Helping lawmakers better understand the cattle industry
Helping members of Congress better understand the cattle industry is one part of the job for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
CEO Colin Woodall says that means knowing which members of Congress or candidates are being supported by which Political Action Committees (or PACs). “We go and look at members, to see who they are taking their money from,” he says. “And then we sit down and make sure they understand that if they are taking money from the Humane Society of the United States, that they are actively supporting a group that wants to put us out of business. And that is unacceptable.”
He tells Brownfield there are instances where candidates are receiving financial support by both ag groups like NCBA, but also animal activist organizations. “A lot of times these members of Congress just don’t know, and when we inform them, they give that money back and want to have nothing to do with it,” he says. “Every once in a while, you’ll get a member of Congress who doesn’t see it that way, and they just want the money. If that is the case, they become an opposition to us. They aren’t a friend of ours.”
Woodall says while NCBA’s Washington, DC office can lobby on behalf of producers, it still isn’t as effective as when producers reach out personally to their US Senator or US Representative. “Talk to the members about what you like and what you don’t like,” he says. “Because they are there to listen, and they will listen. But you have to show up and be a part of the process.”
He says NCBA isn’t partisan, and is more in the “friend-making” business, supporting candidates who support cattle producers.
AUDIO: Colin Woodall, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association