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CURRENT ISSUES

WORTH KEEPING AN EYE ON...

  • When it comes to Ground Beef and newer meat substitutes, it’s good to know the facts. Based on the Nutrition Facts
    panel comparisons, did you know that 93% lean ground beef is lower in calories, fat, sat fat and sodium and higher
    in high-quality protein than meat substitutes? Beef is an authentic source of high quality protein and 10 essential
    nutrients, including Protein, Iron, Zinc, and B-Vitamins that are essential to good health. Learn more HERE
  • The BLM has learned that the Idaho Department of Agriculture is planning to treat portions of the snake river near Twin Falls, Idaho with Chelated Copper in an attempt to eradicate quagga mussels in the area. Chelated copper can have effects on livestock watering on Snake River water. ISDA and the Governors office are likely to notify the public in the next few days.  This is a quickly developing situation and all of the answers are not known at this time.  If you have questions please contact info@isda.idaho.gov (208) 332-8500

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  • OFF Act Two very different perspectives:

 

R-CALF Perspective

 

OFF Act Sets New Standards for Government

In his May 12, 2023, opinion, “Fight the Animal Rights Groups Infiltrating Our Industry,” NCBA President Todd Wilkinson stated he was fed up. Wilkinson weaved a tale of deception, unholy alliances, infiltration, and hijacking. And then he asserted the current beef checkoff program promotes “our wholesome American beef.” He might need to calm down a little. Everyone knows the current beef checkoff program can’t (or won’t) promote American beef in our domestic market. His organization’s stance was revealed in the lawsuit the NCBA filed against mandatory country of origin labeling. In that lawsuit, the NCBA stated, “In short, beef is beef, whether the cattle were born in Montana, Manitoba, or Mazatlán.”

Perhaps we all need to calm down and examine what exactly the OFF Act (Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act), S.557 and H.R.1249, will do and what it won’t do:

  • It will prohibit checkoff programs from contracting with any organization that lobbies on ag policy.

  • It will prohibit employees and agents of checkoff boards from engaging in activities that may involve a conflict of interest.

  • It will establish uniform standards for checkoff programs that prohibit anticompetitive activity, unfair or deceptive acts, or any act or practice that may be disparaging to another ag commodity or product.

  • It will require transparency through the publication of checkoff program budgets and expenditures.

  • It will require periodic audits of compliance with the act by the USDA Inspector General.

However, the OFF Act won’t end any checkoff program. Though it will put an end to the practices of using checkoff tax monies to pay for lobbying, promoting the self-interests of employees, and running down other products. It will also put an end to the lack of transparency in checkoff program budgets and expenditures. This will ensure that the tax dollars collected from producers are used only for the intended purposes of the program. It is difficult to understand why, after approximately one billion dollars has been collected from producers since the program’s inception, anyone would think that the compliance audits required under the OFF Act are too much to ask.

In fact, why would this be too much to ask of any government program? It could be said that the OFF Act is simply Congress reasserting its constitutional authority over the conduct of its agencies and the programs they administer and oversee. Americans would do well to demand that Congress require this “of, by, and for the people”-type conduct of every agency within our government.

But Wilkinson used the oldest trick in the book, which is: if you can’t win the argument, change the conversation. He alleges that some supporters of the OFF Act want to end beef’s place on the menu, but the OFF Act doesn’t end anything except corruption and conflicts of interest. The enactment of the OFF Act will stop the siphoning of promotion, education, and research money away from those who use it as a lobbying slush fund. Thus, the OFF Act will result in more effective and efficient promotion of beef’s healthy place in the human diet and its critical role in preserving our environment. Of course, the OFF Act would end NCBA’s death grip on the lion’s share of beef checkoff funds – funds that cross-subsidize its beef industry lobbying organization.

It is time for members of Congress to listen to those they truly represent, the people whose passion and time is centered on their fields and pastures, not the avenues inside the Beltway. Although the voices of the status quo may be the loudest and most convenient for Congress to hear as they’re right down the street, the condition of our nation and our food security continues to deteriorate. Evidence of this decay is the fact that a bill like the OFF Act which sets new standards for government that will restore transparency to and the ethical and auditable use of checkoff tax dollars and require that use to be free of conflicts of interest and lobbying abuse is so controversial. What are the opponents of the OFF Act trying to hide? Why are the loudest opponents of the OFF Act the ones who benefit financially from the current checkoff system?

Fate is in our hands, please stand up and call your elected Senators and Representatives and request inclusion of the OFF Act within the 2023 Farm Bill.

