Q: What do you feel are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
A lack of transparency and competition in the finished cattle market are the two main issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets.
Q: How do we create more competition within our cattle markets?
Here in Wyoming, we’re focusing on incentivizing mid-sized processors to give our producers an opportunity to market their product direct to consumers. Besides being able to market direct, producers will also be able to label their product as born, raised and processed in Wyoming. This labeling will increase competitiveness in the marketplace.
Q: What are your thoughts on MCOOL?
Wyoming Stock Growers is against MCOOL. The organization supports COOL and believes it needs to be industry driven, not a government mandated process. Consumers like to know where their food comes from; however there isn’t clear evidence that MCOOL returns more dollars back to producers.
Q: What are your thoughts on beef and cattle imports?
The cattle industry is dependent on trade with Canada and Mexico. Somehow we have to meet our lean trimmings needs to supply our domestic hamburger market. With that being said, the U.S. needs to be very cautious when it comes to imports from other countries. Animal health, food safety, and market protection all need to be considered when importing.
Q: Do you think the cattle industry is in danger of becoming vertically integrated?
This scenario isn’t impossible, but it is highly unlikely. Raising beef is a multi-step process that is much more complicated than the other proteins. This works in our favor because it makes our system less appealing to processors to establish that level of vertical control.
Q: What are some of the natural resource issues that Wyoming producers are facing?
The western two-thirds of Wyoming is heavily dependent on public land grazing through either the Forest Service or the BLM. Various issues arise with grazing these public lands. Another issue is the endangered species act that deals with grizzly bears, wolves, and other species throughout Wyoming.
A substantial amount of litigation comes along with these issues. Wyoming Stock Growers are often defending environmental agencies and what they’re doing against the radical environmental community.
Q: What are some of the main concerns you’re hearing from your members during these tough economic times?
The market has turned around over the past few months. We have producers that have actually done better selling their calves this year versus 2019. The cattle industry still has issues that it needs to deal with, but we can now take on those issues from a position of strength, rather than a position of desperation.