For Immediate Release: February 25, 2021
Contact: R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard
Phone: 406-252-2516; email@example.com
Billings, Mont. – In a letter sent yesterday to President Joe Biden, R-CALF USA raised serious concerns regarding a recent request to change federal procurement regulations for beef.
R-CALF USA’s letter references a recent letter sent to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in which the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) requested a change to federal procurement regulations. The change requested by USCA would allow meat products from animals born, raised, slaughtered or further processed in the United States to be considered products of the United States for purposes of federal procurement programs.
R-CALF USA wrote that such a change would undermine the President’s efforts to strengthen the domestic beef supply chain that consists of “hundreds of thousands of mostly family-owned U.S. cattle operations.”
The group explained that “allowing beef products from animals ‘further processed in the United States’ to be considered products of the U.S. will incentivize corporate feedlots and packers to bypass cattle offered for sale by U.S. cattle producers in favor of importing lower-cost foreign cattle.”
R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said this is exactly what happened last year when packers and feedlots continued importing tens of thousands of cattle from Canada and Mexico while many U.S. cattle producers could not even get a bid for their U.S. cattle for as long as seven weeks.
The letter went on to state that the USCA’s requested definition for product of the United States would “limit marketing opportunities for U.S. cattle producers while empowering importers, whose foreign cattle are ‘further processed in the United States,’ to nevertheless sell their beef under the brand of the U.S. cattle producer – the product of the United States brand.”
The letter further pointed out that federal procurement rules regarding what is considered domestic beef differs between programs such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s school meals programs and the program administered by the Department of Defense.
“We urge you to harmonize among all federal beef procurement agencies a new standard that reserves all “product of the United States” declarations only for beef exclusively derived from animals exclusively born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States,” the letter concluded.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only lobbying and trade association representing U.S. cattle producers. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the United States cattle industry. Visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516 for more information.