NCBA Perspective

 

Tell the U.S. Senate to Vote NO on the OFF Act

 

Senator Mike Lee has introduced the OFF Act as an amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill, legislation that funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other key agencies. The OFF Act is a direct attack on checkoff programs including the Beef Checkoff. 

Tell your U.S. Senator you OPPOSE the amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill which includes the OFF Act.

 

This bill (Agriculture Appropriations) funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is considered “must-pass” legislation, meaning that there is higher pressure on members of Congress to pass the appropriations package, fund the government, and avoid a shutdown.

If the OFF Act were to pass, cattle producers would lose their voice over the Beef Checkoff leaving increasingly consolidated retailers to fill the void. These retailers will be beholden to ESG investors, activist groups, and others who are unfriendly to our way of life.

 

NCBA has prepared a grassroots letter - please take a moment to sign as soon as possible. This action is expected to see a vote early next week. 

 

Send a letter to U.S. Senators to protect the Beef Checkoff

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  • Canyonlands West Travel Management Plan Environmental Assessment

 

The Bureau of Land Management seeks input on the Canyonlands West Travel Management Plan Environmental Assessment, which is available for public comment from September 8 until October 23, 2023. This plan will establish a comprehensive system of motorized travel routes through central Owyhee County in southwestern Idaho, ensuring access to BLM-managed public lands, while addressing conflicts between users and natural resources.

 

The plan covers approximately 677,000 acres of BLM-managed lands and analyses 1,309 miles of routes inventoried by the BLM, with contributions from motorized user groups, Tribes, state and federal agencies, and stakeholder groups. The range of action alternatives being considered would designate between 719 to 1,094 miles of motorized routes for public use.

 

The BLM is required by Congress to manage public lands for a variety of uses such as livestock grazing, recreation, and mining, while ensuring natural, cultural, and historic resources are maintained for present and future use. A Travel Management Plan includes an analysis process to designate routes that will ensure public land access for these varied uses, while also:

·         providing areas with motorized and non-motorized recreation activities,

·         preventing soil and vegetation damage resulting from the proliferation of routes, and

·         reducing conflicts between various recreation users.

 

Public comments on these proposed route systems can be submitted via the ePlanning site at: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/73196/510. The purpose of this comment period is to provide relevant information to the BLM about the proposed alternatives. Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information in any comments, be aware that the entire comment—including personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. Requests to withhold personal identifying information from public review can be submitted, but the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.

 

This plan is one of five travel management plans that will cover BLM-managed public lands in Owyhee County. All plans will be made available for public comment and are expected to be completed by spring 2024. For additional information, please contact Shannon Bassista 208-384-3300.

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  • Owyhee Cattlemen's Association is working with local, state, and federal agencies for solutions to the cricket and grass hopper infestation. If you have input on this issue, please submit them to our “Contact Us” link by clicking HERE 

President’s email to ISDA: 

as Owyhee County Cattlemen’s President we are in trouble with the crickets and Grasshoppers and if BLM or the State on state ground  is not going to do anything on their ground you are correct we cannot stop them on private ground.  

The ground we run some cattle on has gotten completely ate up and will probably cut our time there by 30 days, and without controlling them on Government ground they continue to multiply greatly. We have killed crickets with big egg sacks on them and those would have gotten dropped and been ready to hatch we cannot stop them without help on their ground (BLM and or State Ground). They have destroyed peoples yards and the grass we run on so the AUM’s paid are not worth anything. We have seen hay crops diminished by  30% or higher and the bales we are putting up are filled with crickets and the cows will not eat them.  

We need some help from the people that manage the land. I hear from producers that when we spray we knock out the good bugs is there a way to reintroduce the good bugs once we spray just asking because I don’t know. Thank you for the time and I hope we can get this under control. 

 

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​Conservation and Landscape Health

 

Letter from Attorney General Labrador opposing new BLM rule

STATE OF IDAHO
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Raúl R. Labrador

For Immediate Release
July 18, 2023
Media Contact: Emily Kleinworth
emily.kleinworth@ag.idaho.gov

AG Labrador Leads Eight States Authoring Letter Opposing New BLM Rule

 

Boise, ID – On June 20th, Attorney General Labrador led eight states and authored a letter to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) opposing its proposed "Conservation and Landscape Health" rule.

The new rule proposed by the Bureau of Land Management allegedly enhances provisions for the agency to "protect intact landscapes, restore degraded habitat, and make wise management decisions based on science and data." The new rule would allow the agency to lease land for "conservation use." 

