Photo courtesy: Kimball Livestock Exchange Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/pg/kimballlivestockexchange)
Q: What do you feel are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
The biggest issue facing the cattle markets is packer concentration that has led to market manipulation through formula cattle and packers owning their own cattle.
Q: What solutions do you think could be implemented to solve these issues?
The U.S. government needs to get a handle on big corporate packing plants. There are laws in place that should be enforced to avoid the situation we’re currently in, but it seems as if the government is too scared to enforce them.
Q: What are your thoughts on Senator Grassley’s 50/14 legislation to increase negotiated cash trade?
The 50/14 legislation is a great idea, however there is the concern that this legislation will be put into place and not enforced as we have seen with the Packers and Stockyards Act.
Q: What do you see happening to the American cattle producer if our cattle markets aren’t stabilized?
If American agriculture continues to be sold off to other countries we’ll find that national security will be a thing of the past. If Covid-19 has shown us anything, it’s that food safety should be the number one priority here in the U.S.
Q: In one sentence, what does the cattle industry need most today?
The cattle industry needs the government to step in and get a handle on the cattle markets. If we aren’t careful, cattle producers will become the next vertically integrated industry, just like chicken and hogs.
Q: What’s your outlook for calves this fall?
The feeders have lost money, the backgrounders have lost money, the yearling producers have lost money, and the cow calf producers have lost money. There’s only one sector making any money, the packers. While the packers are making record profits, all those other sectors continue to lose money. This equation will make it difficult for calves to sell as high as we’ve seen in past years.
Q: What are your thoughts regarding the DOJ investigation into the four major beef processors?
Market manipulation by the packers has been blatant over the last year. It started with the fire at the Tyson plant in Holcomb, KS and it has been obvious all throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. There shouldn’t have to be an investigation to see what the packers have been doing.
Q: Any closing statements?
Both producers and consumers need to make their voices heard by contacting their congressmen. It is vital that our elected officials be made aware of the cattle industry’s current situation.