Q: What are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
One of the main issues is that our cattle industry continues to try to commoditize beef. High quality beef should be earning a premium, but that isn’t the case because of packer concentration.
To counter this situation, here in Nebraska we need to support additional packing and locker plants. We also need to make it easier to get some USDA inspected meat out the door, along with implementing a labeling system that distinguishes Nebraska beef from other beef.
Q: Do you think MCOOL has a place in our cattle industry?
It’s mindboggling that beef is not labeled with country of origin labeling when various other products are mandated to list their country of origin.
The reason MCOOL is not required with beef is because the U.S. product is far superior compared to other global options.
Somehow, we have to loosen the restrictions on labeling, if not enforce them a little more rigorously for the beef being imported into America.
Q: What are your thoughts on fake meat?
Plant-based and cultured meat is something that the industry needs to be aware of. Labeling needs to be clear when it comes to fake meat, consumers need to be able to fully distinguish animal-based beef from plant-based beef. As an industry, we need to focus on continuing to produce the best beef in the world and be sure it’s accurately labeled.
Q: How do you think President Joe Biden’s Administration will affect our cattle industry?
When it comes to President Biden’s Administration, we’re going to have to take the good with the bad. It is concerning how focused the administration is on labor rules when they don’t truly understand production agriculture. Additionally, their approach to environmental issues is worrisome.
With that being said, the administration might address some of the market concentration in our industry, so there may be a silver lining in this situation.
Q: Any closing statements?
Here in the Great Plains we are situated well when it comes to cattle. Demand for U.S. beef will continue to increase, and we are situated well to handle those demands.
Cattlemen need to speak up and be sure that they are part of the solution. Good conversations are being had about the issues facing our industry; we just need to be sure that those conversations continue.