Photo courtesy of Montana Stockgrowers Association, https://www.facebook.com/MontanaStockgrowersAssociation/photos
Q: What do you think are some of the biggest issues within the cattle industry?
Demand is one of the main issues for the cattle industry. Beef is always competing with other protein choices such as poultry, pork, and meat alternatives. Consumer preferences tend to change and then we have events like Covid-19 that disrupt demand. Another key issue is the traditional disparity between the retail price of beef and the price cattle producers are receiving for their cattle.
Q: What are your thoughts regarding Senator Chuck Grassley’s 50/14 legislation?
It’s worrisome when the government starts dictating what private enterprise can and cannot do with their supply chain. We walk a fine line between private property rights, free enterprise, capitalism and then the government dictating where and how a business buys their inputs.
Q: Do you think fake meat products are a threat to the beef industry?
Threat is probably too strong of a word in this instance. Fake meat, like other protein options, is just competition for the beef industry.
Q: What are your thoughts concerning MCOOL?
In a perfect world, you would think that if beef were labeled as product of the USA, that product would be the preference of consumers and they’d be willing to pay a premium. The reality of the situation is that consumers shop on price.
Getting the government involved and having them tell us how our products need to be labeled goes against free market standards. It all goes back to capitalism. Almost everything we buy seems to have a country of origin label, but yet the consumer doesn’t seem to pay any attention to it.
Q: Do you think the beef industry does a good job educating the consumer on the benefits of beef and how to prepare it properly?
Yes, the state beef boards are doing their best to get the word out with the limited dollars they have to work with compared to the well funded anti-agricultural movements.
Q: Any closing statements?
Rural America is struggling as we see our communities continue to shrink. We see fewer and fewer young people coming back to agriculture. How we fix this issue is yet to be seen, economically it’s difficult for young people to come back and lifestyle only goes so far.