Image courtesy of Sheila Ellis
Q: What are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
The biggest issue standing in the way of fair cattle markets is packer concentration. This concentration has caused almost a complete lack of competition. Another significant issue is the less safe, poorer quality foreign beef being imported. Foreign countries don’t have the same health and safety standards that we do here in America. Foreign beef isn’t labeled with its country of origin and consumers have no way of knowing they’re buying a lesser quality product.
Q: What are some solutions that could be implemented to fix these issues?
The PRIME Act being made into law, enforcement of anti-trust laws, and breaking up the packer monopolies would all be viable solutions.
Q: What are your thoughts on MCOOL?
MCOOL needs to be reinstated. Consumers have the right to know where their beef is born, raised, and slaughtered. Whether it is food, car parts, or clothes, most products are labeled with their country of origin. There is no reasonable argument to single out beef and not have it be labeled.
Q: Do you think there is a chance the beef industry could price itself out of a product if we don’t see retail beef prices return to pre-Covid-19 levels?
There is a chance we could price ourselves out of product. As producers, we need to differentiate ourselves from the packers. If our product does become priced out at the retail level, it will be because the packers price gouged the retailers while they reverse price gouge cattle producers.
Q: Earlier this year, President Trump requested that all trade deals where we import cattle be terminated. What are your thoughts on this statement and your overall thoughts on beef and cattle imports?
Secretary Purdue isn’t following President Trump’s executive order to put America first. Importing beef from countries with foot and mouth disease defies rational logic. Secretary Purdue allowing this meat into our country is putting the entire U.S. trillion dollar agriculture industry at risk.
Q: What are your thoughts on the beef checkoff program and the petition to bring about an “up or down” vote over the checkoff?
The beef checkoff program has outlived its usefulness. Like so many other things that start with good intentions, the checkoff is now being used in such a way that it no longer serves the purpose it was intended for.
Q: What are your thoughts regarding Senator Grassley’s 50/14 legislation?
This legislation is a must because the markets have shown for years that using a voluntary percentage of negotiated cash sales to establish the cash market is not working.
Q: In one sentence, what does the cattle industry need most today?
The cattle industry needs fair markets and more competition in which the independent cattle producer can receive a fair share of the profit instead of the packers and those playing the paper market at the CME receiving all of the benefits from the producer’s work.