The US Department of Ag wants to know why beef prices are high, and why ranchers are not seeing fair cattle prices.
The USDA this week released an update on its investigation of cattle markets. American Farm Bureaus Scott Bennett says the report examines glaring market price disparities.
“In the report, USDA outlines exactly what has happened in the volatile cattle markets since the Holcomb fire in August of 2019, and the volatilities due to COVID-19. In addition to the report, there’s some policy recommendations that USDA feels could be addressed both administratively and legislatively to further reduce the volatility in the cattle market,” said Bennett.
Bennett says Farm Bureau is reviewing the USDA policy recommendations.
“We are analyzing these policy recommendations and certainly hope to have a robust discussion not only with legislators, but the administration on exactly what we can do to make sure that these markets are not as volatile and they are fair for our cattle producers,” said Bennett.
The USDA investigation is ongoing, and Bennett says Farm Bureau is hopeful the investigation will lead to fair cattle markets.
“We understand that the meatpacking industry is consolidated into four major packers that represent 80 to 85 percent of the weekly kill. We understand that they are a part of our supply chain. However, we need to work for the producer and increase their leverage that they have in order to have fair cattle markets,” said Bennett.
Meanwhile the cattle markets remain flat, and ranchers are barely getting by.