With a lot of controversy surrounding plans to change the structure of their organization last month the National Cattlemen's Beef Association suspended their efforts. But according to NCBA CEO Forrest Roberts the group has actually made a good deal of progress toward addressing the concerns of USDA.
"In all of our discussions with USDA we have received very positive encouragement that the steps we have taken, the engagement we've had, not only with USDA but with the organizations that had communicated concerns to USDA, would suggest that we have made tremendous progress," Roberts said. "We have made a lot of progress to find the common ground that everyone can understand number one, clarify number two, and then live with as we go forward in trying to find a final outcome with in this whole governance restructuring."
The key word has been separation and Roberts says NCBA will continue to have dialogue with USDA to clarify what that means. He notes there are lots of different perspectives on the meaning.
"It could be everything from A to Z," Roberts said. "So what we're trying to do is take that opportunity for a "time out" and truly make sure that we are really clarifying our efforts with USDA, to not only find a solution that does demonstrate the appropriate level of independence or separation, but one that is obviously first and foremost legally sound. And then number two a structure and solution that will give us that ability to have that efficiency and effectiveness that we're searching for."
Roberts believes there is a common ground that can be found. He says NCBA has already done quite a bit to find the right level of separation, but notes there's more work to do.