R-CALF USA Continues the Fight in Advocating for Independent Cattle Producers
Throwing a picture of my father on the front page of the Kadoka Press has been on my mind as a conflict of interest for the past several weeks. Our little visits while he worked to build the saddle pictured above were nothing more than the usual visits a father has with his daughter. Having built a saddle for donation to R-CALF for over 25 years, this organization has been something I’ve always known of; something that could almost be considered a large aspect of my childhood.
That being said, it’s hard for me to hold in my excitement when this time of the year comes around. Watching a hand crafted piece of art with 87 hand tooled flowers and 3 detailed figure carvings like this come together in under 3 weeks is almost magical.
When I asked him why he had kept up with this yearly tradition for so many years, Baxter gave me a simple, straight to the point response. “It’s the only thing out there that is even making an effort to fight for the producer. Its the only producer based organization that i know of.”
My close friends, their ears being endlessly filled with each days update on this saddle, were caught in a little bit of confusion when my rambling kicked in. None of them knew what I was talking about; none of them had heard of R-CALF USA.
Upon realizing that many of these people knew nothing about this organization, some of them being an agriculturally active member in a generations-long cattle producing family, my indecision about this article was no more. R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America) is something everyone in the cattle industry should be made aware of.
“R-CALF is more than a job, everyday go to work knowing I’m doing my part to bring positive change to the cattle industry and help ensure my family’s legacy continues for my generation. It continues to fuel my passion for the cattle industry and I’m so, so grateful for this organization and all it does for the industry.”
“R-CALF fights tirelessly day in and day out for its membership and it stands strong on the issues the issues it fights for.”
“We are so grateful for Baxter’s work, every year he creates a more beautiful saddle than the last.” Says Jaiden Moreland, Marketing Coordinator for R-CALF USA from Canyon, TX.
R-CALF’s website is www.r-calfusa.com and we are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and also have a brand new podcast the R-CALF USA Round Up.
Eric Nelson, Vice President of R-CALF USA and Region VII (7) Director, Moville, Iowa:
“Baxter has been making saddles for R-CALF fundraisers nearly as long as R-CALF’s been an organization. His countless hours crafting these saddles are indicative of his steadfast support of independent cattlemen and the next generation of independent cattlemen.”
“R-CALF USA differs from other commodity & farm organizations in that R-CALF USA member passed policy carries with it the expectation of action. The R-CALF board of directors & staff take that expectation very seriously. Agriculture today unfortunately involves many inconvenient truths, from consolidation, compromised competition, trade inequities, violations of private property rights and more. For over 20 years R-CALF continues to provide leadership in these and other areas, taking action as called on by its members, fighting to preserve opportunities not only for todays cattle producer but also for the generations of cattlemen to come.”
“R-CALF is probably the only organization in the United States that is truly fighting for the independent cow-calf producers; the independent cattlemen. We’re not fighting for the beef industry so much, were trying to keep the cow-calf and stocker operators in business, they have to make money or all these little towns in the country are going to die out.” Said Bob Fortune of Belvidere. “It’s strictly for the independent operations; its not for the big, corporate outfits and corporate entities such as the packing industry. We’ve been fighting for a fair market, we want to show the difference in our product verses that of the rest of the world so consumers actually have the right to choose what product they want to buy. The way the current labeling laws are set up, they have no idea where their meat is coming from.”
As per their website, R-CALF USA “is the largest producer-only membership based organization that exclusively represents U.S. cattle and sheep producers on domestic and international trade and marketing issues. R-CALF USA, a national, non-profit organization, is dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA’s membership of more than 5,000 consists primarily of cow-calf producers, cattle backgrounders, and feeders. Its members are located in 43 states, and the organization has many local and state association affiliates, from both cattle and farm organizations, along with various main street businesses as associate members of R-CALF USA.
R-CALF USA began in 1998 when 3 independent cattle producers launched an anti-dumping lawsuit against trading partners Canada and Mexico accusing them of exporting their products below market prices and production costs in the U.S. The group successfully convinced the U.S. Department of Commerce to implement anti-dumping tariffs against Canada. A year later, R-CALF USA was officially formed into an membership based organization.
