Two members of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association testified Wednesday before the House Agriculture Committee's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Subcommittee about the state of the U.S. beef industry. Anne Burkholder, a cattle feeder from Cozad, Neb., and Jim Strickland, a cow-calf producer from Myakka, Fla., testified about the challenges and opportunities for the industry and the impact federal regulations have on their operations.
Burkholder said she continually improves practices to care for her animals, produce a safe, high-quality beef product for consumers and protect the environment. But overreaching government regulations are a growing challenge. She said the Environmental Protection Agency is plowing down a path of burdensome regulations that do not have a science foundation to support its recommendations.
"EPA's numeric criteria restrictions in my home state of Florida strike me and many others as being based on dubious background data and their impact on water quality is unproven," Strickland said. "One element that is not debatable, however, is that some farmers and ranchers will be forced off their land if this rule goes forward as proposed."
Strickland says much like EPA efforts in the Chesapeake Bay, all of agriculture needs to pay close attention. According to a study conducted by the University of Florida and the Florida Department of Agriculture, it could cost between $800 million and $3 billion to implement the numeric nutrient criteria.