U.S. farm state senators in a beef over livestock bill
- In May, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and a bipartisan group of colleagues introduced a bill that would require our large packers such as Tyson, JBS, and Cargill to buy a minimum of fifty percent of their cattle on the cash market and have those animals killed within two weeks.
- According to Grassley, this bill would increase competition among packers and make it easier for cattle producers to track market prices instead of leaving them in the dark when the majority cattle are purchased on formula contracts.
- Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, chair of the Senate Agriculture committee, is a surprising challenger of the bill.
- Roberts said he is currently working to understand the diverse perspectives within the industry regarding market volatility and transparency.
- An industry lobbyist noted that some cattle producers don’t believe Grassley’s bill will help create more competition. Besides that, meatpackers are against the bill and some producer groups feel the legislation will do more harm with the federal government dictating free market practices.
- Adam Jones, owner of Crooked Creek Angus located in St. Francis, KS, said that the whole system is working for the benefit of the packers, not for cattle producers. “For Roberts to not give cattle producers the chance to be heard is completely tone deaf,” said Jones.
Eastern South Dakota reports missing cows and more
- Both Hamlin County and Yankton County currently have open cases of cattle presumed stolen.
- Thirty-nine head of yearlings went missing from a farm near Lake Poinsett, SD, between the dates of July 1st and July 15th.
- Seventeen head of fall bred cows were stolen and loaded into a trailer from their pasture near Lesterville, SD, between the evening of July 21st and the morning of July 22nd.
- Bill Hutchinson of Martin, SD, a former brand inspector and current chairman of the South Dakota Stockgrowers’ brand committee, stated that branding your livestock will not prevent attempts of theft, but it is a huge deterrent to would-be thieves.
- Hutchinson feels that brand inspection itself is a significant deterrent. If people know cattle will be brand inspected at a sale barn or for private sale they will think twice. Having your cattle branded provides a much better chance of finding them and prosecuting the thieves.
- Counties located west of the Missouri river in South Dakota require brand inspection; everything to the east does not.
- Hutchinson believes it would be best for the whole state to be included in the brand inspection area, however it is up to the producers in the counties east of the river to make their voices heard if they want to participate.
- Hutchinson went on to say that an ear tag has it’s place for animal identification, but it doesn’t replace a brand that permanently identifies an animal for life.
Boxed beef prices; www.nationalbeefwire.com
- Choice boxed beef: $207.20 (+1.73)
- Select boxed beef: $193.93 (+1.18)