A recording-breaking crowd of nearly 7,000 cattlemen and women from across the country jockeyed for a seat at the second general session of the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn.

NCBA President-Elect J.D. Alexander painted a picture of regulatory chaos in Washington, D.C., but pointed to grassroots advocacy as the primary reason the cattle industry was able to “weather the storm.”

“Because of the partnership between our state affiliates and your national organization, we managed to prevent ourselves from being the main course at the big government café,” said Alexander, who is also a cattleman from Nebraska.

“This partnership — this grassroots policy process — is the shining star of this industry. You have a voice and it is being heard loud and clear.”

Alexander used the slew of regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency; the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration’s proposed rule on livestock marketing; and the Department of Transportation’s proposed rule, which would have required cattlemen to acquire commercial driver’s licenses, as examples of cattlemen’s successful pushback of burdensome regulations.

Alexander said NCBA will continue pushing for practical legislation and a common sense approach to regulations. He called the estate tax his top policy priority as the 2012 NCBA president.

“I pledge to you that my top priority as your president is to do all I can to build beef demand and producer profitability. This can only be accomplished if we are allowed to operate without government intervention and, most importantly, if decisions are made to ensure future generations are able to take over our family businesses,” Alexander said.

“The death tax is the biggest deterrent to young people returning to the cattle business. What we need now are jobs, a stable economy and food for a growing global population. Leaving the next generation to choose between a life they love or the inability to pay the estate tax is not something we will tolerate.”

(To get an idea of why estate taxes are such a threat to farmers and ranchers, visit http://southeastfarmpress.com/management/estate-tax-storm-threatens-farm-country).