Photo Courtesy https://ktul.com/ (KOKH)
Q: What do you think are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets today?
The cattle industry has four major packers that control the majority of the beef processing. On top of that, our USDA has made it difficult for smaller processing plants to sell retail. Cattle producers have various options when it comes to selling their cattle; they should just as many options to sell their own beef if they so choose. State Representative Justin Humphrey and myself have brought forward House Bill 2008 to allow cattle producers to bring their processed beef directly to market.
Q: Can you elaborate on the task force being formed by yourself and state representative, Justin Humphrey?
This task force will be made up of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers who truly understand agriculture and the struggles that producers are currently facing. These producers will be able to provide real input to shape House Bill 2008 into a practical piece of legislation to help those in agriculture the most.
Q: What do you see happening to the American cattle producer if substantial changes aren’t made to stabilize the markets?
Agriculture will become purely industrialized. Small time cattle production will be a thing of the past, and the price of beef will increase. Oklahoma has quite a few supplemental cattle producers. If these folks continue to struggle to make a profit, we could see the majority go out of business within the next five years.
Q: In one sentence, what does the cattle industry need most today?
The cattle industry needs free markets. Our industry needs someone to protect the small time cattle producer. Cattle producers have to be able to make some kind of profit to survive, and the best way to do that is through free markets.
Q: Any closing statements?
House Bill 2008 is the tip of the iceberg. One bill is not going to fix the issues that cattle producers are currently facing. Our industry truly needs the U.S. Congress to step up and start protecting American cattle producers. This means that the Meat Inspection Act must be amended and changed so free markets can be opened up.