Audio News: Woodall Update on COVID-19
2020 NCBA Audio
Colin Woodall, CEO, NCBA
The Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak is causing concern throughout U.S. society, and nowhere more than throughout agriculture and the cattle industry. Cattle producers are rightfully worried about their markets and what the future holds for them as a result of this tragedy, and that worry is happening on several fronts. Colin Woodall, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says NCBA is aggressively tackling these issues on behalf of the industry.
“In Washington, D.C. we are working directly with the White House, USDA and other federal agencies and also with Congress on several things. Things such as getting the commitment to keeping USDA inspectors in the packing plants, getting some waivers from the Department of Transportation on hours of service to make sure that cattle haulers can move as much as they possibly can, and then also making sure that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is looking at the marketplace to make sure there is no manipulation. And then we’re also working directly with Congress to ensure that whatever stimulus package that comes out of this has some money in there for direct payments to cattle producers.” (35 seconds)
According to Woodall, keeping the beef supply moving through the supply chain is crucial to beef industry success.
"One great example is making sure that those who are supplying foodservice, that we are providing some contacts to them in the retail area so that they can move product that was otherwise destined for restaurants to get into retail supermarkets. We want to make sure that no product is wasted and that no product spoils.” (19 seconds)
Woodall says consumer commitment to beef is being demonstrated at the retail level, and a responsibility of NCBA as a checkoff contractor is to maintain consumer confidence in the healthfulness of the product.
"One of the best ways to fight off COVID-19, coronavirus, is to have a healthy immune system, and beef plays a part of that. We are a healthy, nutritious part of the diet, so everyone can continue to feel safe in continuing to eat our product. And of course we’re seeing that with all of the empty shelves out there. The consumer has as a tremendous amount of confidence in our product. We are also working very closely with promotion of not only our product but also working with the consumer to make sure they understand how to cook our product. As a Checkoff contractor we do a tremendous amount of work in developing recipes and showing consumers how they can prepare their product. And this is a great opportunity, with all of these consumers being at home who have just purchased beef, that they understand the best way to cook our product and have a great beef eating experience.” (49 seconds)
On every front, NCBA is standing up not just for beef but those who produce it.
"We are using our position as a checkoff contractor to promote our product, to show the consumer how to cook our product, and to show that they can be confident in eating beef, and at the same time using our efforts on the Policy side of NCBA to work with all segments of the supply chain to keep the supply chain running, to work with Congress to provide some relief to cattle producers, and to work with the White House to ensure that we do not have regulatory burdens that make this entire situation worse than it could be.” (34 seconds)
Woodall says NCBA staff is staying engaged daily with this issue and working under direction of the volunteer producer leadership team to assure that consumer confidence in beef remains high, beef supplies are able to reach consumers successfully and the interests of cattle producers are protected and enhanced.