For Immediate Release: November 27, 2019
By: Sheila Hildebrand
Media Contact: R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard
Phone: 406-252-2516; email@example.com
Billings, Mont. – R-CALF USA hosted its 20th Anniversary Convention in Deadwood, SD on August 15-16, 2019. The convention proclaimed success boasting approximately 400 attendees; the organization’s largest convention in its 20-year history. An additional 800 guests viewed the convention through online streaming sending its message throughout cattle country as never before.
The attendance of the convention pays tribute to the organization’s efforts to support cattlemen in the face of an artificially suppressed cattle market; which, the organization asserts is a result of manipulation in the marketplace by the industry’s “Big 4” beef packers (Tyson, JBS, Cargill, and National Beef Packing Company). Only days before the convention, producers faced the market malady of the Tyson fire in Holcomb, Kans., resulting in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange opening limit down for two consecutive days, supporting the organization’s assertions.
According to Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA CEO, the attendance “is a clear indication that there is a lot of challenging issues facing America’s cattle producers. R-CALF USA is viewed as the organization fighting for genuine solutions to those challenges. You simply don’t have this level of participation in organizations that are not on the front lines.”
According to Bullard, “Despite the downturn in the market, spirits were high, and that’s likely because the quality of speakers at the convention conveyed a good reason to believe that things are about to change for the better.” The following speakers addressed the convention and their presentations can be viewed on YouTube as per the links below.
“Why America Is Losing Its Ranches” – Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA CEO, provides a candid and provoking narrative of the past, present and future demise of the cattle industry if producers remain silent. Bullard begins his passionate explanation by explaining why R-CALF USA is engaged in numerous law suits. Bullard explains to members that R-CALF USA stands for Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America.
Bullard pays homage to the evolution of the organization, spinning its tale as he explains that R-CALF USA initially used “the same conventional lobbying techniques that have been applied (by other organizations within the industry) for well over 50 years. He explains that the desired goal was to “provide more opportunities for aspiring farmers and ranchers; and for those who are currently operating, to be profitable.” Wryly, Bullard continues asserting “that hasn’t happened, so we decided we need to do something a little different.”
Bullard turns to cattle’s sister industry; the hog industry. He cites the August 2017 Hog Status Report noting that, between 1990 to 2012, there was a 75% decrease in the number of hog producers. He explains that the industry “followed the policy dictates of the multinational meat packers, who set out to vertically integrate our sister hog industry just as they had already accomplished in the poultry industry. They figured out that it is easier to manage the supply chain with 68,000 farmers instead of 268,000. They eliminated 75% of all those pesky farmers so they could capture the benefits of the very profitable hog industry; and, we as the United States of America created the “New” American farmer.” Bullard continues, “Please meet Wan Long from Communist China. He is the largest hog producer in the United States of America and is the CEO of Smithfield Farms. His 2017 salary was $291 million.”
Bullard continues to draw parallels to the pork industry noting that in the same time frame, we have lost over 187,000 cattle producers with a mass exodus of producers for the past 25 years. The remainder of the presentation is an explanation of “why” these events have occurred and will continue to occur without action; R-CALF USA’s role in protecting cattle producers from the otherwise inevitable demise of hog producers; and, Bullard’s plea to producers. Bullard’s presentation can be viewed here.
“The Truth About the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef” – Tracy Hunt, Rancher and Attorney from Wyoming, kicked off the convention with an in-depth presentation on the true motive behind the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). Hunt explains that the intention of the GRSB is ultimately to control the live cattle supply chain. He stated that multinational corporations are positioning themselves to be able to dictate production practices to America’s cattle farmers and ranchers. The GRSB’s strategy is intended to acclimate cattle producers into complying with the dictates of major environmental groups and major corporations. Hunt explained that the first example of acquiescence is to comply with Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) standards with RFID ear tags. He notes that third-party verifiers will soon arrive thereafter. Key to Hunt’s presentation was a video depicting the key architect of the GRSB, the World Wildlife Fund, saying that, contrary to the message being driven toward cattle producers, the GRSB’s sustainability initiative is not consumer driven. The video further demonstrates how the “sustainability movement,” and animal welfare are being driven as social issues to support the movement. Hunt’s must-see presentation can be accessed here.
