Ranchers are invited to bring questions on industry issues

By MATTHEW WEAVER

Capital Press

Jack Field hopes answers are in store for cattlemen loaded with questions.

"I'm hoping we can get them the information they're after," said Field, executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen's Association, which puts on its annual convention and trade show beginning at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at the Red Lion Hotel in Pasco, Wash. The event runs through Nov. 14.

The top priority is to give members the opportunity to discuss issues and consider modifying policies to address any upcoming issues, Field said.

The event is open to any cattle producers or anybody interested in the industry, he said. Cost varies.

Among the highlights this year:

* On Friday, Nov. 13, Washington Department of Ecology water policy adviser Evan Sheffels will talk about stockwatering. The department convened a working group to address the use of exempt wells for stockwatering, which is related to a lawsuit the Center for Environmental Law and Policy, Sierra Club, Earthjustice and a group of farmers filed against the department and Easterday Ranches.

The department believes an exemption for stockwatering in Washington law leaves too much of a gray area and will lead to resource problems, Field said.

"They would like to prospectively come up with a long-term solution to what they view as a stockwater program," he said. "The industry is actively engaged in this process, and I think it will be very beneficial for members to visit with Mr. Sheffels and get their questions answered."

* Keynote speaker Patrick Dorinson, principal for PD Communications, will address the convention during lunch on Nov. 12 about natural resource issues in the West and the daily battles farmers and ranchers face.

* Washington State Conservationist Roylene Rides at the Door and Washington State Veterinarian Leonard Eldridge will also speak.

* The association's endowment trust fund auction is the evening of Thursday, Nov. 12.

Field said he expects about 250 people to attend the convention.

"I want to be able to have folks when they leave say, 'Boy, we're glad we came because we sure got a lot out of this,'" he said.

More online

For more information about the convention and trade show, access the Web site at www.washingtoncattlemen.org/conventioninfo.htm

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