Remember the highly popular Wendy's commercials that ran over a decade ago and featured an elderly woman whose famous line, "Where's the beef?" spurred the franchise into the national fast-food spotlight?
Well, according to Brent Bryant, executive vice president for the Missouri Cattlemen's Association [MCA], "the beef" is all over the state of Missouri.
Area cattlemen held their annual banquet at the Stone Hedge Country Club Monday to celebrate the continued success of the organization as well as discuss some of the association's hot topics.
Bryant said the Saline County branch of the association is one of the state's finest.
"I'm just glad to be invited to the Saline County cattlemen's meeting," Bryant said. "They're one of our many local affiliates and they do a great job here taking care of the cattle industry, which is our job statewide. We're the number two cow/calf state in the U.S. All the good backgrounders and cattle feeders here contributed an enormous amount to the economy. Tonight is our yearly get-together to celebrate the cattle industry and get updates about what's going on … ."
Bryant says one of the paramount concerns for the association is the issue of international trade. The association passed an 11-point directive at its annual national convention meeting last week in San Antonio, Texas. That, among other things, prohibited the importation of beef products from cattle more than 30 months of age.
Bryant elaborated on some of the association's issues discussed at the national gathering.
"We had a great win on our policy issue on the Canadian border trade. The national cattlemen's … association has adopted a policy consistent with what we have here in the state of Missouri on the issue of cattle coming across the border from Canada," Bryant said. "We're really hopeful with the support of the national organization and the state organization, we're going to be able to get our goals accomplished on that issue. The key of that is opening up the border with Japan, South Korea and Mexico for beef exports from the United States. We're concerned about the economic impact if we don't do that. We also want to have some harmonization of some trade rules for our cattle going to Canada."
Brian Marshall, an area cattleman who has a farm with approximately 2,500 acres and 400 beef cows, says the organization does a lot of supportive things in the county and he's glad to be a part of the organization.
"I've been a member of the association for nearly 10 years," Marshall said. "On a county level, we do a lot of cook-outs and things like that and we take the proceeds and help certain area events. We also give scholarships to students that are pursuing agricultural careers in college. I have a lifelong ambition of helping the cattle industry and trying to educate consumers and promote beef and help our organization and cattlemen across the country."
Bryant went on to say that the organization has increased its membership by 51 percent in Missouri over the last couple of years and is still growing quickly.
"We're growing fast and we have a very positive vision for the future of the cattle industry in Missouri," he said. "We encourage anybody that raises cattle ... all the businesses that are depending on cattle producers, to come and be a part of our association. We're going to work to create a positive atmosphere and keep our small rural communities growing."
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