“Anti-Trust Update – the Role of Public and Private Enforcement in Food and Agriculture” – Dr. Diana Moss is the President of the American Antitrust Institute, which is a progressive organization committed to fair competition and level playing fields for entrepreneurs, workers, consumers and small businesses. The organization primarily provides legal advocacy for the food/agriculture, healthcare and transportation/airline sectors. Moss provided insight and statistical analysis of the current political climate as it pertains to the abusive exercise of market power.
Perhaps most notably, Moss described enforcement under the Trump Administration as “weak.” She further cited statistics for the two agencies responsible for combating the abusive exercise of market power, namely anti-competitive mergers, monopolies, cartels and price fixing; the Federal Trade Commission and the US Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division. She notes that the Trump Administration has practiced very limited oversight as evidenced by a 42% and 46% decrease in merger challenges in the departments, respectively, in comparison to the Obama Administration.
Moss’s presentation is a worthy and fact filled discussion and can be viewed here.
“Getting USA Beef into South Dakota Public Schools” – Ken Charfauros is the owner of Wall Meat Processing and the Red Rock Restaurant in Wall, SD. Charfauros, a 30-year veteran with 13 deployments under his belt, is committed to both the Beef to School and Farm to Table concepts using local beef. An idea born at the Ag Summit resulted in a pilot program that has resulted in using local beef in the school lunch program in Wall. Please refer to his discussion here.
“The Fed Cattle Cartel Litigation” – Patrick McGahan, Senior Associate with Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law, LLP represents R-CALF USA as prosecuting attorneys in the fed cattle cartel litigation filed by R-CALF USA in April. The firm resides in Connecticut, New York, San Diego, Amsterdam and London focusing on anti-trust litigation.
McGahan says that the firm “thinks it’s a good case with a reasonable prospect of success.” He further states that it is “satisfying to act for an industry and people who are the backbone of their community looking to preserve those businesses for future generations.”
In his presentation, McGahan identifies the premise of the complaint against the “Big 4” (Tyson, JBS, Cargill and National Beef) beef packers as:
- “Defendants worked together to depress fed cattle prices from 2015 onwards
- Collusion encompassed five key elements
- Periodic slaughter reductions
- Reduction in cash cattle purchases during periods of slaughter restraint
- Coordination of Defendant’s cash cattle procurement
- Importation of foreign cattle at a loss
- Shuttering slaughter capacity.
- Depression of fed cattle prices impacted cattle futures/options.”
McGahan also addressed the likely timeframe and order of the litigation; and included suggestions about what producers can do to support the cause. McGahan’s presentation is a worthy and informative view including commentary and graphical slides. The presentation can be viewed here.
“The Impact of Globalization and Current Trade Reforms” – Zach Mottl, Chief Alignment Officer and Owner of Atlas Tool Works, spoke drawing parallels between the manufacturing sector and the beef industry in his company’s tale of globalization. He cites an article called “America’s Monopoly Crisis Hits the Military,” noting that “it wasn’t our strategic adversaries that killed America’s telecom industry; it was Wall Street.” He further illustrated the end of American control of the telecom industry noting that policy makers were asleep at the wheel giving away our technology as China soared using predatory subsidiaries and stolen technology.
Mottl makes a corresponding point noting that you can only buy Australian lamb in New York, which is a direct result of the same model of globalization. Mottl’s discussion can be viewed here.
“What You Don’t Know About Trade and Its Impact on Your Country and Your Cattle” – Brian O’Shaughnessy is the Principal Owner of Revere Copper Products and Vice Chairman of the Coalition for a Prosperous America. Revere was founded by Paul Revere in 1801 and is the oldest basic manufacturing company in the USA.
O’Shaughnessy is mindful of the obstacles that cattlemen face in the global market. He explains that his company ships product to other manufacturing companies. O’Shaughnessy speaks reverently as he notes that 30% of the facilities that Revere shipped product to in 2000 have shut down, as their production moved off shore.
In response to the 2000 catastrophe, Revere joined the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) after which O’Shaughnessy was appointed to the board. He notes that “this is when the trouble started.”
