YPC Spotlight: Interview with Holly Foster (Part II)

Rincker Law Conferences and Meetings, Food & Ag Organizations, Food & Ag Policy, Interviews Leave a Comment

In yesterday’s blog, Holly Foster answered questions about her involvement with National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (“NCBA”) Young Producers’ Council (“YPC”).  In Part I, she described her involvement on the Property Rights and Environmental Management Committee and her goals for the organization.  Here are the rest of her answers to the interview.

1.  What are the hot topics in your committee and what action did that committee take at the 2009 NCBA Summer Conference?

There were several issues on the agenda, but one item that was a highlight included discussion of the formation of a coalition of ranching and environmental organizations to identify issues common and work towards common goals.  Those discussions culminated in the development of the Coalition for Conservation Through Ranching, a new multi-stakeholder partnership between national conservation-minded groups that share an interest in promoting open space for ranching and healthy landscapes.  An agreement was recently signed and includes steering members from groups such as the Public Lands Council (“PLC”), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (“NCBA”), National Association of Conservation Districts (“NADC”), Environmental Defense Fund (“EDF”), Family Farm Alliance (“FFA”), and the World Wildlife Fund (“WWF”).  Other organizations that have joined the coalition at this time are the American Farmland Trust, the American Forage and Grassland Council, the California Farm Bureau Federation, the Society for Rangeland Management, the Wild Sheep Foundation, and the Wilderness Society.  The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) serves as an advisor to the group.

2.  Why is it important for cattle producers to be involved with NCBA and YPC?

Such a small percentage of our nation’s population is involved in food production that is imperative that producers participate in organizations that will help represent their interests in the regulatory arena and with the general public.  Participating in NCBA also allows an opportunity to voice your concerns or influence policy decisions within the organization, so that it continues to represent the interests of cattle producers.

3.  What are some of the most important legal issues affecting young cattle producers today?

Based on experiences within my own family’s operation, the estate tax has been a huge burden that has necessitated our devoting significant resources to plan for its potential impact on transitioning the business to the next generation.  Our legal business structure formation has also played a large role in determining the best transition strategies for a multi-generational ranch.  From a broader perspective, many public lands ranchers have been adversely affected by litigation brought forward by anti-grazing organizations seeking to removed cattle from Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management permits.  Water and land use issues are also huge influences in the viability of keeping ranches in production for future generations.

4.  What advice would you give young producers who are trying to get established in the industry?

NCBA has been on the forefront on many of the issues that are of concern to producers.  That’s why membership is so important to move those efforts forward and ensure that they represent the needs of cattle producers throughout the country.

As an aside, Holly is a great freelance writer for agriculture publications.  If you have an agribusiness and looking for some help with press, I highly recommend Holly’s services.  She can be contacted at fosterrnch@aol.com.

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