As you can tell, I am a big supporter of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assocation (“NCBA”) and its new Young Producers’ Council (“YPC”). As I mentioned in this previous post, I am very lucky to be serving with a great crew of people on YPC’s Leadership Board. Among them is Ben Spitzer, a Brangus producer from Georgia who is YPC’s voting member on NCBA’s Membership Committee. I was able to ask Ben a few questions about YPC.
Question 1: Explain you cattle operation and involvement in the beef industry.
Salacoa Valley Farms (“SVF”) is a Brangus seedstock operation located in the Northwest Georgia Mountains about 1 hours north of Atlanta. We sell approximately 300 bulls a year in two sales: one the last Saturday of February and one the last Saturday of September. In conjunction with our bull sales, we have a commercial female sale consisting of females out of or bred to our genetics. Additionally, we facilitate the sale or retained ownership of customer cattle. Previous to taking my position as General Manager of SVF, I was the Communications/Members Services Director for the Red Angus Association of America. We (SVF) have a marketing alliance with my family’s Brangus operation so I am able to stay involved with them as well.
Question 2: How did you hear about Young Producer’s Council and what does it offer its members?
I first heard of YPC through our NCBA Field Representative [Nate Jaeger]. YPC offers networking opportunities with other producers across the country, industry contacts and a host of other opportunities. Since we are still a relatively new group, we have great opportunity to make YPC what we want it to be.
Question 3: What are your goals for the organization over the next few years?
I hope we can grow the membership of YPC through added avenues for young producers. The deck is often stacked against us as we are starting out in this industry because of elements outside of our control. Hopefully YPC can give younger producers a “leg up” on getting started in the industry.
Question 4: What NCBA Committee do you serve on and why are you interested in the activities of that committee?
I serve on the Membership Committee. I am interested in reaching the producers who may not know just have important their membership in NCBA is to the future of the industry. NCBA acts on behalf of producers on the legislative level by making sure lawmakers know the implications of the bills they pass on our country’s beef producers. It gives us a voice in Washington, D.C.
Question 5: Why is it important for cattle producers to be involved with NCBA and YPC?
With the political environment getting more and more treacherous every day, producers need to make sure they have a voice in the conversation on issues that affect our everyday lives.
Question 6: What are some of the largest legal issues affecting young cattle producers today?
I can’t speak personally about this example, but I have several friends involved in their family operations and they are facing the death tax [a.k.a. “estate tax”] issue. I also believe that we will see increased governmental regulation forced on agriculture by well intentioned but uninformed people.
Question 7: Per the previous question, what is NCBA doing in Washington to help with these concerns affecting young cattle producers?
I think NCBA is trying to make a stand for producers but can’t do it alone. We have enemies in groups like PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] and HSUS [Human Society of the United States] that have extremely large coffers aimed at putting us out of business.
Question 8: What advice would you give to young cattle producers who are trying to get established in the industry?
Get involved and let your voice be heard. Join NCBA. Take time to enjoy yourself every once in a while.
If you wish to contact Ben directly, he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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