NCBA URGES CONGRESS TO ADDRESS CATTLE INDUSTRY CONCERNS
Jun. 2, 2021
National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) reports:
Washington - Today, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) led a letter with the support of 37 affiliate state cattle organizations, urging the leadership of the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committees 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
Read the full text of the letter here.
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. Our letter provides that perspective and reinforces how urgently we need something to shift here to strengthen the security of the beef supply chain. NCBA has strong working relationships with members on both sides of the aisle, we have grassroots policy to back the actions we outlined today, and we hope the conversation in Washington around these critical policy areas will progress quickly," said Bohn.
The letter is the latest move in NCBA's longstanding efforts to secure greater processing capacity, increase transparency, fight for the future viability of family farms and ranches, and increase opportunities for producer profitability.
NCBA's letter was signed by 37 affiliate state cattlemen's associations. Several statements of support included below:
"I am appreciative of NCBA's efforts to inform Congressional leadership about the cattle and beef industry's most pressing issues. This is timely as expanding processing capacity, labor and ensuring cattle producers receive a fair price for their high-quality product is at the forefront of cattle producers' minds-including the over 12,000 Michigan producers," said Michigan Cattlemen's Association (MCA) Executive Director George Quackenbush.
"It's critically important for lawmakers in D.C. to understand the importance of these issues and to know where our producers stand. We, at MCA, look forward to working with NCBA and members of Congress to find solutions that ensure a viable business climate for cattle producers in Michigan and across the country," said Quackenbush.
"For more than a year, Arkansas' cattle producers have withstood some of the toughest times the cattle industry has faced in recent memory; it is time for real solutions. This letter to Congressional leadership outlines real, producer driven solutions that can make meaningful changes within our industry, not just inconsequential rhetoric," said Arkansas Cattlemen's Association (ACA) Executive Vice President, Cody Burkham.
"During these times, it is imperative our elected leaders have a clear and concise understanding of the challenges impacting the cattle industry. I commend the work of NCBA leadership and staff for their work on these issues, including this letter. The ACA will continue to work with our state and national partners toward meaningful reforms that benefit all cattle producers across the nation," said Burkham.
"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 Georgia Cattlemen's Association Executive Vice President Dale 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," said Sandlin.
"Pennsylvania cattle producers have been facing extreme market uncertainty and a host of other challenges for more than a year. Their frustration reflects very real challenges to producer profitability, and we need to act to return market leverage to farmers and ranchers. This NCBA-led letter gives clear direction to Congressional leadership about issue areas that need their focus, and points us in the direction of meaningful action," said Pennsylvania Cattlemen's Association President Cliff Orley.
"With a wide range of voices on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, it's more important than ever that our industry clearly articulate our needs to our elected officials. Pennsylvania Cattlemen's thanks NCBA for its leadership, and we will continue working to strengthen the business climate for producers across the country," said Orley.