BEEF Daily

The New Political Outlook in D.C.


Last week, I listened to Charlie Stenholm--the publics' favorite for the job of United States Secretary of Agriculture. Although Stenholm wasn't placed in the position, this D.C. consultant had some thoughts to share with cattlemen in Phoenix about the changing political climate in Washington D.C. and its future impact on the agricultural industry. I have included a few excerpts from his speech here.

On our nation's new leadership...

"First of all, I give tremendous credit to President Obama for an incredible campaign, and I'm optimistic about this new administration. In addition, Secretary Vilsack will run a great team at USDA. He was a good selection for the position, and I feel positive about his leadership."

On the state of the economy...

"Our economy ain't pretty, folks. This is the worst hole we have been in, well, forever. Millions of dollars is a hard number to understand, and $10 TRILLION in debt is mind boggling. How much money is the world willing to loan the United States? Let's hope this stimulus package works."

On the 3 F's (Food, fuel and feed)...

"Cattle producers are constantly talking about the prices of food, fuel and feed. I work for the oil industry, and obviously, oil is the energy needed to raise and produce food. We should be natural allies in food production and work together for the same cause. It's important to remember that the price of corn will be set by the price of oil. Keep that in mind when purchasing loads of feed."

On a national animal identification system...

"Keep an open mind about NAIS. It's important for food safety and traceability in the event of a disease breakout. It's going to be the hot topic in upcoming months, and I ask you to stay open to the idea."

On the nation's immigration policy...

"We have got to deal with immigration in a realistic way. Undocumented workers make up 70% of our work force. These are people that want to work hard and make a living. They immigrated to our country just like our ancestors did. Sure, we can build a costly fence in our Southern borders, but what about to the North, East and West? Terrorists are our real concern, not people that want to come here and earn a dollar to feed their families. This issue must be dealt with."

Without a doubt, there will be many changes in the next four years. It is unclear how these changes will impact farmers and ranchers, but if we keep an eye on the political climate and maintain a constant voice in Washington, our priorities will be heard and addressed by the right people.

What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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