Brett Kenzy, President of R-CALF USA, Region III (3) Director, of Gregory, SD:
“I’ve been an R-CALF member since nearly the beginning. I am drawn to people who have a strong appreciation for their family and country. I am proud to be a part of a group who is willing to step forward and do for themselves. The Black Hills Stock show provides a great opportunity to meet with cattlemen and discuss the issues.”
“There are so many people taking part in our organization- from the fundraising efforts of the Badure saddle raffle that has continued for years to the newly launched calendar campaign. These are examples of people doing what they can do to advance the cause of a rural America that feeds us all. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve!”
Since its inception, R-CALF USA has profoundly impacted the U.S. live cattle industry.
In an industry dominated by 4 meatpackers controlling every aspect and unjust trade agreements, R-CALF USA quickly rose to become the national voice for independent cow-calf producers and feeders across America.
R-CALF USA encourages producers to get involved and make their collective voice heard.
R-CALF USA is the single largest producer-only organization fighting to bring back mandatory country-of-origin labeling, fighting to stop anti-competitive and unjust practices by the packers, to prevent high-risk imports from countries with disease outbreaks, fighting to allow U.S. cattle producers to promote their USA beef within the beef checkoff program and make the program voluntary.
R-CALF USA is solely funded by membership dues and donations.”
“R-CALF is for the ranchers, and they want to make prices better for these ranchers. Right now, the packing plants are the ones making all of the money. R-CALF is dedicated to changing that,” says Joel Leibel.
Upon asking Kenny Fox he’s so active in this ever-advocating organization, he replied, “The reason we belong to R-CALF is because it’s really the only organization that supports grass-roots producers such as ourselves. They work on issues to improve our markets, support legislation that helps create a better market place, and they’re the leaders in fighting mandatory RFID electronic eartags. These are just a few reasons we belong; we’ve been charter members of R-CALF for the past twenty-some odd years, and I am a firm believer in R-CALF.”
R-CALF USA is a national, non-profit organization, dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. We represent the collective voice of U.S. cattle and sheep producers, in domestic and international trade and marketing issues.
Al Badure’s reason is because “they’re the only organization that is definitely trying to help the people thats on the ground floor of cattle production. The organizations that oppose R-CALF are no doubt the people that support the multinationals. R-CALF doesn’t do that; they’re working 100% for the individual cattle producer. We’re the first people on the food chain, but we happen to be the last people to get paid. Everybody else gets their profit, then we take whats left. Keep supporting them, and hopefully they’ll be able to get somebody in Washington to get things back on track to help us, a main one being country of origin labeling.”
So if you’re interested in helping support the independent cattle producer, stop by the R-CALF booth at the Black Hills Stock show and have a visit with Jaiden Moreland to get more information on the ways you can help.
Call the U.S. Capital Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
If you’re a US Cattle Producer, say: “Hello, my name is and I’m a cattle producer from (City, State). Our cattle market is broken and has been for many years. Beef prices have skyrocketed while my cattle prices are too low for me to remain profitable. I need you to fix this as quickly as possible. You can do that by supporting Senate Bills 949 and 2716. Senate Bill 949 is the Cattle Market Protection Bill that restores competition for cattle. Senate Bill 2716 is the Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling Bill that restores competition for beef. I want a competitive cattle market and I want consumers to be able to choose USA beef produced by me and my neighbors. These two important bills will achieve that. Please fix our broken beef supply chain by passing Senate Bills 949 and 2716. Thank you.”
If you’re a Consumer, say: “Hello, my name is and I’m from (City, State). I want to buy USA beef and I don’t want the cattle industry to become any more consolidated than it already is. Please fix our broken beef supply chain by supporting Senate Bills 2716 and 949. Senate Bill 949 is the Cattle Market Protection Bill that restores competition for cattle. Senate Bill 2716 is the Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling Bill that restores competition for beef. Thank you.”
Cattle producers deserve a fair market price for the animals they put so much time and effort into maintaining for the production of a quality, home raised product. Supporting R-CALF is a great first step fo action for an effort to get us there.