Q: What are the issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
Short term, we have a bottleneck supply of cattle that we need to get through our processing sector in a timely fashion. We essentially have too many cattle for the capacity of the packing plants. Due to this, we’ve lost leverage over time and the cattle producer is taking the smallest percentage of the retail dollar in all of history.
Q: What are your thoughts on the proposed 50/14 negotiated cash trade bill being passed?
The bill might not come out exactly as it was proposed; however there will be some price mechanism or increase in transparency that will be implemented.
Q: Do you have any cattle that need to be slaughtered, but you can’t get them moved?
Yes, I’ve been trying to work with a certain packer for six weeks now and no luck. I have been able to get a few loads moved since the start of the pandemic, but a couple more need to go. Luckily, I don’t have a large number of cattle on feed right now. With that being said, I will have a fair amount to send later in the summer and fall. This is very concerning as the industry is looking at right around 1,000,000 head of cattle backed up that will need to be slaughtered between now and fall.
Q: What are your thoughts on the fed cattle set-aside program?
There are positives and negatives that come along with this program. It would take pounds off the market. However, a better option may be the proposal by R-Calf to open up CRP acres to graze weigh-up cows on. This would open up more space for fed cattle to be slaughtered at cow plants and hopefully move through this backlog at a quicker pace.
Q: Are the cattle markets affecting your rural area?
The affect hasn’t been seen yet; a lot of people aren’t sure where they stand. This situation may hurt the ranchers more than anyone else. Some folks won’t make it through these tough times. The direct government payments that will be sent out should’ve been structured better to help those in need. The time period that these payments are based around is horrible.
Q: What are your thoughts on President Trump’s statement to do away with cattle imports?
Lessening cattle brought into the U.S. would decrease our supply, however, we are an exporting country and free trade is needed. Cutting imports would undoubtedly have ramifications. Some people feel it would be beneficial to shut off imports from Brazil, which I agree with.
Q: In one sentence, what does the cattle industry need most today?
Packing plants need to run as hard as they can to get this backlog of cattle processed. The sooner we find normalcy with our packing plants, the better.
Q: Any closing statement?
People need to stay in touch with their congressional leaders.