Q: What are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
The packer level is where we find the issues in our cattle industry. We don’t have enough shackle space and there isn’t enough competition between packers. Because of this, negotiated cash trade at the live cattle level is basically non-existent.
Our packing sector continues to make substantial profit margins, while cattle producers continue to lose money. This situation can’t continue if we want to keep our industry alive and healthy.
Q: What are your thoughts on increased mandated negotiated cash trade?
Not sure how this proposal will play out in the end, but one thing is for sure, we can’t continue down the path we’re on right now. We have to implement some kind of change in hopes of seeing these cattle markets turn around.
Q: What are your thoughts on the backlog of cattle that the industry is facing?
Some people say those cattle aren’t out there, but they are definitely there. Even if we don’t have as many to slaughter, that won’t matter as the cattle we do have backed up are going to have tremendous weights. Going forward, it will be incredibly difficult to work through these cattle and hold the markets together.
Q: What are your thoughts on the direct government payments producers will be receiving due to the coronavirus pandemic?
The theory of these payments is great; however the specific time period they set in place to distribute these payments could’ve been structured better. The important thing is that producers are receiving something to help them through these tough times.
Q: What are your thoughts on President Trump’s statement regarding the termination of trade deals where the U.S. imports cattle?
Cattle imports aren’t quite as important as considering the beef imported into our country. President Trump most likely misworded that statement.
Canada and Mexico are both great trading partners, but the U.S. doesn’t need to trade with just anyone. Many countries don’t have the same safety and quality standards with their beef as we do with our domestic product. When you consider beef exports, we can’t completely cut off imports, we need to do a little business with other countries to keep the balance.
Q: In one sentence, what does the cattle industry need most right now?
We need more competition within our packing sector.