Matt Deppe

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association CEO Matt Deppe speaks with Sen. Joni Ernst at an event last summer.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is making it a priority to focus on traceability, fake meat and water regulation, among other topics.

The organization’s three committees formed their policy for the year at the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit Dec. 6.

Cattle Production Committee tackles ID issue

In the Cattle Production Committee meeting, national traceability was the first topic at hand. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from a panel of experts on the subject prior to the committee meeting, which spurred discussion. Ultimately, the committee recommended the ratification of an interim policy passed by the Board of Directors earlier this year.

The policy recognizes that “…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.”

When members were asked on a survey last fall whether or not they agreed with that statement, 74 percent said yes.

The new policy also identifies a list of things a traceability system should accomplish, including:

- Be compatible with private sector animal identification and verification programs backed by the USDA.

- Be built using infrastructure that supports other potential uses of ID.

- Utilize low cost electronic official tagging devices paid for by federal or state funds, when possible.

- Require that cattle ID information for disease traceability be kept confidential.

- Protect ownership information from disclosure to future owners.

- Protect producers from liability for acts of others, after the cattle have left the producer’s control.

- Operate at the speed of commerce.

- Not replace or impede existing state brand inspection activities.

- Work within a framework to accommodate all classes of cattle.

ICA staff and leaders will use the traceability policy, which was ratified by the membership the next day at the annual meeting, to advocate on behalf of Iowa’s cattle producers in national traceability discussions.

The cattle production committee also approved policies related to antimicrobial use, clearance of drug technologies and cattle marketing.

Beef Products Committee has eye on fake meat

The Beef Products Committee’s main topic of discussion was fake meat. Iowa Cattlemen’s staff, JanLee Rowlett, provided an update for attendees on the matter, detailing the work ICA has done and the recent announcement that USDA will oversee the most important aspects of fake meat production and labeling.

The committee approved ICA’s interim policy that supports use of the term “meat” to describe only those proteins derived from actual livestock raised by farmers and ranchers harvested for human consumption. The policy also supports oversight of alternative protein products by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The committee also passed a policy protecting USDA beef quality grades from use by other proteins, such as pork.

Business Issues Committee talks water

The Business Issues Committee dealt with a wide variety of interim policy topics, including immigration and water regulation. Rowlett provided a report on land owned and managed by the government.

The committee hosted Hema Subramanian, acting special assistant for agriculture policy for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Subramanian talked about building the relationship building between EPA and the cattle industry in recent years. She attributed that to the Animal Ag Discussion Group, an effort by EPA and industry to understand all aspects of animal agriculture and environmental opportunities better.

Subramanian also provided an update on the highly anticipated new Waters of the U.S. rule and recent developments in exempting livestock operations from reporting air emissions under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).