WASHINGTON – National Farmers Union (NFU) and the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service in support of the proposed rule to reduce the number of board members from 106 to 103.
“The proposed rule seeks to adjust the number represented on the board from its current state of 106 members to a reduced number of 103 in order to reflect the drastically reduced herd sizes within multiple states that no longer meet the specified standards allocated to receive state representation,” the comments said. “The livestock marketplace experienced a marked decline in the number of family farms and ranches over the last 30 years. In 1980, there were over 1.3 million cattle operations across the country but today only 950,000 remain.”
In addition to supporting the reduction in board size, the comments questioned whether the current composition of the board accurately reflected the U.S. beef industry.
“The board must include representation from a multitude of associations, both at the state and national level, as well as non-affiliated ranchers,” the comments said. “In its current form, the board is not functioning properly. The make-up of a board and key committees tasked with representing the needs of an industry must reflect all those within its jurisdiction. We applaud USDA’s efforts thus far in achieving a better balance of representation and look forward to continued improvements.”
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.