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Agriculture Today

Cattle raisers meet with D.C. officials, urge trade passage

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September 21, 2011 | 3,007 views | Post a comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Members of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association met with officials at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office to urge the administration to immediately send the pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea to Congress for ratification.

According to a Sept. 13 press release and data posted on the cattle raisers website, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association President Joe Parker Jr. was accompanied by Pete Bonds, Joe Leathers, Dr. Richard Thorpe, Bobby McKnight, Wesley Welch, April Bonds, Jason Skaggs, and Eldon White. The cattle raisers were joined by the Texas Cattle Feeders Association and the Kansas Livestock Association in meetings with more than 10 congressmen and three senators of the Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas delegations.

“The Texas beef industry has undergone an unprecedented year of bad weather including record-setting droughts and devastating wildfires,” Parker said. “One sure way to help the industry recover is to pass these trade agreements. Doing so will allow American products to finally gain ground in markets where our competitors have been capitalizing. These agreements will also create thousands of jobs that Americans desperately need without costing taxpayers a single dime.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for every $1 billion worth of agricultural goods exported, approximately 8,000 jobs are created. According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the three pending agreements would generate nearly $2.5 billion in additional exports and about 20,000 jobs.

The cattle raisers association also supports the re-authorization of the trade promotion authority, a fast-track approach that gives the U.S. Trade Representative’s office more flexibility to negotiate trade deals.

While in Washington, the cattle raisers also met with members of the Texas delegation, as well as senators from Oklahoma and Kansas. The group stressed the importance of reining unnecessary and overreaching Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is also working to waive the requirement that, in order to be eligible for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s fence rebuilding cost share assistance, fences must be less than 20 years old. The cattle raisers talked to officials about waiving the requirement so that in times of natural disasters, fences of all ages will qualify.

The association is working to change the federal tax code to allow costs of replacing fences destroyed in natural disasters to be fully tax deductible in the year the costs are incurred, rather than deducting the costs over a period of years.

“More than 3 million acres of Texas lands have burned,” Parker said. “Cattle raisers have lost over 5,800 miles of fences which equals more than $50 million in rebuilding costs.”

Other issues of concern include U.S. corn-based ethanol policies that continue to increase feed costs for livestock producers, and the listing of many endangered species, including the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, in Texas without sufficient data to verify a listing.

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