Photo Credit: Kansas Livestock Association, https://www.kla.org/
Q: What do you feel are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
The cattle industry needs to get our packing capacity in a more favorable balance with our cattle supply. If this balance were found, prices would increase and profitability would improve.
Q: What solutions could be implemented to solve this imbalance?
Expanding packing capacity would help alleviate this issue, however, lack of a labor force makes this solution tough. Not only do packers have issues finding an adequate labor force, cattle producers also face this hurdle.
Q: What are your thoughts on Senator Grassley’s 50/14 legislation?
Kansas Livestock Association is opposed to the 50/14 legislation. KLA is about protecting our members’ ability to make their own business decisions and this legislation removes that ability.
The 50/14 legislation is overly prescriptive and limits the ways cattle producers can sell cattle. There are other ways to increase negotiated cash trade without requiring a cash sale. Here at KLA, we are focused on increasing negotiated cash trade through negotiated grid transactions.
Q: What are your thoughts on the petition circulating to bring about a beef checkoff referendum?
The referendum process was included in the original beef checkoff act and KLA supports the right’s of producers to trigger a referendum. With that being said, KLA continues to strongly support the checkoff. Losing this program would be devastating to the industry.
Q: What are your thoughts on the implementation of RFID tags across the industry?
KLA policy supports mandatory traceability for all cattle, not specific to RFID tags. Nonetheless, if the industry wants to have an effective traceability program, RFID is a key component to that system. KLA hasn’t asked USDA to implement mandatory traceability through RFID tags, but what we have done is support the development of U.S. CattleTrace.
Q: Do you think the cattle industry is in danger of becoming vertically integrated?
No, we won’t see the kind of vertical integration in the cattle industry like we’ve seen in the other protein industries. The type of investment that it would require to vertically integrate all the resources that go into cattle production would be astronomical.
Q: What are some of the main concerns you’re hearing from your members?
Our members want to be sure that we have effective, robust price discovery at the fed cattle level. To achieve this, our members are focused on increasing negotiated trade voluntarily.
Q: Any closing statements?
As an industry, it is important to not make decisions that will have long-term impacts on our business based on the experiences over the last few months.