Keynote - 3rd generation logger Bruce Vincent

Agriculture and the logging industry have a few things in common. Both involve hard-working, knowledgeable caretakers of the land, and both are under attack by environmentalists.

Bruce Vincent, a 3rd generation logger from Libby, Montana, has seen the effects of “tree-huggers” first hand. Over thirty years ago, environmentalists began focusing on the logging industry and its perceived effects on endangered species and wildlife populations. The issue became more urgent when government regulations (the Federal Endangered Species Act) required that grizzly bears be re-introduced to the area surrounding Vincent’s hometown.

It was too late to change the legislation, so Vincent focused on integrating grizzlies with as little harm to the surrounding community and industries as possible.

Eventually, as pressures continued to mount, Vincent Logging, which once employed 65 families, was regulated out of business.

This experience lit a fire within him, one that he frequently urges members of the agriculture community to find within themselves. Environmental activist, he says, first targeted the logging industry, and now targets agriculture, including the cattle industry.

Vincent Logging is getting back on its feet, and Bruce is sharing the lessons learned with others who make a living from the land, through speaking engagements such as NCBA’s 2018 Emerging Leaders Luncheon and a book, “Against the Odds: a Path Forward for Rural America,” which was published earlier this year with co-authors Nicole J. Olynk Widmar and Jessica Eise.

We’ve seen the effects of a misguided, misinformed public and government recently in our own backyard. Last year, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association helped pass a bill that strengthened Iowa nuisance lawsuit legislation, offering more protection for Iowa’s cattle producers. But with the ongoing battle over the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule, controversy surrounding Iowa’s large livestock farms and the master matrix, and government entities competing with cattle producers for land, the need for advocacy combating environmental activists is never-ending.

Traceability and Animal ID - Panel Discussion

Do you agree with the following statement: "The cattle industry should secure the broad adoption of individual animal ID disease traceability system(s) to equip the industry to effectively manage a disease outbreak while enhancing both domestic and global trust in U.S. beef."?

That is the question that was asked to our members in our policy survey, and that is the question that needs to be answered prior to NCBA’s convention in January. As of press time, survey results were still being collected, but results will be shared at this year’s Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit.

Also at the Leadership Summit, a panel of experts will share information on their experiences with traceability and animal identification systems. Panelists will include Kevin Kirk, Matt Teagarden, and Alan Zellmer.

Kevin Kirk, formerly with the Michigan Department of Agriculture, helped lead the charge in Michigan to implement the first statewide mandatory radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking system in the country following a bovine tuberculosis outbreak in 2007.

Matt Teagarden serves as the CEO for the Kansas Livestock Association, a partner in Cattle Trace, which is an industry-driven pilot project launched in Kansas earlier this year.

Feedlot and cow/calf producer, Alan Zellmer, of Atlantic, uses electronic identification with his cattle and will share his first-hand experiences.

Following the panel, the policy committee meetings will be held, which are open to all members. In the Cattle Production Committee meeting, members will further discuss the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association’s stance on a national traceability system and vote on a recommendation to be approved at the Annual Meeting.