National Cattlemen's Beef Association

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The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) is the main trade association and lobbying group for the U.S. cattle industry. It lobbies, channels political contributions, advertises, and engages in public relations on behalf of its members. According to the NCBA, its mission is to "increase profit opportunities for cattle and beef producers by enhancing the business climate and building consumer demand." [1] Members include ranchers as well as auctions, dairy operators, foodservice operators, packers, processors, and retailers.[2]

NCBA & factory farming

On the average, Americans eat approximately 8 ounces of meat per day (about twice the global average). The U.S. slaughters approximately 15% of the world's total (for 5% of the world's population). However, global demand has also multiplied in recent years due to rising affluence and Confined animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)s or factory farms. These "animal factories" consume vast amounts of energy, generate pollution and environmental damage. They require increasing amounts of corn, soy and grains which has led to wide spread destruction of rain forests. [3] Organizations that support CAFO's include the NCBA. [4] According to NCBA spokesperson Tamara Thies:

"If we want to grow food on this planet, there are going to be environmental effects. We do believe we’re doing a good job environmentally, and there are lots of conservation measures we have put in place through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Our greenhouse gas emissions are decreasing as well."

She argues that operations of 1,000 cattle or more are not allowed to discharge manure. However, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), manure still escapes and there are sometimes massive spills. For example, a 2005 spill into New York’s Black River and a 1995 spill into North Carolina’s New River Basin. "Dead zones" in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay have also been attributed to massive waste manure run-offs; which are often stored in lagoons for treatment. Factory farming also causes health and environmental damage due to the massive use of antibiotics, pesticides and artificial hormones entering our food and water supply. [5]

See also meat & dairy industry, sections 3 through 5.


According to the NCBA, more than 90% of US beef cattle receive hormone implants and in larger feedlots, the figure is 100%. [6] U.S. beef cattle are routinely implanted with sex hormones, including Zeranol, trenbolone acetate, progesterone, testosterone, and/or estradiol to accelerate growth and increase size. [7]

See also animals raised & hunted for food.

Since 1995, the European Union (EU) has prohibited the treatment of any farm animals with sex hormones, which includes a ban on hormone treated meat from the U.S. and Canada. [8]

See also EU, section 9.

NCBA & mad cow disease

In a December of 2000 the NCBA described government and industry efforts to safeguard the American public from mad cow disease as "swift", "decisive" and "aggressive". [9] In 2003, the USDA added "diligent, vigilant and strong."[10] However, the world's authority on these diseases disagrees. Dr. Stanley Prusiner is the scientist who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of prions, the infectious agents thought to cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. The word Dr. Prusiner uses to describe the efforts of the U.S. government and the cattle industry is "terrible". [11] In 1996, in response to the revelation that young people in Britain were dying from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD); the human equivalent of mad cow disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued seven recommendations. [12] Numbers 5-7 were recommendations for further research; however 1-4 were concrete recommendations. The United States continues to violate all four guide lines; number one being to stop feeding animals to other animals. [13]

See also & section 5 on BSE/CJD crisis management & meat & dairy industry, section 4.

Oprah Winfrey law suit

The NCBA took Oprah Winfrey to court about comments made on her show.

See also Oprah Winfrey and mad cows.

Ad boycott against Air America Radio

The NCBA refused to advertise on the progressive Air America Radio. In October 2006, around 90 companies and organizations, including NCBA, told ABC Radio Networks that they did not want their ads to play on radio stations that carried Air America Radio. [14], [15], [16]

Political contributions

The NCBA gave $$220,358 to federal candidates in the 2010 election through its political action committee - 34% to Democrats and 66% to Republicans.[17]

According to NCBA's website:

"Election years give industry groups an opportunity to flex their political muscle in campaigns and at Washington fundraisers. With Election 2008 in full swing, cattlemen need to be engaged. Control of the White House – as well as key Congressional control – is up for grabs."[18]

Public relations

BSE/CJD crisis management

NCBA hire the PR firm Burson-Marsteller to deal with BSE/CJD issues. According to a press release entitled 'Protecting Consumer Confidence in U.S. Beef: An issues management success':

"Careful and comprehensive planning reduced the negative impact on the cattle industry resulting from the diagnosis of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, also known as mad cow disease ) in a Canadian cow imported to the United States. On behalf of America's Beef Producers and their Checkoff program, the NCBA staff and Burson-Marsteller, state organizations and producer leaders successfully maintained consumer confidence. Prompt action made it clear to consumers in this country and around the world that U.S. beef is safe and that the American government and cattle producers are dedicated to keeping it that way."

The campaign won a PRWeek Award for the 'Crisis/Issues Management Campaign of the Year' category in 2005.[19]


The NCBA spent $286,706 for lobbying in 2010. $40,000 went to one outside lobbying firms with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists. [20]

NCBA lobbyists have included:

NCBA is a member of the Meat Promotion Coalition.



NCBA Denver
9110 East Nichols Avenue
Suite 300
Centennial, Colorado 80112
Phone: (303) 694-0305
Fax: (303) 694-2851

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. Home page, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, accessed June 2008.
  2. National Cattlemen's Beef Association Profile, Hoovers, accessed June 2008
  3. Mark Bittman Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler, New York Times, January 2008
  4. John Robbins Old McDonald had a Factory,, accessed September 2011
  5. Brian Colleran Think Before You Eat The Widespread Effects of Factory-Farmed Meat,, accessed January 2009
  6. Fact Sheet, NCBA, June 1998
  7. Lynn Truong The Cost of Meat—The Public Health Argument, Wisebread, May 2007
  8. Peter Montague The Bad Seed, Environmental Research Foundation, September 1999
  9. "Mad Cow Disease Not a Problem in the U.S.", NCBA, News release, December 6, 2000.
  10. Release No. 0012.03, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 15 January 2003, Release No. 0166.03 20, USDA, May 2003
  11. Angie Coiro Mad Cow Disease in Canada, KQED, May 23, 2003
  12. Consultation on Public Health Issues Related to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and the Emergence of a New Variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, World Health Organization, MMWR 45 (14); 295-6, 303, April 1996
  13. Michael Greger, M.D. U.S. Violates World Health Organization Guidelines for Mad Cow Disease: A Comparison of North American and European Safeguards, Organic Consumers Association, June 2003.
  14. Marc Fisher, "Air America, in the Throes of Victory?", Washington Post, December 10, 2006.
  15. "Air America on Ad Blacklist?", FAIR, October 31, 2006.
  16. "Air America Blackout", memo, October 25, 2006
  17. 2010 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed September 2011
  18. PAC, NCBA, accessed June 2008
  19. Protecting Consumer Confidence in U.S. Beef: An issues management success, Burson-Marsteller Newsroom, Press Releases Archive, accessed September 2011
  20. National Cattlemen's Beef Association lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed September 2011
  21. Lobbying Disclosure Act Database search, accessed September 11, 2011.
  22. Officers, NCBA, accessed June 2008

External articles