A fourth-generation rancher on the central coast of California, Kevin Kester is president-elect for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). I was able to catch up with him during the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s annual event to learn about NCBA’s top priorities going into 2018.
As you can guess trade will top their list. Kester is on Secretary of Agriculture’s and Trade Ambassador’s advisory policy committee for trade. Kester said, “The message agriculture and specifically the beef sector is giving is ‘don’t do us any harm.’ For beef, Canada and Mexico are our biggest trading partners. Right now in NAFTA, U.S. cattlemen don’t have any tariffs or quota limitations. It’s hard to improve on no trade barriers.”
When it comes to TPP, Kester believes bilateral trade agreements are needed starting with Japan. “Overall trade is growing across the globe. Keeping demand up. Prices back home on the farm or ranch are staying pretty darn good,” Kester said.
Public land issues also keep NCBA busy. As a western landowner, they also sit close to home for Kester. Common sense reform in the Endangered Species Act and better communication with the Bureau of Land Management and U.S Forest Service sit center-stage.
Listen to my complete conversation with Kevin to learn more: Interview with Kevin Kester, NCBA