Q: What are the major issues facing our cattle industry?
Lack of competition in our cattle markets and the concentration of our meat-processing sector. We have to get some confidence back in our feeding sector. The stimulus dollars that have been appropriated to producers will help them get back on their feet.
Q: How can we create more competition within our cattle markets?
Formula cattle are cancer to our industry. There is a definite lack of cash traded cattle and we must get an increase in negotiated cash trade. This isn’t a silver bullet, but this change will help increase competition, increase fundamentals, and bring the CME back to being a true risk management tool.
Q: What are your thoughts about the Department of Justice investigating packer price manipulation?
A DOJ investigation is needed, but we need to be sure this investigation doesn’t just result in a paper that collects dust; we need results to come from this.
As an industry, we need to ask ourselves what we’re willing to do to make changes in order for our cattle industry to gain back some leverage, which is obvious we don’t have.
Q: How do you see these tough cattle markets affecting rural America?
An acute awareness of how important agriculture truly is has spread during this pandemic. Smaller processing plants are coming back online and finding ways to be competitive. There has been a lot of devastating situations arise from Covid-19, however we are also seeing positive circumstances arise. The general public is realizing where their food comes from and valuing the work of those in agriculture. There will be global food shortages going forward, and the American cattle producer has the opportunity to step up and produce a product that will help these shortages. The cattle industry is going to come back stronger than ever, but in order to do this, we have to unite to get something done.
Q: In one sentence, what does the cattle industry need most today?
A win. We need to get focused and get the leverage back. It doesn’t matter what cattle organization you belong to, our industry is on the line and we need to put our differences aside and focus on a win.
Q: What can individuals do to help our industry get a win?
Get involved. Use your social media in a positive way to make your voice heard. Join organizations and/or associations. Continue to communicate with your congressional representatives.
Q: Any closing statements?
We will get through these difficult times and we’ll be stronger on the other side. As producers, we aren’t alone. We’re all in this together, and if we’re able to find common ground and alleviate some of the problems we’re being faced with, we’ll become a stronger industry in the end.