Kendal Frazier is taking the reins at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as its new CEO after serving 31 years with the organization.
He comes to the position with list of priorities to meet the organization’s long-range plan and ensure a prosperous future for the next generation of cattle producers, he said Tuesday.
“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to serve as CEO,” he said.
Coming from a diversified cattle and grain operation in south-central Kansas and spending his entire career working for and with cattle producers, Frazier said he is well versed in the many challenges and opportunities facing the industry.
“I understand how the industry operates and have a deep affection for cattlemen and women and people in this industry,” he said.
One of the priorities is vigorously opposing the continued assault by the federal government on private property rights and its push to exert control over more land, he said.
Cattle producers own or lease more land than any other industry in the U.S. Private property rights are the foundation of what cattlemen stand for, he said.
“The federal government is taking land out of production for food we need in the United States, and we will push back in Congress and push back in court if we have to,” he said.
One example of the federal government’s land grab is the Waters of the U.S. rule by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its additional regulations on private property, which NCBA is already fighting in court. Lawsuits are not the preferred course of action, as they expend precious resources the organization needs for other pursuits, he said.
“But at some time, you have to draw a line in the sand and say ‘No, we’re not going to stand for this,’” he said.
Another priority is to expand and open new markets around the world for U.S. beef. Global incomes are rising, foreign consumers like beef, they like the U.S. product, and there’s room to grow exports, he said.
Frazier will also focus on increasing trust in U.S. beef among millennials, a large and upcoming segment of the population now in its 20s that is asking questions about how beef is produced and its role in their diets, he said.
“There are great challenges and there are great opportunities. If we are successful … it will ensure a promising future for the next generation of cattlemen and women in this industry,” he said.
Frazier said he’s looking forward to working with NCBA’s leadership, membership, staff, state affiliates, state beef councils and other stakeholders on all issues facing the industry.
“As CEO, I’ll have an open-door policy … to find common ground to move this industry forward,” he said.
Frazier graduated from Kansas State University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. He worked as a radio and television farm broadcaster for four years before serving eight years as director of communications for the Kansas Livestock Association.
He joined NCBA in 1985 as its director of communications and has worked in a variety of positions in communications, education and governance. He was appointed interim chief executive officer and chief operating officer last summer after former CEO Forrest Roberts resigned to pursue other opportunities.