The proposed rule attempts to create agency authority where none exists. Under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, Congress did not grant executive branch agencies the power to define new uses under the statute. 

The letter sent to the Bureau of Land Management makes clear that the BLM not only lacks the authority under the Federal Land Policy Management Act, but that the proposed rule violates existing case law and would cause detrimental harm to the State of Idaho. 

"The proposed rule is an effort by the Biden administration to privatize conservation further. Public land leases drafted under the guise of 'conservation' would gobble up large swaths of land, transforming them into private playgrounds for the ultra-rich. Two-thirds of Idaho's land is Federal; allowing the Federal government to privatize this land would greatly impact our state," Attorney General Labrador said.

The State of Idaho, along with Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, South Carolina, and South Dakota, demand an immediate withdrawal of this rule. 

The State of Alaska sent a separate letter opposing this rule. Idaho is also a party to this letter.  


The Idaho letter can be found here. 

The Alaska letter can be found here

FROM ICA WEB SITE: 

The BLM Conservation and Landscape Health rule poses a significant threat to the multiple use of public land and has the potential to greatly disrupt grazing on BLM lands. We need your help in providing comments to the BLM and asking them to withdraw the proposed rule.

 

The rule can be viewed here.

Let the BLM hear from you by submitting a comment to OPPOSE the Rule.

Comments are due by ***July 5th. 

 

Submit comments by going here  and either typing in your comment, or uploading a file. You can find a sample comment letter by going here and selecting "talking points."

View the ICA's Comments Here.

4 key points that you can include in your comments are:

·     The rule violates Congressional direction for multiple use under FLPMA by adding conservation as a new “use” without express Congressional authorization.   

·     The proposed rule does not put this new “use” “on par with other uses”, but gives conservation leases the power to eliminate multiple use on federal lands.   

·     BLM’s inappropriately narrow definition for “conservation” creates conflicts with other agencies, and other BLM interpretations, cementing the message that BLM does not believe that conservation and multiple use are compatible.  

·     BLM inaccurately asserts FLPMA directs the agency to “promote” the use of restrictive ACEC designations, despite purported commitments to rangeland objectives. 

What more can I do? 

BLM has repeatedly limited opportunities to engage with the public on the proposed rule: from no discussion or notice before the rule was published, to their avoidance of NEPA analysis, and now with the public "information" sessions rather than public meetings.

While our preference would be for the BLM to withdraw the role and conduct a transparent process, at the minimum the BLM must extend the comment period and hold engagement sessions that allow for public engagement and comment on the proposal.

 

Call your members of Congress.

·     Tell them to request the BLM to extend the comment period and hold a meeting in their state. Permittees in WA, OR, CA, ID, MT, ND, SD, WY, UT, and AZ shouldn't be left out of the process.

 

Tell your Senators to support S.1435.

The bill would require the BLM to withdraw this proposed rule due to any number of fatal flaws.

·     Thank you to Senators Barrasso (WY), Cramer (ND), Crapo (ID), Hoeven (ND), Lee (UT), Lummis (WY), Risch (ID), Romney (UT), Sullivan (AK), Fischer (NE), Murkowski (AK), and Mullin (OK) for cosponsoring the bill!

 

Tell your Representatives to support H.R.3397.

This is the House companion to the Senate bill and requires the withdrawal of the proposed rule.

·     Thank you to Reps. Curtis (UT), Fulcher (ID), Stewart (UT), Hageman (WY), Stauber (MN), Gosar (AZ), Newhouse (WA), Lamborn (CO), Moore (UT), Owens (UT), Bentz (OR), Amodei (NV), Rosendale (MT), and Zinke (MT) for cosponsoring the bill!

 

Call your governor.

Meetings held in urban centers like Denver, Reno, and Albuquerque prevent the kind of meaningful attendance and participation the BLM should be seeking as part of this rule. Governors in the following states should demand meetings - and discussion - in their states:

·     Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, California, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona.

 

Call your county Board of Supervisors or County Commissioners.They should know how this rule will affect the economic drivers in their communities. 

Supreme Court Strikes Down Biden WOUTS Regulation
Supreme Court’s Sackett v. EPA Decision is Welcome Relief to Ag
 
Supreme Court ruling restores property rights, closes spigot on Clean Water Act abuses
  • Read Full decision HERE

 

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LEGISLATION

IDAHO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

It's worth noting that these house bills concerning property tax relief may not actually see the light of day, but we may see a new version that has a little of all of them in it from what we have heard. 

IDAHO DEPT OF FISH & GAME

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