposes.
Legislation that may be proposed in the 2008 Legislative Session may require custom feeders to obtain a grain dealer license and bond to buy grain from a private producer, a proposal which SDCA members oppose.
“As a cattle feeder myself, I feel the proposed legislation will hurt my business operation by requiring me to obtain a grain dealer license and increase my costs. Feeders are highly regulated already and operators should be allowed to purchase grain without additional regulatory burdens,” said Bryan Nagel, SDCA 2nd Vice President.
SDCA opposes a revision to the definition of “waters of the United States,” currently introduced in the U.S. Congress as the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act. This dangerous legislation proposes to remove the word “navigable” from the definition of what is considered “waters of the United States.”
“At a minimum, passage of this legislation would mean that ag producers could be required to manage around mud holes, any water that drains into streams, streams and drainage ditches that are only wet during certain times of the year or precipitation events, road ditches, and water released from tile lines and vegetated filter strips, “ said Jones, SDCA President and NCBA Property Rights and Environmental Management committee vice chair.
“SDCA members have spoken and provided leadership with clear direction about what issues are important to the continued success of their businesses. We look forward to working with our partners in agriculture to implement the policies set by SDCA members and advance South Dakota's cattle and beef industries.” said Jones.
South Dakota Cattlemen's Association is working to advance the interests of South Dakota's Cattlemen through the representation and promotion of the beef industry.