AUDIO: Keith Eichler, “Our industry needs to find a fair playing ground for all sectors.”

by | Jul 30, 2020 | 0 comments

Photo courtesy Eichler Livestock



Q: What do you feel are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets? 

The biggest issue facing the cattle industry is the packing industry’s ability to manipulate the cash trade market and the futures market through formula cattle. 


Q: What are some solutions that could be implemented to fix these issues? 

Senator Chuck Grassley’s 50/14 legislation would help to fix the cash market manipulation. Fifty percent cash trade is needed because we already have 30 percent cash trade at times, and that clearly isn’t working. 


Q: What are your thoughts on MCOOL? 

MCOOL would undoubtedly benefit the cattle industry. Not only would cattle producers like to see their beef labeled, but consumers would also like to see the beef they purchase labeled. 


Q: What are your thoughts on cattle and beef imports? 

Imported cattle and beef should meet U.S. health standards. Since Covid-19 hit, U.S. cattle producers have been struggling to get their cattle slaughtered, but yet we continue to import cattle. Carcass weights continue to increase due to cattle being held back, and producers are docked on price because of the heavier carcasses. If we cut back on imports, we wouldn’t have these problems to such extent. 


Q: What are your thoughts on the beef checkoff referendum? 

The beef checkoff is badly misrepresented and misused. We should not be taxing an animal three, four, and sometimes five times. 

The way checkoff dollars are currently spent is wrong. There is no accountability to show people where the money is actually going 


Q: Do you think our industry is danger of pricing itself out of a product if retail prices don’t return to pre-Covid-19 levels? 

At the height of the pandemic, we saw record beef prices in grocery stores and consumers were still willing to pay that price. We have a great product; we just have to continue to promote it. The checkoff is not promoting beef like it should. Too much of the money collected on behalf of the checkoff is being used for administration costs. 


Q: Do you think the cattle industry is in danger of becoming vertically integrated? 

Yes, we’ve seen the chicken and pork industries go down the path of vertical integration, the cattle industry could easily follow suit. It won’t be as easy to do to the cattle industry, however, we continue to see banks shut producers off, which only brings us closer to vertical integration.  


Q: In one statement, what does the cattle industry need most today? 

The cattle industry needs cattle producers to get involved. Our industry needs to find a fair playing ground for all sectors. 


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How did we get here?

From the Holcomb Tyson fire to COVID-19;
Click to see a timeline of events that have brought to light the profit and pricing disparity in cattle markets.


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