Sleep is put on a shelf, the crackberry lifeline is hooked tight, and my USA Beef binder is brimming full of extra schedules, talking points… it must be fly-in time! Awhile back my colleague Stacia asked me “Jess just what are these ‘fly-ins’ that you are always referencing?!” Well here in the next few days, I’ll do my best to describe this fly-in process as we kickoff the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) “Back for More Fall Fly-In 2009.”
Fortunately, this is a smaller group bound for Washington, D.C. Regardless, the meeting schedule is packed with a busy agenda was set up by yours truly. The talking points and the agenda for each meeting are placed in binders and will be handed to USCA leaders Jon Wooster (San Lucas, CA), Leo McDonnell (Columbus, MT), Chuck Kiker (Beaumont, TX), Brian Malaer (Harwood, TX), and Hollis “Peanut” Gilfillian (Stowell, TX) when they arrive today. Monday and Tuesday will find the whole lot of us making waves in Washington as we hammer out nine meetings in two days.
This particular fly-in will focus on high-level meetings with President Obama’s trade and agriculture officials. A top priority on this fly-in is USCA’s involvement in defending the country-of-origin labeling law. Currently Canada and Mexico are challenging this law at the WTO level. USCA will also discuss animal health, animal identification, anti-trust and competition, along with the Texas disaster recovery issues. It will be a fast-paced week, and very soon, I will wake up Wednesday morning, and the actual fly-in work will be over. ‘Course, post-fly-in is another work stage. Follow-up letters, information, and thank yous all have to be done. Look for stories and pictures to be posted all week!
The road adventure continues. I flew in from Denver, Colorado to Reno, Nevada last night. Today, Jon and Jane Wooster picked me up in Reno, and we made our way to the Northern California regional cattlemen’s meeting in Susanville.
This was my first time of speaking in California, and I spoke to an enthusiastic and smart group of cattle industry leaders. It was a great opportunity to meet new ranchers and see old friends. The pictures show Jon and I starting out the presentation followed by a few comments from me. I can’t thank these ranchers enough for their hospitality. Here’s to many more good years for these California ranchers!
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