DENVER – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association members were told by Karl Rove, former senior advisor and deputy White House chief of staff for President George W. Bush, and incoming NCBA President Bill Donald the US and beef industry are at a crossroads. Both Rove and Donald urged cattle producers to step up to the challenge and determine the path forward.

Rove said the United States “cannot be prosperous if we only sell to each other,” in his keynote address during the 2011 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. He added America can compete anywhere in the world as long as it is on a level playing field. He further noted consumers worldwide want to buy “American quality” products. He said it is in our country’s strategic and economic interest to finish pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

“Unfortunately, that’s where the easy stuff stops,” Rove said. “We are currently dealing with a government that thinks it knows better and knows more than the rest of us. That’s wrong for America.”

Bill Donald, incoming NCBA president and Montana rancher, said the government’s overreach in the beef industry was unprecedented. He said current proposals to regulate greenhouse gases, water and dust are not based on sound science.

“Basically, we have a lot of agencies imposing regulations without truly understanding the implications,” Donald said. “However, as an industry we have to do a better job telling out story. We must educate these government officials and the public about this industry.”

Despite these challenges, Rove said NCBA members have the opportunity to change the course our country is currently taking. He encouraged NCBA members to “get involved and stay involved.” Rove and Donald said NCBA members must work to educate the growing number of urban and suburban elected officials who do not understand the beef industry. Rove encouraged NCBA members contribute to the NCBA PAC to help “elect leaders who understand your business and send home those who don’t.”

Rove and Donald challenged NCBA members to step up and take an active role in determining the future of their operation and their industry.