Q: What are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
A huge disparity between beef cutouts hovering around $4.00/ lb and live cattle being somewhere between $95-$115/cw. Live cattle trade has been all over the board; there is no price consistency. Our cattle markets have obvious dysfunction and we’re clearly missing fair play.
Q: What are your thoughts concerning increased negotiated cash trade when it comes to achieving more competition in our cattle markets?
We have to come together and work towards a common goal of increasing negotiated cash trade. Whether it is 30% or 50%, we have to work together to make a change to increase competition. If we continue to fight amongst ourselves and aren’t able to get anything done, the packer wins.
Q: How do you see these tough cattle markets affecting the Valentine area?
The small cattle producer is in danger. These folks not only produce quality cattle, they are also essential to the community.
Q: As an industry, why have we let packer consolidation go to such extremes?
Economies of scale; capitalism has gone the way of bigger is better.
Q: Do you know of any feeders with cattle that need to be slaughtered, but they can’t get them moved?
Yes, feeders aren’t able to get a competitive bid, or worse, they can’t get a bid at all. This goes back to way too much disparity in the price of our fed cattle. It is paramount for everyone to come together, get on the same playing field, and get some resolution. We have to get something done to help the price mechanism in our business.
Q: In one sentence, what does the cattle industry need most today?
We need everyone in cattle production to be vocal about what is going on within our industry. Folks need to contact their congressmen if they haven’t done so already.
Q: Any closing statements?
The Department of Justice should possibly be mandated to have an investigation of packer monopoly. Now that the president has asked for an investigation, hopefully that will have a great enough impact for a true investigation to take place.
People need to realize that our food production is vital to our country’s survival. American production has that additional value, and we need to protect what is within our borders. It’s not war that’s going to put us in jeopardy; it’s going to be food shortages.