Nearly 1,000 members of the Iowa beef industry gathered in Des Moines December 8 and 9 for the 2015 Iowa Cattle Industry Convention. They participated in educational sessions, policy discussions, a trade show and networking. In the policy session, members of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association voted to adopt a new policy supporting a full repeal of mandatory country-of-origin labeling, or COOL, as this federal law is sometimes called.
ICA currently has three policy-making committees that deal with legislative or regulatory issues and work to recommend policy for the ICA. These committees are all chaired by volunteers who are knowledgeable about the issues and have a strong desire to improve the environment for the cattle industry in Iowa.
Members of the ICA's Beef Products policy committee sent a strong message to congressional members on the issue of mandatory country-of-origin labeling. The language below was adopted by ICA membership at their convention last week.
ICA votes to support full repeal of country-of-origin labeling
WHEREAS, mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) on meat products has been implemented in the U.S.; and
WHEREAS, there are concerns that the current COOL policy has been challenged by World Trade Organization (WTO) members and major trading partners of U.S. beef.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Iowa Cattlemen's Association support full repeal of the current Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling legislation.
Members of the beef products committee voted unanimously to remove the existing country-of-origin labeling policy that supported a voluntary program before adopting the new policy. "Our previous country-of-origin labeling policy was adopted in light of the 2014 World Trade Organization ruling that found the U.S. out of compliance with its trading partners. At that time our members felt a voluntary program that exempted producers from program expenses was a good fit. Now we recognized that a full repeal is our only option," said Justin Rowe, Beef Products Committee Chair.
The new policy was adopted at the Iowa Cattlemen's Association Annual Meeting on Wednesday, December 9. Members of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association reviewed 47 policies during the annual event for consideration to renew, expire or adopt. Newly adopted policies focused on the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, Iowa Beef Checkoff, and Chicago Mercantile Exchange Feeder Cattle Index.
Iowa Cattlemen's Association inducts Nancy Degner into Hall of Fame
Also at the ICA annual meeting in Des Moines, Nancy Degner was honored as this year's recipient of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association Hall of Fame award. Nancy was nominated by the Iowa Beef Industry Council as a shining example of an individual that has given over 40 years of service to the Iowa beef industry. During her time with the IBIC, Nancy showed the uncanny ability to make a connection with each and every person she has come in contact with. It is this passion, integrity and honesty that make Nancy such a great promoter of beef, beef producers and the beef industry as a whole.
Nancy began working for the Iowa Beef Industry Council in 1975. She used her background as a home economics teacher to educate consumers about beef, often appearing on television to demonstrate recipes and cooking methods. Nancy became the executive director of IBIC in 2003, and saw the organization through many challenges, including the lean finely textured beef controversy of 2012.
Strong leadership helped make Iowa beef industry successful
"Nancy's commitment to the beef industry in Iowa is unmatched. She leaves behind a strong legacy of leadership and influence that have helped make the beef industry in Iowa what it is today," says Matt Deppe, ICA executive director.
Despite challenges, Nancy's enthusiasm and passion were evident through her work and every day interactions, he adds. Nancy worked tirelessly to build the foundation that has made IBIC very successful. Throughout her career Nancy used the beef checkoff to help farmers, increasing domestic and international demand for beef. Because of her perseverance, Iowa approval of the beef checkoff is at an all-time high. The Iowa Cattlemen's Association and Iowa Beef Industry Council thank Nancy for her service and her many contributions to the Iowa beef industry.
About the ICA: The Iowa Cattlemen's Association represents more than 10,000 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa's beef industry. ICA's mission is to "Grow Iowa's beef business through advocacy, leadership and education."