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Setting the record straight

By Staff | Jan 16, 2010

To the editor,

Alan Guebert proves over and over he is completely out of touch with the real issues facing today’s cattle producers. His Nov. 28 piece about agriculture competition is off-base and misinformed.

Guebert criticized the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s involvement in helping kill an amendment to the fiscal year 2010 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill that claimed it would have required the Department of Justice to expand oversight efforts of competition within the agriculture industry. He called NCBA’s position “neither smart nor economical” and asks why anyone would be a part of an organization that would fight against “any boost in competition oversight?”

Actually, cattlemen do belong to a national organization like NCBA to oversee their interests in Washington, DC, to make sure that Congress and the Administration don’t enact over-burdensome or unnecessary regulations that could have unintended consequences on industry, or in this case, no consequences at all.

Contrary to what Guebert implies, NCBA fully supports the existing authorities of both DOJ and USDA-GIPSA to investigate and enforce anti-competition in our marketplace. The amendment in question did absolutely nothing to enhance or “boost” competition in the cattle market. It was a redundant amendment that merely restated the authority that the DOJ already has.

Instead of wasting time on an issue that has already been studied to death (i.e. competition in the marketplace), Guebert should instead be focusing on true threats to livestock production like EPA proposals on dust and greenhouse gas reporting requirements, which have the potential to put agriculture as we know it out of business.

Killing this amendment did not harm a single producer, big or small, and we would encourage Guebert to get his facts straight in the future before writing about something of which he obviously lacks an understanding.

Our industry is facing unprecedented challenges, both economic and political. It’s no longer an option to sit back and hope the government “stays out of our way.” The future viability of our industry depends on how we move forward to address our mutual challenges. We can either sit back and complain, like Guebert chooses to do, or we can join together to find constructive solutions to proactively face these challenges head on. We choose the latter option.

-Gary Voogt


National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

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