Biden to pick Representative Haaland as interior secretary
- Yesterday, President-elect Joe Biden chose Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, to serve as the first Native American Cabinet secretary and head the Interior Department.
- For weeks now, tribal leaders and activists around the country, along with many Democratic figures, have been urging Biden to pick Haaland.
- With Haaland’s nomination, Indigenous people will for the first time in their lifetimes see a Native American at the table where some of the highest decisions are made.
- In this role, Haaland will oversee roughly one-fifth of the land in the United States.
- Haaland comes from New Mexico, a state that is well known for their production of oil and gas. Despite this fact, Haaland plans to transform the Interior Department from a champion of fossil fuel development into a promoter of renewable energy and policies to mitigate climate change.
- Haaland’s ideas go hand-in-hand with Biden’s, as he would like to halt all new oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters.
- The Interior Department also oversees massive protected areas; approximately 109 million acres of wilderness, 422 national park sites, national monuments and wildlife refuges. Furthermore, the department protects 1,000 endangered species.
- Haaland’s appointment will influence 1.9 million Native Americans whose education and health care are impacted by the department’s decisions.
Beef packer margins decline 33 percent
- Packers experienced a 33 percent drop in profit margins last week. Even with that significant drop, they are still making profits of $332/hd., according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.
- The week before they were making a hefty $490/hd.
- Packer margins slipped due to a $20/cwt. decline in the beef cutout, which averaged $217.90.
- Cattle feeding margins took a big hit with a drop of 90 percent from $108/hd. two weeks ago to just $10/hd. last week.
- Cattle feeders are less than thrilled with this decline as fundamentals show that the market should be much better than the prices they are receiving.
- Last week, cash cattle prices declined about $3.50/cwt. to an average of $106. On top of that, feed costs are $15/hd. higher and feeder steer prices are averaging $30/hd. higher, all contributing to reduced profit margins.
- Cash cattle prices were about $13/cwt. lower than the same week in 2019.
- A year ago, cattle feeders were making a profit of $68/hd.
Cargill to close Canadian beef plant after coronavirus outbreak
- As of yesterday, December 17th, Cargill Inc. temporarily closed its Guelph, Ontario beef processing plant due to a Covid-19 outbreak among workers.
- The plant employs 950 people.
- Eighty-two workers have tested positive and 129 other workers are quarantining. The workers will continue to be paid during their absence.
- Cargill’s Guelph, Ontario plant processes 1,500 head of cattle per day.
- The company, who voluntarily closed its doors, doesn’t have a set date for reopening.
- Beef Farmers of Ontario have asked Canadian and Ontario governments to activate a program that helps with the costs of feeding cattle longer when slaughter capacity is not available.
- The plant employs 950 people.
South Dakota creates grant program for small processors
- In a speech at the capital in Pierre, SD, Governor Kristi Noem announced that a new $5 million grant program will be available to small processors that provide services to South Dakota-based producers.
- This program is aimed at boosting the state’s capacity to produce meat products originating in the state.
- Grant money can be used to pay for facility improvements, acquiring new equipment or other upgrades.
- Noem also reported that South Dakota officials are working with USDA to offer the state’s farmers and ranchers the opportunity to sell their products across state lines.
Boxed beef prices
- Choice boxed beef: $209.51 (+2.29)
- Select boxed beef: $193.70 (+1.61)