09.25.19

Chairman Roberts Hears from Beef, Poultry, Sheep, and Pork Producers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In preparation for consideration of reauthorization of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today held a hearing to gather perspectives on the U.S. livestock and poultry sectors.

“These industries are the backbone of American agriculture. Grain production, equipment manufacturing, veterinary services, livestock markets, and many other businesses that populate rural towns rely on this sector to support their own livelihoods,” said Chairman Roberts.

“Our modern beef industry, and the broader livestock and poultry industries, have changed dramatically since the heyday of the cattle drives. But the importance of your industries to rural communities and American agriculture continues. Yet, it’s a business fraught with ever-evolving challenges. 

“Production cycles in the livestock and poultry sectors can span years. A single event—such as a hurricane, a wild fire, a disease outbreak, the loss of a processing plant or an export market—can have a ripple effect that sends shock waves throughout the industry. When onerous regulatory burdens that often confront this sector are added to the mix, growers and ranchers can find it difficult to simply do what they love—raise livestock and care for their land.”

To watch the hearing and read testimony, click here.

Click here to watch Chairman Roberts’ opening statement. Below are Chairman Roberts’ remarks as prepared for delivery: 

Good morning. I call this hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry to order.

Today, we will hear about “Perspectives on the Livestock and Poultry Sectors” from a panel of industry leaders and experts. 

First, I want to thank all of you for taking the time away from your farms, ranches, and places of work to be here to share your perspective and to advocate on behalf of American Agriculture. 

Many of you have devoted years of volunteer service in organizations that represent the livestock and poultry industries. I thank you for your dedication. 

The state of Kansas, and every state in the United States, is home to growers and ranchers who raise livestock and poultry that become the center of the dinner plate for consumers in the United States and around the world. 

These industries are the backbone of American agriculture. Grain production, equipment manufacturing, veterinary services, livestock markets, and many other businesses that populate rural towns rely on this sector to support their own livelihoods. 

As my colleagues know, the cattle industry has played a significant role in the rich history of the state of Kansas. 

Cattle were driven to cowtowns and then shipped to stockyards in Chicago and Kansas City. Among the famous Kansas cowtowns were Dodge City, Wichita and Abilene, home of our great President Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

Our modern beef industry, and the broader livestock and poultry industries, have changed dramatically since the heyday of the cattle drives. But the importance of your industries to rural communities and American agriculture continues. 

Yet, it’s a business fraught with ever-evolving challenges.

Production cycles in the livestock and poultry sectors can span years. A single event—such as a hurricane, a wild fire, a disease outbreak, the loss of a processing plant or an export market—can have a ripple effect that sends shock waves throughout the industry. 

When onerous regulatory burdens that often confront this sector are added to the mix, growers and ranchers can find it difficult to simply do what they love—raise livestock and care for their land. 

That brings me to the reason for having this hearing today—to hear from all of you about industry priorities, issues of concern, and potential opportunities. 

There is no shortage of challenges that you face. Today, I expect we will hear about everything from foreign animal disease threats, to trade uncertainty, to labor needs. 

But, we also have opportunities ahead of us. I look forward to hearing your views on the implementation of the new Farm Bill program to bolster our animal disease preparedness infrastructure, and the pending reauthorization of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act, just to name two. 

I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses. And, again, I thank you for joining us today. 

I turn to Senator Stabenow for any opening remarks she may have.

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