Current Cattle Markets Daily Headlines for Wednesday, August 5, 2020

by | Aug 5, 2020 | 0 comments

USDA responds to petition calling for checkoff vote

  • A group of ranchers, cattlemen’s organizations, and 25 livestock auction markets are currently working to collect signatures for a formal petition requesting a referendum on the Beef Checkoff Program.
  • USDA recently posted a letter to petitioners on their website which included a guidance document and cautioned petitioners about using questionable means to collect signatures.
  • According to Deputy Administrator Jennifer Porter, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has provided evidence that indicated producers will be entered into a drawing to win $100 in exchange for sharing a post that encourages signing the petition.
  • Porter explained that these actions call into question the validity and integrity of the signature collection process and because of this, the USDA will apply additional scrutiny during the verification and validation process.
  • The success of the petition not only lies in gathering the required number of signatures, but also maintaining the integrity of the process, said Porter.
  • NCBA president Marty Smith, a Florida cattle producer, said that NCBA fully supports the producers’ right to have a voice regarding the future of the checkoff.
    • However, Smith feels that the signature gathering process needs to be transparent and conducted with integrity.
    • If enough producers sign the petition, then an up or down vote on the program needs to occur. He has confidence that enough producers will vote in favor of the checkoff and the industry can finally put this issue in the rear view mirror.


A few farmers get huge USDA relief payments while many struggle for pennies

  • In its first round of Covid-19 relief funding, Congress allocated funding for agriculture through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP.)
    • This program was set to pay out $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and livestock producers who suffered income losses due to Covid-19. After this basic detail, Congress left the rest of the program design up to the USDA.
    • As of last week, $6.5 billion had been distributed to ag producers.
    • The largest portion of these funds went to cattle, milk, corn, and hog producers.
  • According to Eric Deebly, policy director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Congress disbursed the CFAP funds with minimal strings attached.
    • Payments are capped at $250,000 per individual, or $750,000 for farms owned by corporations.
  • The Counter performed an analysis of payments from late May to late June and found that at least five farms collected single payments of more than $750,000. The highest payment of $1.4 million went to Titan Swine. The company also received two additional CFAP checks totaling an added $1.1 million on the same day.
  • It was also found that multiple entities registered to the same business address received payments totaling more than $1 million.
    • Many of these entities were also receiving loans from the Payroll Protection Program (PPP.)
      • Five dairies registered to the same P.O. box in Georgia received direct payments totaling $1.57 million from CFAP, and on top of that they were also receiving PPP loans.
    • These situations have shown that Covid-19 relief doesn’t always go to those in need; instead it lands in the hands of businesses with savvy accountants.
    • A handful of farmers received hundreds of thousands of dollars, while more than 300 received less than $10 and some did not benefit at all from the program.


Boxed beef prices

Choice boxed beef: $204.24 (-0.42)

Select boxed beef: $190.45 (+0.05)


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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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