Support for AFBF waning
We are very disappointed with the American Farm Bureau Federation for
their opposition to the ruling by the U.S. District Court for the
District of Montana that imposes a temporary injunction on
re-establishing trade with Canada for live cattle younger than 30 months
of age. Our fourth generation family ranch has been very active with
Farm Bureau for over 60 years and we feel that they have really let the
U.S. cattle ranching industry down!
The Canadian border needs to be closed until we have ALL our beef export
markets are open and the safety of the beef supply from Canada is not
questioned for having BSE. Why doesn’t Canada find other countries to
send their beef to instead of forcing the U.S. to take their beef with
no country-of-origin labeling?
The Farm Bureau seems to think that the sooner we open the Canadian
border to all beef imports, then the sooner our trading partners such as
Japan will follow suit. But in all reality, we imported 22 percent more
beef, 1,196,569 metric tons of beef in 2004, of which 355,243 metric
tons was Canadian. During this same time, our beef export markets were
down 75 percent, to 321,675 metric tons, roughly a $3 billion dollar
deficit for beef trade, according to R-CALF. So, I ask Farm Bureau this:
How much more imports do we have to take, before our trading partners
open their markets due to the Canadian BSE problem? Our overall ag trade
surplus has also evaporated from 27.3 billion in 1996, to a projected
balance of zero in 2005. What a shame!
We hope Farm Bureau will poll their livestock members and start
representing the grassroots of their organization. We feel Farm Bureau
has been very supportive in protecting our property rights, Farm bill,
disaster aid, but they need to support mandatory COOL, reject free trade
agreements such as CAFTA, and to support the continued closure of ALL
Canadian beef products from entering the U.S.
Tom Glennie Ranch
Judith Gap, MT
Tunnel vision regarding the border issue
You should have been at the Federal Court hearing in Billings. What you
don’t realize is: right always prevails over wrong, good overcomes bad,
and truth is established by honest court judges.
I was there and I was impressed at how knowledgeable Judge Cebull was on
the BSE subject. You accuse the judge of having his mind made up before
the hearing. If you didn’t have tunnel vision you would also see the
importance of delaying the border opening.
Pete, you were on the NCBA Canadian Trade Delegation, didn’t you realize
they only showed you what they wanted you to see? Did they ask you what
feed processing plants you wanted to see or just show you the big
Cargill feed processing plant? Don’t you think you should have gone to
see cowherds and dairies in Alberta instead of flying over feedlots? You
were on a fact finding mission and I don’t believe they showed you the
Your U.S. Justice Department lawyer Lisa Olson, stated that there was
"virtually no risk" opening the border to young Canadian cattle. There
has only been four cows diagnosed as having BSE, even though two have
tested positive in 2005. Minimal risk, "virtually no risk." Judge Cebull
asked Lisa Olson how that compared to the outbreak of BSE in Great
Britain. Lisa said "Oh that was an epidemic." Judge Cebull reminded her
that the epidemic started with one cow and several hundred people lost
their lives to vCJD.
Pete, you made reference to R-CALF’s war chest of $750,000. Then you
stated that the U.S. Justice Department has pretty deep pockets. Do you
understand that the U.S. Justice Department is using tax payer funds to
fight our own livestock producers and consumers, concerning the food
imported into the USA? Pete, R-CALF has raised these funds because
producers, consumers, and small business in rural America are ready to
stand up and fight for their life.
I am amazed that you are so blind to what’s really happening in America,
that you are willing to take the side of multi-national trading
companies and corporate America to launder American agriculture to the
rest of the world. By the way, R-CALF’s warchest has been voluntary
contributions by producers and consumers who desire to see U.S.
Agriculture persevere and produce USA (COOL) products.
Let me tell you, these USA citizens have only begun to fight!
Belle Fourche, SD