Karl Rove, former senior advisor and deputy White House Chief of Staff for President George W. Bush, and incoming National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Bill Donald told NCBA members that our country and the beef industry are at a crossroads.
However, both Rove and Donald challenged cattlemen and women to step up to the challenge and determine the path forward.
In his keynote address during the Second General Session of the 2011 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, Rove said the United States “cannot be prosperous if we only sell to each other.” He said America can compete anywhere in the world as long as we are on a level playing field. Additionally, he noted that consumers worldwide want to buy “American quality” products. He said it is in our country’s strategic and economic interest to finish pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
“Unfortunately, that’s where the easy stuff stops,” Rove said. “We are currently dealing with a government that thinks it knows better and knows more than the rest of us. That’s wrong for America.”
Incoming NCBA President and Montana rancher Bill Donald said the government’s overreach in the beef industry was unprecedented. He said current proposals to regulate greenhouse gases, water and dust are not based on sound science.
“Basically, we have a lot of agencies imposing regulations without truly understanding the implications,” said Donald. “However, as an industry we have to do a better job telling our story. We must educate these government officials and the public about this industry.”
Despite all these challenges, Rove said NCBA members have the opportunity to change the course our country is currently taking. He encouraged NCBA members to “get involved and stay involved.” Rove and Donald said NCBA members must work to educate the growing number of urban and suburban elected officials who do not understand the beef industry.
Rove encouraged NCBA members contribute to the NCBA PAC to help “elect leaders who understand your business and send home those who don’t.” Rove and Donald challenged NCBA members to step up and take an active role in determining the future of their operation and their industry.