Q: What do you think are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
Our cattle industry is very concentrated; with four major packers buying 85% of the cattle, it’s easy for collusion to occur.
Q: What does the industry need to do to alleviate packer concentration?
Senator Chuck Grassley’s bill to increase negotiated cash trade would make the packers compete for cattle and return competition to our cattle markets. During this pandemic, packers have made record profits; billions of dollars on the backs of American cattle producers. As an industry, we have to make sure the packers compete aggressively for cattle. Senator Grassley’s bill would allow cattle producers to aggressively work the market, instead of being bid takers like we are currently experiencing.
Q: What are your thoughts concerning cattle and beef trade?
America imports and exports a significant amount of beef. With the times we are living in, we need to be able to sell beef not only in our own country, but in other countries also. Our industry also needs to import some beef products to keep balance within our trade agreements and to keep our trade partners happy. With that being said, American beef needs to come first. A blatant stop of all exports and imports is not a solution that would bring back dollars to the producer.
Q: What are your thoughts on MCOOL?
Consumers want to know where their beef is coming from. It is the safest protein on the planet and they deserve to know where it is originating.
Q: What is your outlook for the markets going forward in the next few months?
The short term is looking pretty scary as the industry has some definite challenges with the number of cattle backed up. If demand returns and the country opens up like it needs to, maybe we can move through this backlog fairly quickly.
Q: In one sentence, what does the cattle industry need most today?
Unity. Cattle producers cannot continue to fight against each other and think we can get any solutions implemented. The advantage goes to whomever or whatever the cattle industry is up against when we fight amongst ourselves and aren’t able to get on the same page.
Q: What do you see happening to the American cattle producer if no significant changes are implemented within our cattle markets?
Our industry has to get something done to make sure there is a fair market for all involved within the cattle industry. With the incredible awareness regarding the need for changes in our cattle markets, there is a good chance some changes will be made so our markets can get back on track. The key is to keep everyone energized and on the same page.