Q: What are the major issues facing the cattle industry today?
Price. Producers need competition to come back into our cattle industry in order to make a living.
Q: What are some solutions to fix this problem in our industry?
People need to get involved in chasing solutions. Washington won’t fix this. R-Calf, NCBA, USCA, there is no organization that is going to fix these issues in our industry. Producers have to get involved for change to come about.
A silver bullet for immediate competition to be created in this market is MCOOL. So many people are willing to commit their perishable product, being fat cattle, for future delivery un-priced. We’re being placed in a box in which we operate, I want out of that box. The monopoly power has captured NCBA and USDA, they have a revolving door between them, and they’re constantly coming at us.
Q: How do we go about getting more cash trade?
We have to set a cash trade floor until we can get away from these un-priced commitments. Find me another industry that will pledge that perishable commodity for future delivery, un-priced. There is only one reason anybody would ever do that, monopoly power. They are guaranteed a hook. Our cattle markets aren’t functioning correctly because we don’t have adequate value discovery.
Q: How do you feel MCOOL would affect rural America if it were reinstated?
It would help because it would immediately make the imports compete with us. MCOOL would create immediate competition. It’s not necessarily about driving prices up; it’s about creating demand and making the processing sector compete for American beef because there is demand for it.
Q: In one sentence, what does the cattle industry need the most right now?
The cattle industry needs the self-confidence to restore competition to the industry.
Q: Any closing comments?
I just hope that rural America can start realizing their self-worth; they’ve been chipped at for so long. We are creating a tremendous product. There is no better steward of the earth than a multi-generational operator. We have to gather ourselves, for the sake of America. I hope that people realize that this industry is worth fighting for and they get behind it. This too will pass; we’ll get through it. We just hope we come out of it better than we went in.