A congressional bill arose to fight China’s manipulation of their currency. O’Shaughnessy wanted the NAM to support the bill; which they had previously opposed. He made a motion in the face of the most powerful CEOs in the country. In discussion, he said to them, “Those of you who have plants in China; those of you who import parts and components from China every year; and, even those of you who depend on the good nature of China to export products there, all of you should recuse yourselves from voting because you have to choose between your company and your country.”
O’Shaughnessy is keenly aware of how the fight for fair markets affects smaller companies as it battles with large multinational forces. His battle is not dissimilar to the fight of the American rancher and the challenges in the cattle market. His presentation can be viewed here.
“The Unconstitutional Checkoff” – David Muraskin, Food Project Senior Attorney at Public Justice, spoke to members and guests regarding R-CALF USA’s checkoff litigation.
Muraskin begins his discussion with a keen observation of Public Justice as they observed advertisements that are funded by checkoff dollars. Public Justice observed the “Transfer of individual’s money to major corporations to advertise things that major corporations should be paying to advertise such as Arby’s and Weber Grills.” He continues noting that “The government should not be in the business of taking taxpayer money and moving it to corporations.”
Muraskin’s full discussion of the checkoff litigation can be accessed here.
“Made in America Movement” – Greg Owens, is the owner of Liberty Tabletop, a division of Sherrill Manufacturing, and Co-Chair for the Coalition for a Prosperous America’s Buy American Committee. Liberty Tabletop is the only flatware manufacturer remaining in the United States.
This occurred in 2005 when Oneida, Ltd. faced stiffer competition from China. According to Owens, “It got to the point when they realized that they could buy product already produced in a box cheaper than they could buy the raw materials to make it here in the US.”
Owens comes to R-CALF USA noting that “the reasons this occurred are the same reasons that cattle prices are so difficult to deal with today.” Owens offers insight in his presentation found here.
Liberty Tabletop has partnered with R-CALF USA to offer exclusive solid wood chest and steak knife sets featuring the organization’s logo. Both knives and chest are 100% Made in USA and Liberty Tabletop will be donating a percentage to R-CALF USA for every set sold. Sets are available to purchase here.
Keynote Address – The notable highlight of the convention was that FoxNation news covered the two-day event and that FoxNation’s Tomi Lahren, a South Dakota native with ties to the cattle industry, was the keynote speaker.
Lahren provided an interesting combination of heartfelt empathy for, and understanding of producers as she previously identified that “ranchers are not who they are because of what they do; but rather, they do what they do because of who they are.”
Lahren notes that “Ranchers are a different kind of people, they don’t ask for anything. They don’t ask for a handout; they don’t want a handout. They want a fighting chance!” Combining her understanding of ranching culture with her punchy can-do candor and political savvy, Lahren called on President Trump to restore county-of-origin labeling (COOL) to the beef industry. Lahren’s Keynote Address can be viewed here.
R-CALF USA Congratulates its Award Winners – R-CALF USA extends congratulations to the following award recipients for their dedication, distinguished service and contributions to the U.S. Cattle Industry:
Legacy Business Award – Ag-West Feeds Inc. – Vince Hulinsky; Burwell, NE
Legacy Ranch Award – Floyd C. Reno & Sons, Inc.; Gillette, WY
Agriculture Broadcaster Award – Beth Ann Schoeneberg – CSC Talk Radio; California, MO
Sale Barn of the Year Award – Fort Pierre Livestock Auction, Inc.; Ft. Pierre, SD
Oak Legacy Award – Chuck and Roni Sylvester; La Salle, CO
Sentinel Award – Angus McIntosh; Craig, CO
Top Membership Recruiter Award – Steve Parker; Beaver, OK
Legislator of the Year Award – Kimmi Lewis; Kim, CO
