By Matt Reese
Filet mignon was on the menu, but it was the fine group of people who attended and were highlighted at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Awards Banquet who were the highlight. Attendees had the chance to network, hear about the latest issues and recognize the top-tier set of award winners at the event (along with the delicious meal).
Membership is up, cattle markets look strong and OCA is looking to build on a successful 2022 Ohio Beef Expo with a bigger and better show coming up in March, said OCA president Tom Karr.
“We are approaching our smallest cow herd in 40 years — that’s dairy and beef combined — so that’s an indication that there are not going to be as many calves next year and especially the year after that, so it should be good for the cow-calf producers to maybe recoup some of their losses from the past,” Karr said. “The Ohio State Fair was a highlight in 2022 with the success of the Charity Steer Show and continuing the Steak Barn with new ownership — we partnered with the Muir family. They were fantastic. We saw a lot of people and it was very encouraging. We had a lot of FFA groups and 4-H clubs that stepped up to take a shift in the Steak Barn and they were just awesome to work with. And last year’s Beef Expo was better than we expected and we expect it to even be better this year. We’re looking at new breed sales, more shows and more participation in the trade show.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association CEO Colin Woodall was at the January event as well and provided an update of the last year and what to watch for in 2023.
“In 2022 we had to take a little bit different measurement of what success is. A lot of times in Congress we are working on trying to get things passed or get issues addressed, but what we have seen here over the past couple of years really is more of a defensive position of just trying to keep things from being done to us. So, we’ve really been judging success on keeping things at bay rather than getting things passed. It’s a heck of a way to run a government, but unfortunately it was kind of the way that things were set up,” Woodall said. “I believe, as we to make this transition into 2023, we’re hoping for a little bit more. We do have a split Congress with the Republican House and a Democrat Senate, but that does not mean we can’t get something done, especially if we have bipartisan support. A lot of times when we’re talking about agricultural issues, we can get that done because we do have friends on both sides of the aisle.”
A large focus moving forward for NCBA will be the next farm bill.
“The farm bill is going to expire Sept. 30. With the next farm bill, there’s so much that needs to be addressed within farm policy. Specifically for the cattle industry, we’re looking at ensuring we maintain the funding for the foot and mouth disease Vaccine Bank. We want full funding for great programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. We need to make sure that the research dollars are there for research being done by USDA, but especially the money that goes to our land grant universities like the Ohio State University,” Woodall said. “For us, something new this year is looking at what kind of risk management tools we can get in place for cow-calf producers. Many times, cow-calf producers just don’t think that they’re big enough to be able to engage in true risk management and there’s been a lack of programs that are easy for them to use. We’re working on some potential programs with the Risk Management Agency in order to give them those opportunities by making those programs a little bit easier to understand, a little bit easier to utilize and a little bit cheaper to participate in. We have spent the past couple of years talking about cattle markets in both the House and the Senate and are looking for some solutions to help producers. This is a solution that is going to be more than just the government coming in and dictating how cattle are marketed. We need something that actually provides risk management and USDA has some of those programs available now, they just need to be tweaked and, also, we need to make sure we have the money there so they’re affordable for producers to be able to engage in.”
In addition, OCA members discussed policy, scholarships were announced and awards were presented to a list of deserving winners by president Karr. The additional award winners were:
To watch the videos of the winners, visit the OCA YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzPauyztNcUvbjPY2gtZZyQ.