Image courtesy of NCBA
Q: What do you think are the biggest issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
This biggest issue is the lack of packing capacity for the current number of cattle that need to be processed. Any time we have a disruption in the supply chain with our packing plants, we see a market disaster. More packing capacity would create a better marketplace.
Q: Can you elaborate on NCBA’s policy regarding increased negotiated cash trade?
NCBA has put together a working group to thoroughly analyze the markets. We have also funded a number of studies by some of the leading livestock economists to not only look at increasing cash trade, but also the transparency within the cattle markets. The policy that resulted from this was a very clear, well-defined resolution.
Q: NCBA’s policy supports a voluntary approach of increased negotiated cash trade over the next ninety days, correct?
Yes, but feedyards themselves will also have to commit to selling more cattle on the cash market along with packers increasing their cash trade. The working group is defining trigger points for each region to set a baseline to determine how much cash trade needs to actually occur in each area. If these triggers aren’t met, NCBA will look further into regulatory/legislative fixes.
Q: Do you think there is a chance the cattle industry could become vertically integrated?
No, our industry is not in danger of vertical integration. Particularly in the cow calf segment, we don’t see packers wanting to get involved. We’ve seen packers dabble in the feeding industry, however we’ve seen them quickly get back out because of economic reasons.
Q: What do you see happening to the cattle industry as we continue to see small and mid-sized feeders exit the business?
It is vital to increase competition to keep these smaller producers in business. Representing smaller, independent feeders is a big part of what NCBA does.
Our industry is seeing a large disparity between what the packers and making and what feeders are making. Hopefully the measures set in place at the NCBA summer meetings will combat this issue.
Q: What are your thoughts on the petition to bring about a beef checkoff referendum? If the checkoff is voted down, how do you think that will affect the industry?
If the checkoff is voted down the industry will suffer greatly. The program serves as a tool to protect us against the anti-beef and anti-animal agriculture groups.
Q: What are your thoughts on imports of cattle and beef, specifically beef imports from Namibia and Brazil?
There was only one container of imported beef that came from Namibia last year, 20-25 tons. This was a one-load deal that we don’t anticipate to continue.
Folks need to read the particulars and know the facts before they discuss imports from Brazil. The only imports from Brazil have been cooked product to avoid the issue of Foot and Mouth disease.