Q: What do you feel are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
Lack of competition in the marketplace and lack of market transparency are the biggest issues facing our cattle markets. The markets have been and continue to be manipulated by the monopolized packing sector. The collusion within that sector is downright blatant and it seems as if their greed is insatiable.
Q: What are your thoughts regarding the DOJ investigation into the big four meatpackers?
A true, intrusive investigation needs to occur. It is good to see the DOJ getting involved as the USDA is tied in too closely with the packers. This connection has caused oversight of the packers to be nonexistent.
Q: What are your thoughts on MCOOL?
MCOOL is needed within the cattle industry. We have labeling on everything from clothes to food; it makes no sense that we aren’t able to label our beef.
It may be beneficial to change the structure of the title due to “MCOOL” carrying baggage with it. Product identity or source origination would be some good alternatives that might have the potential to bring conversations about labeling American beef back to common sense.
Q: What are your thoughts on imports of cattle and beef into the U.S.?
It’s dangerous to import beef from countries that don’t have the same standards of production and processing like we do here in the U.S. Fair trade is necessary, however, the cattle industry has gotten the short end of the stick for years with trade. Packers are able to import low quality beef, blend it with domestic beef and produce a marketable product. All the while, consumers have no clue that they are actually buying lower quality, foreign product.
Q: In one sentence, what does the cattle industry need most today?
The cattle industry needs fair, competitive markets. We need to be able to adjust to what the consumer wants, which is product identity.
Our industry needs to cut the red tape for regional processing plants so they can get from the producer to the consumer in an efficient streamline.
Q: Any closing statements?
More cattle producers need to be vocal and get involved so their voices can be heard. Currently, our industry has a real opportunity to get some changes made, but this will take everybody pulling together in unity.