VIDEO: Senator Chuck Grassley expresses concerns with processing industry and effects of COVID-19 on cattle industry

by | May 6, 2020 | 0 comments


Q: What do you feel are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets? 

The pandemic, the economy slowing down, and people not spending as much money as they normally would. Our country must get this pandemic under control so we can get back to some normalcy.  

Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue has allotted 19 billion dollars to help agriculture, and it’s taking way too long to get these funds to producers. We have too much red tape in Washington.  

Not enough competition in our processing sector. Packing companies own livestock and kill their own livestock before they buy from the independent producer. There isn’t enough market for an independent producer to get a fair price. It is completely unfair to compete against packer ownership of livestock. 

Packers and Stockyards Act and Anti-Trust laws need to be enforced to make sure there is plenty of competition in our cattle markets. 


Q: What can individuals do to help bring about these changes? 

Keep in touch with organizations that have our best interests as producers. Also, stay in touch with our congressional delegation. 


Q: President Trump recently issued an executive order to keep processing facilities open; will this help us work through the enormous backlog of cattle we’re facing? 

President Trump issuing this order sends a signal of how important this is to the nation as a whole. The president putting his signature on an executive order isn’t going to solve the problem, but it is expressing the view of our president that this is an important function that needs to keep operating. However, some people are sick and some people are scared to go back to work, so this isn’t a quick fix. You can’t guarantee safety, but you can give people the confidence that you’re going to do more and stop the virus from spreading to the masses.  


Q: Cattle producers today have been promised that our packing industry is being investigated for collusion, corruption, and manipulation, where are we at with these investigations? 

The secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, has taken on my demand for an investigation; however, at this time I don’t have anything to report. 


Q: In one sentence, can you tell me what the cattle industry needs most right now? 

At this present time, we need to deliver “x” number of dollars from that 24 billion dollars appropriated in the CARES act for individual cattle producers. Everything else stated in this interview is long term, but these dollars have the ability to help our producers right now. It’s now up to the secretary to get the regulations and the software in place so the money can get out, get it out! 


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How did we get here?

From the Holcomb Tyson fire to COVID-19;
Click to see a timeline of events that have brought to light the profit and pricing disparity in cattle markets.


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