– The R-CALF USA Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the group's 9th annual convention will take place Feb. 20- 23, 2008, and has been moved to Omaha, Neb. The theme for this year's event is “Fighting for the U.S. Cattle Producer's Prosperity – Together.” The location is the newly remodeled Holiday Inn Omaha Convention Center, located at 3321 S. 72nd St, just off Interstate 80 at Exit 449.
“Many members over the years have requested that we hold the R-CALF convention in a more central location and during a time that we're not in direct competition with the National Western Stock Show in Denver, so this board decided to listen to those suggestions, and we think this change will increase attendance dramatically,” said R-CALF USA Convention Committee Chair Eric Nelson. “We've also lined up a fresh new roster of exciting presenters who are experts in their fields. Only four speakers are back by popular demand – Charlie McVean, with McVean Trading and Investments, will give an outlook report on the cattle markets; Roger McEowen, the director of the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation; Creighton University's Jason Bartz, an expert scientist on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE); and, nationally renowned disease risk-assessment expert Tony Cox.
“Additionally, we now have a much larger area in which to hold the trade show, and since our convention dates no longer compete with the National Western, we're hoping to attract several new vendors who want to reach hundreds of grassroots cattle producers who run all different sizes of operations,” he added.
“The Holiday Inn Omaha is large enough so that we're now able to have separate rooms for the presentations and meals, and it's the first time R-CALF has ever been able to offer a fully equipped newsroom to media who cover the event,” Nelson continued. “Another thing our members have requested over the years, as far as entertainment goes, is a live band and a dance floor, so this year we're proud to welcome the breakout country group 32 Below, and our members will have plenty of room to two-step the night away if they like.”
For the second year in a row, the R-CALF USA Private Property Rights Committee will hold a seminar on Wednesday, Feb. 20, one day before the convention officially gets underway. Panel discussions throughout the convention cover several topics important to the live cattle industry, including animal health issues such as BSE and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), animal identification, market competition, international trade and the Farm Bill. Also planned are updates on the National Beef Checkoff Program and country-of-origin labeling (COOL). More in-depth information on these topics and the presenters will be forthcoming in the days ahead.
The keynote speaker for the luncheon on Thursday, Feb. 21, is prominent radio talk show host Derry Brownfield, who is heard on more than 80 radio stations in 23 states. He also speaks frequently across the country, talking about his common sense points of view. The keynote speaker for the Friday luncheon is G.B. Oliver III, executive vice president of the Paragon Foundation, which was created in 1996 to support the advancement of the fundamental principals articulated by the United States' founding fathers in both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
On the evening of Feb. 21, the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) will host “CPA Night at the R-CALF USA Convention”. CPA plans to bring in several big-name speakers, to be announced at a later date, to discuss how current U.S. trade policies are detrimental to the United States. Nelson represents R-CALF USA on the CPA board of directors.
New this year to get Saturday's business session started on a positive note is a prayer breakfast during which Brother David Andrews will speak about the importance of bringing wholesome food to consumers and supporting a food system made up of family farmers and ranchers.
“Anyone who is at all concerned about the rising tide of globalization, the increase in corporate influence over our governmental agencies and the erosion of our personal freedoms should make plans to attend this convention,” Nelson urged. “We're taking the theme of this convention very seriously. We absolutely must begin working together with like-minded groups if we want to be prosperous in the near-term and preserve the heritage of the domestic live cattle industry for our children and future generations for the long-term.”
For more information about the convention or trade show, call R-CALF USA headquarters at 406-252-2516. To make room reservations, call the hotel before Jan. 20 at 1-800-315-2621 and ask for the R-CALF USA group rate of $96 plus tax per night. Media interested in attending should contact R-CALF USA Communications Coordinator Shae Dodson at the phone number or e-mail address listed above.