All of the talk in Congress as I write this is about extending the debt limit. The so-called deadline is August 2, 2011, or all heck breaks loose. The political rhetoric on both sides is getting pretty exaggerated. The Republicans, Democrats, and President Barack Obama have all painted themselves into a corner and it is hard to imagine what the outcome might be. The president continues to advocate raising taxes on the millionaires and billionaires while willing to consider cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits. Both Democrats and Republicans are against him.
The differences between the two parties are pretty simple. The Republicans want to cut spending, period, and they are adamantly opposed to raising taxes of any kind. At this stage, for the Republicans to agree to a tax increase of any kind would be political suicide in the 2012 elections. On the other hand, the Democrats see the solution as raising taxes and any cuts to entitlement programs would be detrimental to the party. So, who is going to blink first? Stay tuned.
There continues to be encouragement that the three free trade agreements (FTAs) are proceeding through the approval process in Congress. The FTAs with Korea, Colombia, and Panama were negotiated by the previous presidential administration. The Obama administration has been tinkering with the agreements to tailor them more to their liking. With the current state of the economy, many people feel these FTAs will provide a boost. But the process is time-consuming. Don’t expect any final action on the agreements until sometime in 2012.
The National Renderers Association (NRA) had another successful Washington fly-in in mid-June. There were 30 NRA members who visited over 100 congressional offices taking the opportunity to tell the renderer’s story to a very willing and appreciative audience. This year was particularly important because of all the new members in Congress. But the fly-in does not mean the end to the effort. Renderers who did not participate can still get involved by writing letters and making calls to each representative’s office in either Washington or his/her district. Meet them at local meetings. Visit them or their staff at their district offices. Let them know who you are and what you do. It is important to establish an ongoing dialogue with congressional representatives so when you possibly need something from them, they already know who you are.
The World Renderers Organization (WRO) was chartered in 1999 at an NRA meeting. The early members were from Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Since that modest beginning, the WRO has grown to include additional members from Central and South America, Asia, India, and New Zealand, now totaling 25 member countries represented.
It became clear in the beginning that all the members would not form a consensus on certain issues. However, with this in mind, the members identified areas where there was consensus and built upon that. The WRO acknowledged the importance of being at the table at certain international meetings and is now recognized by the World Health Organization and the International Feed Industry Federation. The WRO is currently seeking an agreement of cooperation with the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE.
The WRO collectively has been represented at other meetings where it was important for renderers to have a presence, including the annual meeting of the Global Aquaculture Alliance. These are the kinds of activities where the WRO can represent renderers worldwide. Just being there is important.
Alan von Tunzelman from New Zealand has served as WRO president the past two years. He has attended numerous meetings throughout the world, tirelessly spreading the word for all renderers. His efforts have been much appreciated. Tunzelman’s term as president ended in late July at the WRO annual meeting in Australia and we thank Alan for his diligent efforts.
The 78th NRA Annual Convention is October 18-21, 2011, in Tucson, AZ. Registration information is now online at www.nationalrenderers.org.
From the Association – August 2011 RENDER | back