Regarding your January issue editorial, “Commonsense takes a holiday,” perhaps I can give you insight as to why R-CALF has an attraction for the cow-calf producer. I am a longtime member of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and currently belong to both organizations.

Through the years, NCBA has moved away from representing its cattlemen members and has tilted toward the feeding and processing sectors. We're in agreement on many issues but there are certainly some basic issues that are not mutually endorsed by all sectors.

To constantly be on the losing end of these issues breeds discontent. Had NCBA been more sensitive to the concerns of its cow-calf members, there never would have been an R-CALF. Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) is just one recent example.

With regard to the joint statement by R-CALF and some consumer groups last summer, I agree it's not R-CALF's finest moment. But collaboration with groups on an issue of mutual concern without embracing their entire agenda is certainly nothing new.
Gordon Brockmueller Freeman, SD

Ag media doesn't get it

Seeing the picture of Jan Lyons, NCBA president, on your November issue cover as an award winner, while reading yet another shot at R-CALF in the “Editor's Roundup” (page 4), is journalism as usual for your magazine. The disconnect between you in the livestock press and those in the cattle business is huge. Just realize that you have as much influence with the average rancher as the liberal press does with the average voter.
Glen Kitson Cascade, MT

Another vote for R-CALF

R-CALF may not be what NCBA, your magazine, USDA or foreign beef-exporting countries want, but this organization is what I as an independent, self-reliant cattle producer want.

Consumers should have the right to differentiate between foreign product and U.S.-born, -fed and -processed meat. All imports must be labeled as to country of origin as in the farm bill. No other is acceptable, nor of any benefit to either the producer or the consumer.
Mr. & Mrs. C. Whittaker Leadore, ID

Free trade vs. Fair trade

I was amazed at your August issue puff piece on Allen Johnson (“Outward Visionary,” page 36). He credits NAFTA and the Uruguay Round of the World Trade Organization talks for giving consumers $600 more to spend/year.

We had a $500-billion trade deficit in 2004. That amounts to a loss of about $17,000/person. Maybe under U.S. government math, trade deficits no longer matter, but they do in the real world.

Our current trade policy is a recipe for bankruptcy. Every country in the world wants to sell to the U.S. Getting them to buy back from us is the problem, and no trade agreement yet addresses this.
Craig Nickman Pleasanton, NE

What now with Canada?

We hope all the family farmers and ranchers who helped reelect George W. Bush will not be stabbed in the back by capitulation to Canada and the “meat industry.”

Family farmers and ranchers need COOL so we can give U.S. consumers a choice in their buying decisions. Those who want to continue the practice of allowing cheap foreign beef into the U.S., commingling it and selling it as U.S. beef are helping destroy rural America.

If given the choice, I believe most Americans would “buy American,” which is the reason the multi-nationals want to hide that information from American consumers.
Joe Zwack Dubuque, IA