The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), with the support of 37 affiliate state cattle organizations, sent a letter this week to the leadership of the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committees urging them to address critical areas of concern in the cattle and beef industry.
Specifically, NCBA pushed Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Rep. David Scott (D-GA-13), and Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA-15) to consider swift Congressional action to:
- Expand beef processing capacity
- Broaden labor policies to strengthen the beef processing workforce
- Increase transparency in cattle markets by reauthorizing Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR)
- Support industry efforts to reform “Product of the USA” generic labeling
- Ensure proper oversight of cattle market players by concluding the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the meatpacking sector
This grassroots letter comes as cattle producers across the country express mounting frustration at the persistent imbalance in the markets. As much of the country lifts pandemic restrictions, consumer demand for U.S. beef remains strong. Producers also have a high supply of cattle to meet demand. Despite this, producers in the cow-calf and feeder sectors of the industry are facing significant challenges. The profits yielded by high boxed beef prices are not being passed on to the producers supplying live cattle, and the supply chain is being choked by a lack of processing capacity.
“Cattle producers are frustrated, and with good reason. In sale barns and state meetings across the country, we’re hearing the same story of sky-high input costs and intense market volatility. Across the industry, there’s a consensus that market dynamics which consistently squash producer profitability are not sustainable for live cattle or beef producers,” said NCBA President Jerry Bohn. “As members of Congress create policy that directly impacts business conditions for our producers, it is critical that they consider the grassroots input and firsthand experiences of folks on the ground.”
The letter was signed by 37 affiliate state cattlemen’s associations, and the several statements of support include one from Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Dale Sandlin:
“The Georgia Cattlemen’s Association is appreciative of the support that our Congressional leaders have shown through the allocation of CARES Act payments for cattle producers over the past year due to the uncertainties and challenges our industry faced due to COVID-19 and significant market volatility. While this relief has been critical over the past year, we still have concerns about the prices our members are receiving for the high-quality beef they produce compared to the significantly higher prices that packers are enjoying,” said Sandlin. “As an industry, cattle producers have resisted a legislative solution to the challenges of market forces, however the industry cannot survive if the current disparity is left unchecked. We appreciate the ability to work with NCBA and other affiliates to find an approach that works for the benefit of the entire industry.”
To read the full text of the letter click here.