Woodall outlines top three NCBA priorities in 2013

By Sarah Gonzalez

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 7, 2013- While passing a farm bill is high on the list, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said the first priority in 2013 for NCBA is the reauthorization of The Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA), which authorizes FDA to collect fees for certain animal drug applications. The legislation, first enacted in 2003, provides a chance for “new drugs to enter the marketplace” for cattle producers, Woodall said.

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However, he said its reauthorization, which is needed by Sept. 30, will bring attention from animal activists attempting to end the use of antibiotics and other drugs in cattle. Woodall said NCBA will lead an effort to educate new members of Congress about the use of antibiotics, which he described as a “time-tested tool” that has more rigorous testing procedure than that of antibiotics used in humans.

National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) President-elect Scott George told members at the Cattle Industry Convention this week that the organization will “remain vigilant” in efforts to pass a farm bill through Congress this year. 

He added “this has been a difficult environment for writing a farm bill” due to budget issues, including the fiscal cliff, plus the upcoming sequestration deadline and debt ceiling debate. These funding battles present “a temptation” for Congress to use funds from conservation and disaster assistance in preference for social programs, he said.

The conservation and research title of the farm bill are most important to cattlemen and women, said NCBA Vice President for Government Affairs Colin Woodall. He said ranchers use the conservation programs, like Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), more than any other in the farm bill. 

In addition to these priorities, Woodall said NCBA will be focused on a current hot-button issue for the country-immigration and border security. “We want to make sure there is a year-round guest worker program,” he said, because the cattle industry is not limited to seasons. “At the same time, border security is important especially for ranchers on our southern border.”

Woodall explained that security problems persist along the Mexican border, where drug cartels often cross over through ranchland owned by NCBA members. 

He added that the immigration reform proposal introduced by a bipartisan group of senators, including Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., late last month is a step in the right direction. However, the framework needs more specifics regarding agriculture. “The fact that they address it is good,” Woodall said. “So they're at least thinking about it.”

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