NEW ORLEANS — During the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announced Todd Wilkinson, a South Dakota native, cow-calf producer and cattle feeder, as its the new president.
Wilkinson previously practiced law for nearly four decades and specialized in business transactions, estate planning and probate, real estate matters and agricultural law. He currently operates Wilkinson Livestock in De Smet, SD, with his son.
“Part of the reason that I'm doing this is to make sure that this industry is here for my grandchildren and their grandchildren,” Wilkinson said. “I want them to have the opportunity to come back on this piece of ground and run cattle 100 years from now. I'm passionate about NCBA and I won't back up an inch on my commitment to this organization. As long as I am walking this earth, I want to make things a little bit better and NCBA is one of those ways that I think I can do that.”
Wilkinson shared that his focus during his presidency will be on protecting the livelihoods of US cattle producers and creating a united front. By uniting producers, Wilkinson believes they can form a force strong enough to push back on unwanted regulations.
“Aside from the cost of doing business being a challenge for us right now, I’m looking down the road at the regulatory environment that could pose a real threat,” he said. “We have to unite on these big issues and some common themes. If we don’t, we are going to get squished.”
Specifically, Wilkinson plans to lead NCBA members in pushback to regulations under Waters of the United States, the Endangered Species Act and emissions reporting. As the 2023 Farm Bill emerges, NCBA will work to secure reauthorization of animal health provisions, expanding the accessibility and funding of risk management and disaster relief programs while protecting voluntary conservation programs. With Wilkinson’s law background, he will be watching for signs of harmful tax proposals as well.
At the end of the Cattle Industry Convention, the entire 2023 NCBA officer team took office. Mark Eisele of Wyoming was named president-elect and Buck Wehrbein of Nebraska was elected vice president. Brad Hastings of Texas was named NCBA treasurer. Virginia cattleman Gene Copenhaver was elected chair of the NCBA Policy Division. Tim Schwab of Indiana was elected policy vice chair. Clark Price of North Dakota and Dan Gattis of Texas were elected as chair and vice chair of the NCBA Federation division, respectively.