Photo Credit Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoCattlemensAssociation
Q: What do you think are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
Price discovery is a major issue standing in the way of fair cattle markets. This issue affects cattle from the sale barn all the way up to fat cattle. With that being said, the industry has more opportunities and creative ways to add value to cattle than we’ve ever experienced.
Another issue that our industry is facing is consolidation. Producers are either getting smaller or larger; the middle part of the industry is disappearing. We’ve come to a point through cost of production and efficiencies, you either have to get bigger or get out of the industry.
Q: What are your thoughts on Senator Grassley’s 50/14 legislation?
Colorado Cattlemen’s members believe in less government and a free enterprise system. The industry and free market systems work better without government involvement. There is clearly an issue within our cattle markets, but legislation like this is not the answer.
Q: What are your thoughts on NCBA’s framework to increase negotiated cash trade through a voluntary approach?
The cattle industry has never put much focus on this issue and has instead passed the buck. As an industry, we need to buckle down and find the answers to improve our markets. There have been numerous voluntary programs throughout the years that have put money back in the producer’s pockets and the members of Colorado Cattlemen’s Association have an optimistic outlook when it comes to a voluntary approach like this versus a government mandate.
Q: What are your thoughts on the DOJ’s investigation into our big four beef packers?
The investigation by the DOJ needs to be deep, robust and probing. It needs to go outside the parameters of antitrust. The packers need to be evaluated on their prudent competitive business practices as it relates to possible price gouging, and maybe even price fixing.
Q: What are your thoughts surrounding the beef checkoff referendum petition?
We support the referendum process that gives producers the ability to recall the program if they so choose. With that being said, we are fundamentally disappointed in the misinformation associated with the use of checkoff dollars and how the program works under repeated audits at the state and national level.
Q: Do you think the cattle industry is in danger of becoming vertically integrated?
No, the industry is not in danger of becoming vertically integrated. There is a substantial amount of coordination in the industry that we need to be aware of and be sure to keep fair and just. A bigger concern is the industry harming itself; we often fight more against each other than fighting our adversaries.
Q: Any closing statements?
The cattle industry must find a way to pull itself together on our issues and consider those that will come after us and those that came before us. It’s time to get real serious and professional. We need to put our transgressions aside so we can move forward and solve our own problems.