Photo credit, Organization for Competitive Markets, https://www.facebook.com/CompetitiveMarkets
Q: What do you think are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
Antitrust and the immense power that the packers have are the biggest issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets.
Q: What are your thoughts on USDA’s proposal to introduce RFID tags across the industry by 2023?
Mandatory RFID tags will create a choke point in the center and allow those who want to control the industry to do just that. If the USDA is going to force this on American cattle producers, other countries that we import beef from also need to have this requirement in place. The USDA is trying to sell the concept of a disease traceability issue, but it is actually a control issue.
Q: What are your thoughts on the petition circulating to bring about a beef checkoff referendum?
The beef checkoff referendum is a great idea. The checkoff program started out as a promotion entity, but now the funds are used for alliances and partnerships with other organizations. There is no harm in giving cattle producers a voice on a program that they are mandated to pay into.
Q: What are your thoughts on cattle and beef imports?
Consumers should be able to differentiate between imported beef and domestic beef. American consumers often believe the beef they buy in the grocery store is always U.S. beef. Our industry needs to have MCOOL in place not only for consumers, but also for American cattle producers.
Q: What are your thoughts on the DOJ’s investigation into the big four beef packers?
Some of the statements that have been made by Sonny Perdue and the USDA make it seem as if they are looking the other way, ignoring the issues within the cattle industry.
If the DOJ is involved, people not only want to see restitution, they also want to see the markets fixed so competition is restored.
The packers may get slapped on the hand for a fine, but it is doubtful that anything is truly going to change. A lot of cattle producers are becoming very disappointed in the lack of oversight.
Q: NCBA chose not to attend recent cattle industry meetings in Florida because they didn’t want to interact with “domestic terrorists.” What are your thoughts on this?
It is unfortunate that NCBA made such a claim when all OCM is trying to do is accomplish transparency on behalf of the cattle producer.
Q: How do you think Joe Biden’s presidency will affect the cattle industry and agriculture overall?
President-elect Joe Biden will have more interest in antitrust issues because Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue won’t be in the picture.
With that being said, Biden will most likely focus on sustainability. When the government starts making requirements focused around net zero carbon emissions, that gives the power to those who want to create a choke point in the middle of the industry.
Q: What are some of OCM’s members’ biggest concerns going forward?
The biggest concern is the fact that we’re running out of time to really affect change. People have been fighting these issues in the industry for years, and they’ve seen them coming. We’re at a point now where the issues are speeding towards us at a faster rate and we’re nowhere closer to a solution.