Q: What do you feel are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
Various other industries have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, but unlike the cattle industry, their markets have responded appropriately to supply and demand. The cattle industry doesn’t have a demand issue; we have a severe bottleneck at the processing level that is negatively affecting our cattle markets. The processing sector is so highly concentrated that they have too much leverage and the industry and do as they please.
Q: What are your thoughts on President Trump’s statement about the termination of trade deals where we import cattle into America?
This is music to cattle producer’s ears to hear such a statement. It’s good to see that President Trump is finally realizing that the cattle industry has a systemic issue that needs dealt with.
Q: If MCOOL were reinstated, do you think it would benefit our industry?
Anybody that has a product to sell labels it with where it’s made because consumers want to know where products are made. This is especially true when it comes to food. It’s disingenuous for someone to say it’s not a good idea to label our beef.
With that being said, reinstating MCOOL legally with the way our trade agreements stand today is the real challenge with this topic.
Q: What is your outlook for the markets through the rest of this year?
The U.S. cattle industry is facing a glut of cattle that needs to be worked through. This situation will most likely keep any market rallies at bay. For the time being, it would be beneficial to stop imports so we could work through these backlogged cattle at a quicker pace.
Q: How are these tough cattle markets affecting your rural area?
Folks in rural areas are just trying to hold it together. Cattle producers that are highly leveraged can’t continue to deal with these unfair markets. They’ll eventually struggle to make the land payment, and if it comes down to it, they’ll ultimately be forced to sell real estate. If this environment continues, it will be increasingly difficult for your men and women to get started in agriculture.
Q: Do you think our large cattlemen’s organizations have the potential to work together?
It’s going to take someone like Joe Goggins, who the whole cattle industry knows and respects, to get our cattlemen’s organizations to come together. With the respect that Joe holds and the charisma he brings to the table, he would be the guy to get everyone on the same page.
Q: What do you think the cattle industry needs most today?
We need an equitable distribution of profit across all segments of the industry, bounded in the tenets of capitalism. Somehow we need to create an environment that does a better job of divvying up the profits with minimal government intervention.