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Livestock Groups in Washington Fighting Legislation

J.D. Alexander, cattle feeder farmer, from Pilger, Nebraska, and current president of NCBA is in Washington talking with legislators about H.R. 3798, legislation that would codify an agreement between the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP) to seek federally mandated production practices for the egg industry:

“It is certainly something that doesn’t seem to be very workable, or doable or likeable for cattle feeding or the cattle industry in general.”

Many livestock producers are concerned and downright alarmed by what the legislation is attempting to do:

“I guess our perspective is this; we…a lot of us have been in numerous generations we’ve got all varieties of cattle producers from across the nation different ones from east coast to west coast, from north to south, and you really can’t say that one picture fits all, everything has to look at their different regions, natural resources, many other things to see what actually works for the betterment of their business. When you start putting parameters that says this is how you have to do things, it just doesn’t make it workable for most of the produers.”

What Alexander finds particularly alarming is that this one piece of legislation will encompass all classes of food animal production:

“When you have different species of livestock across the nation, totally different in needs, totally different on how they’re handled, totally different on everything, so if you have one rule on how you need to treat all livestock, it just is really not workable at all. Like I say, our producers know what is right, no matter if it’s cattle, or hogs, or poultry or anything, is that they are experienced and they’ve got the knowledge and how tot take care of them in a very humane and proper way, and you cannot just put a rule to cover all species.”

This particular piece of legislation was borne from a deal the United Egg Producers tried to strike with HSUS, and has gotten out of control:

“That’s exactly right. I think you’ve got an organization, for some reason that tried to do some compromising, and as a result, some legislation was drafted, and like I say, it’s so vague, and when you look at the different species out there, it’s going to be impossible to work with. And it’s something that really would not be workable at all if it happened to pass.”

Of course, with the legislation being in the House now, it still has a very long road to travel before being considered for implementation:

“Well, it does. And I think it’s part of what we’re going to do is monitor and watching it, and if in fact there’s an opportunity to have some input on it, we certainly going to be there and represent our producers from across the nation to make sure that something that would not work does not get out of it.”

JD Alexander, cattle producer and current president of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.