The Year of the Presidential Election

By Tom Cook, President, National Renderers Association

Even numbered years divisible by four usually cast a spell over the nation’s capitol. This is when we, the American people, decide who we want to serve as president of the United States for the next four years.

This year is no exception. From now until early 2009, not much will get done either legislatively or through new regulations. There will be a lot of speeches and posturing but not much else. That’s just the way it happens. And, frankly, it is not all bad. Unless it affects the U.S. national security, there isn’t much that needs to be addressed.

There is a distinct difference between campaigning and governing. Some of the promises being made by the major candidates need some vetting and time to digest. They simply do not reflect good policy. If you added up all the costs of the promised actions and programs of either candidate there wouldn’t be nearly enough money to pay for them.

Presidential candidates of both parties tend to campaign to the extremes of their party to get the nomination. Once they accomplish this, they quickly move to the center. That is being witnessed again this year.

It is certain there will be a new resident at the White House. President George W. Bush, who is completing his second term, is only the fourth of the last 11 presidents to serve a full two terms in the White House. This is significant because whether the victor is Senator John McCain (R-AZ) or Senator Barrack Obama (D-IL), there will be a complete overhaul of appointed personnel in the executive branch of the U.S. government. The number of appointees is huge including all cabinet, sub-cabinet, and the many agency heads that will be replaced. By the time you throw in all the support people, the new political appointees will run into the thousands.

The National Renderers Association (NRA) held its eighth annual Washington fly-in earlier this summer. The fly-ins began during the first year of the Bush administration. Each fly-in has kicked off with a briefing from U.S. Department of Agriculture officials, usually the same officials. Next year we will have to get acquainted with a whole new cast of players.

After the election, I will be able to better speculate what to expect with the new administration. One thing that will likely occur with either candidate is that there will be more “green” initiatives. This will be important to renderers. We should be in a position to tell our positive story and take advantage of it.

Green and sustainability are two terms used liberally in recent months. At the NRA spring meeting in Montreal, Canada, a taskforce on sustainability to extol the virtues of rendered fats and oils in biofuels was appointed. Next January the NRA will be co-sponsoring an environmental agriculture sustainability summit in Atlanta, GA, in conjunction with the International Poultry Expo. At the NRA convention this fall, we will be addressing sustainability and carbon credits. There will be much to do on these issues in the coming year.

A Retirement Looms
A chapter of the NRA is closing at the end of this month. Dr. Yu Yu, who has served as the regional director for Asia for the past 12 years, is retiring August 31, 2008. During this time, he has worked tirelessly for the rendering industry to open markets throughout Asia. He has escorted numerous trade teams to the United States; hosted many renderers during their visits to Asian countries; attended countless trade shows and seminars; and met with an untold number of government officials seeking access for U.S. products to their countries. He has been extremely loyal to the NRA and its member exporters.

We will always remember Yu’s enlightening, entertaining, and informative presentations at every NRA convention. He and his wife, Grace, are moving to Los Angeles, CA, where their two daughters now live. We wish him well in his future endeavors and thank him for his service to the NRA.

75th Convention Approaching
I hope you have made plans to attend the 75th NRA Annual Convention October 20-24, 2008, in Laguna Niguel, CA. Plans are being made for a memorable convention as we honor the past and look to the future. Renderers, active and retired, can be proud of the past 75 years of the NRA and are encouraged to join us as we celebrate this milestone.

From the Association – August 2008 RENDER | back