A bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives urges the Department of Agriculture to provide findings of its beef pricing investigation as soon as possible.
Following the announcement of the USDA’s Packers and Stockyard Division investigation in August of 2019, Secretary Sonny Perdue extended USDA’s investigation last month to determine the causes of divergence between live beef and box prices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in the first few weeks of the coronavirus crisis, cattlemen saw prices drastically decline, with cattle futures falling 29% between January and April, while beef prices increased in stores.
The lawmakers, including Oklahoma Republican Frank Lucas, say, “When market participants begin to believe that markets are not competitive or transparent, that suspicion has a dangerous industry-wide ripple effect.” The lawmakers say producers want effective, market-based risk management tools. However, volatility during the pandemic has made market participation difficult to manage and capital intensive.
Lucas added, “As a policymaker and a lifelong cattleman, restoring faith in our markets is my top priority.”
(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)