The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) held their national convention last month where NCBA President, and Monterey County Rancher, Kevin Kester explained some of the most significant issues that the association will be addressing throughout the year. Kester noted some of the biggest concerns for the industry are the 2018 farm bill, trade market access, regulatory reforms, antimicrobial use, and fake meat. “And that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Kester.
The 2018 farm bill is a significant issue for all the different sectors of the agricultural industry. Kester mentioned one of the requests the association is making to be included in the farm bill. “Something new we’re asking for is an improved, modernized vaccine bank for foot and mouth disease,” said Kester, “we really need to improve and update our strains.”
Trade is also a major focal point for NCBA, as “almost 20 percent of our value for every fed animal in this country goes overseas,” Kester said. The Trump administration has been working on several different trade deals, with NAFTA being one of the most significant. Kester noted his optimism regarding the agreement as the association has been “working with the president’s team and I think we’re going to end up in a good spot.”
Kester is confident in the association’s ability to accomplish some of its goals this year, in part due to the level of understanding between NCBA and the various departments of the government. “Overall, I’d say things are going very well, we have a very good relationship with the administration inside the White House,” said Kester. “We have a good relationship all the way from EPA, Department of Interior, USDA, right on down.”
As NCBA President, Kester oversees the association on behalf of America’s one million cattle farmers and ranchers. Kester has a long history with the industry as a fifth-generation California rancher in southern Monterey County where his family has lived for over 125 years.
Listen to the interview below.