NMCGA Presidents Letter

 

Dear Fellow Members,
April was a whirlwind not only in terms of the wind that we normally experience this time of year, but on lots of other fronts as well.Michelle and Bob Frost, Boe Lopez and I attended the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Spring Conference in Washington, D.C.

There is simply no way to convey what a strong reputation the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association has on Capitol Hill.

Not only were we well received in our own congressional offices, but Michelle took us to many other agency and committee offices — more than I even knew existed. Clearly Washington D.C. is a battleground that NMCGA must confront and we must have a presence back there to win.

We were briefed on a broad range of issues and our opinions were sought at every turn. Perhaps the most promising part of the trip was work on the catastrophic fire legislation that Jeff Menges, NCBA’s Region VI Vice President, has been working with Arizona’s Congressman Paul Gosar’s office that, when passed, will offer some opportunity to try and get ahead of the catastrophic fires that are just a spark away from completely devastating our state and the West. Jeff has been working on this bill since we were at Buffalo Thunder sitting right between two fires at Mid Year last summer and the Wallow Fire was still burning on our Arizona border.

Beef, livestock and livestock owners have been in the local news a lot in the last few weeks, and not in a good way. It is more than clear that we all must be extremely thoughtful every day in the way we act and do business. It takes a mis-step by just one of us to brand the entire business. The office has fielded numerous inquiries regarding the equine welfare issue. The Association is in contact with Governor Susana Martinez’ office and we are working toward an outcome that will provide quality life for all livestock while they are alive and assurance for a humane end of life.

On the better news side, we can congratulate the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the work of the Beef Checkoff over time for the ease in which the American public has seemed to accept a fourth case of BSE in our nation. The safe guards in place worked with no exposure to the food chain and the short term dip in the market is recovering.

We are also pleased that the entire nation was able to shed enough light on the Child Labor regulations that were proposed for agriculture that the Administration saw the wisdom in completely withdrawing the proposal. This was one of the issues that we pressed hard while we were in D.C. While this is a significant victory, we haven’t gained any ground, we just held some.

As we go into our June primary and November’s national general election, we need to be mindful that we must elect people at all levels of government who are educated and prepared to take back the ground, literally and figuratively that we have lost over the past few decades. And, once we get them elected, the work isn’t done. We need to be forging relationships with candidates right now that will help us drive through legislation and regulatory oversight that will all us to stay in business and grow.

Finally, I will once again encourage you to aide in building the membership of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association. In late April we finished what we hope will be the first of many highly successful “road shows” with regional meetings in Capitan, T or C and Grants. We had over 80 people who came to town to obtain Beef Quality Assurance certification from New Mexico State University Extension and to learn from the experts at IDEXX, Gold Standard Labs, Dow AgroSciences, Purina and Boehringer Ingleheim about the lasted in techniques and technology to make us all more successful. We signed up a few new members but we always need more. It takes resources and support, both financial and moral for staff and leadership to bail head-on into the crisis of the day. If you are not a member, you can join today at www.nmagriculture.org or by calling 505/247-0584.

There is still time to make your reservations at the Inn of the Mountain Gods, until May 24, at the super rate of $109 plus tax. The meeting, including Wool Growers, CowBelles and Farm Bureau is sure to be a great one.

Sincerely ,
                Rex Wilson, President

 

 

 

 

PS:  I knew I would leave a legislator out last month
and sure enough I did. I don’t know how any of us could
overlook President-Pro Tem Tim Jennings.  Sorry Senator!