Billings, Mont. – National cattle trade association R-CALF USA is making final preparations for its upcoming 18th Annual Convention to be held August 25-26 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota. Keynoting the convention will be Rapid City native and now conservative political commentator Tomi Lahren, who has supported the interests of America's independent ranchers on her vast social media platform with 4.4 million followers.
[July 31, 2017 |Tri State Livestock News]
We think the wind is finally at the backs of American ranchers and this year's convention will be pivotal," said Tatum Lee, R-CALF USA's Development Director and organizer of this year's convention.
Lee said her group's members are the backbone of the cattle industry, "They are men and women responsible for the day-to-day operational decisions on their ranches and they will help us identify the specific changes needed to make our American cattle and sheep industries great again."
The group is expecting hundreds of ranchers from 20 or more states to attend its convention.
"This year's outstanding speaker lineup is attracting the highest level of preregistrations that we've seen in many years, and our trade show is shaping up to be the biggest ever," said Lee.
R-CALF USA has demonstrated its resolve to fundamentally change the direction of the U.S. cattle industry and recently won a major court case impacting the nation's mandatory beef checkoff program, which is the major funding source for the group's rival organization, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA).
"We've proven that we are willing to take the big hits and fight for the independent cattlemen we promised to represent," Lee commented.
Other highlights for the group's upcoming convention include a presentation on trade policy by Michael Stumo, CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA). Stumo has explained the need for major trade reform during multiple CNBC programs and recently returned from making trade presentations in Brussels and Singapore.
David Muraskin, a Food Safety and Health Attorney at Public Justice who represents R-CALF USA in both the group's successful beef checkoff program lawsuit and its pending country-of-origin labeling (COOL) lawsuit will join two convention panels. He and R-CALF USA's checkoff co-counsel, J. Dudley Butler, former chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), will serve on the checkoff panel. Muraskin and Colorado House Representative Kimmi Lewis, who introduced the country of origin placard legislation in Colorado this year, will serve on the convention COOL panel.
R-CALF USA Vice President Mike Schultz has been representing the group before the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) since the beginning of the year to improve regulations implementing the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 1999. Two AMS officials whom Schultz worked with, Taylor Cox and Jodie Pitcock, USDA Livestock, Poultry and Grain Field Chief and Assistant Field Chief, respectively, will explain the agency's progress in formulating those improvements.
Zoetis Technical Services representative, T. Robin Falkner, D.V.M., will enlighten the group on what opportunities he believes are available to independent-minded American ranchers. Angus McIntosh, PhD, Executive Director of the Range Allotment Owners Association, will apprise the audience of the extensive research he has conducted on water and rangeland property rights. Tracy Hunt, Wyoming attorney and rancher, will present his research on the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and explain why and how this movement intends to assist multinational corporations capture the live cattle supply chain away from independent cattle producers.
Renown expert on the formation of America's meatpacking cartels, Christopher Leonard, author of The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America's Food Business, will join the group via live internet feed to discuss America's willingness to begin enforcement of idled antitrust laws.
Lahren's keynote address will top off the convention with her presentation, "Making the Dinner Table American Again."
"Our attendees are concerned with protecting the cattle industry and their families' legacy and livelihoods," commented Lee adding, "This year's convention promises to position us within striking distance of our goal to preserve our western way of life."
"We still have plenty of sponsorship opportunities available," Lee concluded.