Cattlemen and women from across the state seek current information on issues threatening their livelihoods in Oregon.
Lakeview, Ore., September 22, 2011 – Over 100 cattlemen and women attended the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Fall Quarterly Meeting September 19th and 20th in Lakeview, Oregon. Attendance for this meeting more than doubled the amounts from past Fall Quarterly meetings, showing that cattle ranchers are expressing interest in getting more involved to protect the rights of their operations.
Past Oregon Cattlemen’s Association president, Bob Skinner, reported the Owyhee Rope & Ride that started out as a one day annual event has grown into a three day event and will be held this coming weekend, Sept.23-25 in Jordan Valley. Bob said, “This is a great opportunity for us cowboys to put money into the cause and we enjoy doing it.” They have raised nearly $300,000 since inception of which $10,000 per year has been contributed to the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association’s PLC Fund. The rodeo board requests that 50% of the funds be spent pro-actively and thus the PLC has honored this by contributing $5,000 per year to the Western Resources Legal Center (WRLC).
The WRLC has been accepted as part of the curriculum at Lewis and Clark Law School, the 1# environmental law school in the nation. The program has been very successful and exceeded all expectations; except that they don’t have enough funds for all the applicants for the program. Executive Director, Caroline Lobdell, has been invited to give a full presentation about WRLC during the OCA Annual Convention.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture, Rodger Huffman, reported brand inspection rate levels have remained steady. He said good progressive producers have brought thousands of cattle to Oregon from drought areas like Texas and Oklahoma due to the excess grasses and extra capacity they have this year.
There was significant interest in the proposed USDA rules on national animal traceability and what it means to ranchers. Ray Sessler, Animal Traceability Chair, said, “There’s no doubt change is coming; we have to make it as palatable as we can.” The board unanimously agreed that brand identification should continue to be included in the federal registry as one of the official means of national identification and for international identification of cattle imported into the U.S.A.
The Public Lands Committee (PLC) session was well attended and covered a wide ray of topics from the Department of Interior’s economic report on public land uses to “Crown Jewel” nomination of wilderness lands and invasive weed control. Representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service answered questions posed.
A succulent tri-tip dinner, catered by Lakeview Lockers, featured the Down to Earth Film Festival’s award winning video from the Lands of Contrasts series, “Ranching’s Commitment to Wildlife” that was produced by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association with funding from the Oregon Beef Council.
The following day, Oregon Beef Council executive director, Will Wise shared some exciting news on the export markets. The US beef industry is on track to exceed $5 billion in export value for first time in history and has passed Australia and Brazil as world’s leading beef exporter.
Ranchers were happy to hear about the innovative promotional activities the Beef Council has implemented during Will’s first two years with the Council. Will said that thanks to the board for funding a line item to purchase beef, he has been able to actually use our product, “beef” for inexpensive and cost effective promotions that reach a lot of people. For example, beef was the Official Protein of the Oregon Food Bank’s Waterfront Blues Festival for the Fourth of July Weekend. Positioning beef with Oregon wines is also a new area for the Beef Council that is proving to be quite successful.
With such outstanding numbers, the association looks forward to large turn-out at their Annual Convention and Tradeshow at the Riverhouse in Bend, December 1st through the 3rd, Oregon’s premier cattle event. Cattlemen and women can register now by visiting the website at www.orcattle.com or call the office at 503-361-8941.