Cattle raisers applaud flurry of ag legislation
FORT WORTH, Texas — Last week three important agriculture bills were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Each of the bipartisan bills address very different issues, but all will benefit cattle producers according to Robert McKnight, Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA).
Last Monday brought the introduction of the Real MEAT (Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully) Act of 2019 by U.S. Reps. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Anthony Brindisi D-N.Y.
The bill will create a nation-wide definition of beef to ensure that consumers are not misled or confused by alternative protein products. It will also strengthen misbranding laws, provide for better enforcement of those laws, and clarify Congress’ intent for the Beef Promotion and Research Act.
Wednesday brought two additional bills.
The Responsible and Efficient Agriculture Destination (TREAD) Act was introduced by authors Angie Craig, D-Minn., and Lloyd Smucker, R-Penn. It seeks to codify important hours-of-service exemptions for people who transport livestock.
The government places restrictions on the number of hours that commercial haulers can operate before they must rest, but hauling livestock presents unique challenges since live animals cannot be left on a trailer while the driver sleeps. The bill will provide certain exemptions for livestock haulers so they can safely reach their destination while protecting animal welfare.
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act was also introduced Wednesday. That legislation was spearheaded by Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., but features a long, bipartisan list of co-sponsors.
The bill would benefit cattle producers by offering year-round workers through the H-2A program, provide wage relief and reduce housing costs.
In response to the flurry of ag legislation, McKnight released the following statement:
“I applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for their recent bipartisan legislation to address the concerns of cattle producers on fake meat, livestock transportation and labor. These are all very important issues for our industry, and as we prepare to gather with family and friends for Thanksgiving, there is no better time to remember the crucial role agriculture plays in our society."