Top Hand Award – Brett Kenzy; Gregory, SD
We Ride for the Brand Award – Ronald and Wah-Leeta Rogers; Cedar Vale, KS
Outrider Award – Willie Cowan; Pierre, SD
Johnny Smith Legacy Award – Kathleen Kelley; Meeker, CO
Outgoing Director’s Award – Bill Adams; Lonoke, AR
R-CALF USA Thanks its Sponsors – On behalf of its members, R-CALF USA extends gracious appreciation to its sponsors. Additionally, the organization extends gratitude for supporting its initiatives for fair cattle markets and calls upon its members and supporters to support the following R-CALF USA sponsors:
Diamond Sponsors: Ag-West-Feeds Inc.; Lucas Oil, Protect The Harvest and, Lucas Cattle Company; and Tri-State Livestock News
Platinum Sponsor: The Cattle Business Weekly
Gold Sponsors: Big Frig, Insure My Forage, Sherrill Manufacturing/ Liberty Tabletop, and Range Magazine
Silver Sponsors: CattlActive, Kent, Ozark Hills Insurance, and South Dakota Stockgrowers Association
Silver Boutique Sponsors: Legendary Western and Stay Wild Boutique
Speaker Sponsors: Adams County Livestock, Ft. Pierre Livestock Auction, Inc., Sherrill Manufacturing/ Liberty Tabletop, Producers Livestock, Sodak Angus Ranch, and Valentine Livestock
Livestream Sponsors: Cattle USA and CKP Insurance LLC
Bronze Sponsors: Callicrate Banders, CKP Insurance LLC, Heartland Angus Marketing, Huron Continental Marketing, Independent Beef Association of North Dakota, Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming, Kenzy Kustoms, Meet America Inc., Merck Animal Health, Moly Mfg., Inc./Silencer, Range Allotment Owners Association, Silveus Insurance Group, South Dakota Farmers Union, South Dakota Land Office, Trask Family Seeds, 3D Equipment Services, Inc., Vander Wey Family COOL T-Shirts, Vit-A-Zine, Wall Meat Processing, and Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE)
Bronze Boutique Sponsors: K Bar J Leather/ Red Horse Design Company and Wild Rags by Lois
Break Sponsors: Farm Credit Services of America, Keyhole Ranch, Philip Livestock Auction LLC, U Lazy U Angus, and Veterans Brand Beef
Logo Sponsors: Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, Natural Defense/Dinklage Enterprises, Nature’s Formula, and Ranchers Livestock Equipment
R-CALF USA Thanks its Members – R-CALF USA stated that its members are the pillar of what we do and allow us to continue to fight on their behalf. Funded solely on membership dues and donations from independent U.S. cattle producers, backgrounders and feeders R-CALF USA’s work is directed by its members and it has a one-member, one-vote policy regardless of the amount invested. R-CALF USA graciously thanks its member sponsors:
Legacy Sponsor: Chain Ranch; Canton, OK
We Ride For the Brand Sponsors: The Sullivan Ranch, Ordway, CO; Cattle Producers of Washington, Ritzville, WA; Chambers Cattle Company, Hays, KS; Double H Ranch, Nordheim, TX; Rick and Theresa Fox, Hermosa, SD; Kenzy Backgrounding, Iona, SD; LAW USA Foundation, La Salle, CO; Loup Ridge Cattle Company, Brewster, NE; Lucky 7 Angus Ranch, Boulder, WY; Miles Ranch, Thedford, NE; Muddy Valley Ranch, Kim, CO; Oakley Livestock Commission Company, Oakley, KS; Pat Trask Ranch, Wasta, SD; R-Bar Cattle Company, Cedar Vale, KS; Schreiber Ranch, Woodrow, CO; Southern Cross Ranch, Carrollton, GA; Steven’s County Cattlemen’s Association, Chewlaw, WA; Teaford and Simonson Ranch, Purdum, NE; TNT Cattle Company, Richland, MO; Vander Wey Ranch, Crookston, NE; and Warren Ranch, Dunning, NE.
R-CALF USA is expecting a robust year as it completes the 2019 calendar year and begins 2020. The organization is pleased to announce that its 2020 Convention will again be held in the Lodge in Deadwood, SD. The event is slated for August 20 & 21, 2020.
R-CALF USA extends a special thank you to Wall Meat Processing for providing 100% USA -born, raised and harvested beef for the event, Jack Gully for hosting the Chuckwagon meal, Tif Robertson / T-N-T Event & Marketing Management, Eric Ulmer / Depot Music AV Productions, Meghan Shearer Photography, The Lodge at Deadwood, First Gold Hotel, and the Days of 76 Museum.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only cattle trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.