Q: What are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
The rules are slanted within our markets, and they’re slanted towards an entity that didn’t need the help to start with, the packers. These rules have caused our playing field to be unfair. This has enabled the packing industry to make substantial profits while the independent producer struggles to survive.
Q: What changes need to be made so fair cattle markets can be achieved?
MCOOL would greatly benefit our independent cattle producers. U.S. cow calf producers are held certain standards with specific regulations; foreign countries don’t have these standards and regulations. Even though U.S. producers market the best quality beef in the world, they aren’t able to differentiate their product from foreign products.
Q: What are your thoughts on President Trump’s statement about terminating trade deals where the U.S. imports cattle? What are your overall thoughts on beef/cattle trade?
Importing and exporting is part of our cattle industry. Imports are needed, but its wrong that imported cattle aren’t differentiated from our domestic cattle.
Currently, it would be beneficial to assess our imports when we’re dealing with a significant backlog of cattle due to Covid-19.
Q: When do you think carcass weights will become an issue due to cattle being held back?
Carcass weights are most likely already an issue. Quite a few feeders have had to wait weeks for a bid; because of this carcass weights have increased substantially.
Q: Why do you think we haven’t seen any results from the investigation into the Tyson plant fire in Holcomb, KS?
The Holcomb plant shutting down and causing the market effects that it did was a complete joke. There was never a shortage of beef or lack of shackle space to kill cattle, however the marketplace was manipulated to look like that was the case. As we all know, this manipulation caused a sharp drop in the market.
The current DOJ investigation is gaining traction; packers’ actions and correspondences are actually being looked into. If illegal activity is discovered, the repercussions need to be harsh; a fine isn’t going to do anything, their needs to be fundamental change.
Q: Any closing statements?
Country of origin labeling allowed our cattle producers to differentiate their product in the marketplace and charge more for it. Since MCOOL has been repealed, U.S. cattle producers are just a generic producer like everybody else.
The current environment within our cattle markets make it extremely tough for any young man or woman wanting to get into the cattle industry.
As an industry, we need to be vocal about our struggles and tell our story.