“Fighting for the U.S. Cattle Producer”
For Immediate Release Contact: Bill Bullard, CEO
September 14, 2011 Phone: 406-252-2516; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* * MEDIA ADVISORY * *
Group Schedules News Conference in Heartland to Highlight Injustices Against Family Farmers and Ranchers:
“Enough Is Enough” it Says of Obama Administration’s Agriculture Policies
Billings, Mont. – R-CALF USA has scheduled a news conference for 1:00 p.m. CDT on Sept. 20, 2011, at the Callicrate Cattle Company feedlot located at 940 County Road 12, St. Francis, Kansas. Prior to the news conference, beginning at noon, a free lunch consisting of Callicrate beef burgers will be served to the public and media.
The news conference will highlight efforts by the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to not only ignore the unique needs and interests of family-sized cattle operations; but worse, to help big agribusinesses rapidly concentrate and consolidate the U.S. live cattle industry.
Mike Callicrate, owner of Callicrate Cattle Company, is under fire from EPA for not maintaining EPA-required paperwork and not constructing a pollution containment perimeter around his hay stacks and other livestock feed. “EPA now considers hay a pollutant,” he said.
“My feedlot operates in accordance to and with the advice from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. There have been no discharges of any pollutants from my feedlot operation. There have been no problems at my feedlot until the Obama Administration’s EPA stepped in,” Callicrate said.
Callicrate said EPA has partnered with big agribusinesses to accelerate the exodus of family farmers and ranchers.
“Even though I don’t pollute, and the chances of a discharge into a waterway is essentially impossible, EPA is forcing unnecessary and burdensome costs on me. Big agribusiness, proven to be major polluter, has been at the rule-making table for the past several administrations ensuring operations like mine bear unnecessary construction costs and the costs of labor-intensive paperwork and meaningless record keeping – costs they either don’t incur or can easily afford.
“EPA is effectively advantaging big agribusinesses. By forcing unnecessary costs on my smaller operation, and on smaller operations like mine, EPA is facilitating big agribusiness’ desire to force me and other family-sized operations out of business so they can capture control over the entire live cattle supply chain away from sustainable, family-sized ranchers,” Callicrate added.
R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said he agrees and believes EPA is following USDA’s model: “The reason we now have a meatpacking monopoly and so few independent meatpackers operating in our communities is because USDA already accomplished in the meatpacking industry what EPA is now trying to accomplish in the cattle feeding industry – USDA forced smaller meatpackers to incur the same costs as were necessary to protect consumers from unsanitary conditions found in big agribusiness-owned meatpacking operations and those unnecessary costs forced hundreds of smaller packers out of business, thus facilitating the monopolization of the meatpacking industry in the United States.”
Bullard said nothing has changed and it’s only getting worse.
Bullard said also the partnership between the Obama Administration’s federal agencies and big agribusiness is inseparable: “We need only look at who the Administration invites to the cattle-industry policy table, and the only time R-CALF USA is invited is when we are the intended meal.”
Bullard said in terms of membership size, R-CALF USA is the second-largest U.S. trade association representing the U.S. cattle industry, which he says is the single largest segment of American agriculture. However, he continues, R-CALF USA most likely is the nation’s largest trade association in terms of voluntary members, “and we’re definitely the largest U.S. trade association that exclusively represents the interests of independent farmers and ranchers who raise and sell live cattle into the multi-segmented beef supply chain.
“Despite our industry prominence, the Obama Administration appoints cattle-industry representatives to serve on various policy advisory committees only from big agribusiness firms and organizations that serve big agribusinesses – by virtue of providing big agribusinesses seats on their governing boards.
“R-CALF USA is not invited to these policy discussions because we’re trying to prevent big agribusiness from taking over our U.S. cattle industry and that flies in the face of this Administration’s grand plan,” he commented.
Bullard continued, “From its animal health policies that expose our U.S. cattle herd to a heightened risk of foreign animal diseases to its efforts to control U.S. cattle producers through mandatory animal identification, the Obama Administration is catering only to big agribusiness. From its refusal to initiate antitrust enforcement action against monopolistic meatpackers and failure to finalize its fundamental competition rule, the Obama Administration is catering only to big agribusiness. And, from its trade policies that encourage price-depressing and more unsafe imports to its environmental policies that disadvantage family-scale farming and ranching operations, the Obama Administration is catering only to big agribusiness. Even after big agribusiness-controlled trade groups are caught misappropriating hundreds of thousands of family farmer and rancher checkoff dollars, the Obama Administration does nothing, thus catering again to big agribusiness.
Enough is enough,” Bullard said adding, “This Administration doesn’t care what happens to family-scale cattle operations, big agribusiness certainly doesn’t care what happens to family-scale cattle operations, and industry trade groups controlled by big agribusinesses don’t care what happens to family-scale cattle operations.
“It’s up to us – actual farmers and ranchers and organizations that exclusively represent their interests – to change the course of our industry, and the news conference at Callicrate Cattle Company will represent the first meaningful step to begin initiating that change,” Bullard concluded.
Callicrate said the public is both invited and encouraged to attend the free noon lunch and 1:00 p.m. CDT news conference on September 20 to learn first-hand the challenges faced by independently-owned cattle operations that are being squeezed out and replaced by government-favored big agribusinesses.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 46 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.