By Patti Wilson Contributing Editor
The 2023 Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) Convention went off without a hitch Dec. 6-8, 2023, in Kearney. Unusually fair weather made this year’s trip easy for everyone. Meetings were conducted and policy set for the coming year. Here are some highlights.
Jessica Sperber, Ph.D., feedlot specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), gave a presentation about beef-on-dairy cattle, their health, performance and carcass merits. Despite a few disadvantages, the research supports a resounding success story for a growing segment of the cattle feeding industry.
Brand and Property Rights Committee
State Sen. Steve Halloran reported on foreign ownership of land and possible rule changes that will be discussed in the upcoming session of the Nebraska Legislature. The wind energy industry has had an impact, with each foreign-owned windmill taking one acre of land. He said that 70,000 windmills take up 70,000 acres, making foreign land ownership look substantial. National security is a bigger issue, with adversaries being monitored in other areas. Natural Resources and Environment Committee National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) staff reported remotely from Washington, D.C., on the Farm Bill and other issues. It is expected that the EPA will further ratchet down regulations, and cattlemen may need to report nitrogen emissions as HAZMAT waste or otherwise “odor emissions.” Environmental groups are also pushing to expand the Clean Water Act. This aggressive push is expected to continue.
The perennial problem of Nebraska property taxes overburdening the agriculture sector was again a main talking point. NC Executive Vice President Laura Field led off the discussion, followed by Sen. Halloran, which always leads to the appropriate conclusion that rural Nebraskans are outvoted in the Nebraska Unicameral, and local entities are expected to pick up the state tax shortfalls. Debate will continue in the next state legislative session.
Animal Health and Nutrition
Jason Waller, outreach coordinator for the USDA’s National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, spoke at length about foot and mouth disease (FMD) preparedness. The presentation was given in detail, describing the steps that would be taken in the event of an outbreak. We were reminded that traceability, with the inclusion of EID tags, is of paramount importance.
NC Market Outlook and Annual Business
Meeting NC Director of Marketing Jeff Stolle presented his annual Market Outlook. With price volatility so erratic, he concentrated mostly on supply-side numbers, which are very bullish and likely to remain so for the next two years.