More than 700 leaders in the cattle industry attended the Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting in Denver on Saturday, with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) board of directors formally adopting policy positions on issues like international trade, tax reform, and modernizing the Endangered Species Act.

“It’s been a great week for America’s cattle industry, and meetings like this allow us to network, share best practices across the beef supply chain, and come together to adopt the policy positions that we’ll fight for in Washington, D.C.,” says  Craig Uden, NCBA president. “I’m proud of everybody who took the time away from their busy operations to help set our industry’s direction for another important year.”

Highlights of the week included the announcement of results of the checkoff-funded 2016 National Beef Quality Audit and the celebration of six regional finalists for the 2017 Environmental Stewardship Awards. This year’s finalists, announced at a reception on Thursday evening, are Blue Lake Farm, LLC, operated by Rusty and Jessie Thomson, Sharon, S.C.; SFI, Inc., Seth and Etta Smith, Nemaha, Iowa; Sterling Cattle Company, Jimmy and Theresa Sterling, Coahoma, Texas; Flying Diamond Ranch, Scott and Jean Johnson, Kit Carson, Colo.; Jim O’Haco Cattle Company, Jim and Jeanni O’Haco, Winslow, Ariz.; and Munson Angus Farms, LLC, Chuck and Deanna Munson, Junction City, Kan.

Joint Committees and Subcommittees met on Thursday and Friday to develop proposals for 2018 checkoff-funded research, education and promotion programs. Also on Friday, NCBA policy committees met to determine priorities and discuss strategies for 2018.

Producers serving on the beef checkoff’s Export Growth Committee heard from members of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) staff regarding global trends in beef production and consumption, the positive impact of exports on carcass value and ongoing efforts to expand market access for U.S. beef.

Committee members also reviewed year-to-date export results for U.S. beef, which USMEF Economist Erin Borror explains have been bolstered by an exceptional performance for chilled U.S. beef in key Asian markets. Borror notes that the United States now holds more than 50 percent of the chilled beef import market in Japan and South Korea, and more than 70 percent in Taiwan.

Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president for marketing, adds that chilled exports are especially important to the U.S. beef industry because they represent a consistent, 52-weeks-per-year business. Exporting chilled product also allows USMEF to better showcase the flavor and tenderness of U.S. beef for customers in Asia.

“NCBA is the cattle industry’s oldest and largest national organization in large part because we remain a grassroots-run association where our members come together to set our direction,” Uden said. “In the coming year, we will remain committed to expanding our access to markets around the world, to securing a full and permanent repeal of the onerous death tax, to protecting our access to public lands, and to securing funding for a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank in the 2018 Farm Bill.”

The cattle industry’s next large-scale meeting will be the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show Jan. 31 - Feb. 2, 2018, in Phoenix, Arizona.