Photo credit: Price Discovery Report, https://www.pricediscoveryreport.com/
Colonel Jon Phillips has over thirty years of experience in trading commodities, 20 years of cattle auctioneering experience and more than 25 years in farm broadcasting. He’s had the opportunity to experience the good, the bad and the ugly in the cattle industry throughout the years.
Captive cattle supplies have been an issue in the industry for years, and to this day we still don’t have a solution for this issue. One possible solution would be to sell more fed cattle through auction markets; there aren’t enough sale barns anymore that do this.
Livestock mandatory price reporting is not serving its purpose. This can be seen when you look at the report and see that there are states like Colorado that don’t report anything. The hogs got away from price reporting and all they have now is captive supplies.
When R-CALF USA came along, they began fighting for small producers, unlike the main cattlemen’s groups that consisted of big feeders, basically the blue bloods of the industry. Eventually, packers joined these groups and the focus shifted away from helping small producers. R-CALF hasn’t ever been scared to jump into litigation against the packers, but other large cattle groups have sat on the sidelines with these lawsuits because they’re tied in with the packers.
For the most part, packers have complete control of the cattle industry. If cattle producers could make a profit somewhat close to what packers make per head, it would change the whole dynamic of the industry.
There is no doubt that the cattle industry needs MCOOL; you can’t name one negative attribute about it. If the packers are fighting something like MCOOL, you just as well figure it’s something that our industry needs. With that being said, it’s incredibly difficult to fight large companies like the packers. Consider the hog and poultry industries, they lost every bit of marketing that they had and now they’re both completely integrated industries.
The battles are big in the cattle industry. Producers need to belong to producer organizations or they will be flooded with hard duty. No matter who you are, you have to have somebody represent you. Those in the cattle industry need to ask themselves what they’re doing to improve the industry and what their organization is doing to help the industry.