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Beef Industry Representatives Discuss Critical Issues During House Hearing

Friday, April 8, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

Industry representatives this week outlined their views on key beef industry issues, including the livestock and poultry marketing rule proposed by GIPSA, federal ethanol policy and international trade, during a House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry hearing held to explore the state of the beef industry.

Those testifying included Jim Strickland, owner, Strickland Ranch, and president of the Florida Cattlemen's Association; Anne Burkholder, owner, Will Feed, Inc., Cozad, Nebraska, and Ken Bull, vice president for cattle procurement, Cargill, Wichita, Kansas.

Bull discussed the importance of trade agreements, saying, “As global population approaches eight billion by 2020, and per capita GDP growth accelerates, there will be increased demand for protein including beef… Our challenge today is whether the beef industry will have the opportunity to capture this growing global demand for protein – and the only way to do it is to grow market access through free trade agreements.”

Regarding the proposed GIPSA rule, Strickland told lawmakers, “This rule goes beyond the intent of Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill and proposes major changes to the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) that will damage our ability to market cattle.  He further stated, “Make no mistake. I rely on federal regulators to ensure that the marketplace is free from monopolies, collusion, price fixing and other illegal activities. But I am worried that current plans will poke a stick in the wheels of commerce and destroy a productive system that has benefited everyone.”

Burkholder raised the issue of federal support for corn ethanol, stating, “For more than 30 years the U.S. ethanol industry has been subsidized by the American taxpayer at a cost of more than $30 billion.  In 2010, the U.S. ethanol industry realized record exports of E10 reaching 46 million gallons and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), a coproduct of U.S. ethanol production, reaching nearly 9 million metric tons.  This is a mature industry and it is time to level the playing field for all users of corn.  We are simply asking for the ability to compete on a level playing field for a bushel of corn.”

For a full copy of the witnesses’ testimony, visit: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/hearingDetails.aspx?NewsID=1348


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